Linden Cops Pull Over Driver for Hanging Air Freshener – Result is Violent Arrest – Is Pullover Justified? [POLL]
I drive late at night.
When I drive home, I drive through many speed traps.
All my paperwork is in order.
Last week, a police cruiser tailed me all the way from West Windsor into East Windsor. I knew it was going to result in a pullover because he wasn’t going away anytime soon.
Sure enough, lights on…high beams on, and I pull over.
Cop bangs on my driver’s side window. I produce the needed documents. He asks if I’ve had any “movers” to which I say none in the space of over 10 years. (I figure it’s a rhetorical question since I’m sure he must have run my plates upon stopping me.)
He then tells me to watch my speed; and take care of a busted tail light..which I had no clue about.
I drive away a happy man…no muss no fuss, thinking he’s there to do his job.
Busting balls? Perhaps…but I don’t give him a hard time and I go without a ticket.
Fast forward to April 29th.
According to this published report:
James A. Exum was on his way to a nearby convenience store in Linden April 29, when he said he pulled over to make a phone call and noticed a cop car pull up beside him.
He said, "It was late at night, nobody was out there". "Something told me there was gonna be a problem."
Police say Exum shouldn’t have been driving to begin with — his license was suspended. But the details of why he was pulled over and the brutal assault that allegedly occurred after, have community leaders and Exum demanding an investigation.
According to police reports, Linden police officers Martin Jedrzejewski and Jason Mohr were patrolling Roselle Street around 10:30 p.m. when they saw Exum driving a blue Chevy Impala.
An air freshener hanging from the car's rearview mirror was obstructing the view of the driver, the report said.
The officers began to follow Exum when they said he turned around and drove in the opposite direction, as if trying to avoid them. (First red flag!)
The officers then pulled up alongside Exum, who later said he was not avoiding police but had turned around so he could park to make a phone call.
When police asked to see his license and registration, Exum refused, the report said. He became belligerent and accused police of targeting him because he is black.(Second red flag!)
When Jedrzejewski tried to physically pull Exum out of the car to no avail, Officer Mohr sprayed Mace in his eyes twice, the report said.
This is where it gets murky….Back-up units responded and a group of officers dragged Exum to the ground and "after administering several body strikes and arm bars" placed him under arrest, the report said.
Exum who is 6 ‘2 and roughly 245 pounds said he did not fight the six officers who pinned him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly in the face and head.
He released pictures today of the golf-ball sized welt that swelled his eye shut and also showed reporters the air freshener which is no more than four inches wide.
Exum had two Elizabeth municipal court warrants each in the amount of $580, the police report said. Community activist Salaam Ismial, who founded the United Youth Council, said neither justified the alleged beating.
Ismial said he will join Exum in reaching out to the Union County Prosecutor's office to investigate the incident. Exum has not filed a complaint with the police department but upon hearing about the incident Linden launched its own investigation…according to Lt. James Sarnicki.
Mayor Richard Gerbounka said "We’ve got nothing to hide in Linden," He added that from what he’d read in reports and saw on video tape the officers acted appropriately.
"He refused to give his license," Gerbounka said. " He refused to get out of the car and he smacked officers away."
Second incident In 2 weeks where police, trying to do their jobs, are involved in violent altercations with civilians.
Just to shut up the doubters, Prosecutor Theodore Romankow of Union County needs to conduct an investigation into the incident. The police officers involved in the arrest need to be assigned to desk duty pending the result of the investigation.
I’m sure it’s all on the tale of the tape!