Mount Kisco, NY – A Bedford judge has been removed from the bench after refusing to cooperate with Westchester County police during a drunk-driving arrest in April (video below).
Recently released dashcam footage included a 911 recording from a female motorist who reported that she witnessed a silver Mercedes “swerving all over the road” on Saw Mill River Parkway, TAPinto reported.
The call came in at approximately 11:54 p.m. on April 21, according to The Journal News.
“First, he was in the middle of an intersection during a red light,” the woman told the 911 operator. “Now he keeps swerving over the white line into the edge and swerving back the other way.”
The driver of the Mercedes, later identified as 54-year-old Bedford Town Justice Erik Jacobsen, turned off onto Kisco Avenue in Mount Kisco, where Westchester County Police Officer Mathieu Ricozzi and Ahmed Bitawi began following him, TAPinto reported.
As the officers trailed behind Jacobsen in their cruiser, they watched him swerve over the centerline and commit various other traffic violations, according to Officer Bitawi’s report.
They subsequently pulled the judge over on South Bedford Road just before midnight.
Jacobsen told the officers that he was coming from Yonkers, the video showed.
While the judge rummaged for his license and registration, one of the officers asked him if he had consumed any alcohol that night.
Jacobsen claimed he hadn’t been drinking.
He also said he didn’t have a copy of his vehicle registration other than the sticker label on his windshield.
“Alright then,” the officer said. “Do me a favor and step out of the car please.”
“No,” the judge responded. “I will not.”
The officer then opened the driver’s side door, and again ordered Jacobsen to get out of the vehicle.
“I will not,” the judge said again.
After issuing multiple commands to get out of the vehicle, the officer told Jacobsen that the other option would be for him to remove him from the car.
“You can if you want,” the judge replied.
The officer explained that he smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from him, but Jacobsen insisted that the officer hadn’t.
“Well, you don’t,” the judge concluded. “Thank you.”
The officer then asked Jacobsen how much alcohol he had consumed.
“Nothing. Thank you,” he responded.
The judge continued to thank the officer, but still refused to get out of the vehicle.
Jacobsen gripped the steering wheel as the officers tried to pull him from the SUV, ignoring dozens of requests to surrender peacefully, TAPinto reported.
“Holy mackerel. This is unbelievable,” the judge said. “You’re gonna have to hurt me…Holy s--t, that is terrible.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Officer Bitawi responded.
“You’re making a huge mistake,” Jacobsen told the officers.
One of the officers finally warned the judge that he would be tased if he didn’t comply.
“I’m doing nothing,” Jacobsen responded. “You can’t tase me.”
The officer deployed his Taser, striking the judge, and yanked him out of the SUV onto the ground.
But Jacobsen refused to put his hands behind his back, and continued to resist arrest, TAPinto reported.
One of the officers struck the judge in the neck area four times, at which point Jacobsen collapsed onto the pavement, the video showed.
He was placed into handcuffs while the winded officers waited for additional units to arrive.
The judge began muttering expletives at the officers as they got him to his feet and led him to a patrol vehicle.
Jacobsen was transported to Northern Westchester Hospital, and later submitted to a toxicology blood test, TAPinto reported.
He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and driving while intoxicated.
“Westchester County Police hold themselves to the highest standard,” the Westchester County Department of Public Safety (DPS) said in a statement. “In certain occasions levels of force may increase depending on circumstances. Unfortunately, that was the case here.”
Even after being taken to the ground, Jacobsen “continued to resist and refuse to allow the officers to place him in handcuffs,” DPS said. “The next level of force became necessary in order to make a lawful arrest.”
The department said that the officers’ use of force during the altercation with the judge was justified.
“The officers’ actions were a justifiable use of force and were a direct result of the subject’s lengthy and physical efforts to resist arrest,” DPS concluded.
The Unified Court System of New York State removed Jacobsen from the bench the day after his arrest, and he remains on administrative leave, TAPinto reported.
His next court hearing is scheduled for August.
You can watch dashcam footage of the officers’ altercation with Jacobsen in the video below. Officers are able to get him out shortly after the 7 minute mark.