Following are three video clips of Princeton University Professor Imani Perry’s arrest on Feb. 6, 2016. The 27-minute full video follows. The videos are followed by a story and warrant documents.
Clip one – The radar and the initial stop.
Clip two – Officer confirms Perry’s address and other details.
Clip three – Officer discusses suspended license and warrant, explains process to Perry, is heard talking during the pat-down, and then the police cars leave the scene.
Planet Princeton requested the video footage of the motor vehicle stop and arrest of Princeton University Professor Imani Perry under the state’s Open Public Records Act and New Jersey Common Law after Perry, who is black, tweeted about her traumatic experience being pulled over, patted down and handcuffed on Saturday morning, Feb. 6, as she was on her way to Princeton University.
The almost half hour video shows a police officer sitting in a police vehicle on the side of the road on Mercer Street. The police officer was using radar to track the speed of vehicles that passed by, and he allegedly clocked Perry driving 67 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone as she was heading north, just before the bridge near the intersection of Quaker Road in Princeton. The officer turned on his siren and lights, and followed Perry’s vehicle until she pulled over near the Battlefield State Park on Mercer Street.
The video shows the officer approaching the vehicle and informing Perry that she was speeding. (She is later issued a ticket.) The asks for Perry’s insurance card and registration. She is unable to produce the registration card. The officer returns to the patrol vehicle for several minutes, contacts police dispatch, and discovers that Perry has an outstanding court warrant for parking tickets and a suspended Pennsylvania driver’s license.
The officer approaches the car to ask Perry questions and tell her about the warrant and suspended license. A female police officer who is in another patrol car joins him.
Perry is asked to exit the car, and is escorted off the road next to the two police vehicles by the two officers. The pat-down can’t be seen on the dash cam video footage, but audio of the officers explaining procedures and Perry’s responses can be heard.
Editor’s Note: Planet Princeton redacted a portion of the video where Perry tells the police officer where she currently lives. A prior address for a large apartment complex, the same address on the warrant and license, is audible. We also did not include several minutes of footage of the officer in the patrol car communicating with police dispatch. About the video quality: The dash cam video is part of a proprietary system and can’t easily be converted to a regular video file, therefore we had to take a video of the video.
Warrant and Tickets
According to documents obtained by Planet Princeton at the municipal court on Wednesday (see below), Perry received two tickets – one on Nov. 27, 2012 and the other on Dec. 13, 2012. One ticket was for overtime parking. The second ticket was for not parking within the designated parking space. Perry did not pay the fines, and a court warrant for her arrest for failure to appear was issued on March 7, 2013. Bail was set at $130. The warrant wording commands “any police officer” to arrest the defendant and bring the person before the court to answer a complaint.
The address listed on the parking tickets, the warrant, and a waiver signed by Perry at the Princeton Police Department on Feb. 6 all list the same Philadelphia address. But her bail receipt lists a suburb north of Philadelphia as her current address. (On the police stop video she tells the officer she never updated the address on her driver’s license.)
Court records also show that another Princeton court warrant was issued for Perry on June 28 of 2011 for unpaid parking tickets for overtime parking on March 29, 2011 and April 28, 2011. The fines were paid a month after the warrant was issued. The same Philadelphia address that was listed on the 2013 warrant was listed on the 2011 warrant.
Perry’s Pennsylvania license was suspended for reasons that were unknown to Princeton Police but are unrelated to the Princeton parking tickets. According to public records, Perry has an active case in Abington Township, Pa. which is in Montgomery County, for driving an unregistered vehicle. The case was filed on March 30, 2015. A hearing is scheduled for March 4, 2016. She was also issued a summons in Lower Merion, Pa. in 2013 for not paying a parking ticket there. The case is listed as “inactive, awaiting plea” in the court database.