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Dashcam Saves Man From False Charges, Lengthy Prison Sentence

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A 30 year-old New Jersey man has been cleared of charges, including resisting arrest, thanks to dashcam tapes recovered by his lawyer.

The incident began when police were called to Jeter’s home, which he shares with his girlfriend. Jeter spoke with officers and left the home. It seemed all was well, as no charges were filed. However, as Jeter drove along the Garden State Parkway, things took a turn for the worse. Officers flashed their lights and as Jeter pulled over, they emerged from their vehicle with weapons drawn.

Jeter put his hands up as directed but did not immediately get out of the car. In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Sarah Wallace Marcus Jeter describes his encounter with the police which led to his arrest:

Sarah: “Why didn’t you get out of the car?”

Jeter: “Because I was afraid…There was a cop on my right with a gun, a cop on the other side with a shotgun…I’m afraid I might get shot.”

The tape also shows a second police car approaching from the opposite direction, and in an extreme move, crossed the median into ongoing traffic, before crashing into Jeter’s car. This was not detailed in the police report. Nor was the subsequent assault which Jeter describes. “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 seatbelt, I’m thinking something is going to go wrong.”

Something did go wrong. Jeter was arrested and charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and assault. Prosecutors pushed for a plea and insisted that Jeter serve jail time. The video was only released after Jeter’s attorney, Stephen Brown, filed a request for records. The video clearly shows the incident as Marcus describes it, including one officer punching Jeter in the face as he is in handcuffs.

What would have happened if Jeter’s attorney did not push for the disclosure? “I’d be in jail,” Marcus insists. Right over the bridge, the New York City Police Department has been under scrutiny over their stop and frisk tactics which oftentimes leads to abuse. In California, the San Diego Police Department has been plagued with reports of sexual abuse on women pulled over by police. With this latest report concerning Bloomfield police it makes one wonder if there is a place where police misconduct does not exist.  Even more troubling is the fact that the Bloomfield PD’s internal affairs division found no wrong doing.

Prosecutors say they never saw the dashcam video, and dropped charges immediately upon it surfacing. One wonders though, why a prosecutor would not want to view what would potentially be their most damning piece of evidence against a defendant. If a defendant is accused of eluding the police in their vehicle, the dashcam video would directly corroborate the act.

At this point, two Bloomfield police officers have been indicted for falsifying reports, one of the indictments also includes assault. A third officer has also pleaded guilty to tampering.

 

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