Bayonne, NJ– Officer Domenico Lillo of the Bayonne Police Department in New Jersey was actually raided by FBI agents and arrested in connection with a 2013 case of police brutality. With so much compelling evidence against him, Lillo pleaded guilty. However, the court is taking their time in the sentencing.
Lillo was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday but the U.S. Attorney’s office extended the date until March 5.
To lessen his sentence, Lillo agreed to testify against a fellow officer. Ironically enough, the fellow officer’s only crime was covering up for Lillo by falsifying records and hiding the assault.
“It was my understanding… (that) when the incident report was written the flashlight strike would be omitted,” Lillo told the jury in his fellow officer’s trial last month.
The raid took place in 2015 and was highly unusual for a police officer. After a federal grand jury in Newark returned an indictment charging him with deprivation of civil rights under color of law and falsification of records, police swarmed Lillo’s house.
After having been armed and active on the force for over a year after the incident—thanks to his fellow cops covering for him—Lillo was busted and brought to justice.
On December 27, 2013, around 4:50pm, Lillo along with two other officers from the Bayonne Police Department went to an individual’s home to execute an outstanding arrest warrant.
Count one in the indictment stated that while acting under the color of the law, Lillo struck the handcuffed victim, who was not resisting arrest—with a flashlight—resulting in bodily injury. According to a lawsuit filed by the victim, the other officers stood by and did nothing to stop the attack.
The officer’s also allegedly pepper-sprayed both the victim and his mother—hitting grandchildren in the process—causing her grandchildren and other relatives to get sick.
Count two in the indictment stated that Lillo, “acting with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, knowingly concealed, covered up, falsified, and made false entries on a Bayonne Police Department Use of Force Report about the individual, to wit, by not checking the box marked ‘Strike/Use of Baton or other object.'”
“This was something that you knew sooner or later was coming. And when you’re going to do something like that, this is what gives all police officers a black eye,” Bayonne’s mayor, Jimmy Davis, a former police officer, told NJ.com at the time.
Lillo can be seen in video footage striking his victim, Brandon Walsh with a flashlight three different times. The footage shows Lillo hit Walsh in the forehead with his flashlight in clear view of Styles and Wade, who were also escorting Walsh away from the scene.
“I was aggravated, upset,” Lillo said during his testimony as to why he beat the handcuffed man.
He then went on to use Walsh’s injuries as a warning to others during the trial, telling the jurors, “Look what happens when you fuck with us.”
Before permanently disfiguring a man with a flashlight, the officer was sued for excessive force which resulted in a $100,000 settlement for the victims, but not enough evidence to fire him.
In 2007 the city of Bayonne paid a $100,000 settlement in a lawsuit that was filed by two men who reported that they were brutally assaulted by police while leaving a bar. The lawsuit claimed excessive force, malicious prosecution, wrongful arrest, failure to intervene, deliberate indifference, deprivation of property, deprivation of due process and conspiracy, NJ.com reported.
The suit alleged that an officer “maliciously assaulted” one of the men, beating, kicking and throwing him to the ground while cursing at him as Lillo tackled the other man and punched him repeatedly in the face and head. The sister of the man Lillo was assaulting was pleading for the officer to stop the beating and when she tried to intervene, Lillo reportedly kicked her.
Prior to striking the plea deal, Lillo was facing upwards of 10-20 years for the charges against him. Lillo’s victims will now have to wait until March to find out if the dangerous police officer who put a man in the hospital with a flashlight will get justice.
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