New York City police officer Jonathan Munoz was charged yesterday in connection to a March 12, 2014 incident in which he arrested a man for trying to film him outside a Washington Heights bar. As the surveillance video above shows, the incident played out very differently than Munoz originally claimed, and the officer has now been charged with official misconduct and lying on a criminal complaint.
When Munoz arrested 21-year-old Jason Disisto in Washington Heights on March 12, he claimed Disisto “had crouched in a fighting stance, lunged at him and swung a fist before he was arrested.” Surveillance footage from the bar shows exactly none of that happened. Still, Munoz arrested Disisto on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and interfering a police investigation.
According to the video, the incident actually played out like this: Munoz approached Disisto’s friend outside the bar and attempted to illegally search her pockets. Disisto borrowed a cellphone from another friend and started to film Munoz. Munoz then grabbed Disisto and arrested him with the help of two other officers.
Prosecutor Julio Cuevas, Jr., said in state supreme court yesterday that the surveillance video showed that “not only had the man not engaged in the actions attributed to him by Munoz, but that Munoz had unlawfully searched the woman as she stood on the sidewalk.” Munoz’s lawyer, Stephen C. Worth, claimed the absence of audio made the videos misleading.
Munoz pleaded not guilty to both charges.