A New Jersey cop who did not think twice about lying on a police report to send a man to prison was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday without the eligibility of parole.
And only because his dash cam contradicted his police report.
Otherwise, it may have been Marcus Jeter sentenced to prison on charges of eluding, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and attempting to disarm a police officer.
Instead, it was Bloomfield police officer Orlando Trinidad convicted on charges of simple assault, official misconduct, conspiracy to commit official misconduct, tampering with public records, falsifying public records and false swearing.
His partner in crime, Bloomfield police officer Sean Courter, was also convicted last November and was scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, but his sentencing was postponed, according to the Associated Press.
But like Trinidad, Courter is also facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
A third cop who also falsified reports, Albert Sutterlin, pleaded guilty in 2013 and agreed to testify against the other two cops in a five-week trial that ended with their convictions in November 2015.
“I am truly sorry for everything that has transpired,” Trinidad said through tears, while wearing a prison uniform and with his hands cuffed in front of him. “I am a different man today as I stand here before you. I am a humbled man.”
“He was a good cop and now he’s lost all that,” his attorney, Frank Arleo, added.
Now he will be a convict. A career flushed down the toilet because he figured he could lie and get away with it.
And he would have gotten away with it had he not driven his car in the opposite direction on the Garden State Parkway, striking Jeter’s car after it had been pulled over by Courter on the night of June 6, 2012.
That aggressive act positioned his patrol car directly in front of Jeter’s car, showing Jeter’s had his hands raised when both Trinidad and Courter yelled at him to get out of the car, shattering his window and dragging him out, laying him down on the ground while ordering him to stop resisting and to stop grabbing their gun – obviously for the benefit of the camera.
“I’m not grabbing,” Jeter kept saying. “I did nothing wrong.”
Sutterlin walked up moments before they dragged him out of the car and later claimed he saw nothing, but went ahead with the lies in his report because he just assumed his fellow cops were telling the truth.
This is how it all unraveled, according to NJ.com:
The series of events leading to Jeter’s arrest began when Courter and a third officer, Albert Sutterlin, responded to a domestic-related call at Jeter’s Bloomfield home. His girlfriend’s sister called 911 after Jeter threw the girlfriend’s cell phone down a staircase during a verbal argument.
Soon after the officers arrived, Jeter left the residence. Courter has claimed Jeter was drunk and fled after he had ordered him to stop, but Jeter has said he was not drunk and that Courter indicated he could leave the residence.
Among other alleged lies, Arleo claimed Jeter was lying about being allowed to leave the home, noting how Courter immediately ran to his patrol vehicle and reported to other police officers via radio that “he just took off on me.”
After Courter later stopped Jeter on Parkway, followed by Sutterlin, the officers approached Jeter’s vehicle with their guns drawn and ordered him to get out. Trinidad arrived at the scene and struck the front of Jeter’s car with his patrol vehicle.
Jeter told ABC News that he did not get out of the car because he was in fear for his life considering he was surrounded by two cops with guns drawn, including one with a shotgun.
Initially, only Courter’s video was released to his attorney prior to his trial. But when his attorney demanded Trinidad’s footage, that was what led to Jeter’s charges being dismissed.
Jeter has since filed a lawsuit.