Trooper charged with punching handcuffed woman
A State Police trooper is charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly punched a handcuffed woman while waiting for a medical evaluation.
Nicolas J. Hogan, 28, of Gibbstown, Gloucester County, was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability’s Corruption Bureau for the Sept. 7, 2022 incident in Cumberland County.
State Police were called about a trespasser at a residence in Upper Deerfield Township at about 1:30 that morning, according to the investigation.
Two troopers responding to the home encountered a woman matching the suspect’s description walking in the middle of the road. She appeared to be inebriated.
Troopers stopped her and called for medical personnel for an evaluation as additional troopers arrived, including Hogan, the report states.
The woman became increasingly distraught that she was being detained and started to cry, protesting her detainment and trying to walk away. The troopers then cuffed her and placed her in a car, where she kept asking for a tissue, but never given one, according to the investigation.
Body-worn camera footage shows fluid and mucus on her face and falling from her mouth, the report states.
While detained and handcuffed in the back of a police vehicle, she spat in the direction of a trooper standing near the open rear passenger door, according to the report.
“If you f-ing spit on a trooper,” Hogan is quoted as saying as he opened the door on the other side of the car.
The woman then turned toward him and spat again, leading to Hogan punching the victim in the face while holding a flashlight in his hand.
“The vast majority of New Jersey’s law enforcement officers exhibit professionalism and extraordinary restraint in the course of their duties and while dealing with trying circumstances,” state Attorney General Matthew Platkin said. “We will not allow situations like this one, in which, as alleged, force was used disproportionately and without justification against a vulnerable civilian in police restraints, to damage the reputation of our hardworking and admirable law enforcement community.”
OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher said that the “alleged use of force appears to have been completely avoidable, and the degree of force used was unreasonable.
”We cannot have police officers assaulting people in distress while they are restrained and posing no threat,” he added. “It is uncalled for, unhelpful, improper and unlawful.”
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Hogan was charged on a summons and was not jailed.