A former NYPD officer convicted of a slew of charges for falsely arresting a man who filmed him was sentenced to community service this week.
A jury convicted Jonathan Munoz of four felony counts and three misdemeanors following a trial in Manhattan Supreme Court in March. Munoz, the jury found, arrested a man for filming him as he illegally searched a woman in Washington Heights in 2014, then lied about the sequence of events in court documents. Each of the felony charges carries up to four years in prison, and each of the misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of a year imprisonment. Prosecutors sought a sentence of six months jail followed by five years probation, according to a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Instead, Judge Charles Solomon sentenced Munoz to 100 hours community service, to be revisited if he gets in trouble in the next three years. New York law allows judges to sentence defendants to a conditional discharge if they find that "neither the public interest nor the ends of justice would be served by a sentence of imprisonment and that probation supervision is not appropriate." Munoz also has to pay $375 in court fees.
The DA's Office declined to comment on the sentence.
The case stemmed from Munoz's arrest of a man named Jason Disisto early one morning outside of a Puerto Rican restaurant near West 183rd Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. Disisto saw Munoz reach into Disisto's friend's pocket, and began to record with another friend's phone. As Disisto lined up his shot, Munoz grabbed him, and he and two other officers hauled Disisto off in cuffs. One of the cops threw Disisto's phone out of the car window before they drove off.
Police charged Disisto with obstructing police work, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. In a police report, Munoz wrote that Disisto lunged and took a swing at him. Surveillance footage of the incident showed that this was a lie, and the charges were eventually thrown out. The city settled a lawsuit by Disisto for an undisclosed amount of taxpayer money.
Munoz was convicted of filing a false instrument, making a false statement, and, for the baseless search, official misconduct. Following a 30-day suspension, the NYPD continued paying Munoz through 2015 and 2016. The department fired him only after his conviction this year.
Munoz could not be reached, and his lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association also did not respond to comment requests.