Police Release Video of Princeton Professor’s Motor Vehicle Stop and Warrant (Updated)

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.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://planetprinceton.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Perry-Warrant.pdf”]


  1. I’ve watched the video, and what I see are some incredibly polite police officers- exactly what I have come to expect from the Princeton Police Department. It’s not nice to be arrested, but the officers did it in pretty much the most sympathetic way possible. Dr Perry’s statements about mistreatment look especially strange after watching this. I’d like to thank our Princeton police for helping to keep out streets safe.

    1. Well done Princeton PD! It’s a shame that because she was “embarrassed” by the process she cries foul and plays the race card! Her self-conscious insecurities have no bearing on the law being enforced. And Xavier, those “bill collectors” just made your streets a little bit safer by making this person realize her transgressions and hopefully own up to her actions in the future!!
      What a horrible example she is setting for her students and our youth.

    2. Saw the entire video and saw nothing but courtesy and professionalism throughout the entire ordeal. They even offered to drive her back O_O How do you play the race card when they seemed to be going out of their way to help you out.

  2. Just as I imagined…all the physical contact occurs off camera. Wide angle lenses have been around for ages so there’s no excuse for the fact that part of every arrest in this town isn’t on video. A force trained to obscure filming of the side of the road where the physical contact isn’t working in the taxpayers or publics best interest. 1) Proper positioning of the police car camera or proper technology is needed to obtain a full record of all contact, to protect taxpayers from legal complications in the future 2) There was likely another police car that arrived at that scene that was filming a wider view….where is that recording? 3) From the sounds of it, the male officer did the pat down. If that is the case, it was poor judgement that he did so..and inappropriate that he did do off camera. Yes, it was polite… but sadly questions arise about the propriety of taking an offender off camera at any given time during an arrest in this high tech age.

    1. It is obvious that the officers took Professor Perry to the other side of the car for her own safety, to get her away from the the road, which is a busy one with a 45 mph speed limit. Yes, it would have been better if the camera was able to move with them. But your claim that the Princeton police are trained to get out of the range of the camera is based solely on your need to keep the outrage flowing in a situation where it is now clear that there is no basis for outrage–against the Princeton police, that is. The state law that requires an arrest for unpaid parking tickets is outrageous and should be changed.

      1. No, I seek fairness & want the outrage to stop. This off camera stuff has happened here for all the decades I’ve been a resident & I know of much trauma that has occurred off camera. Don’t peg me as an irritant, when I am seeking respect for everyone’s civil & human rights. Ms. Perry clearly was at fault in many ways, there is no disagreement about that. You must not be a taxpayer, if you’re not concerned about the exposure & high expense of the legal complaints our town has paid for the activity of our force.

        1. I am a taxpayer in Princeton and have been for 20 years. In the video, I can see and hear the police being courteous and concerned (“Are you hyperventilating?”). When they move off camera, there is nothing on the audio that indicates anything inappropriate occurring. As for trauma–it’s obvious from her statements that Professor Perry did feel emotionally traumatized but that was because she was arrested, not because the police did anything wrong. There have been significant problems with the Princeton police in the past, but when they try to do better and still get hit with all kinds of criticism and complaints (and lies), it’s counterproductive. Professor Perry initially claimed she was subjected to a “body search” by a male police officer–just one example of many where she characterized the arrest dishonestly in an effort to spark outrage. She now admits it was a “pat-down” and as you can hear on the video, the police officer is calmly and politely asking her to empty her pockets, and explaining that everything will be put in her purse. I hear nothing on the video that indicates that her civil or human rights were violated.

          1. Princeton Police are the best cops in the State< Extremely professional, well trained and managed. They put up with a lot of bull**** from the gifted group of self absorbed entitled fools from the University along with their hangers on and opportunist allies. Professor Parks is a well know whiner.

          2. I understand what you are sharing, really I do. Understand that next time a trained female police officer is on the scene for the arrest of a female, I hope she’s allowed to do her professional duty & process the offender ON camera : )

            1. I agree that, ideally, a woman should be patted down by a female police officer and every minute of an arrest should be recorded. I hope that the Princeton police change their policies as a result of this incident. And like I said, I hope the policy of arresting people for unpaid parking tickets is changed. But none of that excuses Professor Perry for using her position to make inaccurate and inflammatory accusations of racism against the Princeton police. (And she was on a radio show today, claiming again that she was “body searched”–which is a lie.) What a sad, sorry mess this whole thing is.

            2. Then you will claim she was embarrassed in public , by having a police officer touch her all over to humiliate her.

        2. You, with all due respect, are a sexist. If you want equality and fairness, a man should be able to pat down a woman just like a woman could. Stop being a hypocrite. Become part of the solution not the problem.

        3. Fault in many ways????? How about ALL WAYS… She had to speed recklessly, she chose to not pay her ticket, SHE chose to lie about this arrest..HER FAULT , NO ONE ELSE !
          Fresh AIr pick a different case ! I’m sure you can find many others , if your claim holds water .

        4. Her trauma at being patted down, over her clothes, is not reasonable. Men get patted down by female officers all the time. But if I understand your logic, a person getting arrested should be allowed to pick who does the search.

          So a man should be allowed to ask an arresting male officer whether or not he’s gay, since it could be perceived as a sexual violation to have a gay male pat down a man. What if it’s a female, gay officer patting down a woman?

          Most people wouldn’t care, but we’re in the zone of what matters to the person being arrested – so do we accede to their preferences on who gets to pat them down?

    2. Ok the town will put in 360 degree HD IMAX cameras in all cars at $40,000 each just so you can see extremely polite officers put handcuffs on someone. Maybe FreshAir can buy a drone and follow every car around. You should be happy with the officers this town has. They don’t have to be so polite and can just haul you off but we are lucky to have decent officers in this town.
      Thank you to the great officers in this town !

      1. I think Fresh Air may watched too many Tee-vee shows.Nothing posted by F A has been based on reality or comprehension of the complexities involved in the job FA whines about .

    3. The Princeton Police Department is moving ahead with getting body cameras, which have the potential to address this issue. It will be costly and require significant resources in terms of data storage and dealing with public records requests, but you will get what you want. But in this particular case, I have seen enough to convince me there was no mistreatement. The officer couldn’t be more polite. And to be honest, it’s a mercy for Dr Perry that all her students and colleagues won’t be seeing her in the humiliating situation of having the cuffs slapped on her.

      1. It will cost them nothing to park in such a way that a wider view is captured on tape…and they could start doing that tomorrow. There is no need for body cams to begin that improvement.

        1. They did NOT know this would be an arrest until they checked with dispatch .. LONG after they parked their car. After all ms Perry was not doing 25 MPH in a 25 mile zone either when she suddenly pulled over without much warning..she slammed on the brakes and pulled over simultaneously .
          I think you need to do a ride along with police so you can have a better understanding of realities of that job .Its not like a Tee-Vee show, really!
          Have a nice day.

        2. It’s been pointed out already, but she asked to be taken to the side of the road out of sight of passing cars for her arrest which also took her out of camera view. The police also position their cars to capture the activity on the drivers side of the car. They angle their car slightly into the lane to create a buffer for the office when he or she is talking to the driver. Furthermore, there’s always a risk that the police car could get struck while on the side of the road (it happens) so you don’t want to conduct the between the vehicles if possible. The procedures exist because of past deaths and injuries.

    4. The reason they take anyone to the side of the car is to use the police car as a shield – should any driver lose control (an example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khz9hlpvhko). If they were to take her between the patrol car and her vehicle and someone hit the patrol car from behind…all three of them would be crushed in the middle. It’s completely a matter of safety. And the fact that motorists travel 67 MPH down that road requires even more of a concern about the safety of drivers and officers.

    5. Just tor the record, I have never stated that race was a factor in Ms. Perry’s arrest & processing…and I don’t think race was a factor.

      1. Yes FreshAir male officers should never be allowed to frisk a female for a weapon for his safety or hers. Signed Joanne Chesimard

    6. The woman herself asked to be taken to the side of the car so people would not see her face when she was arrested!

    7. That would require either new very wide-angle camera technology or multiple cameras in the car. Once a violator is taken out of the car, they are moved off the roadway. It’s unsafe (obviously) to stand and chat with them on the driver’s side of the car in the road, and it’s unsafe to stand between the police car and the violator’s car. Yes, the cops do that, but they’re paid to take that risk out of necessity. They’re also paid to provide for the safety of those in their custody…which means getting them off the road once out of their vehicles.

    8. Step away from the ledge. Your hysterical comments does not mask the fact that Prof. Perry inflated a routine traffic stop into a racial incident….unforgivable. She should be terminated immediately. Right?

    9. Perry’s relevancy rides on the coattails of other people who have really suffered in the past. I think it is up to the Black community to counsel her on why “crying wolf” is so offensive. Truth is so important. Full auto/video records will stop people of all races & gender from crying “wolf” when our PD does their job professionally. As it is, she is commenting on what is not captured on film.

    10. The search was conducted “off camera” because it is not safe to stand in front of a police car at the side of the road. Motorists frequently hit police cars with their lights on because they focus on the lights instead of avoiding them. Did you notice that the officer parked his car off-center from the motorist’s rather than directly behind? That is to protect himself and the motorist in case someone veered toward them at the side of the road. If he had searched her in front of his car at the side of the road he would have been disciplined for not following proper procedure. These officers did their job properly. He even had a female officer there so there would be no charge of inappropriate behavior. I encourage you to attend a citizens police academy or similar group so you can learn more about how policing is done. if he had a body cam, it would’ve been helpful, but you can hear the conversation off-camera. He is nothing but respectful and explains to her every step of what must happen and why he must search and handcuff her.

      1. Agree that he was verbally polite. But do you really think it was best that the male officer didn’t let the female officer do the pat down? And do you think it’s OK that neither officer took the time to adjust the camera to take in the full arrest scene, even though at one point the female officer returned to the car & could have checked that angle? Just wondering what your textbook says about those items, when there are two officers & both genders professionally available on the scene.

    11. She asked to be taken into custody out of the public view. They quite appropriately honored that request. Stop looking for conspiracies where none exist

  3. “Just as I imagined….” Seriously? The pathetic truth here is that even when a police officer performs his/her job with the UTMOST professionalism and courtesy, our society’s twisted views on politically correct behavior fail to acknowledge it. The simple fact is she broke the law! There was a warrant out for her arrest. Yes, Ms Perry, that is very embarrassing, especially when it gets done in full view of the public. But there are consequences in our society for people that break laws. There are no “Safe Zones” in our legal system that provide you protection when your feelings are hurt because you got caught.

  4. Wow they could not have been more polite to this lady. At this point her complaint seems to be totally baseless.
    I bet she will not have the decency to apologize to the officers.

  5. Darn I guess no popcorn machine in the lockup now. Great job and hats off to the police on this stop.

  6. Darn those cameras. Now I wonder if the quality and originality of the academic work that earned her tenure at one of the most prestigious universities in the country is more accurate and principled than her accusations. No Honor Code for post-arrest Twitter statements I suppose.

    Or maybe she simply tapped into the right zeitgeist and skated through without much original thought. It’s happened throughout history for white males, so why not her too?

  7. Clearly her parking tickets were because of racist metermaids who have something against people driving Acuras.

  8. Wow… Look at that terrific full view video! It leaves no question as to what happened on the entire scene, because nothing is off camera. Thank you HoagieSafeHaven for showing the clarity & good recording that is achievable with one dash cam.

    1. Well maybe the police departments can hire a camera crew for each car , because police officers have other things on their mind during those stops ..

  9. This woman needs to be fired from Princeton for going on her rants. These police officers were incredibly courteous to her and treated her nicer than anyone I’ve ever seen.

  10. Agree that we should be done – but honestly, I think she should apologize in public to the Princeton Police Department and the Town of Princeton for her clearly misplaced diatribe. Shame on her and Princeton University for standing behind her.

    1. Indeed, Eisgruber should be furious and embarrassed in equal measure. She really set him up to look ridiculous.

    2. Completely agree, and so should Eisgruber. Maybe the Wilson demonstrations have made him gun shy anytime someone raises race no matter how irresponsibly. Nonetheless, he should have respected our community and our police department enough not to write before he knew what he was talking about. Instead, he inflamed an already difficult situation caused by Dr. Perry’s public spewing of half-truths and unsupported aspersions. It truly was shameful.

    3. The real shame here is this professor’s influence on the young minds she teaches to. I just wonder what negative thoughts she places into her students minds about law officers. Shame on her and all the other teachers and some political officials who preach hate about the people who are out there serving and protecting the public.

  11. While there is obviously some institutional racism in the United States, this is ridiculous and only makes other claims similar to professor Perry’s less credible. She should publicly apologize and so should the University. The vilification of the police in America is becoming absurd. There are obviously cases where the police officer is clearly at fault and gets away with what he or she did, but to refer to this as a traumatic experience is ridiculous, the officer couldn’t have been any nicer

  12. The Police officers were very polite and handled the entire situation with dignity, respect and consideration. I don’t understand how any claims otherwise have been made or supported.

  13. She just set back her pet cause by 100 years with her whining sense of entitlement. The police were entirely courteous and professional in how they handled this. Political correctness is out of control on American campuses and needs to be reigned in for the sake of the credibility of the institutions and to provide a distinction from legitimate racism which is primarily faced by inner city and rural poor, not entitled rich black arts profs.

  14. Professor Perry should be fired. Both officers were very professional and courteous. She inflated a routine traffic stop into a racial incident….unforgivable. She should be terminated immediately.

  15. what amazes me….no humility at all seems to exist for these supposed victims…total lack of any consciousness of what their rants may do to the lives of a ‘civil servant’ which is ironic considering how much they protest that they care for righteousness and humanity.

  16. An enterprising reporter might look for patterns in Prof. Perry’s behavior…does she also have a trail of scofflaw incidents from her time at Harvard? Has she ignored jury summonses, in MA, PA or NJ? How does her attitude toward the duties of an adult and a citizen relate to her impassioned scholarly defense of the violence and misogyny in hiphop culture? What is her Princeton salary, and what special perks does she receive from the university?

  17. So sad because there definitely IS a pattern of discriminatory actions by some (too many) police against minority youths. Bad stuff happens to black (mostly) young men by police way too often. Maybe not so often to very presentable, prosperous women driving Acura’s in university towns.

    Another bravo to Princeton’s Police for doing what most of us local taxpayers know they do quite well — keeping us safe and doing it with integrity and fairness.
    Prof. Perry’s very un-Honor Code statements diminish the real efforts to make police treat everyone as fairly as possible. Shame on her. Made Princeton’s President look foolish too.

    Maybe as penance she could donate a chunk of her considerable salary and buy some body cameras for a less-well funded police department of her choice?

  18. Why is Amani Perry’s face and license plate masked in the video but not masked in the video screen captures?

  19. I have never been treated that nicely from a cop in my life and my name might as well be Nabisco.

    1. LOL! Thank you, Bill Miller. The brief respite from what is otherwise a most distressing situation is sincerely appreciated!

  20. There are many who legitimately fight racism, and for Amani Perry to suggest she was mistreated during this traffic stop when the video clearly shows she was not; and then to hint it may have been racially motivated, does nothing for the good people trying to abolish racism, accept make it harder for those truly mistreated to be believed.

  21. Wait a second, apparently cops are racist. If this is considered being treated badly by the police by an African American studies professor, I am really treated much worse. I’ve never been pulled over and had such polite treatment even though I don’t speed, don’t drive on a suspended license. I’d like to apologize to those police officers that they have to deal with people like Imani who would be treated like that, and then turn around and slander the police dept and claim racism. This professor should be fired.

  22. So, let’s review:

    This woman breaks multiple laws (and according to her profile, has a JD, so it’s pretty hard to argue that she’s unaware of the consequences), drives (and very likely is still driving) on a suspended license, does so at excessive speeds (67 in a 45 – that’s faster than highway speed in a residential area), and then when she’s caught, she lies. On top of this, when she’s caught lying, she writes articles on her own site about how tough it is to be her and refuses to apologize to two police officers whom she would otherwise have gotten fired for doing their job.

    What is her job? She’s a professor at one of the most prestigious colleges on the planet, influencing the minds of our future leaders.

    Granted, ‘African American Studies’ is code in Academe for “we need to give a job to a black person.” No one is going to stand up at a meeting in a Fortune 500 company or on the floor of the Senate and say, “I learned the solution to this problem in African American Studies!”

    Still – Professor at Princeton. Let that sink in for a moment. This is the behavior we expect from a Professor at Princeton.

    I think this is a very sad day for a very good school.

    1. I think you are on point until you comment on African American Studies. May not be the “best degree” to have while job hunting but the history of African American’s in the US is pretty significant, and people are genuinely very interested in studying that history.

      1. Lots of things are interesting. Other than teaching it, though, there’s no market in it

  23. Oh boy has Imani dug herself a hole… I would think a Princeton Professor would know cops have dash-cams. If you get pulled over and there is a warrant for your arrest, you will be arrested… White, black, green purple.

    1. If you get pulled over and there is a warrant for your arrest, you will be arrested.

      What is so hard to understand about that? The warrant was for failure to appear, not for the actual parking violations.

  24. HOW dare the police do their jobs when it involves a black suspect…..they obviously haven’t been paying attention to hillarity and bernie

  25. Oops, so much for her suggestions of police wrong-doing. The officers were very professional.

  26. Congratulations to the terrific reporter! Thank goodness for a free press and dedicated reporters.

  27. The police from what I saw were professional and courteous. But her complaint was regarding how the system is set up such that small offenses such as not paying a parking ticket could land you in jail. I disagree with her that this is predominantly a problem towards blacks. It’s happened to me.

  28. NicholasBourbaki YOU should read the article. She was going 67 MPH, 21 MPH over limit, not 19. I run along that route. It’s one narrow lane in each direction and pedestrians regularly cross the road at the battlefield. 67 is a VERY dangerous and reckless speed there. Plus, a warrant is a warrant and the police must execute it. If you don’t like the law do something to change it. Don’t criticize officers who are obligated to enforce it. And what about the suspended lisence for driving an unregistered vehicle? This woman has a blatant disregard for the law that the majority of us choose to abide by. Not OK. Even worse is her shameful invocation of inappropriate policing based on her race. She is an insult and affront to others who have legitimately been victimized, even killed. Worse than a whiner, she’s a complete hypocrite. Princeton University should be mortified. But then maybe they can make the best of it and name a building after her like they have for Woodrow Wilson.

  29. She was not arrested! She was taken into custody because she had an outstanding bench warrant for failing to appear in court for a ticket or tickets. exacerbated by the fact that her licence was suspended and she should not be permitted to drive – even to the police station on Witherspoon – where the problem could be properly addressed. At the point this was determined by the police, they followed the proper procedure. They checked for weapons and cuffed her for everyone’s protection. That was done on the far side of the road for everyone’s protection. She was told that she could make calls after arriving at the station. She was treated with visible courtesy and respect.

    IMHO, this experience seriously threw her off her “normal.” Her sense of control was gone. The whole script for the day’s movie went off the rails. ASAP, she tweeted a new script filled with allusions to brutality, social injustice, and pitched it to an audience at Princeton. OK, they said, and ran with it. However, the video does not deliver thrills and pathos. It shows a person who is in shock and confusion during an unexpected event. Her tweets and tales relate an appeal to the people in her “safe space” who are all too eager to show support and protection in the face of injustice.

    All this is an informative sideshow or minor case-study.

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