A South Jersey senior correctional police officer was charged Wednesday with official misconduct and tampering with public records after he allegedly struck an inmate twice in the head, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced.
Jason Parks, 40, of Gibbstown, Gloucester County, has been suspended since the Feb. 19 incident at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown, Burlington County, the AG’s Office said in a statement.
Parks is accused of striking the inmate, whose arms were cuffed behind him and who had been restrained by two other officers, prosecutors said. The inmate’s age was not released.
The force of the blows knocked the inmate’s head against a wall, prosecutors said, adding that the use of force under such circumstances was not authorized by the state Department of Corrections.
After the alleged assault, Parks filed a false report in which he claimed that the inmate cursed at him and threatened to spit in his face, prosecutors said. In his report, Parks stated that he struck the inmate in the mouth with an open hand to prevent him from spitting, they said.
Surveillance video from the facility and witness statements contradict Parks’ claims, the AG’s Office said. Parks also allegedly directed another correctional officer to falsify his report, the office said.
Parks’ attorney did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
If convicted of the second-degree official-misconduct charge, Parks faces a mandatory sentence of five years in prison with no parole and a maximum of 10 years. The tampering charge, a third-degree offense, carries a sentence of three to five years in prison.