NJ Police Officer Unlawfully Detains Man for Video Recording Traffic
A New Jersey police officer who served three tours in Iraq as a U.S. Marine didn’t think twice about violating a man’s First Amendment right to record in public.
Perhaps Jersey City police officer Ramon Aponte was overseas when court decision after court decision, not to mention news article after news article, confirmed citizens have the right to record police from public sidewalks.
Or perhaps Aponte just continues to treat all citizens as enemy combatants because it’s all he knows how to do.
The video, uploaded Saturday by Joe Feranti, lasts almost 14 minutes, kicking off with Aponte asking for Feranti’s name after walking up to him and informing him he also has a camera on his uniform.
When Feranti refuses to provide his name, Apponte get stupid.
“Because at this point, if you’re recording my stop, then I have to seize your phone,” Aponte said.
“No, you don’t,” said Joe Feranti.
“Yes, I do,” Aponte said.
“That’s not true,” Feranti said.
“Really? Ok, I’m going to call my boss, you’re going to stand here, I’m going to detain you. And then we’ll figure this out,” Aponte said.
Minutes go by and Aponte tells a woman standing by observing to walk away because “it’s a no standing stop,” whatever that means.
More cops eventually arrive and stand around looking clueless until Sergeant K. Browne finally arrives and asks for identification, which Feranti refuses to provide.
Sergeant Browne accuses Feranti of being a “distraction” to Aponte while he was conducting a minor traffic stop.
Browne eventually tells Feranti he is free to go, telling him, “you were never detained.”
“You’re not detained. You’re not in handcuffs. Are you in handcuffs? Are you in a police car? You can leave now,” Browne said, obviously confusing detainment with actual arrest.
For all his lack of training, Aponte makes more than $96,000 a year.
Call the Jersey City Police Department at (201) 547-4239 or leave a comment on its Facebook page.