Officer Jonathan Munoz lied and was caught on video. It’s obvious that police officers lying is a huge problem because who does the court believe? Innocent people are being sent to prison due to officers who lie.
A Manhattan cop has been charged with lying about an Upper Manhattan arrest and bogusly claiming he was threatened by a 20-year-old woman statements that were clearly at odds with surveillance footage, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jonathan Munoz, 32, who has been an NYPD officer since 2006, pleaded not guilty to offering a false instrument for filing, official misconduct and making a punishable false written statement at his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Jonathan Munoz collared a 21-year-old man around W. 183rd St. and St. Nicholas Ave. on March 12, 2014, telling prosecutors and his bosses the man was interfering with his arrest of the woman, prosecutors said.
He said he suspected the woman “of purchasing marijuana” and that the man was in a “fighting stance” before throwing a punch at him, according to court documents.
“Surveillance video subsequently obtained form the arrest location revealed that not only had the man not engaged in the actions attributed to him by Officer Jonathan Munoz, but that Munoz had unlawfully searched the woman as she stood on the sidewalk,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.
Charges against the man, identified in court papers as Jason Disisto, were dismissed because of the cop’s fabricated story.
Officer Jonathan Munoz, of Suffern, N.Y., was released on his own recognizance. He wore a suit and yarmulke in court, and declined comment afterwards.
Charges against a police officer accused of arresting a man for filming him with a cellphone camera have drawn fresh attention to a decades-old issue: citizens’ rights to record police.
Even before Munoz’s arrest, Disisto contended in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court that New York Police Department officers intimidate or arrest people recording police activity. He cited instances since 2005 when people, including journalists, were arrested after recording police with cameras or phones.
Police spokeswoman Sophia Mason says NYPD employees are reminded not to interfere with people recording police activity.
Union reps state:
“It escalates the tension and makes it more dangerous for everyone involved,” Lynch said. “The act of recording police starts from the belief that every officer is doing something wrong and that’s insulting to all police officers.”
Prosecutors say their case against Munoz, 32, was built in part through surveillance video from a commercial establishment disproving his claim that Disisto entered a “fighting stance” before lunging and swinging a fist at him as officers investigated a young woman suspected of buying marijuana.
“Had this officer’s attempts to conceal his alleged misconduct succeeded, an innocent man may still be facing charges for a fabricated crime,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a news release.
The past year provided plenty of video evidence that, far too often, police officers lie at the expense of civilians in order to protect themselves. The Walter Scott cellphone video out of North Charleston showed Michael Slager planting a Taser next to his victim’s body, with the apparent hope of substantiating a version of the story in which Scott attacked him with a stun gun. The Laquan McDonald dashcam footage from Chicago showed that Jason Van Dyke and other officers on the scene had all lied in reporting to their superiors that McDonald was coming toward them with a knife when Van Dyke opened fire. Both of those incidents resulted in criminal charges against the cops—a testament to the power of video to undercut official narratives that in another era would have likely gone unquestioned.
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