N.J. Police Guilty in Fatal Beating
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A federal jury convicted five policemen of civil rights violations Tuesday in the beating of a man they wrongly arrested on suspicion of murdering a fellow officer. The victim died in police custody after suffering an asthma attack.
The officers from the city of Orange were found guilty of punching and kicking Earl Faison while he was handcuffed.
They were not charged in Faison’s death. Medical experts said his death was due to the asthma attack. Prosecutors contended the attack was worsened by pepper spray shot in his face.
Faison, 27, was arrested in 1999, three days after the murder of policewoman Joyce Carnegie. He was among four black men detained in the days after Carnegie was killed. The last of the four, Condell Woodson, confessed to the crime and is serving a life sentence.
Defense attorneys said they will appeal. They said the attack was brought on by Faison’s struggle with the arresting officer, who was not charged. They also said there is no physical evidence Faison was hit with pepper spray.
The officers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing April 18.
They are Lt. Thomas Smith, 37, who retired last year; his brother, Brian Smith, 30, and fellow officers Paul Carpinteri Jr., 36, Andrew Garth, 31, and Tyrone Payton, 34. The active officers are on suspension.
Faison’s father, Earl Williams, and Faison’s fiancee, Mikki J. Wilkins, insisted the officers still should be tried for murder.
``No question. They murdered a beautiful person,″ Williams said. ``I’m sure they are good men. But they made a mistake and they will have to pay for it.″
On the Net:
U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark: http://www.njusao.org/break.html