Officials: NJ man beat dog, assaulted uncle, spit on police officer

Lateef Dennis, 40, has been convicted of aggravated assault and spitting on a police officer.

A Newark man has been convicted of aggravated assault and spitting on a police officer, prosecutors announced Friday.

The incident occurred in April 2017 on the 700 block of South 11th Street.

Responding officers discovered 40-year-old Lateef Dennis repeatedly punching an unconscious man, later determined to be his uncle, in the face on the front lawn.

The victim was hospitalized for three days and had to have surgery after suffering a broken jaw, three broken ribs, a broken cheek bone and contusions all over his face.

After police handcuffed Dennis, he allegedly spit in an officer's face.

Dennis has six prior felony convictions for animal cruelty, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, drug possession and possession with intent to distribute.

Dennis was convicted on March 18 for "cruelly beating a pit bull dog," according to prosecutors. The animal cruelty conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred in June 2016.

A neighbor reportedly discovered Dennis beating his 12-year-old dog, Diamond, on the 200 block of Renner Avenue in Newark. According to testimony at the trial, Dennis punched, kicked and stomped the dog. He was subsequently arrested.

He is currently serving an 18-month sentence for his animal cruelty conviction at New Jersey State Prison.

Dennis is slated to be sentenced for aggravated assault and spitting on a police officer on Oct. 7. He faces a maxium sentence of 10 years in state prison.