NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A police officer whose account of a physical altercation with a motorist during a traffic stop was contradicted by a dashcam video showing the motorist with his hands raised was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison.
Bloomfield Officer Orlando Trinidad and a fellow officer were found guilty in November of official misconduct, falsifying public records and other offenses. Officer Sean Courter’s Friday sentencing was postponed.
Trinidad will be ineligible for parole during the five-year sentence.
Prosecutors contended Courter followed motorist Marcus Jeter onto the Garden State Parkway in June 2012 after Jeter voluntarily left his home following a verbal dispute with his girlfriend. They said Jeter refused to get out of his car when Courter stopped him, and Courter and Trinidad, who struck the front of Jeter’s car when he arrived, broke one of the car’s windows and dragged Jeter out.
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Courter, of Englishtown, and Trinidad, of Bloomfield, claimed in police reports that Jeter tried to grab Courter’s gun and struck Trinidad.
Jeter was charged with resisting arrest, aggravated assault and other offenses based on video from one of the officers’ dashboard cameras.
But Jeter acquired a second police dashcam video through an open-records request. Combined, the videos showed him with his hands in the air for virtually the entire encounter.
Prosecutors dropped charges against Jeter and charged Trinidad, Courter and a third officer.
The third officer, Albert Sutterlin, pleaded guilty in 2013 to falsifying and tampering with records.