Today, many police officers are equipped with cameras on their bodies or the dashboard of their car to record all of their activities while on duty. In many recent incidents around the country this footage has become crucial in either proving cases of police misconduct or exonerating people who were falsely arrested by the police.

Police in Bloomfield New Jersey caught on a dashboard camera

An incident in Essex County in 2012 involved two police officers who had arrested a man, yet when their dashboard footage later emerged it was determined that they pulled the victim out of the car and beat him. The 30 year old victim was initially charged of fleeing arrest and resisting a police officer during the traffic stop. After the arrest occurred, there was no wrongdoing found and their internal affairs department considered it to be a legitimate criminal case. However, when the video of the interaction was found at a later time, the lies became obvious and the charges against the victim were dropped. There were also various criminal cases filed against the officers involved for official misconduct, conspiracy, and falsifying police reports. The victim’s attorney was certain that if the video of the incident was not found, his client would be in jail.

The significance of video evidence

Unfortunately for most of the general public, police will initially be given the benefit of the doubt until relevant evidence proves them wrong. This is why it is so important for citizens to make videos of police interactions or obtain them from a relevant department that requires body or dashboard cameras.

The federal lawsuits that can be brought against police departments usually involve activities such as excessive use of force, false arrest, and other forms of misconduct that can only be proven by evidence such as videos, pictures, and the testimony of witnesses who saw the incident. In situations where this evidence is lacking, police departments can easily clear their officers of any wrongdoing and let them get away with a number of improper actions.

How to obtain videos

Even though the police may not like being filmed, in most jurisdictions around the country it is perfectly legal to film the police in public while they are on duty. Taking your own videos and pictures can be a big help if possible.

In situations where only the department has the relevant evidence, it is best to retain legal help. Even though these recordings should technically be public record under state law, the department will usually act evasive and tell normal citizens that the recordings do not exist. It may take formal letters from a lawyer or an order from a judge to have the department release the recordings. A conversation with an attorney who has brought cases against local police departments can help clear up the specifics of this process.

Talk to a lawyer in North Jersey now

If you have been injured or mistreated by the police in Essex County or anywhere nearby in New Jersey, there are experienced police brutality lawyers available to speak with you. They can discuss the specifics of your case as well as tell you how they plan to obtain relevant evidence from the police.

Stuart M. Nachbar has been representing clients in the Garden State for over 20 years. His experience will give you the best chance of winning a cash settlement or judgment against the local police.