A trooper with the New Jersey State Police has been charged after he allegedly punched a woman in the face while holding a flashlight in his hand. The victim was handcuffed in the backseat of a police vehicle while she was awaiting a medical evaluation.
Nicolas J. Hogan, 28, of Gibbstown, New Jersey, was charged with one count of aggravated assault causing significant bodily injury (3rd degree) after striking the victim while he and other troopers were waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive to evaluate the victim.
The incident occurred on September 7, 2022, after NJSP troopers responded to a report of a trespasser at an Upper Deerfield Township residence around 1:30 a.m.
On the way to the home, a pair of NJSP troopers encountered and identified the victim as the individual who had been described by the caller, and she appeared to be inebriated, walking in the middle of the road.
After the victim was stopped, troopers determined she needed a medical evaluation, and they called for medical personnel as additional troopers, including Trooper Hogan, arrived.
The victim became increasingly distraught that she was being detained and she began weeping. The victim repeatedly protested her detainment and attempted to walk away, resulting in troopers handcuffing and placing her in one of the troop cars, where she asked multiple times for a tissue but was never given one. The victim was detained but not under arrest. Prior to being placed in the vehicle, the victim was spitting on the ground, apparently because she had been upset and crying, and body-worn camera footage shows fluid and mucus on her face and falling from her mouth.
At one point, while in the back of the police vehicle, the victim spat in the direction of a trooper standing near the open rear passenger door. Trooper Hogan was standing on the other side of the car, outside the rear driver’s side. He opened the door and warned the victim, “If you [expletive] spit on a trooper,” as the victim turned toward him and spat again, this time in his direction. Trooper Hogan then punched the victim in the face while holding a flashlight in his hand. At the time, the victim’s hands were in handcuffs behind her back and she was secured in the vehicle’s backseat.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.