Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that an 11-year veteran of the Newark Police Department was convicted by an Essex County jury of 3rd degree aggravated assault, 2nd degree official misconduct and simple assault for striking a Newark man in the face with his police issued weapon.
Following a week-long trial before the Honorable Peter V. Ryan, J.S.C., Newark police officer Hugo Fierro, 46, of Newark, was found guilty after two days of deliberations. The jury began deliberating yesterday at approximate 1:20 and returned a verdict today.
On May 8, 2011, the victim, a 44-year-old married father of three, was in front of Tony’s Marisqueira Bar and Restaurant on Bloomfield Avenue in Newark , when he was confronted by the off-duty police officer. Without provocation, the officer struck the victim in the face with his service weapon.
The victim ran from the officer but reported the incident to police. At the time, the victim did not know his attacker was a police officer.
Surveillance video taken from the restaurant shows the officer striking the victim. The officers wife is also shown on the video.
In May of 2012, the officer was indicted by an Essex County grand jury. Today a petit jury convicted Fierro.
“When you are given the honor and the privilege of being a police officer, you are given a sacred trust. On May 8, 2011 Officer Fierro betrayed that trust. And, today a jury of 12 citizens from Essex County sent a very clear message that they would not tolerate such a blatant violation of the law by someone who has sworn to uphold the law, ’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Sahil Kabse. “It is a sad day when anyone in law enforcement is convicted of a crime but we are pleased with the outcome of the case.’’
Acting Prosecutor Murray lauded Assistant Prosecutor Kabse, Lt. Steven Roberts and Det. Elizabeth Cassidy for their outstanding work on this case.
Fierro, who complained of chest pains after the verdict, was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody. He is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility.
He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ryan on March 25. When he is sentenced, Fierro faces a minimum of five years in New Jersey State Prison and could get up to 10 years.