UPDATE: Bridgeton Mayor Reacts To Police Traffic Stop Video

- The mayor of Bridgeton wants to know a lot more about one physical police stop in his community last March between a police officer and a woman who was already suing the officer.

The mayor learned about what happened when he watched our FOX 29 Investigates report that first aired Wednesday night. Jeff Cole has the fallout.

The dashcam video captures the police stop on March 31, 2015.

"Open the door! I'm going to break the window!" Patrol Officer Shane Sawyers orders as he and another officer approach Marella Lawson's car.

Another cop ran her plate and found her license is suspended.

Lawson, recognizing Sawyers as an officer she's suing in a federal civil rights case, refuses to open her door.

One minute into the stop, Sawyers is seen trying to smash the rear window.

Lawson calls 9-1-1.

"Can you please call a … state trooper, please? Sir, he is trying to break my window. He is trying to break my window," Lawson tells the dispatcher.

Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly told us Thursday, "I just saw the video, and it's nothing to be proud of."

He watched the FOX 29 Investigates report just before we showed up to ask questions.

He says he feels for Lawson, but, "You do not anyone to be uncomfortable when they talk to the police officer.

So, in that sense, yes. But the officer thought he was doing what he was supposed to do."

Kelly says he didn't know the incident had occurred before our report, but now he'll speak with the police chief and others.

Back in the video from March, Lawson and Sawyers struggle in the car.

"You are under arrest!" the officer yells.

"You already beat me up before!" she shouts back.

"Stop resisting!" the officer replies. "You are under arrest!"

"He's hitting me! He's hitting me! Help me, Jesus, he's hitting me!" Lawson screams.

She's hit with pepper spray, pulled from the car and forced to the pavement, as the officer says, "You know what? Take her down."

Greg Zeff, Lawson's civil attorney, told us, "Whether he targeted her or not, he didn't give her any opportunity, any opportunity whatsoever to be safe."

Lawson, charged with resisting arrest and other offenses, faces a criminal trial in a week.

"What do you make of them criminally charging you?" Cole asked her outside court.

"I think it's not fair that they're doing that to me," Lawson said.

Sawyers and the other officers have been cleared of criminal violations, but Bridgeton's chief says an internal affairs probe is under way of this rough and tumble stop and arrest on a city street.

"Stop resisting!" an officer yells on the video.

"I'm not resisting, sir," Lawson answers.

"You are, put your hands behind your back, now," police order.

"They won't go behind me. I've got a frozen shoulder," Lawson says. "Please, Jesus!"

Lawson and Sawyers' history runs back to a 2013 incident in which she was charged with resisting arrest. It was eventually amended to a count of "breaking the peace." She paid a fine and sued him and the City of Bridgeton in federal court, Cole reported.

WATCH ORIGINAL REPORT: FOX 29 Investigates: Controversial NJ Traffic Stop

Have a tip for the FOX 29 Investigates team? Email us at fox29.undercover@foxtv.com or like Jeff Cole's Facebook page and message us there!

Up Next:


Thank you for visiting FOX29.com! Please click the survey link below to tell us about your experience.

FOX 29 Website Survey

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories