In a viral video released on Friday that has been viewed over half a million times, a plain clothes officer in New Jersey can be seen being confronted by a man during an illegal search of his vehicle. Unbeknownst to the officer, the owner of the vehicle is not having any of it- citing that he knows his rights, demands the officer’s badge number and name, and refuses any orders commanded by the officer. The officer’s name has not been released but an investigation surrounding the circumstances is now underway.
According to The Root:
Today, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office is under fire for the incident and the officer has been referred to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office for investigation, according to the Paterson Times.
“In an effort to assure an independent investigation of the circumstances around the search video, the Sheriff referred the matter to the Prosecutor’s office for a thorough and independent review,” said William Maer, spokesman for Passaic County sheriff Richard Berdnik, on Friday afternoon.
In the still undated video, a man can be heard yelling at an officer on a Paterson, N.J., street, apparently after seeing him rifling through his car: “Yo. What the fuck is you doing? What is you doing in my van for?”
“I’ll tell you what, come here,” replies the officer as he looks guilty as hell, walking away from the inquiring man.
“I’m not going over there. I’m going to stay in the middle of the street,” he replies (smart man).
“Come over here. Come here.”
Knowing the state of relations between law enforcement and black citizens, the gentleman was wise to be weary of the officer and his intentions. He then questions the officer (which is withing his full rights to do so) as to what he was doing in the vehicle and why.
“What is you in my car for when I’m sitting down, eating with my family,” says the individual to the officer. “How did you get in my car?”
“It’s open. It’s wide open,” replies the officer.
“Still. Still. You’re not supposed to be in my van, sir,” the man is heard saying in the video.
Of course, the cop begins to make up some bogus excuse.
“We had a lot of reports of guns in this van in this neighborhood,” the officer tells the man, although the law clearly states that police cannot search vehicles without consent or a warrant, which judging by the video he didn’t have.
The man asks for his name and badge number. “Ya’ll getting caught doing things ya’ll ain’t supposed to be doing. Ya’ll fucking buggin. I know my rights.”
The officer’s identity has not been disclosed by the sheriff’s office.
“This is incredibly troubling and disturbing,” said Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey. “You have an individual who appears to be a law enforcement officer entering someone’s vehicle without permission and seemingly without any lawful authority. Not only is it improper, it’s a crime.”
While some officers continue to believe they can trample all over the rights of citizens with impunity, there are those that will push back and assert themselves against this corruption. If citizens are to be policed by certain laws, the same should apply to those who uphold those laws.
Barocas continues, “If there is no authority, as there appears not to be, this [then should] be prosecuted just as you or I would be prosecuted for breaking into someone’s car,” he said.
No matter what we see with our very own eyes—on a daily basis—police officers will still be seen by many as “heroes” who can do no wrong. Especially when it comes to black folk.
Watch the video below to come to your own conclusion. Do you think the officer was telling the truth as to what his intentions were, or does he look like e has been caught red handed in abusing his power as an officer? Share you thoughts in the comments below.
(Article By Tasha Sharifa)