3 strikes, you’re out – and back in jail

Juan Santiago
Juan Santiago


If the mug in the mugshot accompanying this story looks familiar, that’s because it graced the pages of the July 27 Observer. At that time, Juan Santiago, 34, of Kearny, had been carted off (reportedly with difficulty) to the Hudson County Jail on a bunch of charges including DWI and marijuana possession, as well as on a Hudson County Sheriff’s warrant for child neglect.

What merited special attention, however, was the arrestee’s behavior, which Kearny police said ranged from attempting to kick out the rear window of a patrol car to unleashing a “tirade of profanities and threats” against officers, including: “I can’t wait for this police purge. I’m going to kill myself a few cracker-ass cops.” (By the time he got to the jail, he brought with him additional charges of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and making terroristic threats.)

We do not know how long Santiago remained in the county lockup, but by Aug. 20, he was back in town. And the story continued.

  • Strike 1: At 4 a.m. on that date, Sgt. Michael O’Neill and Officer Sean Podolski responded to a report of a fight on the 200 block of Brighton Ave., where, police said, they found a 33-year-old Jersey City woman who reported that she had been punched in the face by Juan Santiago.

Police said Santiago had fled the scene, but a warrant was drawn for his arrest on a charge of simple assault. Kearny Municipal Court Judge Thomas D. McKeon set the bail at $10,000.

  • Strike 2: At 5 a.m., Officer Mina Ekladious saw the suspect walking at Brighton and Rutland Aves. and approached him on foot, at which point, police said, Santiago responded with a “F— this!” and began running north on Brighton and into the backyards, where he disappeared.

Another warrant was issued, this one for resisting arrest, and McKeon tacked on an additional $10,000 bail.

  • Strike 3: On Aug. 21, at 4:20 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean went to Brighton and Rutland, just in case, and there was Santiago, this time driving a 2005 Honda.

Jean alerted HQ, stopped the car and arrested him on the warrants, as well as a charge of driving while suspended. By 9 p.m., Santiago was headed back to the county jail. How long he would remain there is unknown.

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