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New Jersey police officer charged with assault after allegedly deploying pepper spray ‘without provocation’

Andrew Cuomo

A New Jersey police officer was charged with two counts of assault on Wednesday after allegedly deploying pepper spray on two people “without provocation,” the Camden County Prosecutor’s office said in a press release.

Ryan Dubiel, 31, a police officer with Woodlynne Police Department, was charged with two counts of simple assault, prosecutors announced.

Dubiel and another officer were dispatched on a call in the afternoon of June 4 for a complaint of possible trespassing and loitering, according to a recording of a 911 call released by prosecutors.

Body camera footage was also released by prosecutors and shows Dubiel talking with several young men sitting on a front porch. An officer is heard on the video telling the young men they are responding to a call for trespassing. Officers are seen on video asking the people on the porch for their names and other identifying information, but many refuse. One of the young men goes to call his brother and Dubiel tells him to put his phone down. When the young man continues to call, Dubiel is seen proceeding to pepper spray multiple people.

In addition to the charges, Dubiel has been suspended from the department without pay. Dubiel has been with the Woodlynne Police Department for 10 months and this is the ninth police department where he has served, prosecutors said in a press release.

It was not immediately clear if Dubiel retained an attorney. CNN has attempted to reach Dubiel for comment.

“Our Special Prosecutions Unit received the Internal Affairs complaint against Dubiel on June 5 and immediately began collecting all of the evidence to conduct a thorough and impartial review of the complaint,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “After careful review, it was clear Dubiel’s actions are not consistent with the State of New Jersey use-of-force policy.”

According to the prosecutor’s office, current use-of-force policy allows a police officer to use force “when a subject refuses to comply with an officer’s commands at the time of arrest, or when the subject threatens the officer’s safety.”

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said this is an example of why there needs to be a statewide licensing program for police officers, and that will be proposed later this month to the Police Training Commission.

“Just as we license doctors, nurses, and lawyers, we must ensure that all officers meet baseline standards of professionalism, and that officers who fail to meet those standards cannot be passed from one police department to another while posing a threat to the public and other officers,” Grewal said in a press release.

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