Paterson mayor moves to fire cop charged in unprovoked attack on black man

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The mayor of Paterson, New Jersey — Andre Sayegh — moved to fire a cop on Wednesday after he was caught on camera delivering an unprovoked beating to a resident during a domestic dispute.

The move came after a coalition of community organizations — including Paterson Black Lives Matter — demanded Officer Spencer Finch be kicked off the force, according to The Paterson Press.

Police body camera footage of the May 26 incident released by the mayor’s office showed Finch, who is white, attacking an unidentified unarmed black man who was talking on the phone in the hallway of a residential building.

“This is the third time my kids have been taken away from me,” the man said before Finch hit him in the head, roughed him up and cuffed him, as residents of the building were heard pleading with the officer to stop.

While the man sat on the floor with his hands restrained behind his back, Finch forcefully kneed him in the face, video released by the mayor’s office and published by the outlet showed.

Finch, 44, of Mahwah, was suspended and charged with official misconduct, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and tampering with public records or information in connection, the paper said.

It’s unclear if Sayegh will have to wait to see if Finch is convicted before he can be fired, as has traditionally been the case in the city, according to the report.

“It was deplorable what I witnessed,” Sayegh said at a press conference Monday, WPIX reported. ”And intolerable, that’s why we reached this point.”

Hours before the announcement, the coalition of community groups reportedly released a statement calling for Finch’s ouster.

“Community leaders and residents of Black and Brown communities have not only had to deal with trauma that comes with experiencing and witnessing police violence, they also have to constantly deal with the trauma of witnessing those that do harm not being held accountable,” the 40 organizations said, according to The Paterson Times.

Finch’s lawyer, Anthony J. Iacullo, reportedly accused the mayor of bowing to political pressure to violate the cop’s contract.

“This mayor’s conduct should concern all people as a human being is being deprived of his livelihood prior to a hearing or trial in a court of law,” Iacullo said, according to published reports.

Aymen Aboushi, the city’s top lawyer, told WPIX the move to terminate Finch — who has been reportedly accused of excessive force four previous times — is legally sound.

“The officer will be afforded all the due process necessary to him under the law as any individual, and I firmly believe that we will be victorious at the end of this process,” Aboushi said.

Local activists told the station that Finch’s alleged misbehavior is just the tip of the iceberg.

“There are other officers on this Paterson Police Department who have excessive force complaints against them, who have lawsuits against them, and we keep them on the force,” Zellie Thomas of the Black Lives Matter Paterson chapter reportedly said. “That’s a problem.”

Finch — a 17 year veteran — is the 11th Paterson cop to face criminal charges over the past three years, the Times said.

Finch reportedly has five days to contest his termination.

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