Suspended NJ cop: I was stopping 'excessive force'
A Bogota officer pulled two Ridgefield cops off an emotionally disturbed man they were trying to subdue
By PoliceOne Staff
A Ridgefield Park police officer said a Bogota officer under disciplinary review interfered with his attempts to detain an emotionally disturbed man.
Dash cam video from the cruisers of Regina Tasca — who says she was preventing “excessive use of force” — and Ridgefield Sgt. Chris Thibault have been in review since last Tuesday, and two conflicting accounts of what happened emerged Wednesday.
In April 2011, the parents of Kyle Sharp, 22, called authorities and requested assistance transporting their son to a medical center for treatment, according to NJ.com.
Thibault pulled up in his patrol to a rapidly-escalating confrontation that by his account was a clear involuntary transport, so he tackled Sharp to prevent further problems.
"He was walking away from the scene and it was unknown to me what was going to happen," Thibault said. "The situation needed to end then and there."
Meanwhile, Ridgefield Park police Sgt. Joseph Rella arrived, descended on the struggle and struck Sharp in the head, at which point onlookers began to scream. Tasca yelled at the officers to stop and tried pull them off Sharp, who she said posed no danger as he began to move away from police.
The Ridgefield officers deny their use of force was excessive, and Thibault described Rella’s punch as a "short, quick strike."
Tasca faces termination based on her behavior during the encounter and one other earlier incident — and a psychological evaluation that found her unfit for duty — but alleges she's being discriminated against for her sexual orientation and gender.
Tasca remains on paid leave until the outcome of the hearings, which have been delayed until next month due to scheduling conflicts from the involved parties.