Cyprian Luke, the teen at heart of Dover arrest controversy, gets probation at Morristown sentencing

Cyprian Luke, 19, leaves his sentencing in Morristown, July 26, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler


By Marion Filler

Cyprian Luke, whose violent arrest by Dover police in May sparked demonstrations and a state investigation, was sentenced Friday to two years of probation after pleading guilty to charges related to domestic violence.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor, sitting in Morristown, ordered Luke, 19, to complete the Abuse Ceases Today program and to continue attending counseling services through the Caring Partners of Morris/Sussex.

In a plea deal last month, Luke pleaded guilty to fourth degree Contempt, disorderly persons Simple Assault and disorderly persons Criminal Mischief.  He could have gotten up to three years in jail, according to the judge.

“I’m really glad that this is over. I never want to go through this again,” Luke said after the 36-minute hearing. He plans to live with his mother in Irvington.

Cyprian Luke is sentenced by Judge Stephen Taylor. Video by Marion Filler for

The state Attorney General’s Office has not yet released findings in its investigation of three Dover police officers, who were placed on paid leave after video on social media showed Luke being jabbed in the head, while pressed to the ground by his throat as an officer ordered him to stop resisting arrest.

Still image of Dover police arresting Cyprian Luke, 19, from video by Marcus Robinson.
Still image of Dover police arresting Cyprian Luke, 19, from video by Marcus Robinson.

Police said they were attempting to arrest Luke on a warrant for aggravated assault. He subsequently was charged with resisting arrest and giving a false name.

According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Luke engaged in acts of domestic violence between February and May 2019.

Luke admitted to a physical altercation with his then-girlfriend and mother of his child, damaged her motor vehicle, and violated a pretrial release order to have no contact with the victim while his charges were pending, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Then, “when ultimately apprehended on the charges, he provided a false name to police to avoid being arrested on the domestic violence charges against him,” the statement continued.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to seeking justice and protection for victims of domestic violence and holding domestic violence perpetrators accountable for their conduct,” Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said.

‘I’M REALLY GLAD THIS IS OVER’: Cyprian Luke in Superior Court, Morristown, July 26, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler.

Luke entered the courtroom alone. He did not speak on his own behalf, beyond stating his name and promising to tell the truth. Public Defender Ana Tent represented him.

The defendant’s mother sat in the back row throughout the hearing, and the mother of his 20-month-old daughter appeared briefly in the courtroom.

In exchange for Luke’s guilty plea, the prosecutor’s office agreed to recommend probation and downgrade the aggravated assault charge involving domestic violence and dismiss five lesser charges that included resisting arrest and kicking the door of his girlfriend’s car.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Tia Manochio represented the state.

By pleading guilty, Luke is barred from owning guns, Judge Taylor told him last month.

Outside the courtroom, Luke’s mother expressed disappointment that “probation is two years, not one.”

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