NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury indicted a City of Paterson, New Jersey, police officer for conspiring to violate individuals’ civil rights by stopping and searching people in their vehicles and on the street and stealing their cash, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Eudy Ramos, 28, of Paterson, was charged in a nine-count indictment with conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of individuals in Paterson, and with filing multiple false reports to conceal his criminal conduct. Ramos was previously charged by criminal complaint in April 2018. He will be arraigned in federal court on a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in this and a related case and statements made in court:
Eudy Ramos, Jonathan Bustios, and Matthew Torres were police officers with the Paterson Police Department (PPD). From at least 2016 to April 2018, they and other police officers, identified in the indictment as PPD Officer 1 and PPD Officer 2, allegedly targeted, stopped, and searched vehicles and the occupants of those vehicles and illegally seized cash from them. They also illegally stopped and searched individuals in buildings or on the streets of Paterson and seized their cash. They split the cash among themselves and submitted false reports to the PPD, omitting their illegal conduct or lying about it.
Among the methods employed to carry out the conspiracy, Ramos and the other officers used text messages to communicate about their criminal conduct. For instance, on Feb. 24, 2018 Ramos sent a text message to Bustios and Torres asking if they were in the mood for “weekend mangoes,” using the code word “mango” to refer to the illegal seizure of cash. On Feb. 25, 2018, Ramos sent a text message to Bustios, telling Bustios that Ramos was “tryna get someone in a car,” referring to Ramos’ plan to illegally steal cash from the occupants of vehicles in Paterson. On Dec. 7, 2017, Bustios sent a text message to Ramos, “83 auburn back door is open,” and Ramos responded, “On my way.” The address 83 Auburn Street was one of several locations that Ramos and others targeted for illegal cash seizures.
Some instances of Ramos’ and his conspirators illegal conduct include:
On Feb.1, 2017, Ramos and another PPD officer stopped and searched a vehicle, detained and handcuffed the occupants, and stole approximately $10,000 from one of the passengers. Ramos and his conspirator split the money between themselves and omitted any mention of the $10,000 in the PPD incident report and prisoner property report.
On Dec. 1, 2017, Ramos and Bustios stopped and searched an individual on a street corner in Paterson and stole approximately $1,000 from the individual. After the theft, a video of a portion of the encounter was posted to Twitter.
On Dec. 7, 2017, Torres and Ramos conducted a vehicle stop in Paterson. Torres and Ramos searched the vehicle, the driver, and the passenger, who had $3,100 and marijuana. Ramos told the passenger that instead of charging the passenger with distribution of marijuana they could take $500 from the passenger and have the passenger sign a piece of paper. Ramos then purportedly placed a call to his superior and told the passenger that the superior officer said it had to be $800. Ramos took out a piece of paper, wrote on it, and told the passenger to sign it. The passenger did not know what was written on the paper. Afterwards, Torres and Ramos released the driver and passenger. Torres and Ramos shared the stolen cash proceeds. Ramos and Torres did not report the stop and search of the vehicle and its occupants, or the cash seizure, to the Paterson Police Department.
The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and the substantive Counts 2 to 6 each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison. The false records counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The maximum fine for the felony counts is $250,000, and the maximum fine for the misdemeanor Counts 2 to 6 is $100,000.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment. He also thanked the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Troy Oswald, and the Paterson Police Department Office of Internal Affairs, for their assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
Defense counsel: Miles Feinstein Esq., Clifton, New Jersey