New Jersey News
Investigation into cover up after police chase shooting
BOGOTA, N.J. (WABC) -- A wild police chase through several communities in New Jersey ended in gunfire.
It was all caught on camera.
Now some officers could be in trouble for what happened after the pursuit.
The Bergen County Prosecutor is investigating claims of a cover up by officers.
It involves a chase of suspect burglars that started in Paramus and went through several communities before ending in Bogota.
The video from the police dashboard camera is intense.
It shows a chase down narrow residential streets into oncoming traffic, and even a crash.
It was recorded on August 12, 2010 and on the video shots are about to be fired.
Officers Shaheed Baksh and Jeffrey Roberts were inside the police car.
Frank Pasercia was driving the SUV and he doesn't deny that.
Police were chasing him because they had information that he was involved in a home burglary.
The chase went through six towns and eventually came to a stop.
His passenger bailed out.
Pasercia's attorney Jeffrey Pitta picks the story up from there.
"He got out of the car and put his hands up and Officer Baksh of the BCPD started blasting away," Pitta said.
There were no weapons on the suspects who were eventually arrested.
Pasercia has since filed a $17 million civil rights lawsuit for Officer Baksh shooting at him, for an alleged beating during his arrest, and for a departmental cover up.
Pasercia filed his suit from jail, but what gives his accusations some credibility is another civil suit filed by the former head of Internal Affairs for Bergen County.
Robert Carney says the shooting that day was in fact covered up by the department.
"There were shell casings on the ground. There is video of Baksh, Roberts and another officer looking at the shell casings. Low and behold the shell casings disappeared," Carney said.
Now the Bergen County Prosecutor is investigating the officers, not for the chase or the shooting, but for the alleged cover up.
Attorney Pitta says his client may not be a saint, but he does have rights.
"And how is the public going to have any confidence in law enforcement when this kind of garbage is going on?" Pitta said.
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