Retrial starts for Camden cop charged with beating man on tape last year

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Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Jury selection starts Monday morning in Camden federal court for a suspended Camden police officer who is facing a second trial on charges that he used excessive force in arresting a man last February outside a liquor store. 

A jury in June could not agree on a verdict against Nicholas Romantino, who’s seen on tape punching Edward Minguela a dozen times after taking him to the ground. 

Officers were responding to calls of a man with a gun, and while Minguela matched the radio description, he was not armed. 

The jury cleared Romantino on a charge of filing a false police report.

Minguela was not called to testify in June and it’s unclear if he will be in this proceeding, which is expected to take about a week. 

Romantino remains on unpaid suspension as the matter plays out before Judge Robert Kugler. 

At the first trial, defense lawyer Daniel Rybeck presented an expert on the use of force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson did not, relying at the time on the department’s policy as explained by other officers. 

That use of force policy was recently updated by the Camden County Police Department. 

Federal authorities stepped in after Camden County prosecutors declined to file charges in the case.