New Jersey Cops Attack Man for Recording Because Phone Could Have Been Weapon - PINAC News
Connect
To Top

New Jersey Cops Attack Man for Recording Because Phone Could Have Been Weapon

A man and a woman were walking down a commercial street in Atlantic City when a cop pulled up and demanded to talk to them. The man, Aaron Bland, who had just finished hosting a boat show, refused to talk to her and continued walking with his co-worker.

That was when the cop, Juliann Schewenger, stepped out of the car and stood in their way. When Bland demanded to know what she wanted, Schewenger told him he looked like someone she was looking for, demanding his name and identification.

Sensing trouble, Bland pulled out his cell phone to begin recording.

That was when he was attacked by several Atlantic City cops, which you can see in the video below.

Atlantic City Police Chief Henry White later told the media that the phone could have been a gun, which is why the attack was justified.

Bland ended up arrested for resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. It is still not clear whom they were looking for in the first place or if he was ever found.

According to the Press of Atlantic City:

“It looks like he was holding a cell phone camera while she was trying to place him under arrest,” said (Chief) White, who saw the video Monday.

“This is at night, the officer was there by herself with two people, it’s dark out and he’s pulling out a cell phone,” White said, indicating the officer could have mistaken it for a weapon.

“Regardless of whether someone from the public believes they have done nothing wrong, you still have to comply with an officer’s instructions,” White said.

“It’s a poor quality video on YouTube,” pointed out Sgt. Monica McMenamin, spokeswoman for the department. “He was using his cell phone to video the encounter and refusing to cooperate.”

A K-9 dog did arrive on scene, and can be heard barking toward the end of the video. As soon as the dog arrived on scene, Bland surrendered to the arrest, White said.

This is how Bland explained it on his Youtube channel:

On the night of 2-07-2015 I Aaron Bland and my Coworker Meg Jones were walking down Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City new Jersey. A police car pulled up in front of us a female officer. later identified on the charge paperwork as Juliann Schewenger approached us. She demanded we stop and asked us to talk to her. I refused and we attempted to continue walking she stood in our way again and we stopped and asked her why she was stopping us ( I began to pull out my cellphone at that time to record the exchange) Juliann Schwenger said ” I look like someone she is looking for” I told her that I don’t look like anyone and she demanded my name and ID. I refused and when the light from my camera flashed on her She attacked me. as she was attacking me and I attempted to get away from the assault i was attacked from behind , kicked, punched and wrestled to the ground by other members of the Atlantic City Police Department who are clearly visible in the video. You can hear my coworker screaming and a police K-9 unit was also over my head jumping and barking.

All for walking down the street. We had committed no crime whatsoever.

We were in town to work at the Atlantic City Boat Show for our marketing company and I was hosting the event.

I was not under arrest at the time the officer attacked me. I was attacked. THEN I was placed under arrest after I had been attacked with absolutely no provocation.

Here’s betting the cop with the dog is Sterling Wheaten, an Atlantic City cop with a long history of abuse as we reported back in 2013.

None of the cops were wearing body cameras even though last August, they announced they would start wearing them that same month in order to “improve the department’s image.”

At his December swearing-in, Police Chief Henry White addressed the excessive-force allegations and promised policies to improve the department’s image and help community relations.

“We want the public to believe in us,” said Deputy Chief Joseph Nolan, who oversees the patrol units, where the cameras will go first. “We want the public to trust us. We want the public to see we don’t have anything to hide.”

Worn on the front of the officer’s shirt, the camera is always filming video on a loop. Recording doesn’t begin until an officer hits a switch, which then records beginning 30 seconds before the button was hit. Audio starts the second it’s turned on.

Officers will receive their camera at the beginning of their shift, and announce the number they have over the radio as they do with their car and what area they’re assigned.

At the end of the shift, the officer docks the camera where it recharges and also uploads the video to online storage on the Cloud. It cannot be edited, and it tags the user whenever it’s viewed, explained Sgt. Omar Martin, who is in the department’s IT Department.

After it’s uploaded, the video is deleted from the camera to clear it for the next use. But, if the upload is interrupted, the video stays on the camera until it’s complete, explained Lt. James Sarkos, who heads the Vice Unit.

“It’s foolproof,” he added.

Schewenger graduated from the academy in August 2013, so she learned very quickly how to abuse her power.

Call the Atlantic City Police Department at (609) 347-5780. Or leave a comment on their Facebook page. 

More in A Few Bad Apples