Police body camera footage helps exonerate midstate man

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Oct 21, 2015 3:50 AM

This screenshot shows 28-year-old Derek Twyman in his car during a May police stop in Gettysburg as Gettysburg Borough Police Officer Christopher Folster aims his Taser at him.

(Gettsburg) -- As police face increased scrutiny, more communities are calling for officers to wear body cameras while on patrol. And a recent case using evidence from a camera recently helped a midstate man successfully challenge a resisting arrest charge.

It's dark as Gettysburg Borough Police Officer Christopher Folster approaches 28-year-old Derek Twyman's car in May.

"Get out of the car. Get out of the car, now."

Folster had pulled over Tywan for an alleged violation of a protection from abuse order.

"I am going to Taser you."

"For what?"

"Because you are under arrest."

Throughout the video, Twyman talks to the officer from his driver's seat, and keeps his hands in clear sight.

The officer then tases him four times for failing to get out of the car.

But to be convicted of resisting arrest in Pennsylvania, a person has to present a substantial risk of injury to the officer.

Twyman's lawyer, Adams County Assistant Public Defender Jason Pudleiner, says the officer's report doesn't match up with the body camera footage.

And he says that's all the jury needed.

"The video speaks for itself. In the case, the defendant didn't even testify because there was no need to. Everything that we needed was on the video."

Pudleiner says without the video, he's convinced his client would've been convicted.

He says such he said she said cases are common, but doesn't have another one involving body camera footage yet.

"It's common that one of our clients will say something that the police officer is saying the exact opposite. But guarantee you, if you go to a trial, and it's a he-said she-said with the police officer, the defendant is going to lose every time," says Pudleiner.

Gettysburg police didn't return multiple calls for comment. Its Borough Council recently approved body cameras for all officers.

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