45-year-old Domenico Lillo, a former Police Officer in Bayonne charged after an alleged police brutality that occurred December of 2013, has pleaded guilty in Federal Court. The Federal Grand Jury may force Lillo to serve up to 30 years in prison. Lillo was charged with violating a defendant’s civil rights by using excessive force during an arrest, as well as falsifying records in an attempt to conceal crime.
On the evening of December 27th 2013, Lillo along with a few other officers, allegedly stormed into the home where 25-year-old victim’s mother resided to execute a police warrant against her son. According to the police, the victim answered the door but refused to leave or comply with the officers. After attempting to shut the door on them, one of the officers were able to grab the victim by his shirt. The victim was then said to have struck one of the officers on the side of the face and on the top of the head before they were able to restrain him long enough to put him in handcuffs.
However, the federal lawsuit against them states that they allegedly stormed into the home, peppered sprayed the victim and his mother, and slammed him down to the ground. The victim was said to have cut his forehead while trying to pull away from the officers causing an officer to fall on top of him and leave the laceration. According to the victim’s family of witnesses, he accidentally fell down the stairs during the arrest which is what really lead to the laceration.
While handcuffed and in police custody, it was said that Officer Lillo repeatedly struck the victim in the face with a flashlight causing multiple lacerations and causing the victim to loose several front teeth. What the officers were not privy to was that there was an alleged surveillance camera belonging to a near by business that captured Lillo’s assault and confirming the victim’s testimonial.
After bringing the victim in for medical attention, Lillo allegedly falsified a “Use of Force” report to the Bayonne Police Department regarding the arrest with intentions to impede any further investigation into the case.
The former officer was also involved in filing of a false report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lillo was said to have helped a relative obtain a federally funded home rehabilitation loan for about $20,000 which was intended to be for low to moderate income residents . His wife was also charged for her involvement the loan scam, but is in the process of negotiating a plea deal according to Federal Court documents.
Officer Lillo plead guilty to; deprivation of civil rights, falsifying records to impede a civil rights investigation as well as assisting in the filing of a false report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Lillo was previously involved in a similar police brutality case back in 2011 along with a number of other officers who were accused of conspiracy, deliberate indifference, deprivation of due process, deprivation of property, excessive force, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, and wrongful arrest. The City of Bayonne had to pay $100,000 in order to settle the case according to The Jersey Journal.
Bayonne’s Chief of Police Drew Niekrasz issued his statement regarding the matter ending it by stating. “It is my hope that today’s guilty plea serves to reinforce the Bayonne Police Department’s policy that the application of inappropriate force is never acceptable, and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including criminal prosecution.”