Palm Beach — false allegation caught on camera

February 26, 1996: A traffic cop in Palm Beach, Florida, tickets a female motorist.

This is a false allegation of indecent assault rather than rape, although the complainant does claim he touched her vagina. I have included it here because it was caught on camera, because it was made against a police officer, because it was so blatant, and also because I have used the footage before.

The incident happened late at night and was reported in the small hours of February 27.

At this time, dash cams had been around only about ten years, and the quality was not that good. Although it is usually police misbehaviour that is caught on them, there are many instances in which totally innocent police officers have been saved from career ending false allegations, this being one.

Watch and marvel. And don’t forget, it was his fault, as she says at the end. How could it not be?

I contacted Palm Beach Police several times in connection with this incident but had no response until late 2019 when I wrote directly to Chief Caristo.

On December 3, 2019, I received by e-mail this reply from Staci Mussmacher of the Palm Beach Police records department. Unlike in the UK, the American police often release huge tranches of material related to all kinds of matters.

As you can see, the identity of the false accuser was revealed as Jennifer Joyce Cook, and she was indeed charged with false reporting and perjury in relation to the incident with Officer Marsigliano.

My correspondent also informed me that:

“- Our first policy on dash cameras was published in December of 2005. We purchased from Digital Safety Supply in 2005 which was approved at the May 2013 Town Council meeting. We replaced the system in 2013 with a system purchased from Enforcement Electronics (Watchguard).”

The Palm Beach Post of March 1, 1996 reported the charges against Cook, but I could find no follow up report. As can be seen from the Palm Beach Police records though (page 7), she received a complex sentence including an order to write a letter of apology.

At the time, Lance Marsigliano was a relatively inexperienced officer; he joined the Department in October 1995, and retired early in May 2016.


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