Bloomfield Cops Case: Is This Police Brutality? [VIDEO/POLL]
Maybe it's me. Maybe even though I've watched this video 7 times, counted how many times this suspect was told to get out of the car (more than ten by the way), tried my best to find something the cops did wrong, maybe there's just something I'm not seeing. Please enlighten me. The case of Bloomfield officers now charged with crimes of conspiracy and misconduct and one officer charged with aggravated assault has me baffled. The man at the center of this controversy is Marcus Jeter, a guy with a criminal record back from 2004.
In June of 2012 police got a call from Jeter's girlfriend's sister that Jeter was at the girlfriend's house and a domestic situation occurred and he refused to leave the home. That doesn't seem to be in question. From the Star Ledger article it appears Jeter's own lawyer agrees he ran from the police by the report using the term 'police in pursuit'. The manner in which it happened seems to be in question though. The officers' official report had Jeter yelling from a window of the home, "Come and get me." Then jumping out the window before fleeing. The charges against the officers may be legit if they indeed embellished what led up to the traffic stop itself. I'm not arguing that. But the lawyer seems to be implying there was abuse during the apprehension itself.
That's where I'm confused.
No matter what reason you're being stopped, when officers tell you more than ten times to get out of a car, you get out of a car. Not following officers orders should be considered resisting. As far as Jeter's lawyer being so 'shocked' to see this dashboard camera footage of the second police car coming in across the median and striking the front of Jeter's car, watch the video. It's hardly fair to characterize it as 'ramming' the car. I see it as a bump. The police have already explained they did it because it had been reported the suspect had been eluding and the officer trapped his car in to prevent him from trying to run again. As far as punching Jeter, yes, once down on the ground in what does appear to be a physical struggle one office does punch Jeter a few times. Certainly not excessive considering his refusal to have cooperated, the struggle still going on, and the fact handcuffs were not yet securing him. At one point in the struggle you hear an officer yelling at Jeter, "Stop grabbing my gun!" The view of this could be blocked and it clearly could have been happening. Once the handcuffs were on him, Jeter is brought to his feet and put roughly face down on the hood of the car. If he was still struggling even while handcuffed, I see nothing wrong with this. After that, nothing. The situation was safe, the suspect was secured, and I see no aggression. By the way, Jeter's lawyer also admits his client had been drinking that night. Police work is brutal. It is easy to Monday morning quarterback these things. It's hard to be a cop. When someone is refusing to follow orders and then pulls physically away when police are having to pull them from behind a wheel, they can expect to be injured. This wasn't an act of aggression and vengeance. This was an act of securing the scene.
Maybe it's me.