We often discuss the transformative role of video technology on the prosecution of police abuse, particularly the ubiquitous presence of cellphones with video capability. However, this is not a one way street. The technology also clears some officers rather than implicates them in crimes. One such case is the controversy at a traffic stop in New Jersey after Hyacinth Peccoo, 50, of Irvington, accused Officer Daniel Caffrey of yelling and pulling a gun on her. A dash cam video not only showed that Caffrey not only did not do so but actually appeared to cut her a break on a violation.
Peccoo was pulled over for failure to stop at a stop sign. She later filed a complaint against Caffrey and said that he yelled at her, pulled his gun, and pointed it at her. She supplied a written statement and gave an account to an investigator. The investigator, Detective Lt. Michael Fairweather, however, already knew about the dashcam videotape when he interviewed Peccoo, making it something of a set up. After the interview, Fairweather told Peccoo about the videotape. He said that not only what she had just told him was a lie but that Caffrey could be heard giving Peccoo a break by not issuing her an $85 ticket for failure to stop at a stop sign as it carries two points. Rather gave her a $26 ticket for failure to change her address on her license.
She is now charged with making a false report to law enforcement authorities, a disorderly persons offense. The written complain is enough for such a charge, though the oral interview can also be part of the charged conduct even though it appears to be a set up. I would be more troubled by the interview if she had not already filed the complaint and the interview was the sole basis for the violation.
What do you think?