Jersey City Police Sergeant Vincent Corso was taken into custody for DUI in Robbinsville, NJ on January 30, 2014, with the incident recorded by Robbinsville Police Department vehicles equipped with dash cameras.
Through an Open Public Records Act request, Real Jersey City has obtained dramatic audio and video from the detainment of Jersey City Police Sergeant Vincent Corso in Robbinsville, NJ on January 30, 2014.
Corso’s detainment is at the heart of an alleged cover-up that former Chief Robert “Bubba” Cowan claims occurred in a lawsuit recently filed in New Jersey Superior Court – which he accuses Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Public Safety Director James Shea, and others of participating in.
Of note, Corso is identified as the 1st Vice President of the Jersey City Police Superior Officers Association (JCPSOA) on their website (this article previously stated that Corso was the finance secretary of the JCPSOA). Sources have informed Real Jersey City that Corso’s wife is the sister of JCPSOA President Robert Kearns.
INITIAL PULL OVER OF CORSO
Corso, who was pulled over for speeding and having a headlight out, attempted to exit his vehicle as the officer who initiated the stop was walking up on the car. After being ordered back into the vehicle, Corso informed a male Robbinsville Police Department (RPD) officer (Officer #1) that he was a sergeant in the Jersey City Police Department (JCPD).
While Officer #1 was using radio to confirm that Corso was an active officer, given that an identification which appeared to be police related was expired, he exited the vehicle again – with Officer #1 ordering him back inside his car a second time.
Nearly three minutes passed until Corso once again exited his vehicle, with Officer #1 ordering him back into the car a third time.
Two minutes after that, a woman on a radio dispatch says “I’ve spoken to the officer who is, ugh, as you reported is waiting for his [unclear] to relieve him, and he confirms [unclear].”
Less than a minute later a female RPD officer (Officer #2) arrives at the scene, and Corso exits the vehicle for the fourth time.
CONFRONTED FOR DRINKING, RESISTANCE TO DISARMAMENT, AND TAKEN INTO CUSTODY
Once out of his vehicle for the fourth time, Officer #2 asks Corso if he “consumed any alcoholic beverages,” which he claimed he did not.
Officer #2 then states “I have the smell of alcohol emitting from you,” which Corso responds “common brother, I’m on the job here” – which Officer #2 responds “I’m not a brother.” Corso then tries to walk away, but is stopped by Officer #2 who chastises him for drinking and driving.
During initial questioning, Corso claimed he was done with work, not going into work, and that his wife was going to come pick him up because Officer #2 refused to let him back in the vehicle.
Corso was then asked if he had a weapon on him, which he initially said “no, I do not,” and then immediately followed up that he in fact did.
Officer #2 then directed Officer #1 to disarm Corso of his weapon, which Corso clearly resisted. Moments after the struggle to disarm him, Officer #2 states “Where you from? Jersey City? We don’t do things like that out here.”
With Corso asking to go back to his car, Officer #2 then states “if you get in that car I’m locking you up for DWI. You are so f**ked up right now you can’t even speak right.”
Corso, who is then placed in the back of an RPD vehicle, pleads with the officers “don’t do this please” because he’s a cop.
ROBBINSVILLE POLICE OFFICERS
After Corso is placed in the back of the vehicle, the video records the first two officers discussing the incident with a second male officer (Officer #3), possibly a superior, who had just arrived at the scene of the incident.
Officer #1 states that “apparently he’s supposed to be relieving another sergeant in Jersey City right now,” which Officer #2 replies that Corso said “he just got off of work.”
Of note, Officer #2 appears to say that there were “two clips in the car,” and that “his weapon wasn’t loaded, he didn’t have on in the chamber I should say.”
There then seems to be confusion between the officers if Corso had been leaving work or heading to work.
While discussing why he pulled over Corso initially, Officer #1 claims Corso was operating his vehicle at 75 MPH. As well, Officer #1 seems to indicate that the expired identification may be Corso’s badge.
At a later point in the video, RPD officers can be heard laughing about the incident – including making fun of the condition of Corso’s police uniform.
Additionally, a discussion occurs between the RPD officers about whether to submit the gun as evidence or hold it for safe keeping until the JCPD can retrieve it.
At one point, Officer #1 states that the JCPD “better get somebody down here quick” or otherwise they are going to have to do something.
Following that comment, Officer #3 states to Corso:
This is what we’re doing, you’re not gonna be placed under arrest, you could be, and obviously you would know the repercussions of that. What we are doing is we are going to tow the car to the police department parking lot. We are going to bring you to the police department, you are not under arrest, like I said. From there we are going to contact a supervisor in your department to have an officer come over to our police department and give you a ride…
This is the best possible outcome at this point. I will tell you this, if your department does not cooperate by sending an officer to help you out, this is going to be handled a bit differently…
I don’t know your impairment, but I want you to understand that we are going beyond the norm here – we are extending a professional courtesy.
CORSO STATEMENTS FROM INSIDE VEHICLE
NOTE: This section was added after the original posting of this article.
While being transported inside the RPD vehicle, Corso tells Officer #1 that he’s on the phone with someone from the JCPD that will verify he’s a cop.
Corso tells the person on the phone with him that he’s in Monmouth County, when in fact he was in Mercer County.
He then informs Officer #1 that he has his “commanding officer” on the phone, which the officer says can wait until they get back to the police station.
NO COMMENT FROM FULOP ADMINISTRATION, JERSEY CITY POLICE SUPERIOR OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
Jersey City Spokesperson Jennifer Morrill, as well as a representative of the JCPSOA, did not respond to emails seeking comment on the video.
Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried provided this statement:
The decision made by the Robbinsville Police Department to turn the officer over to the Jersey City Police Department on the night in question was a judgement call, and the course of action taken by our officers was responsible and professional. Ultimately, discipline for the officer should be left in the hands of the Jersey City PD. There was no criminal wrongdoing or misconduct on the part of our officers. I have consulted with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and I have been informed this traffic stop does not warrant an independent, Internal Affairs investigation.