A police officer's claim that a Brooklyn man nearly ran him over is undercut by video footage that’s “crystal clear” proof of a false arrest, a defense lawyer charged Friday.
MTA engineer John Hockenjos was collared and charged with a felony Sunday after Officer Diego Palacios claimed in a court document that the suspect's car almost smacked into him.
"Defendant did drive a four-door sedan at a high rate of speed into a driveway" causing the cop "to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by defendant's vehicle," according to the sworn criminal complaint.
But a night-vision surveillance camera that captured the incident - which happened at Hockenjos's Sheepshead Bay driveway - shows the car slowly pulls up near the officer, who does not move an inch.
Still, the 55-year-old homeowner was cuffed, spent three nights in jail and is now facing up to seven years in prison for reckless endangerment. His wife Irena, 51, was issued summons for disorderly conduct and claims she was punch by the cop off-camera.
"In my 20 years of legal experience, I've never seen this crystal clear example of a false arrest," said defense attorney Craig Newman.
The lawyer said he gave a copy of the tape to prosecutors, who told him they forwarded it to NYPD internal affairs.
It wasn't clear what the cops were doing on the property, but the driveway has been the subject of a two-year civil court battle between the Hockenjoses and their neighbor Argo Paumere, who's expanding his property.
Police were called numerous times to mediate the bitter feud, Hockenjos said, but always dismissed it as a civil matter.
In the video, Paumere is seen with two cops in the driveway when the car pulls in. The Hockenjoses get out and an inaudible argument with the officers ensues. John Hockenjos then begins to unload grocery bags as more officers show up. About five minutes later, he's in cuffs.
"There was no explanation," he said of the arrest. "I'm reminding the officers this is my driveway. They said nothing, just 'Put your hands behind your back.'"
Neither he nor his wife has ever been arrested before.
"The officers totally overreacted to the situation," Newman said. "They lied on the complaint. … They're an insult to police officers in general."
The NYPD and the District Attorney didn't immediately comment.
In a hearing Friday, a judge told Hockenjos to return to court at the end of August unless he's called earlier to hear the case was dismissed.
|Liveleak on Facebook|