Police Abuse

Dashboard Footage Cops Tried to Hide Gets Jersey Man Acquitted, Cops Indicted


Vivid example of why it's good for citizens when cops' actions are recorded, in a nice happy-ending story out of New Jersey, summed up by Raw Story over the weekend:

Evidence from a dashboard camera on a police cruiser ended a nightmare for a New Jersey man facing false charges of eluding police, resisting arrest and assault.

Prosecutors dismissed all the criminal charges against Marcus Jeter, 30, of Bloomfield, N.J. and instead indicted two Bloomfield police officers for falsifying reports and one of them for assault after the recording surfaced showing police officers beating Jeter during a traffic stop, according to WABC of New York. A third has pleaded guilty to tampering.

Jeter's defense attorney requested all recorded evidence, but the police failed to hand over a second tape until additional evidence surfaced of a second police car at the scene. The tape showed Jeter complying with police, even as one punched him in the head repeatedly.

The kicker:

Without the tape, prosecutors had been demanding a five-year prison sentence.

Reason classic by Radley Balko on cops' war against cameras, and Ronald Bailey arguing for filming cops at all times as a matter of policy.

NEXT: Jason Collins Quietly Takes the Court as NBA's First Openly Gay Player

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Glad to see the cops get indicted, but what about the Prosecutor? He didn’t know there was a dashboard tape? He never wondered why there wasn’t a tape when he know doubt knew such cameras were on police cars?

    The DA should be being disbarred and being tried right along with the cops. He is if anything worse than the cops since he no doubt lied to the court in an effort to convict an innocent man.

    1. Holding prosecutors to legal and ethical standards and punishing prosecutors when they fail to adhere to them would do a world of good in both court and in law enforcement in general.

      1. Holding prosecutors (And other wielders of political force) to legal and ethical standards would unravel the government, you lunatic.

        Can you imagine a world where wearing special costumes doesn’t prevent your conviction for violent crimes? It would be anarchy, I say! Anarchy!

    2. In this day and age of cheap electronics, a squad car going out without a working dashboard cam should be treated like a squad car going out with an inoperative radio.

      1. In this day and age of cheap electronics

        Don’t worry, state and federal governments are working to “rectify” that issue.

    3. Is there any evidence that the cops didn’t lie to the prosecutor as well? Yeah, if he knew the other tape existed he should be disbarred and on trial.

      1. Is there any evidence that the cops didn’t lie to the prosecutor as well?

        If the prosecutor isn’t suspicious that a dashcam tape went oh so conveniently “missing” he should suffer the consequences for his naivete anyways.

        1. You’re presuming he knew it even existed, aren’t you?

          1. Considering the cop said it was missing, yes.

    4. Tarring and feathering really is due for a comeback.

      1. There are worse punishments.

        The next time I shoot someone, I could be arrested

        which puts me in mind of Tom Lehrer’s hunting song.

        The law was very firm, it
        Took away my permit,
        The worst punishment I ever endured.

      2. Tarring and feathering really is due for a comeback

        Nobody remembers step three: light ’em up!
        Pine pitch and feathers make a hell of a fire.


      1. I have two words for you: Nadine Velazquez.

    6. The cops neglected to mention the second car that shows up on the scene in their report, which is why the Prosecutor didn’t know about it. From what I gathered, even the guy’s defense lawyer didn’t believe him until the second cruiser’s footage was obtained through an OPRA (NJ’s version of a FOIA) request.

      1. That fact would cause me to let the guy off of a crime. But, I would hold him to a higher standard than “the cops told me this is the only one” when it comes to his license. He has a duty to investigate for Brady evidence. That means doing more than just taking the cops’ word. It should have at a minimum struck him as odd that there was only one car at the scene of a recalcitrant arrestee. If that were true, it would be the first time in history cops sat idly by and let another cop go it alone.

        1. But, I would hold him to a higher standard than “the cops told me this is the only one” when it comes to his license.

          Considering other peoples’ lives are literally in his hands, yes, you’d think he might possibly want to put forth a *little* more effort than just taking the cop’s word for it.

        2. You’re right, but I hold a dim view on prosecutors – they’re the laziest fuckers in government when you consider the rates of cases that go to trial vs those that get plead out. Besides, why would he go out of his way to find evidence that won’t help pad his numbers so he can run for political office?

          1. I hold a dim view on prosecutors – they’re the laziest fuckers in government

            Whoa whoa hold on a minute; that is a *hotly* contested title.

          2. In fairness, they are thanks to the drug war massively over worked in a lot of places. That said, too fucking bad. They ought to have to do some investigating and not just take the police’s word. They are speaking for the entire government not just themselves.

          3. The local prosecutor in my area gives an award every month for the assistant who brings the most felony charges. I hate that fucker.

        3. This. In most jurisdictions, more than one responder is required for any arrest.

        4. not familiar with the term “Brady evidence”, I did a Google search, and Wikipedia, of course, had a quick summary for me. The thing that stood out is this:

          “Police officers who have been dishonest are sometimes referred to as “Brady cops.” Because of the Brady ruling, prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official involved in their case has a sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity”

          My naive question is: if a police officer has a “sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity”,
          then why the hell is said officer still a LEO, instead of in prison?

    7. An indictment?! Bring me my fainting couch.

    8. I just had a (heated) argument this weekend about why prosecutors should be statutorily stripped of their absolute immunity (likelihood is bad, but bear with me). Absolute immunity for prosecutors sets up perverse incentives for prosecutors to engage in unethical conduct in the name of closing cases. Prosecutors will and have presented evidence they knew to be false, or withheld exculpatory evidence in pursuit of convictions and without fear of ever being held civilly liable because they cannot be held liable so long as they act within their “prosecutorial” function.

      If a man can never be punished for his bad acts, why would he avoid engaging in bad acts? Are all lawyers perfectly moral? If that were true, no state bar would ever need an ethics committee. By immunizing prosecutors from the reach of the civil law, absolute immunity encourages and ensures bad conduct on the part of prosecutors. It also frustrates justice for the people who are in greatest in need of it.

      1. If you have nothing to hide…

    1. They’ve lost the tipping hat.

  2. What I want to know is when the Internal Affairs officers who investigated this case and determined nothing was wrong will face charges for at a minimum being accomplices and optimally for felony dereliction of duty

  3. What really annoys me about this case is how none of the local papers in north Jersey have covered this.
    It’s being reported on news sites all over the nation and the world, but not a fucking word from the Star-Ledger or The Record (the two biggest papers covering Bloomfield).
    The WABC report neglects to mention a lot of details like the name of the cop that plead guilty and was allowed to retire.

    1. and was allowed to retire.

      My shocked face seems to be malfunctioning.

    2. Those kind of details are unimportant and might endanger the officer’s safety!


  4. Let’s see if I got this right as far as can be told: Cops answered an undisclosed complaint at this guy’s home, and then for some reason made up their minds to stalk him. They waited for him to leave so they could get him alone on the road, and then beat him up. And for some reason the driver of the other police car was so bad he couldn’t stop in time to avoid hitting this guy’s car.

  5. I honestly think that the one cop really wanted to shoot someone that day. Jeter’s hands were up from the moment the cops got to his car. While he’s punching the guy he keeps yelling “Why are you trying to take my gun?” over and over again. Seriously, watch the video it’s almost comical.

    1. I saw Supertroopers over the weekend and it wasn’t this funny.

    2. You have to feel for the cop. Do you know how embarrassing it is to try to post on Police 1 and have all the other heroes mock you and call you “cherry boy” because you haven’t killed some guy and gotten off with it?

  6. Admissible cop testimony is badly in need of reform. They perjure themselves all the time.

    1. Everything cops do is a power trip. Doesn’t matter what it is, there’s a power trip in there somewhere.

      So when it comes to lying, the fact that their lies will be believed over the truth gives them the power to ruin innocent lives.

      It’s all about power.

  7. lol, sound like your average, typical cops to me.


    1. nice job anonabot! You blended seamlessly into the thread!

  8. Without the tape, prosecutors had been demanding a five-year prison sentence.

    Here’s a pro-tip for you, prosecutors: Just presume that the cops are lying through their fat, lying teeth.

    You’ll get more time on the beach, that way.

    1. I’m sure that prosecutors count on cops lying. It boosts their conviction rate.

    2. That’s a tip for juries, not for persecutors. The persecutors already know that the cops are lying.


  9. “Why you going for my gun?!? Stop resisting! Why you going for my gun?!?”

    Man, that’s just embarrassing.

    1. Maybe he’s used to turning off video but leaving audio.

  10. Tell me that this country is a really sigficantly less scary place to live then any country in the old eastern block.

    1. significantly

    2. Have to agree with DWC. While I think the US is a kind of tyranny now, and the word “police state” can be applied (with a specific definition), in the old Easter Bloc it was much much worse.

      Anyplace where you can get hard time in jail for writing poetry that appears to undermine the authority of the state is gonna suck more than the USA.

      We Americans used to be pretty sure that European/Scandinavian countries were more authoritarian and less liberty-minded than our own. That might be changing.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.