PATERSON — Two sergeants and an officer at Passaic County Jail retaliated against a pretrial detainee for splashing urine on one of them and then lied to investigators, according to federal prosecutors.

The three Passaic County sheriff's officers were arrested on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, 45, and Sgt. Donald Vinales, 38, took the inmate to an area of the jail where there was a video surveillance "blind spot" and then beat him while he was handcuffed, on Jan. 23, 2021 according to officials.

Officer Lorenzo Bowden, 39, was accused of helping to move the inmate to where he was beaten. Bowden watched the beating and did nothing to stop it, according to a criminal complaint.

Passaic County Jail entrance (Google Maps)
Passaic County Jail entrance (Google Maps)

The inmate was taken to the hospital the next day, officials said.

All three officers have been suspended without pay, Passaic County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Bill Maer said.

“The Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance for any violations of the law from members of the organization. These are truly disturbing allegations and we are pleased was fully investigated. From the very start of this matter, the Sheriff’s Office assisted the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI as needed," Maer said.

Correctional officers accused of cover-up

After the beating, the three correctional officers agreed to not cooperate with federal investigators about the assault, prosecutors said.

When he was interviewed by investigators, Bowden denied that the beating took place, authorities said.

Each officer is charged with one count of deprivation of rights and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Bowden is also charged with making false statements.

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