Exclusive: Dashcam video clears NJ man
BLOOMFIELD, NJ (WABC) -- The tale of the police dashcam video has now helped clear a Bloomfield, New Jersey man who faced a multitude of criminal charges, including eluding police and assault.
Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace obtained the dashcam tapes, and has spoken exclusively with the 30-year old DJ who was looking at years in prison.
It was quite a turnabout, all the criminal charges against Marcus Jeter have been dismissed, and two Bloomfield police officers have been indicted for falsifying reports, and one of them, for assault.
A third pleaded guilty early on to tampering. 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.
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.
"It was incredible, I didn't believe it at that point in time," he said. He 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."
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investigations, sarah wallace
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