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FBI Charges New Jersey Police Officer Who Allegedly Beat a Man with a Flashlight

Bayonne Police Officer Domenico Lillo was arrested on Friday and charged with violating civil liberties and falsifying a use of force report in connection with a 2013 incident.
Photo via Flickr

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Federal authorities charged a New Jersey police officer on Friday with multiple counts, including a civil rights violation for use of excessive force, for allegedly beating a man with a flashlight during a 2013 arrest at the center of federal lawsuit.

FBI agents arrested Bayonne Police Officer Domenico Lillo more than a year after the 44-year-old allegedly struck Brandon Walsh repeatedly in the face with a flashlight, according to a report from the Jersey Journal. Lillo is charged with falsifying records and violating Walsh's civil rights, counts that respectively carry 20-year and 10-year maximum prison sentences. The officer was suspended without pay once city officials were notified of the charges.

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Lillo and other officers were executing a warrant for Walsh's arrest in December 2013. In their arrest report, they described Walsh putting up a struggle and striking one of the officers. A lawsuit Walsh filed against the department claims that he was handcuffed while Lillo beat him, and that the other officers did not stop the assault.

According to an indictment filed by federal authorities, Lillo "knowingly concealed, covered up, falsified, and made false entries on a Bayonne Police Department Use of Force Report about the arrest… by not checking the box marked 'Strike/Use of Baton or other object.' "

Lillo was arraigned in a Newark federal court after his arrest on Friday. He was released on a $100,000 bond. A city spokesperson said the mayor's office would fully cooperate with the FBI investigation.

This isn't Lillo's first involvement in a case of excessive force. In 2011, the Jersey Journal reported that he was listed with four other city officers in a lawsuit that Bayonne settled with two men who alleged that the officers had assaulted them outside of a bar in Bayonne.

Photo via Flickr