HOPATCONG, N.J – A police officer accused of slapping a man who was wearing a bunny costume and was blowing an air horn inside a police station has been charged with assault.
Hopatcong police Officer Nicholas Maresca Jr. was charged on Friday with slapping Kevin Hemmerich on Nov. 17. He faces one count of simple assault.
The encounter between Maresca and Hemmerich was captured on a video shot by Hemmerich's brother. The video shows Hemmerich entering the Hopatcong police station and blowing the air horn repeatedly despite being told to stop.
Kevin Hemmerich's brother, Jason Hemmerich, said two officers began cursing at them and one hit Kevin Hemmerich in the face.
Maresca's attorney, Anthony Iacullo, told NJ.com that Maresca "acted appropriately and in accordance with his training and experience as a police officer." He said Maresca would be vindicated.
Jason Hemmerich said his brother went to the police station to turn himself in on a warrant related to a motor vehicle accident. Kevin Hemmerich faced an arrest warrant for not completing a work program that was in lieu of jail time for failing to have car insurance.
Maresca has been placed on administrative duty, prosecutors said.