Watch: Cops Hold Black Officers at Gunpoint
Dashcam footage of four Black parole officers being stopped and held at gunpoint by local cops in upstate New York has been made public.
Police in Ramapo, New York released footage of the incident which took place at the busy intersection in Airmont on April 21, 2014.
Officials with the department say the officers handled the incident appropriately, but the parole officers involved are telling a different story.
Officers Mario Alexandre, Sheila Penister, Annette Thomas-Prince, and Samuel Washington filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming they feared for their lives as cops pulled guns and assault rifles on them.
The dashcam footage, obtained by CNN, shows a car driving on the wrong side of the road to get to the parole officers’ vehicle. A local officer then gets out of the patrol car and draws his weapon.
The officer then blocks off traffic and takes cover behind his SUV. One of the parole officers, Alexandre, is seen exiting the vehicle with his hands up. Soon, the remaining three officers are ordered out of the car. At least five local officers are present.
What happens next isn’t visible in the video, but according to Alexandre, he was “violently assaulted” and then “slammed against the car.”
Police said they were responding to a call from a local resident “concerned about four individuals observed in bulletproof vests in an unmarked vehicle.”
The four parole officers were wearing department-issued bulletproof vests and gold badges. Identification was clearly displayed around their necks.
The lawsuit, filed against the town, its police department, and the officers involved, says that the officers had an official sign on the dashboard that read, “State of New York — Executive Department — Division of Parole.”
Police say the officers failed to tell the department that they would be in town.
“It’s easy to second guess the split second decisions of police officers on the scene,” Ramapo Town Assistant Attorney Dennis Lynch told CNN. “Not being cautious enough at times can result in a Brian Moore situation.”
The parole officers say they were held for six minutes after being identified as state employees. No arrests were made.
All of the local police involved were white, according to reports. Ramapo police Lt. Robert Lancia, Capt., Sgt. Margaret Sammarone, Thomas Cokely, and Suffern Sgt. Edward Dolan were identified as being among the officers involved in the incident.
Watch the CNN report and dashcam footage of the incident below.