TOMS RIVER, New Jersey – A police dash-cam video of an embattled Tuckerton police officer arresting a female motorist shows his K-9 partner’s mouth on the woman for almost 30 seconds as she lies on the ground in the parking lot of Barnegat police headquarters.
The Asbury Park Press has obtained a copy of the video taken from a dashboard camera in a Barnegat police cruiser the night of Jan. 29, 2014, when Tuckerton Cpl. Justin Cherry arrested Wendy Tucker for eluding police. The video below has been the subject of a three-year legal battle. It offers the first public view of what transpired between police and Tucker on the night of her arrest.
The video depicts a Barnegat police officer in the parking lot of police headquarters, screaming at Tucker to get out of her car following a police pursuit. It then shows he and another Barnegat officer yanking Tucker out of her car, causing her to fall face-down on the pavement as Cherry runs toward them with his K-9 partner, Gunner.
The video then shows the German shepherd’s mouth on Tucker for almost 30 seconds as Cherry holds onto the dog’s collar and repeatedly yells at Tucker to place both of her hands behind her back. Finally, Cherry is seen on the video placing the woman’s left arm behind her back before pulling Gunner off of her.
After that, an unidentified person can be heard saying over a police radio, “Just let Tuckerton know the last time she was in a pursuit and we took her to the hospital, she escaped.”
Since the incident, the video has been the subject of a prolonged court battle to make it available to the public under the state’s Open Public Records Act. It also is a key piece of evidence in a criminal prosecution of Cherry, whose case is expected to be presented to a third grand jury this month for an indictment.
Cherry, 35, of Beachwood, is suspended without pay as a result of the dog attack on Tucker, now 60, of Barnegat. Cherry first came under indictment in 2015, charged with official misconduct and other offenses related to the incident.
The dash-cam video first was requested under the Open Public Records Act in 2014 by John Paff, a private citizen from Franklin in Somerset County who advocates for public access to government records. Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Grasso, now retired, ordered the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to turn it over to Paff in 2014, but Prosecutor Joseph Coronato appealed Grasso’s decision, saying Cherry would never get a fair trial if the video were made public beforehand.