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A former New Jersey cop caught on video hitting a 13-year-old girl in the head during an arrest has been sentenced to four years in prison.
John Flinn, 30, was sentenced by a Camden County judge Monday for slapping the teen twice as he and another Gloucester Township police officer responded to a group home for a report of juveniles fighting, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The shocking footage, released in 2018 after Flinn was initially charged with simple assault, shows the teen face-down as the officers put handcuffs on her.
Flinn then whacks the girl twice on the side of her head with an open hand, causing her to cry out in pain, the clip shows.
Flinn was suspended from the department after the incident and was found guilty in March 2020 of two counts of second-degree official misconduct following a nearly three-week trial, according to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
A grand jury had indicted Flinn in August 2018 on more serious charges of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, but jurors were deadlocked on the count, prosecutors said.
Superior Court Judge Edward McBride stayed Flinn’s sentence Monday in light of a possible appeal by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, the Inquirer reported.
The former cop reportedly remains free after being released on his own recognizance.
A message seeking comment from the prosecutor’s office to confirm the sentencing stay was not immediately returned Tuesday
The official misconduct conviction carries a mandatory five years in prison, but McBride granted a request by Flinn’s attorney to waive that term — saying imposing it would be a “serious injustice,” the Inquirer reported.
Prosecutors wanted a seven-year prison sentence for Flinn, insisting he abused his “extraordinary power” and “fractured the trust” between the community and its police officers.
Flinn’s attorney had sought probation for his client, calling him an “extraordinary individual” who started working as a volunteer firefighter at 14. He also saved a man’s life by running into a burning house in 2019, attorney Louis Barbone told McBride.
The married father of three, meanwhile, said he “never meant or intended” to harm the girl, who was never criminally charged, prosecutors said.
“All what’s happened to me is because of my actions and conduct and no one else’s,” Flinn told McBride. “I replay that video in my mind … I wish I had the ability to take it all back and do better.”
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