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Watch: Cop In Paterson, NJ Caught Illegally Searching Van

A plainclothes police officer with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department was caught on camera searching a minivan illegally. The owner of the vehicle walks towards his car with his camera rolling, as the cop is rummaging through the back of the minivan.

Officials in Passaic County, NJ have confirmed that the individual seen on camera wearing khaki slacks and a red T-shirt with his badge hanging around his neck, is indeed a county sheriff officer.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s department, Bill Maer, released the following statement: “In an effort to assure an independent investigation of the circumstances around the search video, the matter has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for a thorough and independent review.” 

The video begins with the officer already searching the back cargo area of the van. As the vehicle owner approaches the car, the cop quickly closes the hatch and attempts to walk away. The man asked, “What is you in my van for?” The cop asks the man to follow him across the street where other uniformed cops are standing but the man did not follow him. The cop then states, “We’re getting a lot of complaints about guns.”

The officer refused to identify himself to the vehicle’s owner but instead offered to give him a business card with his name on it, if the man would follow him across the street.

The man says he was across the street having something to eat with his family when he saw someone in his vehicle. The man also stated he wasn’t from the area and had no idea why the cops targeted his car.

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The prosecutor’s office has so far refused to identify the officer in the video by name, when the incident occurred, or whether anyone was arrested.

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