Suspect Cleared, Cops Charged Due to Dash Video

Here’s another case where cops beat up and framed an innocent man and nearly got away with it. Now the man is free and the cops have been charged, which is pretty rare. And it’s all due to dashboard video that the police department had all along but did nothing about.

Marcus Jeter faced a years-long prison sentence.

The New Jersey DJ, 30, was arrested in a 2012 traffic stop and charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and assault. Prosecutors insisted that Jeter do prison time.

“The first plea was five years,” Jeter said.

But after Jeter’s attorney, Steven Brown, filed a request for records, all of the charges against him were dropped, with dash-cam video apparently showing what really happened June 7, 2012. Now, the officers are facing charges.

The video, which prosecutors say they never saw before filing the initial charges, shows Jeter holding his hands above his head.

“The next thing I know, one of them busts the [car] door and there is glass all over my face,” he told ABC News station WABC-TV about the arrest.

“As soon as they opened the door, one officer reached in and punched me in my face. As he’s trying to take off my seat belt, I’m thinking, ‘Something is going to go wrong.’”

Jeter says the cops continued hitting him, telling him not to resist arrest.

“And when they open the [police cruiser] door, about to put me in, the officer hits me in the back of the head again,” Jeter said…

As soon as prosecutors saw the second video, they dismissed all of the charges against Jeter.

A grand jury has since indicted two Bloomfield police officers — Orlando Trinidad and Sean Courter — on various charges, including conspiracy and official misconduct.

This raises some pretty obvious questions. Why didn’t prosecutors see the second video? Did they not care that there was evidence they hadn’t seen? Or did the police department hide it from them? Someone beyond those officers must have seen it, it was part of an ongoing investigation. There is not only criminal misconduct here, there is criminal negligence as well. Or deliberate hiding of evidence.

Comments

  1. busterggi says

    Anyone out there want to bet against me that this ends up as at most a slap on the writs for the cops?

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ve read some other stuff on this case. It appears that evidence was deliberately concealed. If what I’ve read was correct, police falsified reports to show only one car on the scene. That car’s video was unavailable – i’ve yet to learn why. There was, in fact, a 2nd car on the scene. As soon as evidence was given that a 2nd car was on the scene, a tape turned up. One thing I’ve read said it was from this 2nd car, but that’s one piece of the story that I doubt. I’m not saying it’s from the 1st car, I’m just saying I don’t know what happened there. Regardless of what car it came from, the one police admitted was on scene or the one they concealed, video became available. I think the prosecutors got to see video the cops didn’t think that they had to hide. The prosecutors happened to be ethical, dropped the charges and released the video to the defense as required.

    Part of the source of the charges for the cops is apparently concealing or altering evidence. Could be related to the video.

    Haven’t read court filings, but tried to give you a run down from multiple sources. The thing is that those sources might all trace back to one local TV station, so it’s unclear how much independent confirmation of all this there might be.

  3. says

    Being a cop is an inherently immoral job; we should not be surprised that immoral people want to be cops. We need to turn policing into a calling with moral principles and a sense of purpose.

  4. D. C. Sessions says

    It would have to be something like falsifying evidence, because we already know from other cases that beating people (even to the point of killing them) is part of the basic training and duty for police.

  5. says

    This is why police departments across the US are fighting so hard against mandatory video and audio recordings. While such things can be of great value in prosecuting wrong-doers, far too often it ends up showing that the cops are the doers of wrong.

  6. alanb says

    I’m expecting the police will be severely penalized.

    They might even lose 3 days pay!

    They’ve been indicted, so their fate is up to a jury, not Internal Affairs. Internal Affairs has already determined them to be completely blameless.

    Crip Dyke:

    The timeline is set out pretty will by a story on WABC. You can see the tape here.

  7. Artor says

    The fact that cops scream bloody murder at the idea of mandatory cop-cams, instead of embracing them wholeheartedly, suggests that there is a lot more of this going on. More than the instances of citizens making false brutality claims. That’s pretty scary to me.

  8. surprisesaplenty says

    I’m glad to see the accused free and the officers set to receive some punishment.

    I’m also glad to see Ed keep the media spotlight on criminal actions by the police.

    However, I would like to see some kind of statistical analysis of crimes committed by police officers. I learned of Scalia’s phrase “The new professionalism” describing how he feels police are more constrained by laws than in the past from this vey blog. I really haven’t seen Scalia’s claim rebutted. I have seen too many cases of police lies and violence (any number is too many) but no evidence that this is as prevalent as Dispatches from the Culture Wars suggests.

    It might not be possible get actual rates or numbers of crimes committed by police forces in general but I would like to learn if “The new professionalism” is a real thing or not. An ideal set of statistics would show criminal activity rates by police over time to see what trends show up.

    As the son and grandson of police officers, I really gotta disagree with “Being a cop is an inherently immoral job” and “we already know from other cases that beating people (even to the point of killing them) is part of the basic training and duty for police.” I see anecdotes here, of police officers who need to be charged and punished, but not evidence of widespread malfeasance.

  9. psweet says

    I agree with your claim that statistics would be better than anecdotes. But… that assumes that you can trust those statistics. One consistent theme seems to be how hard it is to find out about these things — if you notice, in this case prosecutors claimed not to have seen the tapes. If they aren’t seeing existing evidence of wrongdoing, it’s pretty clear that an independent organization (say, a newspaper? Nah…) isn’t going to have much luck finding out what’s going on.

  10. says

    Being a cop is an inherently immoral job; we should not be surprised that immoral people want to be cops. We need to turn policing into a calling with moral principles and a sense of purpose.

    If it’s inherently immoral, it can’t be turned moral. That’s what “inherently” means.

    If you mean that it’s currently a job which involves abuse of citizens and inevitably attracts people who think that sounds like fun, I agree.

    The best ways to change that would be:
    1. Video surveillance while interacting with citizens, no exceptions
    2. Mandatory training on the Bill of Rights and how its protections work
    3. De-militarization of police equipment and vehicles
    4. Changing the laws themselves. The Drug War should end, but first it should become impermissible for law enforcement to break into someone’s home because they think they are in possession of an intoxicant. The fact that the law considers it otherwise has caused nothing but death, destruction, and misery for everyone.

  11. zenlike says

    10 surprisesaplenty

    I learned of Scalia’s phrase “The new professionalism” describing how he feels police are more constrained by laws than in the past from this vey blog. I really haven’t seen Scalia’s claim rebutted.

    Sorry buddy, that’s not how it works. It’s Scalia’s claim, so he should provide the evidence. So far? Zero, nada, nothing. Just a ‘feeling’.

  12. jnorris says

    Funny isn’t it that all cops say the bad cops are a small minority within the department; but the good cops are powerless against the tiny number of bad cops. Funny, right?

  13. surprisesaplenty says

    Zenlike,, “Sorry buddy, that’s not how it works. It’s Scalia’s claim, so he should provide the evidence. So far? Zero, nada, nothing. Just a ‘feeling’.”

    There’s also ‘innocent until proven guilty’. That is how it works. But, I do get your point. Ed has no duty to show police crime rates have changed or not.

    Nor do I want Ed to censor anyone’s comments here. I don’t think Ed has ever said all cops are bad, but commenter Ranum suggests that and Sessions goes even further.

    psweet, I agree. It would be hard or impossible to measure criminal activity now, much less in the past.

    I guess I was hoping someone would do the research for me.

  14. Ichthyic says

    Being a cop is an inherently immoral job; we should not be surprised that immoral people want to be cops. We need to turn policing into a calling with moral principles and a sense of purpose.

    I thought so too, but it’s amazing how different it is here in New Zealand. sure, there are always instances of negligence and fuckups, but the entire process here is one of training to cooperate with the public, instead of intimidate them.

    the cops here are frankly people I WOULD turn to immediately in times of crisis; people I actually would trust!

    it’s a shocking difference from living in Southern California.

  15. Ichthyic says

    Did anyone else find it odd that in the beginning of the video, the cop with the shotgun… who goes to the opposite side of the car from the driver…. while the driver’s hands are clearly in the air… is shouting in a loud voice:

    “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO TAKE MY GUN?”

    yeah… and the cops keep shouting similar things while they beat the fuck out of this guy.

    something tells me this is old school NJ cops on the take. Someone TOLD them to go give this guy grief.

    not like there isn’t a history of that in NJ.

    still, seems so old school to me.

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