Feds: Bayonne cop filed false police report to cover up excessive force incident

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A Bayonne cop has been charged with filing a false police report to cover up a 2013 excessive force incident where a suspect was beaten with a flashlight, Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick announced. Bayonne police

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Francis Styles, 36, of Bayonne, was indicted on one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation and one count of misprision of a felony.

The second charge pertains to his role in attempting to conceal actions taken by former Bayonne police officer Domenico Lillo during an arrest in which Styles, Lillo and others participated.

In the late afternoon of December 27, 2013, Styles, Lillo and an unnamed Bayonne police officer went to an address in Bayonne to execute a Sussex County arrest warrant.

After the individual was handcuffed and no longer physically resisting arrest, Lillo struck the individual with a flashlight, which resulted in a large cut on his forehead that required 15 stitches, according to the indictment.

However, the incident report filed by Styles omitted that Lillo struck the individual in the face with the flashlight, falsely asserted that the individual continued to violently struggle as he was being led to the patrol vehicle and also falsely asserted that the individual sustained injuries as a result of hitting the wall and the ground.

The indictment says that four surveillance cameras attached to a bar located near the corner of Avenue C and 53rd Street recorded the incident from various angles and proved Styles account of the incident to be false.

The charge of falsifying records carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, while the charge of misprision of felony carries a potential penalty of three years in prison.

In September 2015, Lillo pleaded guilty to using excessive force, deprivation of civil rights under color of law, falsifying records to impede a civil rights investigation and assisting in filing a false report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As of this writing, Lillo has still not been sentenced.