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Monmouth Police Officer Sentenced to 5 Years For Punching Handcuffed Man

Steven Solari was a 15-year veteran of the Little Silver Police Department.

A former Little Silver police officer was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday for punching a handcuffed man in the head and lying about it.

Steven Solari, 40, of Little Silver was convicted of official misconduct in October 2013 and stripped of his job and pension with Thursday's sentencing. He was a 15-year veteran of the police department.

Solari performed a welfare check on a man at a private residence in Little Silver on December 20, 2009 at the request of the individual’s mother, but the event ended with Solari arresting the man and placing him in handcuffs, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office. During the course of the arrest, the man suffered a head injury, severe bleeding, and eye irritation after being sprayed by Solari with pepper spray.

An ambulance on scene was ready to transport the victim to a nearby hospital, but Solari transported him to police headquarters for processing, according to the release. During processing, Solari attempted to take booking photographs but the man did not cooperate during the taking of a side-profile photograph. Solari responded by punching the handcuffed victim multiple times in the head, and knocking him into a metal filing cabinet where the victim struck his head, the release said. The injured man was eventually transported to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, where he was treated and released the following day.

Within days of the incident, Solari submitted a police report that contained numerous false statements, including a claim the man lunged at one of the first aid responders who was in the room at the time of the assault. However, both first aid responders and the victim testified there was no "lunge," but rather that Solari assaulted the victim because he would not pose for the booking photograph, according to the press release.

Solari also approached one of the first aid responders on three separate occasions - twice while in police uniform - instructing the witness to tell anyone asking about the incident to "just remember he lunged."

The charges resulted from an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Little Silver Police Department.
Deanne March 08, 2014 at 09:41 AM
I applaud the LSPD for uncovering the truth and for those involved not to allow for a coverup. It's scary how abuse of power exists.
George Murphy March 08, 2014 at 02:20 PM
I am also pleased that this case was cut and dry. The problem is usually the "lingering" of these situations, which is a cost to the taxpayer, in addition to delayed time reducing the severity of the punishment. I believe that the punishment is severe enough in the losing of job and pension. The five-year sentence may be a bit too much in this case.

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