Usually, when you see and hear cop videos and recordings on the web it is part of the a condemnation of conduct, going back to the Rodney King beating video up to the UC Davis Occupy protest where Lt. John Pike pepper-sprayed protesters like they were weeds.
But not today. Today the video (and audio) exonerates the cop.
In Matter of Dear, a guy gets a speeding ticket for going 85 in a 55 zone. Said guy happens to be a lawyer. And said lawyer, who is also an orthodox Jew, tries to blast his way out of the ticket with this humdinger of a letter:
“Ladies and Gentlemen:
This ticket shall be dismissed immediately since –
a. there was no speeding and the officer refused to show me evidence that there was: (i.e. – “not guilty”)
b. even if there was speeding (which there wasn’t) – I was in a 65-mph zone NOT a 55 mph zone; and
c. The officer called me a “jew kike” – and this prejudice obviously was the cause for the ticket.
I am a licensed attorney in NY State and will be representing myself in this matter (contact details enclosed).
[signed] Eliot Dear Esq.
[business card attached]”
Ouch. You know where this is going, right? The cop had a video camera on the car, unbeknownst to Dear. And the cop was wired for audio.
And when confronted on the phone about this by an investigator — who was also recording the call — he didn’t ‘fess up that he had lied. The decision by the First Department today continues regarding the investigation:
The interview continued and respondent added that the trooper dismissed respondent’s proffered explanation for speeding, namely, that his pregnant wife needed a bathroom, as more baloney from “you guys,” which respondent stated referred to orthodox Jews. Respondent further recounted that the trooper displayed a demeaning attitude toward respondent and his wife. However, none of this information was supported by the video or audio recordings made during the traffic stop.
“You guys.” Nice.
There is a long explanation offered in mitigation — offered after he finally does ‘fesses up — about his psychiatric treatment for a variety of problems and family issues.
And the verdict? Suspended for six months. The Court finds that Dear made accusations, “which accusations were prejudicial to the administration of justice, engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as an attorney, [and] asserted positions which served to harass and maliciously injure.”
Why suspension and not something a little lighter? The Court:
Here, respondent cavalierly attributed anti-Semitic slurs to an innocent person in a manner which could have had devastating consequences to that person’s career. This act alone warrants a harsh sanction, not to mention that it was done to gain an advantage in an administrative proceeding. Notwithstanding the mitigating evidence and respondent’s apparently sincere remorse, his behavior was reckless and reflects poorly on the bar. Under the circumstances, censure or admonition is simply too lenient a penalty.
File this under Attorney Ethics.