In light of recent events, we were approached a few nights ago by Councilman Cook, who has asked for our help in getting his story out. He has provided us with the currently available bodycam footage, police reports, and a recording of the 911 call that started everything. He and his family feel that it is important that their story be heard, despite how traumatic this has been for them, and so we will honor their request, without any edits to the information that we received.
February 9, 2020 11:09PM EST
Police responded to a 911 call originating from the home of Councilman Clyde Cook and his family. The following is a recording of that phone call:
Officer Acevedo and Detective Feliciano of the Woodlynne Police Department arrived on the scene. Detective Feliciano did not have his body camera turned on at this time (which he acknowledged in his report), so allowed Officer Acevedo to knock on the door. The following is the footage that was obtained from Officer Acevedo’s camera:
And here is a copy of the report filed by Detective Feliciano: (tap to open in a new tab)
Now that you have all of that, let’s take a step back and look at what happened here. Councilman Cook’s daughter placed a 911 call, reporting at least twice that her “dad won’t give [her] stuff back.” Councilman Cook has since indicated that in discharging his parental duties, he took his daughter’s phone in order to deny her access to social media as a disciplinary action. We can see the two officers that responded, and we can see that Councilman Cook, upon opening the door, was initially cooperative, even going so far as to invite Officer Acevedo into his home. Upon seeing Detective Feliciano, he immediately denied entry to him, while simultaneously stating that Officer Acevedo was still allowed to enter, citing the history of problems between him and the detective (as well as his wife, Councilwoman Shana Feliciano). According to the ACLU (https://www.aclu-nj.org/yourrights/what-do-if-youre-stopped-police):
In Your Home
Police and ICE agents must have a warrant to enter your home, except in emergency situations (e.g. a person screaming) or if you let them in. If police or ICE say they have a warrant:
Ask to see it – have them slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to a window Make sure the information listed is correct Make sure that a judge has signed it.
When police ask to enter or search your home without a warrant, you may refuse to allow them.
At this point, if you haven’t already watched the body camera footage, please do so. The first few minutes of this is enough to show that there was absolutely no indication of distress at the residence at the time that the officers show up, and the only time that any sounds of distress are heard occur AFTER police forced their way inside. Please also take note of the fact that Detective Feliciano (the one without the camera on) was the first one through the door, blocking the only bodycamera that was actually present. Feliciano’s report indicates that “Ofc. Acevedo entered the kitchen area trying to ascertain why the female was crying or in distress when Mr. Cook became more confrontational and began yelling louder.” The camera footage shows that this was definitely not the case. We can also see from his report the following statement: “He kept repeating that Ofc. Acevedo can come in but I Det. Feliciano can not come in because my wife is a Council member and he has outstanding cases with both. This is a facabrication.” Anyone that’s been paying attention will already be well aware of the bad blood between them, as well as the fact that Councilman Cook’s been in the process of assembling a case against them. Further, we also have this report (filed by Councilman Cook) from October 2019 as well as it’s partner (filed by Shana Feliciano) that clearly show that there’s a problem there. Are these reports fabricated, Detective?
Furthermore, the police report indicates that “Prior to leaving the scene I replaced the BWC battery and activated my BWC.” and as the video shows, Detective Feliciano is NOT wearing his body camera, while simultaneously trying to force his way into the apartment and stating “It doesn’t work that way.” And you know what? He’s right; it doesn’t work that way, but not in the way that he’d have Mr. Cook believe. Without a warrant and without some kind of indication of actual distress, Mr. Cook telling Detective Feliciano to leave should have been, by law, the end of things. And if all that it took was a battery change to get his camera active, then why wasn’t that done? Could it be that they had every intention of violating this family’s rights on this evening, given that they knew the nature of the call, and that this exact same call had been placed five months prior according to the dispatcher?
At this point, the officers forced their way into the home, without a warrant, after being told that one of them was not allowed to enter. As the footage clearly shows that there was no “emergency” condition, as no cries of distress can be heard. Additionally, we know what was said on the 911 call, so we also know this was not a matter of being fearful for the wellbeing of any of the residents. What we see is Detective Feliciano forcing his way into a private residence, and along with Officer Acevedo, proceeding to assault this family, resulting in the arrests of Councilman Cook and his son, Timothy, whose crime in this, by the way, was stepping into the line of fire when he saw an officer pull a weapon on one of his parents.
As if this violation of civil rights wasn’t bad enough, we get to hear Officer Acevedo brag about how “at least I detained one”, as well as the toxic, and frankly disgusting attitudes of some of the other officers present.
And of course it doesn’t stop there. Not only was there the physical mess that their home was left in:
but these charges have already cost Councilman Cook two jobs, and his son’s future in the Marines is threatened. And there is also the added trauma of Ms. Fontanez having her shirt torn from her body during the altercation, but also that of their young daughter, who was also present, and reports indicate that she was also hit by the pepper spray. And then there’s the poor young woman who called the police in the first place, who not only had to witness her family get attacked, but she also caught some of the pepper spray. Just to be perfectly clear here: this entire family was hit with pepper spray.
And officially this was all over a teenage girl having her social media taken away as a disciplinary measure by one of her parents.