PoliceOne Staff Report (NEWARK, N.J.) -- Five police officers were convicted yesterday by a federal jury for the beating death of a man they wrongly thought had killed a fellow officer. The suspect suffered an asthma attack after he was allegedly hit with pepper spray during the attack.
City of Orange Officers Paul Carpinteri Jr., 36, Andrew Garth, 31, and Tyrone Payton, 34, Lt. Thomas Smith, 37, who retired last year, and Smith's brother, Brian Smith, 30, were found guilty of conspiring to violate the civil rights of Earl Faison, an aspiring rap musician. Faison had been arrested on the suspicion that he killed Officer Joyce Carnegie.
Another man, Condell Woodson, later confessed to the murder and is serving a life sentence.
Attorneys representing the officers told the Associated Press that they will appeal the jury's decision. They said that Faison was punched and kicked by the five officers because he was resisting arrest. The arresting officer was not charged. Further, they say, there are no signs that pepper spray was ever used.
The men could face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fines at their April 18 sentencing.
"No question. They murdered a beautiful person," Faison's father, Earl Williams told the AP. "I'm sure they are good men. But they made a mistake and they will have to pay for it."