Controversial cell phone video shows Roque supporter being arrested in West New York


A controversial cell phone video shows a man handing out campaign literature for West New York Mayor Felix Roque before suddenly being dragged to the ground and handcuffed by three officers.

(Click on video and watch in full screen for best quality).

The two-minute and 37 second video posted on the “Forward with Roque” page shows what appears to be a significant portion of the incident.

“We’d like to give you a summons for a noise complaint,” an unidentified female officer says when speaking to Dante Joa, a doctor whose office is located at 5300 Bergenline Ave, who was playing Spanish music while handing out pro-Roque flyers.

“You can’t give me a summons, I’m not making an infraction,” he responded.

“Right now, it’s obstruction,” she answered.

“I’m not obstructing anything, okay? This is my property,” he says, pointing to the floor of his office.

The conversation continues to escalate, with the initial officer and two other cops walking Doa back into the office.

He then begins screaming as they appear to be hand fighting, with the two other officers then joining in to help wrestle him to the ground as they implore him to “stop resisting.”

The physical aspect of the incident lasted for about a minute and ends with Doa flat on his stomach before finally being handcuffed.

In a statement, Roque blames his chief opponent in the May 14th municipal elections, Public Safety Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez, for the situation escalating the way it did.

“Today Dante Joa was arrested by police while exercising his constitutional right of free speech. This is just another example how Commissioner Rodriguez is using the police and other municipal workers to intimidate and harass our supporters,” he said.

“As a Cuban American these tactics are particularly disturbing to me and are the same tactics that were used by Fidel Castro and Nicholas Maduro. Clearly this was done at the direction of Commissioner Rodriguez who is in charge of the police department.”

Police Director Robert Antolos spoke to HCV in detail about the incident and seemed to dispute that it was the result of politics, stating that three officers were sent to Joa’s office after someone made a noise complaint to the department.

He refused to turn the music down and when asked for his ID so he could be summonsed, he also refused, the director said.

“At that point the officers deemed him to be uncooperative and proceeded to place him under arrest, and subsequently the man made physical contact with one of the officers which led the other officers to place the man in a restraint hold and use handcuffs to subdue him,” Antolos stated.

“After the alleged actor’s identification was confirmed, it was revealed that he had an active arrest warrant out of West New York. This incident is still under investigation and it will be reviewed by our Internal Affairs bureau to ensure that the officers behaved appropriately, however from the video footage released it is my personal opinion that the officers used the appropriate level of force necessary to affect the arrest and to keep themselves and their fellow officers safe.”

Joa was ultimately charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of administration of law, in addition to the active arrest warrant, Antolos said.

The video posted on Roque’s campaign page has 7,321 views, 202 shares and 146 comments as of 10 a.m. this morning, with most people being highly critical of the police involved.

A video posted on Joa’s Facebook page shortly before the incident occurred shows him enthusiastically interacting with people in front of his office with Ana Luna, one of Roque’s running mates, and others as they hand out campaign literature.

Seconds before the video ends, a police car pulls up in front of his office with their sirens on and the officers begin getting out the car, prompting him to say something along the lines of “The police are here, the party’s going to start now” in Spanish.

The person who called in the noise complaint spoke to us under the condition of anonymity and said that the police did everything they could to deescalate the situation but Joa continued to be “belligerent.”

The individual also said things were even more intense after the cameras stopped rolling, indicating a police officer had to escort her away from the scene, which had turned into a “melee.”

“It’s really upsetting and hurtful that the mayor of this town would support putting bystanders and individuals in harms way,” the person added, further stating they were not supporting any campaign in the May 14th municipal elections.

Regarding of whose perspective is accurate, this situation is far from over, as Roque is holding a press conference at 2 p.m. to address the situation at length.


  1. Can’t believe how we continue to embarrass ourselves and our community.
    Stop the nonsense and ignorance, this town deserves better. Demonstrate accountability for actions and stop finger pointing, political gains is hurting our community.

  2. It should be made CLEAR that of the unidentified person who called in the noise complaint, when she is referred to as saying that ‘they were not supporting any campaign in the May 14 municipal elections’ this individual is referring to herself and other bystanders who were caught up by the over zealous actions of Roque partisans. Thank GOD this person was there to speak the TRUTH to an event which was not provoked by non-partisans or West Mew York’s Outstanding Police Officers.

    • Lol @ attempted murder and almost stripped naked . You’re over exaggerating things in your head . I’m all about holding police officers accountable for violating people’s rights . Let’s not confuse that with this situation. Going from your name you have a political agenda , which makes sense with your bogus comment . You must not know what attempted murder means and I don’t think cops ever told anyone they couldn’t record . Stop making stories up in your head .

  3. Obviously this video shows that lady police officer enter the property without permission and instigate the situation. The lady officer made threats when the doctor was clearly in his office and not the sidewalk !… She should be fired right away before she kills someone. This is called police brutality and the video proves it. Then the officer GARCIA starts bullying the the people filming on a public sidewalk !!!… They thew an old man to the ground in private property and even exposed his ass. The 3 cops need to be fired ASAP !… These are DIRTY COPS and the video proves it.

  4. There are other cameras installed for that business and cvs next door out side.

    Lets see the videos of before and after that original cell phone video… Will Corrupt Mayor Roque want that shown?

    probably not.

    • What does the outside cameras outside of CVS or any other place have to do with anything ?… The attempted murder of Mr. Joa by the 3 officers took place deep inside his office !… Mr. Joa was put in a choke hold and basically stripped naked and thanks to those brave souls who used their phones we have the truth on video. Even the bystanders were threaten with physical violence for filming the act of terrorism by the WNY COPS!… Do I have to pull up videos on Youtube of cops on a POWER TRIP ?… I know the cops of WNY very well and will testify in front of a Grand Jury that most of them are thugs in uniforms. This has nothing to do with Roque.

  5. Ain’t working your Roque spin! Roque’s Time is up!

    David your jigs up…lol

    JOA refused to comply.. 10 minutes previous that cell video.. Cops patience was awesome. Before and after videos show the instigators with JOA before he ran back into his business.. Oh thats right he was wanted for other crimes…lol

  6. Rodriguez is unethical and not fit to run. This type of intimidation is what no one wants for West New York. Extremely disappointed at our public safety commissioner.

  7. I met Rodriguez and he is too into himself. Ego-driven and cocky. Reminds me of all political leaders that should not be involved in politics. Your vote matters. I hope you take the time to meet all candidates just like me. Do not allow anyone to tell you who to vote for. Do your own research and make an informed decision. Looking forward to the results!

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