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Corrections police Sgt. Mattew Faschan.

Fourth guard charged over Edna Mahan abuses

Investigation still ongoing, Grewal says

By Nikita Biryukov, February 24 2021 10:21 am

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Tuesday charged a fourth corrections officer over abuses at the state’s only women’s prison.

Matthew Faschan, a corrections police sergeant who had already been suspended, faces two counts of official misconduct and one count of tampering with public records in relation to Jan. 11 and 12 incidents during which officials allegedly beat at least two inmates while removing them from their cells.

Authorities said Faschan, a 33-year-old Hackettstown resident, did not record a cell extraction during which an inmate who complied with officers’ orders was punched repeatedly while “handcuffed and not resisting.”

The Sergeant later submitted an allegedly false report claiming the inmate inflicted the injuries upon herself. There was a video that showed that, he said, but no such video exists.

A separate inmate was allegedly punched in the face 28 times corrections officer Luis Garcia after being pepper sprayed. That inmate, authorities said, was also not resisting. The incident left her with injuries, including a concussion.

Faschan did not move to stop the beating, authorities said. Garcia was one of three corrections officials charged over abuses at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility earlier this month.

“As I stated earlier this month, we will follow the evidence in this case wherever it leads and we will not rest until all of those responsible for these brutal attacks — at any level of the prison’s hierarchy — are held accountable,” Grewal said. “That includes all those involved in planning and covering up these horrific acts.”

In January, NJ Advance Media reported dozens of officials at Edna Mahan were suspended after a series of inmate beatings. The scandal has spurred calls from at least 35 members of the State Senate for the resignation of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks.

Three Assemblywomen — Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) — have introduced a resolution to impeach Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks, a holder from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration whom Gov. Phil Murphy elevated to the department’s top post.

The governor has, so far, stood by Hicks, deferring action until the conclusion of an independent investigation by former State Comptroller Matt Boxer. There’s no timeline for when that probe might reach its end.

Grewal’s investigation remains ongoing, the attorney general said.

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