UPDATE: Upon investigating this officer I was able to find a case from February 2016 where he claims to be the sole witness against a man named Ismael Sanchez accused of drug sales. I would suggest if anyone knows him or anyone else in the area that has been victimized by Officer Santiago-DeJesus that they contact a lawyer and reach out to us via The contact tab.
Reading PA: A police officer is suspended pending an investigation of an incident where he is accused of not only falsely arresting a couple but also attempting to destroy the cell phone of the woman passenger, who was recording the entire encounter.
WFMZ News originally reported:
A Reading police officer has found himself on the other side of the law. Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced criminal charges Wednesday against Ofc. Jesus Santiago-DeJesus. The charges stem from a traffic stop and a pair of arrests by the nearly four-year veteran of the force on April 5.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m. that day, Santiago-DeJesus stopped a car for an alleged traffic violation in the 800 block of Greenwich Street, according to Adams, who detailed the events that followed: Santiago-DeJesus detained the driver, Marcelina Cintron-Garcia, and the passenger, Joel Rodriguez, outside the car, and both of the vehicle's occupants proceeded to record video of the officer with their cell phones.
Santiago-DeJesus then called for backup as he ordered Rodriguez to sit down and hand him his phone. Rodriguez complied. A verbal disagreement over the traffic stop became argumentative, and after several verbal warnings from Santiago-DeJesus, he ordered Cintron-Garcia and Rodriguez to sit on the front steps of a nearby row home. Moments later, two other officers arrived, and Cintron-Garcia continued to record video as she sat on the steps. Santiago-DeJesus then ordered the driver to hand over her phone, and she refused. Rodriguez, the passenger, then shifted his body toward the officer and Cintron-Garcia, preventing the officer from obtaining the driver's phone. Santiago-DeJesus then directed the backup officers to "get him out of here," referring to Rodriguez. The backup officers then pulled Rodriguez off the steps and onto the sidewalk, where they handcuffed him. Sanatiago-DeJesus then "forcibly wrestled" the phone from Cintron-Garcia's hand and slammed it to the sidewalk, damaging the phone "in an attempt to destroy potential evidence."
Cintron-Garcia was subsequently arrested and transported to Reading Hospital for treatment of injuries she suffered during the arrest. She told 69 News on Wednesday that she hit her head on a pipe. Based on the investigation, which included interviews and a review of surveillance video, detectives with the DA's office said they determined that: Santiago-DeJesus falsely implicated Cintron-Garcia for not using a proper right turn signal when pulling into a parking space on Greenwich Street, when surveillance video indicated that she had. Santiago-DeJesus attempted to damage and destroy potential audio and video evidence by slamming Contron-Garcia's cell phone on the sidewalk. Santiago-DeJesus's actions, which included the arrest, detention, seizure, mistreatment and infringement/damage to personal property, are in violation of official oppression.
Santiago-DeJesus, 27, is facing charges of official oppression, criminal attempt tampering with/fabricate physical evidence, false reports to law enforcement authorities and unsworn falsification to authorities and criminal mischief. He is expected to surrender to authorities on Thursday. The driver, Cintron-Garcia, 30, was jailed for three days on charges of aggravated and simple assault, harassment, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and other offenses. The passenger, Rodriguez, 24, was charged with disorderly conducted and resisting arrest, but he remained free on unsecured bail.
All charges against Cintron-Garcia and Rodriguez have been withdrawn by the DA's office, Adams said.
Officer Santiago-DeJesus is no stranger to the lime-light. He was the trigger-man behind a questionable killing of two teens in Reading last summer. (Authors note: My mistake it turns out the teens survived the brutal shooting in their backs) He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case but there's a pending wrongful death lawsuit on the books.
One has to question that, with two bodies and two verified lawsuits against him, what is this guy doing with a badge? I, for one, am quite sick of hearing of cases of badge abuse by known abusers. I think it's time we hold the officers that are in charge responsible for putting these dangerous criminals back on the streets.
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