NJ man claims he was attacked by cops

July 22, 2009 3:07:33 PM PDT
A man in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, claims police used excessive force on him, and it's all caught on camera. But police say the video shows a completely different story. The suspect was being held for unpaid parking tickets. He says he was doing nothing wrong when officers pounced on him.

The video leaves much to interpretation. Police officers said they were protecting themselves at the time, which the suspect calls it abuse.

"He grabs me," Truluck Legette said. "I don't know what going on, I'm scared."

Legette believes that what happened is clearly visible on the dramatic tape, taken after he was arrested and placed in a holding cell in March. He had been arrested for an outstanding warrant and brought to the police headquarters.

There, after his handcuffs were taken off, Legette stood in front of the officer and appeared to begin zipping up his sweatshirt when the officer reached for his hands.

"At this point, I'm going to grab my zipper, and one officer grabs my arm," Legette said. "He tries to force it behind my back. And the other officer grabs my other arm. And I'm tussling."

The scuffle escalated to a point where two other officers joined in. A door blocked the view for a portion of the time. Legette was then thrown to the ground while the officers struggled to subdue him. One officer is then seen striking Legette three times.

"We hit the ground," he said. "They forced me onto my stomach, onto my chest...they're trying to get my arms behind my back, feet on the ground firm. I'm basically cooperating at this point."

They hit him with pepper spray and eventually subdued him.

A special counsel for Fair Lawn was not available to be interviewed, but a published report says the officers were following proper procedure to deal with a situation that could have put the officers' safety at risk.

Legette, who faces criminal charges as a result of the incident, is pursuing civil litigation against Fair Lawn.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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