Dennis Ortiz was pulled over by New Jersey state police last year for driving 110 mph on the interstate as he was driving back from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
He readily admitted to the speeding and agreed to step out of the vehicle, where he followed the officer’s instructions in performing a roadside sobriety test, which he passed.
Once he was allowed back inside his car, his girlfriend was recording and asked him to recap the scenario.
Ortiz spoke into the camera, saying the cops gave him an “unlawful sobriety test with no probable cause in the vehicle.”
But then the cops began asking him to step out of the vehicle again, which he refused to do, telling them they have already conducted their business.
However, they assured him they were not going to arrest him. That they just wanted to “talk.”
“We can talk right here,” Ortiz responded, speaking to the officers through a lowered slit in the window.
But they didn’t want to talk right there. They wanted to talk to him face-to-face, which is what led them to breaking his drivers side window.
And even though they promised they would not take him to jail, they did him to jail because he did not step out when ordered to do so, even though they never mentioned why they needed him to step out.
Ortiz ended up spending the night in jail and getting fired from his job at a mechanic the following day because he had missed work.
And in September 2014, all charges against him were dismissed, including reckless driving, obstruction and resisting arrest.
Now he is filing suit.
According to NJ.com:
The lawsuit says Ortiz was given a field sobriety test without proper cause and then harassed after he returned to his car.
Ortiz is seeking damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney fees, costs and “all such other relief as this court may deem appropriate, equitable, and just.”
In the video, which was recorded by Ortiz’s girlfriend, additional troopers arrive, and one of them asks Ortiz to step out of the car to discuss something. Ortiz is told that he is not under arrest, and he tells the trooper that if he just wants to talk, he would prefer to do so while inside the vehicle, through the partially opened window.
The video shows Ortiz and his girlfriend being told “he is now under arrest” after he refused to get out of the car; and moments later an officer smashes his window, opens the door and pulls him from the car.
“At that point, and in an effort to cover up defendant’s own unlawful conduct and racial profiling, Murray falsely” charged Ortiz with obstruction and resisting arrest.
The suit alleges Murray and unnamed troopers used “unreasonable and/or excessive force” in smashing the car windows and it also accuses each officer of failing to prevent the use of excessive force.
Finally, the lawsuit alleges the officers assaulted Ortiz by touching and arresting him without cause, conspiracy, and intentionally or negligently inflicting emotional distress.
We have reached out to Ortiz’s attorney for a copy of the lawsuit because corporate media sites will rarely post copies of the actual lawsuits they write about.
But the New Jersey media, playing the police apologist role, is criticizing Ortiz for filing what they deem a frivolous lawsuit.
A writer named Jeff Deminski, writing a piece for the radio station website, New Jersey 101.5, called him a “moron” in the first sentence of a story titled : Were NJ State Troopers Wrong for Smashing Out Drivers Windows?
They performed a field sobriety test and the lawsuit is claiming they had no proper cause to do so. Really? I hope every time someone is driving that recklessly the officers would perform a sobriety test as a matter of course. Then they asked him to step back out of his car to talk to them further and he refused to exit his vehicle.
Deciding he should be in charge of this traffic stop and all protocol and not the law enforcement officers, Ortiz arrogantly told them no. He kept disobeying orders, repeatedly telling them no, that they could speak to him through the barely opened window. He’s told several times to exit the vehicle and when he won’t he was told he was under arrest. Last I checked hindering an investigation is an arrest worthy offense. Of course this clown insists everything the police did was illegal every step of the way.
Deminski strikes me as one of those writers who was sure to send his article to all his friends at the New Jersey State Police Department to show he is on their side, just in case he ever gets pulled over for driving more than 100 mph on the expressway.
He even included a poll where readers are overwhelmingly on the side of police.
For most Americans, it’s usually a knee-jerk reaction to think they must follow every order a police officer dishes out without considering the lawfulness of those orders, including when an officer sticks an erect penis in their face and orders them to start sucking.
Legal experts might point to Mimms vs Pennsylvania, which in 1977 ruled that police officers have the legal right to order citizens out of their cars for “officer safety.”
However, in this case, Ortiz had already stepped out of the car, so if there was any concern about officer safety, the officers should never have let him step back in his car.
Then there is Rodriguez vs. United States, a 2015 Supreme Court decision that ruled that police cannot extend a traffic stop for the sole purpose of bringing dogs to sniff the car.
The New Jersey state police did not bring dogs, but they certainly extended the traffic stop because they had already written him a ticket.
You can read the actual decision here, but this is the key phrase:
Authority for the seizure ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are—or reasonably should have been— completed. The Fourth Amendment may tolerate certain unrelated investigations that do not lengthen the roadside detention, Johnson, 555 U. S., at 327–328 (questioning); Caballes, 543 U. S., at 406, 408 (dog sniff), but a traffic stop “become[s] unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete th[e] mission” of issuing a warning ticket, id., at 407. Beyond determining whether to issue a traffic ticket, an officer’s mission during a traffic stop typically includes checking the driver’s license, determining whether there are outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance.
In this case, it appears as if all necessary business had been completed. The cops did their roadside sobriety test, they supposedly ran his name for warrants and they checked all the other necessary details.
What happened was that another officer pulled up and wanted a piece of Ortiz for whatever reason.
Here is the video, which comes from Ortiz’s attorney, but it has been edited.