Keith Brown, NJ, February 11, 2016
Princeton police on Thursday released dash camera video of the arrest of Imani Perry, the Princeton University African American Studies professor who accused police of mistreatment during her weekend arrest.
In the nearly 30-minute video, Perry says she was unaware her license was suspended or that there was a warrant out for her arrest.
Perry also is heard on the video saying she had not ever received a ticket in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and that she had never changed her address with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles before she is handcuffed off screen and taken to the Princeton police station.
Perry was arrested on an outstanding warrant stemming from a 2013 warrant issued for two unpaid Princeton parking tickets she received in 2012, police have said.
In several social media posts following the arrest, Perry expressed that she believed she was mistreated because of her race.
“The police treated me inappropriately and disproportionately,” Perry wrote. “The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter.”
Perry has since taken down her Twitter account, citing hacking fears and harassment. She also has changed her Facebook profile.
Police have denied Perry was mistreated. The case is being reviewed by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Princeton Police have previously said Perry was clocked driving 67 mph on Mercer Road in a 45 mph zone.
In the video, the officer returns to his squad car, where he received information about the warrant for Perry’s arrest. He tells Perry about the warrant and explains she will have to come back to the station, because she is under arrest.
The officer tells Perry she will have to be handcuffed. The officer, a man, performs a pat down out of view of the camera, but he can be heard giving search explanations. A woman police officer is present.
Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber wrote a letter on Tuesday, expressing his concern about the arrest of Perry, who he described as a “respected scholar and beloved teacher.”
The Black Justice League, members of whom earlier this year occupied Eisgruber’s office demanding changes for black students, also wrote of their support of Perry.
Eisgruber again pledged his support in a letter on Thursday.
[Editor’s Note: A more detailed account of the stop notes that police were “at pains to point out that it is simply a matter of protocol.” Princeton’s police chief, Nick Sutter, said that after reviewing the video he believes police followed proper protocol.]