NEWARK — The jury is set to deliberate in the federal trial of Francis Styles, the Bayonne police officer accused of covering up a police brutality incident.
The trial resumed today, but only after a more than three-hour delay due to a “personal situation” with one of the jurors, U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty said. The juror was not dismissed.
The proceedings resumed with the judge’s charges and instructions to the jury.
Styles is charged with two counts: one for falsifying records in a federal investigation and one count of misprision of a felony, which is acting to conceal a federal offense. He faces up to 23 years in prison if convicted on both counts.
The jury must deliberate on whether or not Styles knowingly acted to cover up the incident and impeded a potential investigation by falsifying the incident report.
On Dec. 27, 2013, Styles, along with Domenico Lillo and James Wade, arrested Brandon Walsh, a Bayonne resident who was 25 at the time, at his home on Avenue C. Walsh was wanted on a warrant at the time.
As the three officers were leading Walsh down West 53rd Street, Lillo viciously struck Walsh in the face with his flashlight, causing a cut the required 15 stitches to close.
Lillo pleaded guily in September 2015 to using excessive force, and, in a unrelated incident, assisting in the filing of a false report to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As part of his plea deal, he testified against Styles last week, telling the jury he fully expected the flashlight to be omitted from the incident report that was authored by Styles.
Styles testified on his own behalf on Monday and said that the overpowering effects of pepper spray and a blow to the head prevented him from being fully aware of his surroundings on the night of the incident.
While the defense has argued Styles was exposed to pepper spray from the incident and didn’t see Styles hit Walsh, the government has contended that argument is a lame excuse, and video shows Styles was inches away from Lillo as he struck Walsh.
Meanwhile, The Jersey Journal has filed a civil complaint against the city of Bayonne, which has refused to release the terms of the lawsuit settlement between the city and the Walsh family.
Corey W. McDonald may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @coreymacc. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.