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FULL VIDEO BELOW: In body camera footage which can only be described as "shocking," Lakewood Police Detective Sergeant Tyler Distefano violated a Lakewood resident's constitutional rights numerous times - at 2am!

The incident took place on January 15, 2023 when Detective Sergeant Distefano - who only weeks prior was promoted to Detective Sergeant - was responding to a reported burglary at a local business.

The business owner alleged that an employee stole equipment from the store, and he provided the detectives with the employees home address.

Upon arrival at the residence, just before 2am on a Saturday night, officers shone flashlights into the vehicle in the driveway and decided that they had sufficiently seen "evidence of a crime" inside the vehicle.

The officers then walked up to the front and rang the bell.

The residents inside asked the officers over the doorbell if they had a warrant to be on the property or to execute any arrests.

Detective Sergeant Distefano responded "we are responding to a report of a burglary. We can see the evidence inside in your car. Would you prefer to come out now and let us get inside your car so we can deal with this now or would you prefer that we tow the car on our own and then apply for a search warrant?"

The resident responded "I'll wait for a warrant."

At that point the officers walked down the steps and called for a tow truck.

Shortly afterwards, the officers noticed open boxes on the porch, and they walked back up the steps and began to take possession of the boxes.

Immediately, the resident called out over the doorbell "can you get off my property?," to which they responded "no sir." The resident pressed on, asking, "do you have a warrant to be here?" The officers shockingly responded "it doesn't work that way. I don't need a warrant to be here!"

At one point, the resident opened his front door, grabbed a box from his front porch and then slammed his door closed. The officers yelled at him that the boxes on his front porch are "in their custody and he is obstructing their investigation."

Sloppily, the officers later returned some of the boxes, admitting that the boxes did actually appear to belong to the resident!

A few minutes later, the resident opened the window and the officers started to ask him questions. The resident responded "any questions can be asked to my attorney." At that point, Detective Sergeant Distefano told his officers that they can no longer ask him any more questions.

Another few minutes later, officers forced entry into home and placed the resident in handcuffs.

The ensuing body camera footage includes the following exchange:

Resident: What am I being arrested for?

Distefano: Burglary.

Resident: Why?

Distefano: I'm not going to explain anything to you.

Resident: You are on my property without a warrant. You can't go into my house and you can't talk to my wife.... I need to ask my wife.

Distefano: You can't walk back in your house, yet you're also not permitting us to walk in there, so how you like to accomplish that goal?

Resident: How did you walk into my house without a warrant?

Distefano: I'm not even going to explain this to you. Your attorney will explain this to you.

At booking, only a charge for burglary was entered. After the arrest, the officers came to the conclusion that was no reason for a burglary charge. At that point, instead of releasing the resident with no charges, they switched the charges to... Resisting Arrest and Obstruction of the Administration of Law. (Hmm... Sounds like he was charged with resisting and obstructing an attempt to arrest him for a burglary they subsequently concluded that he did not commit...)

As previously reported here on FAA News, an Ocean County man just recently walked out of prison after the New Jersey Supreme Court declared the evidence inadmissible because the police officers illegally searched his car without a warrant.

Justice Douglas Fasciale explained that New Jersey’s constitution provides greater protection against unreasonable searches and seizures than the Fourth Amendment, and it allows police to forego a warrant only in “unforeseeable and spontaneous” circumstances.

Justice Fasciale found that in cases where officers suspect criminal activity from the start, the investigative motor vehicle stop is deliberate, orchestrated, and wholly connected with the reason for the subsequent seizure of the evidence, and a warrant is required before searching the vehicle.

Public records obtained by FAA News indicate that Attorney Yosef Jacobovitch Esq. is representing the Lakewood resident in fighting the charges pressed against him.

The body camera footage can be viewed below.

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Anonymous said...

Shame on lkwd police

Anonymous said...

The police were right when they told this fellow that the easy way is just to talk to them just to straighten things out.

Anonymous said...

this is unreal!! Lakewood police are just terribly unprofessional! you would think this is communist Russia over here! I hope he sues and gets that officer fired