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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. "This interaction between police and the citizen was escalated by the police officer's behavior," Adams said. 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. "We depend on the truthfulness of our police," Adams said. "Their credibility is of the utmost importance. The integrity of the criminal justice system is in jeopardy when a police officer fabricates information." 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.
Santiago-DeJesus, who joined the Reading police force on July 23, 2012, made news last summer after another traffic stop in Reading led to a low-speed pursuit and his shooting of two teenagers on a dead-end street in neighboring Lower Alsace Township. An investigation by the district attorney's office revealed that the officer was justified in the shooting. He was also cleared by the department to return to the force after it was determined that Santiago-DeJesus' actions were within RPD policy. Officials did not identify the original reason for Santiago-DeJesus attempting to stop the teens' car. One of the teens, Rahean Kelley, has since filed a federal lawsuit against Santiago-DeJesus and the Reading Police Department, claiming that he was shot four times for no reason and that the officer used excessive and unnecessary force against him. The most recent investigation of Santiago-DeJesus was launched after a member of the police department's command staff contacted the district attorney's office on April 7 relative to possible wrongdoing within RPD's patrol ranks.
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originally posted by: misterhistory
a reply to: butcherguy
My city is once again in the national spotlight for bad reasons. Apparently a coworker of mine knows this officer, he is apparently always a jerk.