Woodlynne, NJ — As TFTP reported last June, several teenagers were hanging out with friends, on their own property, when officers with the Woodlynne police department walked up to them. Without provocation, Woodlynne police officer Ryan Dubiel randomly pulled out his pepper spray and blasted one of the teens in the face with the spray before spraying several others. This move led to charges against this officer with a severely tarnished past and this month, we have learned that, as part of his sentence, he will no longer be able to work in a taxpayer funded position ever again — a move, we'd like to see more often.
As the Courier Post reported Thursday, Dubiel, 32, was sentenced to one year of probation under terms of a plea agreement. As part of his plea deal, he also had to forfeit his law enforcement license but then prosecutors took it one step further — barring him from holding "any public office (in) New Jersey, including employment as a police officer," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
As we reported in June, the boys would be accused of trespassing by the officers — in spite of not trespassing at all. When they chose to assert their right to remain silent when the officers asked them questions, officer Dubiel snapped. When another teen didn't immediately hop up and start doing everything the officer asked, he pulled out his pepper spray and doused a teen directly in the face, hitting another 20-year-old behind him.
"We saw it over the internet and stuff, but we never thought it would happen to us," said 16-year old James Horn, who witnessed his friend get sprayed in the face.
As the video shows, the 15-year-old boy is sitting on the stoop is trying to text his brother, who is his legal guardian. Dubiel tells him to put his hands behind his back and before he can comply, Dubiel unleashes the chemical weapon into the teen's face. He then sprays all the other folks in the group on the porch.
As ABC 6 reported, a 911 call released by the Camden County Prosecutor recounts a property owner complaining about a group of teens loitering and smoking marijuana.
There was no marijuana, and the only thing found on the young men was cigarettes. Also, they weren't trespassing.
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"My friend said he was going to call his brother and the officer said no. But his brother is his guardian so he said he was going to call him anyway. And then the officer started pepper spraying everybody on the porch," said Horn.
The officer's use of the irritant "was not consistent with the (state's) use-of-force policy, the prosecutor's office said.
“Our Special Prosecutions Unit received the Internal Affairs complaint against Dubiel on June 5 and immediately began collecting all of the evidence to conduct a thorough and impartial review of the complaint,” said Camden County prosecutor Jill Mayer in a statement. “After careful review, it was clear Dubiel’s actions are not consistent with the State of New Jersey use-of-force policy.”
A the time the charges were released, prosecutors told local media that in his short career, the 31-year-old has worked for nine police departments.
Nine departments! This is the problem prosecutors set out to remedy with Dubiel's sentence. This man should have never been hired with the Woodlynne police department, nor the 6 or 7 other departments before that, yet he was. He has faced misconduct allegations before but like so many other officers, was likely allowed to resign before facing any consequences. Apparently, he's done this at least 8 times.
New Jersey's attorney general said this is "a strong example of why we need a statewide licensing program for police officers."
"I question once again, our mayor, why would you put an officer, or allow an officer to be on the street, knowing he has two strikes against him against the general public?" said Woodlynne Councilman Clyde Cook.
We agree and so would most people. However, nearly every single cop who gets caught unjustly killing or beating someone has had a similar past. This happens so much that there is a term for them. They are called gypsy cops. We are pleased to see that at least some action is being taken to stop this.