Thirty-year-old Marcus Jeter of Bloomfield, N.J., was facing a five-year prison sentence until he was freed by evidence from a dashboard camera on the police cruiser of the very officers who falsified reports, according to ABC 7 New York.
The video came to light after Jeter’s defense attorney, Steven Brown, requested all recorded evidence. Initially, police failed to hand over a second tape, until additional evidence surfaced of a second police car at the scene, the news station reports. The tape showed Jeter complying with police, even as one punched him repeatedly in the head.
Now, prosecutors have dismissed all the criminal charges against Jeter, who faced five years in prison, and indicted two Bloomfield police officers for falsifying reports. One officer was indicted for assault after the recording showed police beating Jeter during a traffic stop, the report says. A third has pleaded guilty to tampering.
The incident began when cops were called to the Bloomfield home where Jeter, a DJ, lives with his girlfriend. Initially, charges were not filed, and Jeter says he left after briefly talking to officers. But later, camera footage shows police, with guns drawn, stopping him on the side of a highway. Jeter, whose hands were up during the encounter, told ABC 7’s Sarah Wallace that he did not exit the vehicle because he was afraid.
"It was incredible, I didn't believe it at that point in time," he said. "The next thing I know, one of them busts the door and there is glass all over my face."
Then he told Wallace that the officers were hitting him and telling him not to resist arrest.
"All I keep saying is I'm not doing anything," he told Wallace. "They handcuffed me and one of them hits me in the back."
As soon as prosecutors reviewed the video, they dismissed all of the charges against Jeter.
“I believe the blame is with the Bloomfield police department for not providing that tape,” Brown told Wallace. “If we hadn't had the tapes in this case, an innocent man would be in jail today."
Read more at ABC 7 New York.