There is a reason police hate being recorded. They don’t want to get found out. They want their version of events inscribed in their police report to be trusted beyond a shadow of a doubt. If something’s in their police report, it most definitely happened. If it’s not in their police report, it most definitely did not happen. And as long as they don’t have to release any video evidence, they can get away with pretty much anything.
There’s a 30-year-old guy in New Jersey named Marcus Jeter who was facing a minimum of 5 years in prison for, among other things, eluding police, assault and resisting arrest.
He knew he hadn’t really done anything wrong, but when it’s the cops’ word against the civilians’, we all know who wins.
When Jeter had secured an attorney, his attorney made a records request for the dash cam videos. The prosecutor was ready to throw this guy in jail when he viewed the video, at which point all charges were immediately dropped. Furthermore, two cops were indicted for falsifying reports, one was indicted for assault, and one cop pleaded guilty to tampering.
If all they had were audio recordings of Jeter’s encounter with police, then you’d get the impression that Jeter was a violent person. All you hear are the cops yelling commands at him to “stop resisting” and to “stop trying to take my gun.” But thanks to the videos, you see a frightened but compliant Jeter with his hands up and completely at the officers’ mercy, of which they had none.
It’s all thanks to those dashcam tapes. It’s the video that prosecutors say they never saw when the pursued criminal charges against 30 year-old Marcus Jeter. In the video, his hands were in the air. He was charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and assault. One officer in the video can be seen throwing repeated punches.
[ABC News Reporter] Sarah Wallace: “It this tape hadn’t surfaced?” Marcus: “I’d be in jail.”
This video was only turned over by Bloomfield police after Jeter’s attorney filed a request for records; at the time, prosecutors were insistent that Jeter do prison time.
“The first plea was 5 years,” said Jeter.
The incident began when cops were called to the Bloomfield home Jeter shares with his girlfriend. No charges were filed and Jeter says he left after briefly talking to officers.
Sarah Wallace: “They say you eluded police.” Jeter: “When they got behind me, I pulled over.” Sarah: “So you weren’t trying to escape.” “No.” said Jeter.
You can clearly see Jeter pulling over and stopping on the side of the Garden State parkway. The cops pull out guns.
Sarah: “Why didn’t you get out of the car?” Jeter: “Because I was afraid.” Jeter: “There was a cop on my right with a gun, a cop on the other side with a shotgun.” Jeter: “I’m afraid I might get shot.” Sarah: “If you got out.”
The tape not initially turned over shows a second police car coming from the opposite direction, crossing the median into ongoing traffic, and then striking Jeter’s car. There is no mention of that in any police report. When Jeter first told his attorney that part of the story, [his attorney didn’t believe him].
“It was incredible, I didn’t believe it at that point in time,” he said. [Jeter] adds, “The next thing I know, one of them busts the door and there is glass all over my face.”
SARAH: “Your hands are up.” Jeter: “My hands are up.” Jeter: “As soon as they opened the door, one officer reached in an punched me in my face.” He adds, “As he’s trying to take off my seatbelt, I’m thinking something is going to go wrong.”
Jeter says the officers were hitting him and telling him not to resist arrest. “All I keep saying is I’m not doing anything,” he adds. “They handcuffed me and one of them hits me in the back.” The attorney for Jeter says while showing Eyewitness News the video, “Here a state trooper arrives on the scene and clearly wants no participation in it and that’s where one of the officers punch Mr. Jeter in the head after he was clearly placed in handcuffs,” said Steven Brown.
As soon as Prosecutors saw this video, they dismissed all of the charges against Jeter. Interesting to note, an investigation by Bloomfield PD’s scandal plagued internal affairs division had found no wrongdoing by officers.
Brown says, “I believe the blame is with the Bloomfield police department for not providing that tape. If we hadn’t had the tapes in this case, an innocent man would be in jail today.”
You hear the police yelling their commands at Jeter, knowing that Jeter wasn’t doing anything wrong. But the police knew what they were doing. They were trying to cover their tracks. Trying to make it at least sound like Jeter was this violent criminal. I wonder if this is standard operating procedure. If all they had was audio, that’s what it would suggest, and they could throw people in jail on a whim, as long as they were yelling things like: “Hey! Stop assaulting me! Stop resisting! Stop trying to shoot me with my own gun! Stop biting me! Stop trying to hang me with my belt and taser me!” I keep waiting for them to say something like this: “Cut! Cut! Let’s try that again. We need a better take for the prosecutor.” I wonder if they have a gag reel.
You can view the dash cam footage here: