Newark, NJ – A former Paterson police officer has been sentenced to over five years in federal prison for dealing drugs and viciously beating a suicidal man lying in a hospital bed (videos below).
Paterson Police Officer Ruben McAusland, 27, pleaded guilty to allegations that he stole heroin, marijuana, and powder and crack cocaine from a crime scene, then sold the drugs to an informant, The Star-Ledger reported.
He later sold pills made of heroin and two pounds of marijuana to the same informant, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
During the FBI’s investigation into the officer’s on-duty drug deals, agents delved into the contents of the cell phone they seized from him, the Bergen Record reported.
That’s when they discovered another crime – a video that showed the uniformed officer brutally beating Andrew Casciano at St. Joseph’s Regional Hospital on March 18, 2018, according to the Bergen Record.
Officer McAsuland’s partner, Officer Roger Then, recorded the attack with a cell phone, The Star-Ledger reported.
According to Carpenito, Officer McAusland first met Casciano in the hospital’s waiting room.
During that encounter, the officer shoved Casciano – who was in a wheelchair and had just attempted suicide – and punched him in the face, the prosecutor said.
Later, inside Casciano’s hospital room, Officer McAusland snapped on a pair of latex gloves and struck the suicidal man twice across his face.
Blood sprayed across the room with each blow, the video showed.
The attacks left Casciano with a broken eye socket, the Bergen Record reported.
“Prior to that video being discovered, we did not know about that assault,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal said during the disgraced former officer’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday morning.
Officer Then is currently awaiting sentencing for filming the attack and falsifying police reports in an attempt to cover up what had occurred, The Star-Ledger reported.
When FBI agents confronted Officer McAusland with evidence of his drug-dealing, he agreed to wear a wire to help investigators catch his suppliers, according to the Bergen Record.
But he refused to give agents any information about other Paterson officers they were investigating.
During his sentencing hearing, McAusland said he joined the Paterson Police Department when he was 21 years old, and that he was afraid that his peers would think he “forgot where [he] came from” once he became a cop.
“So, I kept my friends,” he said.
He claimed that stealing and distributing drugs was one of his friends’ suggestions.
“I just saw it as a shortcut,” McAusland told the court. “It started off as something really small and it snowballed into something else.”
He sold thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs in 2017 and 2018 – deals he often made while on duty in his patrol vehicle.
With regards to the assault on Casciano, McAusland said he lost his temper after the suicidal man allegedly hurled a box of latex gloves at him.
“He didn’t deserve that,” the former officer said. “Nobody deserves that from a police officer.”
Casciano has a $4 million lawsuit pending against the city due to the assault.
U.S. District Judge William Walls referred to McAusland as a “street hustler,” during the hearing, and ultimately sentenced him to 66 months in prison.
He will serve three years of supervised release after his prison sentence, The Star-Ledger reported.
McAusland was also ordered to forfeit $13,650 he made selling the drugs, and must pay $32,892 in restitution for the injuries he caused to Casciano, according to the Bergen Record.
“Through prosecutions like this one, police officers like McAusland – who dealt drugs, stole from a crime scene, and viciously attacked a person who sought help from the Paterson Police Department – are removed from positions where they can violate the public trust and deprive others of their civil rights under color of law,” Carpenito said in the statement to The Star-Ledger.
McAusland is scheduled to begin serving his federal prison sentence on May 20, the Bergen Record reported.
You can watch footage of the beating below. WARNING- Graphic Content: