In February, John Hockenjos met with police officer Diego A. Palacios in the driveway of his Sheepshead Bay home to discuss the contentious ownership of the driveway. He pulled up in his sedan, and got out to meet the cop and his neighbor, who were already in the driveway. A few minutes later, he was being handcuffed and taken to the police station.
Officer Palacios filed a criminal complaint under oath alleging that Hockenjos had driven toward the officer “at a high rate of speed,” thus creating a “grave risk of death.” He claimed having “to jump out of the way to avoid being hit” by Hockenjos’s car. He spent three nights in jail and was charged with felony reckless endangerment.
But Hockenjos had a security camera. In the video, you can see him slowly pull his car into the driveway, and park it a good two feet from both the Palacios and his neighbor. The two don’t flinch, barely seem to notice his arrival. He even has his turn signal on. “I’ve never seen this crystal-clear example of a false arrest,” said Craig Newman, Hockenjos’s lawyer. All charges against Hockenjos have been dropped.
For his part, Officer Palacios was charged with offering a false instrument for filling, making an apparently sworn false statement, perjury, making a punishable false written statement, official misconduct, and falsifying business records. This latter offense is a felony. His status as a police officer has been suspended.
From the video, it is quite unclear what Palacios stood to gain from lying about the incident. An eight-year veteran of the police force, he had no apparent reason to lie about the evening’s events. Maybe he was bored. (Photo: John Lewis/Flickr)