On Friday a Bayonne police officer was arrested by federal agents on civil rights charges for allegedly beating a suspect with a flashlight in 2013, leaving the man permanently disfigured.
Mayor Jimmy Davis — a former police officer — said Officer Domenico Lillo, 44 was immediately suspended without pay after being charged for abusing the civil right of Brandon Walsh in 2013, while Lillo and other officers were executing a warrant.
“When you’re going to do something like that, this is what gives all police officers a black eye,” said Mayor Davis, chastising Lillo’s alleged conduct.
In a lawsuit previously filed against Lillo and the Bayonne Police Department, Walsh alleges that officer Lillo repeatedly struck him in the face with a flashlight while he was handcuffed, leading to permanent disfigurement. He also claims other officers at the scene watched the incident without coming to his assistance.
Federal authorities believe Lillo also attempted to stage a cover up, and have charged him with falsifying a police department Use of Force Report on the arrest with the intent of impeding the investigation into the case.
The indictment states, 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.”
Walsh’s attorney Joel Silberman has thanked all the agencies working on the case for stepping up on behalf of his client.
“Officer Lillo’s assault of Mr. Walsh can only be categorized as vicious and cowardly,” Silberman said. “His arrest sends a clear message that this type of abuse will not be tolerated.”
Lillo faces 10 years in prison for the excessive force charge and a maximum of 20 years for falsifying records if convicted.