- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (AP) - Two New Jersey police officers have been charged with conspiracy, misconduct and records tampering after video from a second dashboard camera surfaced in their 2012 arrest of a man they claimed resisted arrest.

All charges against the defendant, Marcus Jeter, 30, of Bloomfield, were dropped.

Jeter’s attorney, Stephen Brown, said the new video was turned over by the town of Bloomfield after he filed an open-records request.

Without it, “I’d be in jail,” Jeter said in an interview with WABC-TV in New York.

The second video, which prosecutors did not have when they charged Jeter, shows a cruiser crossing the median through oncoming traffic and banging into Jeter’s car head-on as it is stopped along the Garden State Parkway - something not mentioned in the police report, Brown said.

It also shows Jeter with his hands in the air virtually the entire time.

“He didn’t move,” Brown said Tuesday. “He just froze.”

Taken together, video from two dashboard cameras show Jeter pulling over to the side of the road, putting his hands in the air while still buckled up behind the wheel of his car, an officer breaking out the window and unbuckling Jeter, and Jeter being punched and wrestled to the ground.

The arresting officers, Orlando Trinidad and Sean Courter, both 33, pleaded not guilty last week and were released without bail. Trinidad also faces a charge of aggravated assault. His attorney told The Star-Ledger newspaper both officers responded properly.

The stop came after police were called to the home Jeter shares with his girlfriend.

Brown said the girlfriend’s sister had asked him to leave and that he was leaving when police arrived. He said the police report gave a different account, stating he jumped out a window and tried to elude police before they gave chase. He was also charged with eluding police and assault.

Jeter said he was afraid to get out of his car after pulling over.

“There was a cop on my right with a gun, a cop on the other side with a shotgun. I’m afraid I might get shot,” he told WABC-TV.

“As soon as they opened the door, one officer reached in and punched me in my face,” he said. “As he’s trying to take off my seatbelt, I’m thinking something is going wrong.”

As officers told him not to resist arrest, “All I keep saying is I’m not doing anything,” he said.

Trinidad’s attorney, Patrick Toscano, told The Star-Ledger that the evidence shows Jeter refused orders to get out of the car by refusing to roll down the window. He said Trinidad had crossed the median in his cruiser and tapped Jeter’s car to prevent him from escaping, after a call over his radio said the suspect was dangerous and had eluded police.

Brown said in an interview that the encounter shows why the state should make it mandatory that all cruisers be equipped with dashboard cameras.

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