An FBI investigation into several police officers in Paterson, New Jersey, has led to a seventh one being charged.
On Tuesday, Frank Toledo pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark to conspiracy to violate people’s civil rights, using excessive force, and filing a false police report, the Paterson Times reported.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying and prosecuting corrupt police officers who violate the civil rights of our people,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito told the publication. “We will continue to aggressively pursue these cases, and we are grateful to our counterparts at the FBI, the Paterson Police Department and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, for their dedicated assistance on this investigation.”
On the false police report charge, Toledo, 30, would work with fellow officers Matthew Torres, Eudy Ramos, Daniel Pent and Jonathan Bustios — who have also been charged in the probe along with two other officers not involved with Toledo — to stop and search vehicles without justification. The officers would loot the vehicles of valuables and cash, splitting it among themselves. And stealing money wasn’t just reserved for traffic stops. The newspaper also reported they’d stop and frisk people on the street and steal their money.
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To conceal the cash they took during stops, Toledo and his comrades would file false police reports. One example of that came on Dec. 2, 2017. Then, Toledo and Ramos stopped and arrested a person in Paterson and kept $1,000 in cash for themselves. In the false arrest affidavit, the officers did not include the money they took from the detainee.
Such activities were communicated through text messages using “mango” as a code word for cash.
“Yo what the f— are you doing? I’m tryin’ to go mango hunting. Let’s goooo!” Bustios texted Toledo on Nov. 6, 2017.
There were also apparent admissions of using excessive force on residents, which resulted in three charges.
In one case, Toledo texted Bustios about chasing down an arrested juvenile. He also shoved the juvenile to the ground and punched him several times.
“I’ve been borderline blacking out when I catch these n—ers,” Toledo told Bustios as he recalled the chase and beatdown. “I beat that n—-er like he owed me money.”
He added to Bustios that when he unleashed on the juvenile he “was no longer a cop.”
Another incident saw Toledo and Ramos chasing and tackling a resident and hitting the person multiple times in an incident that was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube. The individual was later released without charges.
A third use of force incident came when Toledo and Torres arrested someone, handcuffed the person behind his back, and placed them in the backseat of their squad car. Driving the detainee, Toledo pressed the brake pedal into the floor, which slammed the person’s head and body against the car’s divider. Toledo captured the moment on his phone and sent it around.
“The public should take notice that the officers we have lost with recent prosecutions are officers who are not worthy of carrying the shield for this Police Department. I will continue to work tirelessly to see that every officer working for this Department demonstrates respect for the members of this community,” Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald said in a public statement.
For Toledo’s alleged crimes, he faces up to 40 years in prison. Toledo, who admitted to investigators that he gave false statements, is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 22, 2019.