Four people were arrested and charged with reportedly trying to rob an undercover officer in New York City, but surveillance footage of the incident obtained by the New York Daily News tells quite a different story.
According to the newspaper, Jean Scott, 33; Peterson Duplan, 28; Ricardi Joseph, 29; and Samantha Dabel, 24, went to a hardware store in the city's Brooklyn borough on Dec. 26 to have keys made when the undercover officer approached the group looking to buy drugs. Duplan reportedly recognized the man as an officer who arrested him a while back. Scott's attorney, Audrey A. Thomas, told the Daily News that once Duplan recognized the man as a cop, he told him to "get the f—k out of here."
According to court documents viewed by the Daily News, the undercover officer claims that the four threatened to beat him up and that Duplan pulled a knife on him, demanded his money and threatened to stab him.
Only one problem with this version of events: Footage of the reported encounter doesn't seem to mesh with the officer's account.
Surveillance video obtained by an attorney of one of the accused shows the group inside the hardware store when a man, reported to be the undercover officer, approaches with money in hand. There is no audio on the video, but what transpires appears to be a conversation between the four and the officer. The group have their keys made, pay the clerk and leave the hardware store. No one appears to display a weapon during the encounter.
The officer walks out shortly after the four leave, and according to the Daily News, they are arrested. All four have been charged with attempted robbery, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct; if convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison, the Daily News reports.
"This case screams for the conclusion that there is no right way to view the videotape wrong," Thomas told the newspaper. The attorney adds that no weapon was recovered at the scene.
"The detective's statements of facts are directly contradicted by the videotape," Thomas told the Daily News. "In light of this, justice can only be served, in this instance, by an immediate dismissal of all of the charges for all of the defendants."
A spokeswoman for the New York City Police Department told the newspaper that the attempted robbery took place outside the store, and refused to answer any other questions. She referred the Daily News to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, which declined comment because its investigation is ongoing.
View video here.
Read more at the New York Daily News.