Five N.J. Policemen Found Guilty
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ The conviction on civil rights counts of five policemen accused of beating a black man they suspected of murdering a fellow officer has prompted renewed calls for homicide charges.
The Orange, N.J., officers were found guilty of civil rights violations Tuesday by a federal jury after a six-week trial. They have not been charged with killing Earl Faison, who died in police custody of an asthma attack less than an hour after being arrested on April 11, 1999.
His father, Earl Williams, and fiancee, Mikki J. Wilkins, applauded the verdict and maintained the officers should face murder charges.
``They murdered a beautiful person,″ Williams said outside the courtroom. ``I’m sure they are good men. But they made a mistake and they will have to pay for it.
Prosecutors said the asthma attack was exacerbated by pepper spray shot into Faison’s face.
Defense lawyers promised an appeal. They said the attack followed Faison’s violent struggle with the arresting officer, who was not charged. They also say there is no physical evidence pepper spray was used.
The state attorney general’s office concluded there was insufficient evidence of homicide, and spokesman Chuck Davis said the office has no plans to reopen the investigation.
Faison, 27, was arrested three days after the killing of policewoman Joyce Carnegie. He was among four black men detained in the days after the black police woman was slain. The last of the four, Condell Woodson, confessed and is serving a life sentence.
The officers are Lt. Thomas Smith, 37, who retired last year; his brother, Brian Smith, 30; and Paul Carpinteri Jr., 36, Andrew Garth, 31, and Tyrone Payton, 34. Payton is black. The active officers are on suspension.
The officers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing April 18.
On the Net:
U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark: http://www.njusao.org/break.html