Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino today announced that Vernon Parker, 37, of West Orange has pleaded guilty to official misconduct related to the aggravated assault of a prisoner. In an unrelated case, Parker also admitted to endangering the welfare of a child for physically abusing his teenage stepdaughter.
Appearing before the Honorable Ronald D. Wigler, J.S.C., Parker admitted assaulting Shannon Taylor, a man arrested four years ago on an outstanding municipal warrant.
Taylor was picked up by Newark Police officers on Sept. 19, 2006. Instead of taking Taylor directly to the police station for processing, as is required by police protocol, Taylor was handcuffed and driven around for an hour in an unmarked police vehicle while six other individuals were arrested, according to Assistant Prosecutor John Anderson.
When Taylor was finally taken to 22 Franklin St., Newark Police Headquarters’ Central Processing, he asked to speak to a supervisor because he wanted to complain about his treatment. At that point, Parker pushed Taylor into an old storage area and assaulted him, Anderson said.
Taylor’s right eye orbit bone was fractured. His upper jaw was fractured in several places. Taylor also sustained other injuries to his face. He was rendered unconscious and taken to University Hospital by emergency medical personnel, Anderson said. At least eight people heard the assault.
In exchange for Parker admitted guilt, charges were dismissed against two other Newark Police officers Officer Kyle Bowman and Sgt. Marilouise Bailey. The two were with Parker but did not participate in the assault.
Parker also pled guilty to endangering the welfare of a child for physically assaulting his stepdaughter. In a separate and unrelated incident he admitted to using excessive physical force to discipline the girl.
When sentenced, Parker faces eight years in state prison under the terms of the plea agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22.
Acting Prosecutor Laurino lauded Anderson and Detective Stephen Masi for their outstanding work on the case. Masi had a critical role in the 18-month grand jury investigation.
“Just as we were preparing to select a trial date, Officer Parker decided to admit his guilt. We are pleased with the resolution of this case. We hope it sends a clear message that this office will investigate and prosecute wrongdoing by police officers when appropriate,’’ said Anderson.