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January 15, 2021

South Jersey cop pleads guilty of assault in pepper spray incident

Ryan Dubiel's conduct last June 'was not consistent' with state's use-of-force policy, prosecutors say

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NJ Cop Pepper Spray Bill Oxford/Unsplash

Ryan Dubiel, a former South Jersey cop, pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault for pepper spraying two people without provocation in June 2020.

A former Woodlynne cop has been barred from serving as a New Jersey police officer for pepper spraying two people without being provoked last June.  

Ryan Dubiel, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said. As part of his plea deal, he forfeited his position with the Woodlynne Police Department and is prohibited from ever holding a public position in New Jersey. 

"With this resolution, there is a guarantee to the public that this individual will not serve in any position of public trust in Camden County or anywhere else in the state," acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer said. "We hope this serves as a reminder that no one is above the law and we take all accusations and abuse of power seriously."

Dubiel, of Wenonah, Gloucester County, also is forbidden from having contact with the victims and must serve one year of probation.

Prosecutors said Dubiel's conduct on June 4 "was not consistent" with the state's use-of-force policy. 

Body camera videos showed Dubiel speaking with a small group of people outside a Woodlynne home before deploying OC spray on a man and teenager. Prosecutors previously said the victims were not resisting arrest or attempting to harm anyone when Dubiel pepper sprayed them. 

Video footage of the incident widely circulated online amid the protests that followed the George Floyd killing. People across the country were reckoning with racial injustice and police violence. 

Dubiel, who previously had worked for eight other police departments, was suspended without pay. He was charged June 10 with two counts of simple assault. 

The charges were made in consultation with New Jersey Attorney General Gubir Grewal, who called Dubiel's actions "appalling" and began a push for new use-of-force policies.

Those policies were implemented in December alongside a new database that lists police officers who have been disciplined. Grewal told ABC that the database was created so "we could hold officers accountable, accountable if they ran afoul of our rules."

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