A New Jersey police officer is being investigated after a dashcam video showed the officer suddenly braking in the middle of a roadway and then issuing the driver behind him multiple tickets, authorities said Friday.
According to NJ.com, video of the March 19 altercation surfaced on YouTube last week. It shows a Clifton resident, identified only as Omar B., and shows the Clifton police officer slamming on the brakes in front of the man.
There was no one in front of the officer at the time he slammed on the brakes. The officer admitted in the video that he only braked in front of the motorist because the driver was driving behind him too closely. The practice is known as “brake checking,” according to NJ.com.
Warning. The video contains explicit language.
“This cop could have hurt me, himself and anyone else who was behind me that couldn’t stop in time,” the individual wrote in the video.
Clifton Police Department spokesman Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken told NJ.com that the incident is being investigated by Internal Affairs officers.
“The Clifton Police Department is aware of the incident,” Bracken said. “Internal Affairs matters are confidential, therefore, we will not be commenting on the incident at this time.”
NJ.com, citing public records, identified the police officer as Juan Velez. Velez has been working with the Clifton Police Department since 2005. Bracken didn’t confirm the officer’s identity or the department’s policy on brake-checking practices.
In the video, the car appears to be traveling at a speed between 22 and 29 mph. Velez tells the driver he “braked because I thought you were going to run into me.”
The motorist, driving a 2006 Infiniti M35x, was traveling at about 29 mph before the officer brake-checked him. The driver told the officer he was “a car length away.”
Velez issued the driver three summonses at the end of the traffic stop: One for lack of a front license plate, one for tailgating and another for tinted windows.
The video has been viewed on Youtube more than 200,000 times.