Easton police show bodycam footage of Taiba Sultana, a councilwoman, arrest

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The city's police chief displayed body cam footage of Councilwoman Taiba Sultana’s July 2023 arrest Wednesday night in an attempt to dispel allegations of misconduct by the councilwoman.

Police Chief Carl Scalzo addressed council during a public presentation, noting it to be an “unprecedented situation” in his 30 years of police work.

Sultana, he said, made “allegation(s) of racism, political corruption, and socio-economic bias” in response to her arrest on domestic violence charges in July 2023.

Sultana's two sons, including the 19-year-old who alleged abuse and his teen brother who also appeared in the footage, were in the audience, and two of her younger children sat by Sultana at the dais at the front of the room.

Scalzo opted to show more than 30 minutes of video of the arrest, from the arrival on the scene at Sultana’s Vista Drive residence to interviews with her son and the councilwoman; to her being led to a police vehicle where she was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser.

Sultana, 40, was approved by a Northampton County judge on March 6 to enter a special program that will enable her record to be expunged of criminal charges if she successfully completes its terms.

Besides serving on council, she is campaigning for a state House seat, representing the Easton-area's 136th District. She is challenging incumbent Democrat Robert Freeman in the upcoming primary election.

According to Scalzo, Councilmen Ken Brown, Frank Pintabone and Jim Edinger requested and obtained a copy of the body cam footage ahead of time, and they directed Scalzo to play the video as part of his presentation.

“I believe that the endeavor of playing this video, as unfortunate as it is, is necessary to regain the trust of the citizens of this community," Scalzo said during the council meeting. "I say this because I genuinely believe that there are real-life consequences for making statements such as those made by Councilwoman Sultana. My officers will have to deal with those negative consequences for the foreseeable future, and attempt to convince the public that those statements are invalid.”

The video shows footage from a police sergeant's body camera as he approaches Sultana’s 19-year-old son outside the home on July 31, 2023, after police were summoned.

The young man says Sultana slapped, punched and headbutted him, adding she had previously been violent to the point of him requiring medical attention.

Subsequent footage shows officers interviewing Sultana in the home, followed by Scalzo appearing on the scene after being notified by responding officers.

She was charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment and spent a night in Northampton County Prison.

Sultana during Wednesday's meeting did not address Scalzo's remarks or the playing of the video, instead noting during public comment that Wednesday was the four-year anniversary of the police killing of Breonna Taylor during a botched raid in Louisville, Kentucky.

She released a statement later in the evening: "My family has already endured significant trauma, and the release of this footage has reopened old wounds, causing us to relive the distressing experience once again," she said.

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