Officer at center of missing Paterson man case arrested brother, lawyer says

ATTORNEY

PATERSON — The ongoing controversy over Felix DeJesus’ disappearance took a new turn early Sunday morning when a Paterson police officer involved in that case arrested the missing man’s brother at the scene of a domestic dispute.

The brother, Giovanni DeJesus, had called 911 when his wife, Crystal Garcia, had prevented him from leaving their apartment to take a walk, according to the family’s lawyer, Jeff Patti.

The officer who came knocking at their door in response to the call was Jacob Feliciano, the same cop who took Felix DeJesus into custody on Feb. 2, the night he went missing, the lawyer said.

The DeJesus family has set in motion a lawsuit over DeJesus’ disappearance, which they say likely will name Feliciano as a defendant. Feliciano was one of two officers targeted in an Internal Affairs investigation over the Feb. 2 incident. Authorities have not released any information about the outcome of that IA probe.

Patti said Garcia was shocked to see Feliciano at her door early Sunday morning.

“She insisted that he remove himself from this matter for the obvious conflict of interest,” Patti said. “He ignored this plea.”

Felix DeJesus, 41, was reported missing by his family on Feb. 3.

Felix DeJesus, 41, was reported missing by his family on Feb. 3.

Related:Felix DeJesus family’s lawyer sues Haledon, seeking missing person records

The lawyer said Giovanni DeJesus eventually was allowed to walk from his home and Feliciano followed him. Garcia told Paterson Press that her husband was asking Feliciano for answers about what happened to his brother.

“’Are you trying to hit me?’” Garcia said Feliciano asked her husband. “’That’s it, you’re under arrest,’” Garcia said in her account of the incident.

Patti and Garcia said Giovanni DeJesus had not made any threatening moves towards Feliciano. Garcia said her husband was charged with resisting arrest, assault and terroristic threats. She said she filed a new IA complaint against Feliciano early Sunday.

Multiple police sources confirmed that Feliciano had arrested DeJesus early Sunday while responding to a 911 call about a domestic dispute. Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale declined to comment, citing confidentiality of domestic cases and IA investigations.

“We have to follow the process as per AG [attorney general] guidelines,” Speziale said. “I must follow the process.”

Paterson Press asked city officials for copies of the video recordings from the body cameras worn by Feliciano and other officers who responded to Sunday morning’s domestic dispute. Officials told this reporter to file a public records request for the recordings. Those requests generally get processed only on weekdays.

Feliciano and his then-partner, Dodi Zorrilla, handcuffed Felix DeJesus and put him in the back seat of their Paterson police patrol vehicle on the night of Feb. 2, after he was involved in a disturbance at a bodega. That’s what their body camera recordings show.

But the officers turned off the recording devices while DeJesus was still in their custody. Authorities and DeJesus family members say the cops dropped Felix DeJesus off near Westside Park. Haledon police — who are handling the missing person investigation — said five people “congregated” with DeJesus in the park that night.

But he has not turned up since then.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Missing Paterson man Felix DeJesus’ brother arrested by same cop

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