WATCH: New Jersey Cops Release Video of Forceful Arrest of Man After Dispute

New Jersey – After footage of a forceful arrest began circulating on social media, Mount Ephraim police did something unusual: They posted the video themselves and offered an explanation of what happened.

“This is a perfect example of how something so simple, a call that these officers may have thought would be easily handled, can turn into something very different, very quickly,” the department said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

Officers were called to a dispute over a loose dog Monday, according to the department, and decided to detain the dog’s owner after he gave them a false name for the citation. A woman began filming as the man resisted being taken to the cruiser, and was eventually taken to the ground.

The police department claimed that the woman, who also described herself as an owner of the dog, left out important details that led up to the arrest when she posted the video on social media.

“The officers made every attempt to de-escalate the situation and attend to their responsibilities using the least amount of force possible,” the post said. “…and once the whole story is known, that becomes far more obvious when viewing the video.”

The incident began Monday when a neighbor called to report that the man had threatened a child during a dispute about his dog “running at large,” according to the police’s explanation.

In the video, the man denied threatening the girl. “I told a little white girl not to talk to me that way and this is what you do,” he said as he was pulled toward the cruiser.

The department said officers had given the man “multiple warnings for similar complaints” about the dog, so they tried to get his name to issue him a municipal court summons for violating a borough ordinance.

“The officers soon determined that the information provided by the male was false and through further investigation they determined that the information they believed to be the male’s true identity revealed a criminal warrant for his arrest,” the post said.

The department said that when the officers tried to talk to the man again to get his real name, he tried to run. The video begins as they are handcuffing him — with some effort — on a doorstep.

According to the names on their uniforms, the officers are Mitchell Malinowski and Robert Bernauer.

While he is being cuffed, both the woman filming and the man question the officers about the reason for the arrest. The officers make no mention of a warrant while they are being recorded.

“Your name does not come back on file. I came to ask you and you ran away from me,” Bernauer said to the man. Later in the video he said the man “took off toward the front door.”

“No sir, I didn’t run away from you,” the man replies. “Why am I being arrested?”

The man tells the officers they’ll have to drag him to the cruiser because he won’t walk, and they do exert force to get him to move. At one point the man jerks his arm up and his elbow flies into Bernauer’s face, dislodging his police radio from his shoulder.

The department said the blow struck Bernauer in the face, but it’s not clear in the video.

About 30 seconds later, a struggle begins next to the cruiser and Bernauer tells the man to stop “reaching for it.” The two officers take him to the ground and a moment later, he begins screaming “Ow!” and “Help Me!”

After he is placed in the cruiser, Bernauer again tells the woman filming why he is arresting the man.

“No, you’re arresting him because he’s black,” she says.

“No, that’s not correct. I arrested him because he lied about his name,” Bernauer replies.

According to the ACLU, New Jersey residents can refuse to give their names when stopped by police, unless they are driving a car or — as in this case — they are being issued a court summons.

The man who was arrested is being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension, police said.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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