YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Three Englewood police officers required medical attention after a hospital brawl with a man with a history of mental illness who momentarily snatched one of their batons.
“That’s five officers injured in two consecutive weekends during violent confrontations for us, four of whom are still unable to return to work,” Detective Capt. Timothy Torell. “That presents some serious challenges for us.”
Chukwueme Ezekwo, 29, was under guard this morning, on $300,000 bail at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus.
He’s charged with four counts of aggravated assault on police officers, attempting to disarm a police officer and one count of resisting arrest.
Police also charged his mother, 58-year-old Ifeoma Ezekwo, with obstruction and disorderly conduct. She was released yesterday, hours after the 1:30 a.m. brawl at Englewood Hospital.
It began when city police were called to the emergency room on a report from staffers there Mrs. Ezekwo was interfering with her son’s involuntary commitment to Bergen Regional for further psychological evaluation, Torell said.
“This is not the first time we have dealt with this family over similar issues and it’s a call any police department with a hospital in its four corners deals with all the time,” he said.
As officers were trying to mediate the situation, the younger Ezekwo “became violent towards the officers, with his mother also becoming physically involved,” the captain said. “[He] punched and kicked the officers violently.”
At one point, pepper spray was used against him.
“Some individuals under the influence of liquor or drugs and with psychological disorders are minimally effected by pepper spray and even physical force,” Torell said.
Ezekwo grabbed an officer’s baton “in an attempt to use it against them,” he said. “It was wrested back by the officers.”
They got Ezekwo under control, but not without a price: Officer Thornton White sustained injured ribs and possible torn ligaments, Officer Quirk sustained possible torn ligaments and Officer Mike Christiansen bumps and bruises. Both White and Quirk were treated and later released.
Englewood police dealt with Ezekwo on March 29 when they found him in front of the Actor’s Fund Home on West Hudson Avenue, not far from his home, shirtless on an extremely cold day and taunting passing motorists, Torell said.
There was also a struggle during that incident, but no criminal charges were filed and he was brought to Bergen Regional, the captain said.
“Police deal with EDP’s all the time and often don’t file criminal charges against them because of their condition,” he said. “However, this incident was not minor in nature and occurred amidst a very busy emergency room.
“The officers should be commended for taking the injuries themselves and preventing innocents and the E.R. staff from getting hurt.”
PHOTO: Englewood PD
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