Exhibit A. The man being pummeled was charged with felony assault of a police officer. You decide.
Defense video that was used in court to show that the NYPD lied under oath.
In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting the version of events offered by police and prosecutors.
In the police version of events, Premo charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer's bone. That's the story prosecutors told in Premo's trial, and it's the general story his arresting officer testified to under oath as well.
Specifically, Jones testified that Premo went under the mesh but "he didn't go on the ground." Rather, "he pushed his way, like you're on a line for football," before knocking over Lt. Welsh before struggling with three or four police officers and falling over twice more.
"The defendant successfully pushed his way through the measure by causing it to give way on the bottom and slipping out underneath it so as to remove himself from the detention area. In coming out, he bumped into a uniformed lieutenant, Lieutenant Welsh, who attempted to grab him, and the defendant and lieutenant went down on to the ground.
Sergeant Jones, having observed all of that, responded in an attempt to assist the lieutenant. The defendant refused to be detained and continued to attempt to try to run westbound down 29th Street. Sergeant Jones fell down on the defendant, as a result of the defendant's actions, and the defendant continued to flail and stiffen his arms, and the defendant got back to his feet. The sergeant told him to stop resisting, but the flailing and stiffing of the arms continued, such that Sergeant Jones again fell with the defendant, and finally three or four police officers were able to subdue the defendant and place him under arrest."
But as the jury saw, video of Premo's arrest shot by Demcoracy Now freelancer Jon Gerberg contradicted key points of Jones's sworn testimony. Lieutenant Welsh is nowhere to be seen in the video, nor is any other white-shirted senior officer. Premo is quite clearly crawling on the ground to get out of the scrum, doesn't knock anybody over, and doesn't appear to resist arrest at all.
So will Sgt. Jones face perjury charges for repeatedly swearing to statements that could have landed Premo in jail for a year of his life?
When the Voice asked the Manhattan DA's office, their response was "no comment."