Despite punch, no assault charges for Reading police officer

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 20, 2016 2:27 PM

(Reading) -- A Reading police officer is facing several charges, including tampering with evidence and official oppression. But he won't be charged with assault.

Berks County District Attorney John Adams says video cameras clearly show Reading Officer Jesus Santiago-DeJesus lied about why he pulled over Marcelina Cintron-Garcia.

He says they reveal Cintron-Garcia used her turn signal and later, the officer slamming her cellphone to the ground, and punching her.

But that punch isn't enough for Adams to bring assault charges.

"The victim, Marcelina Cologne, admitted that she may have struck the officer first when the officer reached and forcibly grabbed her cell phone from her. Her use of force was minimal. His use of force, on the other hand, was excessive," says Adams.

Adams says the case is important because it goes to what he calls a critical issue: fabricating evidence.

The lawyer for Santiago-DeJesus says other video evidence will prove his client is innocent.

But Adams says all the area's camera's tell the same story.

"We have other video evidence, which quite frankly, is just as good and I think again, will assist us in proving these charges to a jury, if the defendent so chooses," he adds.

Officer Jesus Santiago-DeJesus is on paid administrative leave.

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