Elizabeth, NJ — Raul Tornes is suing Elizabeth Police Officer Edward Shields, the City of Elizabeth and Jane Doe who allegedly either took part in his beating or stood by watching as Shields dragged, choked, and punched the man as he sat in jail—handcuffed.
Fortunately for Tornes, the September 2017 incident was caught on body cameras and is one of the worst jailhouse beatings by an officer we’ve ever covered. And it appears from the footage Tornes was quite literally lucky to have survived the horrific ordeal alive.
When the video starts, Officer Shields can be seen going after Tornes who was seated on a bench and handcuffed. In a fit of rage, Shields can be seen dragging the man by his handcuffs with what we only could conclude was done in an attempt to break his wrists or cut his flesh. Shields dragged Tornes halfway around the holding area, all the while Tornes can be heard screaming, “I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting!”
Then, three officers grabbed Tornes and began to pull him in three different directions. Tornes complains about not being able to breathe and says he has shoulder problems. However, that did not deter the officers from dragging him all around the jail by his handcuffs. They dragged him passed at least three open holding cells before taking him into an area where they could further inflict pain.
Tornes screams, “Stop hitting me!”, over and over to no avail. Shields delivered closed fist strike after strike and eventually slammed him on the ground and delivered knee-strikes to his head.
Illustrating just how unnecessary and insidious the beating was, Tornes was never convicted of a crime. All of the unspecified criminal charges were dropped against Tornes by Union County, NJ. But now, however, Tornes wants a bit of justice for himself.
As cop apologists often claim “if you’ve got nothing to hide” why would an officer abuse you. Answer: Some officers love hurting people. And it appears as though Officer Shields may be one of those people.
Shields is no stranger to controversy. Since he’s been an Elizabeth police officer, he’s had more than 30 use of force complaints leveled against him, none of which has resulted in anything more than a slap on the wrist.
Also in 2017, Shields was accused of hurling racial epithets at an African American woman yet the city of Elizabeth allegedly refuses to release the body camera footage which would prove whether or not the officer made such statements.
Tornes’ federal civil rights lawsuit claims “a systemic and pervasive pattern and practice of unlawful stops and arrests, as well as excessive force and wrongful and unreasonably forceful arrests” exists within Elizabeth Police Department.” In other words, they’re getting away with violating citizens’ civil rights without as much as a whimper from their superiors.
NJ Media claims to have investigated the criminal and civil complaints about Elizabeth police concluding 47 complaints were made between 2016 and 2018 yet not one internal investigation concluded any officer was guilty of wrongdoing.
The assault also appears to be a family affair as well. Shields’ wife, who is also a cop, was also present and did nothing while her husband beat a man within an inch of his life. Throw in the other 10 or so officers, including superiors, who stood around and did nothing while one of their colleagues was beating a man senseless and the bad apple spoiling the whole bunch comes to fruition.
Luckily, Tornes recovered from his injuries which he says in his lawsuit were numerous. He’s now suing for emotional as well as physical damages. You decide for yourself. Watch and share the video below and be sure to comment.