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article imageVideo: Couple assault officer, are grabbed and thrown from train

By Walter McDaniel     Jun 26, 2014 in Crime
Union - Onlookers took cell phone video of a New Jersey (NJ) couple being grabbed by police officers and thrown off a train for refusing to leave after bringing their bikes onto the train.
The early facts are clear, an NJ couple were asked to leave the train because their attempts to find a place for their bikes had delayed passengers. Bikes are restricted during rush hour so authorities calmly asked them to follow the rules and leave on the next stop. Several passengers also got involved with the discussion. You can see for yourself what happened next.
The first part of the video in the first part shows a couple arguing with police about bringing their bikes on. You can clearly hear the man saying "touch me, I will knock you the f*** out" to officers. A big argument involving multiple passengers comes up but everything seems fine.
The second part of the video is where the violence happens and is at the bottom of the article. At around 26 seconds you can see where the officer grabs the man and pulls his shirt (as in the attached picture). Around 47 seconds things take a turn for the worse when the man clearly slugs the officer. After that the couple are taken to the ground and restrained.
The woman also allegedly attacks the officers during the scuffle and ends up biting one. The video at this point is tough to gather anything from due to the angle and the fact that the passengers are in a flurry of motion at this point. Reports also state that some passengers came to aid the officer which the video would seem to confirm.
What matters the most is whether the legal rights of those involved were infringed. Regardless of whether he was provoked the officer is allowed to grab the man to enact an arrest or if he thought the man was endangering other passengers. The initial grab would not be counted as assault by an officer in most American courts. The punch by the man would be.
The law also has something to say on excessive force. ABC news probably gives the best explanation of it. Most police activities can be defined as excessive force depending on the judge, officers and jury decisions. The term "excessive" is subjective so it makes sense that the law works like this. This could be a suitable defense for the couple if the judge accepts it.
As with any law case you need to look for precedent when someone makes an assertion about the law. Coghill v. United States gives us this precedent. In this case Darius Coghill was considered to have resisted officers because he would not leave his car and forcefully held on to it. His actions were also interpreted as assault since the car was in gear at one point during the resistance.
Coghill had his assault charges affirmed for holding on to the car then reversed due to poor instruction of the jury. Due to this the couple will likely have no grounds for claiming that the officer started the assault but may be able to get off on a technicality. It is in many ways a microcosm of how our justice system works in America today.
The couple Chris Sanchez, 27, and Antonella Urtecho, 20 are now awaiting trial in Union County Jail. According to NJ Transit spokesman William Smith they are charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and interfering with transportation. Our information so far comes from NJ.com.
The police reaction may be in part because Peruvian crime in NJ has spiked in recent years as the Observer reports. Multiple claims of brutality have been made against NJ officers recently. It is easy to see the two sides of a very tense and sometimes dangerous situation in the Jersey area.
More about New jersey, Assault, Train, Law, Excessive force
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