JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A man arrested last week is now accusing Jersey City Police of choking, beating, and slamming his head against a wall because of a personal vendetta by police, who entered his home without permission.
Michael Cortez Jr., 18, says he was helping his sick grandmother when police arrived alongside emergency medical technicians his family had called. Police apparently entered the home despite not being requested, and an altercation began.
Members of the Cortez family say the police have a personal vendetta against Michael, stemming from legal troubles from when Cortez was a minor. Cortez’s father, Michael Cortez Sr., said local police have harassed his son for years. Jersey City cops told his son they “couldn’t wait” until he turned 18 so they could arrest him, according to the senior Cortez, who said he plans to hire an attorney to file a lawsuit.
Witnesses say Cortez was arrested and placed in handcuffs within two minutes of police arriving at the home. One witness told The Jersey Journal that the police brought Cortez upstairs, where one officer purposefully hit his head against a wall, then later lifted him off the ground by his neck, choking him.
Cortez has multiple bruises and cuts on his body that he says he received during the arrest. Cortez was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center after police first booked him at the jail.
Officers wrote in a police report that Cortez was being combative when they arrived. A family member, who did not wish to be identified, contradicted the official police statement. “How is he going to attack police officers when he’s in handcuffs 95 percent of the time?” the family member said.
Cortez is now facing charges of resisting arrest, aggravated assault on an officer, obstructing governmental function, terrorist threats, and disorderly conduct. He was released after posting a $10,000 bail.
Despite not being a witness to the events, Carmine Disbrow, President of the Jersey City Police Officers’ Benevolent Assocation (JCPOBA), a local police union, says the police who arrested Cortez conducted themselves with “utmost professionalism.”
“Officers showed compassion for a Jersey City family in need,” Disbrow said of the police, who entered the home without being asked.