By John Burton
FREEHOLD – Former Little Silver police officer Steven Solari was sentence to five years behind bars for his 2009 assault on a handcuffed prisoner while in police custody and attempts to cover up the offense.
Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia on Thursday sentenced Solari, 40, to the five-year prison term with five years of parole ineligibility, loss of his job and pension. He also was permanently prohibited from future public employment, according to Charles Webster, public information officer for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Solari, a 15-year department veteran, was convicted of four counts of second-degree official misconduct, third-degree hindering apprehension of oneself and assault in connection with an assault that occurred at the borough police department.
Solari was asked on Dec. 20, 2009 to perform a welfare check on an adult male at a private residence at the request of the man’s mother, who was concerned because the man had been drinking. Solari then placed the man into custody. During the course of the arrest, the man suffered a head injury with considerable bleeding and eye irritation after Solari used pepper spray on him, evidence in court proceedings indicated.
Though an ambulance was on the scene to take the man to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, but, in what Webster said was a violation of department procedure, Solari took the victim to police headquarters for processing.
The man was uncooperative while Solari attempted to photograph him for booking. Solari punched the handcuffed man a number of times in the head, knocking him into a metal filing cabinet, where the victim struck his head, according to authorities.
Solari then filed an official report on the incident, which authorities said, contained a number of false statements in an attempt to conceal his offenses. Solari also approached one of the first responders who was at the scene of the arrest on three separate occasions, hoping to get him to corroborate Solari’s version of the events.
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