April 07, 2018

South Jersey police officer charged with hitting handcuffed 13-year-old girl

Police Investigations
Stock_Carroll - Police lights Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Lights on a police SUV.

A South Jersey police officer allegedly smacked a teenage girl while she was already handcuffed.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office said Friday that John Flinn, 27, of the Gloucester Township Police Department, faces one count of simple assault for the encounter with the juvenile victim.

According to prosecutors, Flinn, along with other officers, responded to a report of a disturbance on March 8.

The girl complied with police instructions and allowed Flinn to handcuff her when he struck her twice on the side of the face, causing her to cry out in pain, prosecutors said. No charges were filed against her and she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

In a letter to the community on Saturday, Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle said the incident was initially investigated the night it occurred by a supervisor "who immediately recognized ... behavior that was inconsistent with the training and values of the Gloucester Township Police Department."

The supervisor contacted his superiors who initiated a full internal affairs investigation under his authority, Earle said.

Flinn initially was placed on administrative leave while the incident was investigated and then suspended March 15 by Earle, who notified prosecutors about the incident.

The incident was captured on an officer's body camera. The footage, obtained by 6ABC, can be viewed below.