Originally published on January 28, 2015, at NationofChange.org
The FBI arrested a New Jersey police officer on Friday after a federal grand jury charged him with violating a defendant’s civil rights by using excessive force during an arrest and falsifying records in an attempt to conceal the alleged crime. According to a lawsuit filed by the victim and his family against the Bayonne Police Department, Officer Domenico Lillo repeatedly struck the handcuffed victim in the face with a metal flashlight knocking out most of his front teeth. In 2011, the City of Bayonne paid roughly $100,000 to settle a previous suit accusing Lillo and other officers of conspiracy, deliberate indifference, deprivation of due process, deprivation of property, excessive force, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, and wrongful arrest.
On the evening of December 27, 2013, Bayonne police officers Domenico Lillo, Francis Styles, and James Wade responded to Kathy Walsh’s residence to execute an arrest warrant for her son, Brandon. According to police, Brandon Walsh answered the door but refused to step outside with the officers. Pushing one of them back, Walsh allegedly attempted to force the door closed when one of the officers grabbed the front of his shirt. Walsh reportedly struck the cop on the side of the face and the top of the head before they restrained him with handcuffs.
But according to a federal lawsuit against the police department, officers Lillo, Styles, and Wade had stormed into the residence pepper spraying Walsh and throwing him to the ground. As they continued to assault Walsh on the floor, the officers also doused his mother’s face with pepper spray when she asked why they were attacking her son. Suffering from the noxious fumes of the pepper spray, Kathy Walsh, her children, and her grandchildren watched as the police handcuffed Walsh and escorted him down the front steps.
The police claim Walsh cut his forehead when he tried to pull away, causing an officer to fall onto of him. In contrast, Walsh’s family asserts Walsh had accidentally fallen down the stairs. After getting up off the ground, the officers continued escorting Walsh to their patrol car when Lillo pulled a metal flashlight from his belt and repeatedly beat Walsh across the face while Walsh’s hands were cuffed behind his back.