The Philadelphia Inquirer
A 31-year-old Woodlynne Borough police officer has been charged with assault for using pepper spray on two people without provocation last week, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday.
Ryan Dubiel of Wenonah was charged with two counts of simple assault in the June 4 incident. The Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that video recorded of the afternoon incident shows “that at the time of the OC spray deployment, the individuals were not observed physically resisting or attempting to harm others or themselves.” OC stands for oleoresin capsicum, oil found in a pepper.
Dubiel, who has worked for the Woodlynne Police Department for 10 months, was suspended without pay.
“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 in a statement. “After careful review, it was clear Dubiel’s actions are not consistent with the State of New Jersey use-of-force policy.”
The Prosecutor’s Office noted that this is the ninth police department in which Dubiel has served.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a statement: “This officer, who has worked for nine different police departments, is a strong example of why we need a statewide licensing program for police officers — a proposal that I initiated and that I will strongly support when it is presented 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.”
The Camden County Police Department issued a statement last Friday saying it had responded to a request from the Woodlynne department for assistance with a large fight about 4 p.m. last Thursday.
“Our units arrived after an individual was already pepper sprayed and taken into custody,” the statement said. “One of our sergeants stood by with the individual as he was being treated by EMS personnel. Our officers left the scene after less than 10 minutes without any interaction with Woodlynne residents. Camden County Police officers were NOT involved in the arrest of any individuals and did not utilize force.”
Ed Figueroa, director of public safety in Woodlynne, a town of 2,900 residents, said that the incident occurred in the 200 block of Parker Avenue, and that numerous videos of it were forwarded to its police department and posted on social media. It prompted the borough to “immediately refer” it to the Prosecutor’s Office for review, following internal protocols and guidelines.
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