Trenton, NJ — Filming the police is entirely legal, in every state. However, all too often, we will see police officers overstep their authority and arrest, attack, and assault innocent people for the constitutionally protected act of documenting their behavior in public. As the following case out of Trenton, New Jersey illustrates, police officers will go to extreme and often violent lengths to make sure they are not being filmed, up to and including beating and falsely arresting an innocent mother.
In a recently filed lawsuit, Gloria Noemi Ramirez Caal details the night of her abuse by Trenton's finest. Caal has the video to back up her claims, as well as the horrific injuries.
According to the lawsuit, Caal was filming her son's arrest at their home in January 2020 when police attacked her for filming. The innocent mother was holding a 3-year-old when police attacked her for filming, leaving her with injuries to her head, neck, back, right leg and knocking out multiple teeth.
Caal weighs only 100 pounds and is just 4' 11" tall yet she was treated like a violent felon for practicing her first amendment right to film.
Caal alleges in the lawsuit that her main aggressor was Trenton police officer Tara Dzurkoc who was working on a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force at the time. According to NJ.com, the matter is currently under investigation at the Marshal's Service by the internal affairs unit.
The Trentonian obtained a copy of the video and reports that a male cop is heard yelling at Caal to "Gimme the phone now!" just before she was beaten down. Police then move in to restrain the slight woman as she holds her toddler.
That's when Dzurkoc — who has a history of violence throughout her career and who is also apparently an avid Trump supporter — moved in for the kill.
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"You have three officers there. She's tiny. There's no reason to punch her," Tom Mallon, Caal's attorney said. "We want to see Mercer County do the right thing."
Mallon told the Trentonian newspaper the injuries Caal suffered were “horrendous.” Then, after the beating, police attempted to hide their abuse by charging the small-statured woman with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and other crimes related to her beat down for filming.
Caal was facing possible decades in prison over the false allegations. In fact, as Jezebel.com reports, as a result of her arrest she was shuttled through immigration court and spent the better part of a year in jail, unable to secure a release because of the violent nature of her alleged crimes against the officers. Luckily, however, according to the lawsuit, all the charges were later dismissed and she was freed.
"This is an outrageous, outrageous story," Mallon told The Trentonian. "I've never seen anything as horrendous as what happened to this lady, and I've seen a lot."
According to Jezebel, Dzurkoc's checkered history dates back more than decade.
In 2009, she was named in a suit that claimed that TPD maced and put people, including children, in chokeholds during a baby shower.
Dzurkoc allegedly called women who attended the party “sp*cs” and “Puerto Rican b**ches,” Jezebel reported, citing the filing.
In 2018, Trenton paid out $55,000 to settle another excessive force lawsuit with Theresa Discher, who also claimed Dzurkoc was among cops who dislocated her arm during a kidnapping investigation in 2016.
Dzurkoc and her fellow cops are the epitome of what's wrong with police in America. Backing up this claim is the fact that this is the second time this year TFTP has reported on the Trenton police department beating an innocent person for filming. In April, we brought you the case of another woman who was attacked, injured, and falsely arrested for filming Trenton cops.
Like Caal, bartender Elizabeth Cisco, attempted to film Trenton cops make an arrest. And, like Caal, Cisco was attacked and arrested for it. Also like Caal, Cisco is now suing the department after she was slammed into the ground causing her multiple injuries.