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Mar 24 2013

Another Arrest for Filming the Police

Police officers arrested a young man in Florida for filming them…doing nothing. It was actually a prank, the kid did a pretty cool flip over the heads of the officers while someone else filmed it. Now that may be dumb, but it isn’t a crime. And when they found out it was being filmed, the officers decide to arrest him — after telling him that they’ll “break your freaking neck” if he does it again. I’m sure they charged him with disorderly conduct, the catch-all “crime” that really means pissing off a police officer.

42 comments

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  1. 1
    Brandon

    That actually does seem like disorderly conduct to me. I’d be pretty unimpressed with a kid doing that sort of stunt over my head. He looks pretty coordinated, and odds are nothing bad will happen, but there’s way above a non-zero chance that the sitting person gets hit in the head, or otherwise struck. Yeah, the “break your neck” crack was out of line, but I’m not inclined to sympathize with someone that decides, “I’m going to fuck with cops on film”.

  2. 2
    starskeptic

    Looks like he filmed it himself.

  3. 3
    tsig

    Yes, Brandon, cops are totally unfuckwithable people, completely sacrosanct and above us ordinary mortals.

  4. 4
    psweet

    Doesn’t “I’ll break your neck” constitute assault? And on camera, no less?

  5. 5
    Francisco Bacopa

    There are ancient Minoan paintings of people leaping over bulls. We don’t know if it was a sport or a religious ritual. Looks someone is now trying it with pigs.

  6. 6
    unbound

    The kid was being a bit of dick, but so what?

    The cops reaction was way over the line. It would have been completely fine for the cop to point out that he didn’t like what the kid did and that he needed to be careful about doing such stunts over people because he will eventually slip and hurt somebody. And that should have been the end of it.

    Instead the cops threaten the kid and apparently arrested him. How is this anything other than bullies roughing up a kid that performed a minor taunt?

  7. 7
    Jafafa Hots

    In 1985 I was arrested for making a cops/donut joke in front of an undercover cop.
    The charge? Disorderly conduct.

    I was 19, sitting on some church steps with a couple friends, the cops pulled up in a car on the grass and said something to me I didn’t hear, I asked if they needed us to leave, they said no, they wanted ID. I explained I didn’t have ID, they arrested me. In the police car on the way to the station is when I found out what was really up.

    They mentioned the donut joke I’d told a few days earlier while hanging around on the corner with friends, said that someone there had been an undercover cop, and (threateningly) asked if I wanted to talk to that cop alone in a room and tell him about donuts again… etc.

    When I saw the arrest report it said they had asked me repeatedly to leave the church steps and I kept refusing. Total lies.

    Disorderly conduct DOES mean “pissing off a cop while not committing a crime.”

  8. 8
    Jackie

    I guess he’s lucky they didn’t shoot him to death at point blank range.

    What a bunch of power-mad jerks.

  9. 9
    lorn

    Let me get this straight. A kid engages in a stunt that risks bodily harm to an unwitting participant and you get angry when said unwitting participant gets mad?

    I have no problem with a kid leaping things or willing participants (it would be a great comfort to know he has a signed waiver and insurance coverage in case something goes sideways.) but the people he jumps have to be in on the joke to both give them an option to not participate, and increase safety if they do. Involving me in your childish stunt without prior approval is going to get me mad. I suspect most people would feel the same way.

    Notice I haven’t mentioned the unwitting jumpee being a police officer.

    Of course, if the person you menace with bodily harm during your stunt is a LEO he/she is going to do what they do. Good chance if the LEO saw it being done to other people it would have gone much the same way. But the kid had to make a point of making it impossible to ignore.

    I’m a little surprised the police didn’t gig him for reckless endangerment, interference with a police officer, and public nuisance. I get the feeling the cop was playing nice. A stern talking to, a $50 fine, and he will be out of jail before dark.

    Growing up in a large east coast city if you screwed with police too much they beat you with a phone book or broke your leg by twisting your foot. Always a nasty break. I know a couple of guys with persistent limps. And that assumes the cop didn’t plant drugs on you so you do real time as felon. That would be something to complain about. Kids today have it easy.

    And then there is the question of what exactly did the kid think was going to happen? Did he think the cop was going to laugh and give him a high-five for such a kick-ass stunt, like life is a Sunny Delight commercial?

  10. 10
    lofgren

    I agree with Brandon. I wouldn’t want somebody doing that to me when I had no idea it was about to happen, no permission had been asked, and while the chances of getting kicked in the head might be slim if you know what you’re doing, we don’t design laws with the assumption that the only person who would ever do something dangerous and stupid is a trained professional. And while I don’t think that cops are “unfuckwithable,” these guys do appear to be on duty, trying to do their job, and having people randomly jumping over their heads definitely interferes with that. If they weren’t cops, if they were, say, city maintenance workers trying to clean up the park, then I would say the kid still ought to face some consequences.

    Just because cops are cops doesn’t mean you have the right to perform dangerous stunts over their heads without their prior knowledge or consent.

    The kid was being a complete dick and I don’t have much sympathy for him.

    The line “Imma break your neck” might have been just slightly out of line, but I think it was pretty clear the cop didn’t mean it literally. Frankly before they realized they were being filmed, the cops handled this much more calmly than I would have. I would have been in that kid’s face telling him to fuck off.

  11. 11
    tuxedocartman

    Speaking of filming cops, remember that deputy that “resigned” last week for deliberately causing a collision on a South Carolina highway? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HROigWi-CcU&sns=em

    Well, the sheriff just gave him his job back. He was just waiting for the media hubbub to die down so he wouldn’t have to publicly deal with having a psychopath on his payroll. Apparently the psychopath in question also posted his thanks on his Facebook account to the South Carolina cops who showed up on the scene for not ticketing him.

    (Ed, what’s the best way to directly forward things to you we think you may be interested in? Crackpots and kooks seem to be able to send you mail, but I can’t figure it out).

  12. 12
    Mobius

    Just one word describes my opinion of the cops’ behavior…

    Disgusting.

  13. 13
    Joe Winpisinger

    The sad fact is that too many(dare I say most) cops are pricks that will violate your rights in 3 seconds. Which makes a lot of what we talk about at the national and state level irrelevant in that rights are only as good as the police in your area. I was arrested, and convicted(Judge did not care what the Supreme Court said and told us all), for cussing years ago here in Florida. Last week a kid who was being a dick to everyone in a restaurant told me he was going to shoot me. I put him up against the wall before he had the chance(pretty sure he was bluffing but I do not take chances) and the cops some how arrested me. Pretty sure it was because I pull out my phone to video them. Before I did that, they were telling me just to leave. There are a lot of good Florida cops and I have met them but the pricks here are real pricks. No surprise that they arrested the kid.

  14. 14
    scottmange

    For those defending the police, I think you’re missing the point.

    The kids was stupid, undoubtedly but the cops did NOTHING as a result of him jumping over them. They reacted ONLY after realizing they were being filmed.

    It was the filming that prompted their response and not the action of the kid.

  15. 15
    lofgren

    It was the filming that prompted their response and not the action of the kid.

    I figured somebody would bring this up.

    So your beef with the cops is that they didn’t arrest the kid immediately, but rather waited until they realized that he had actually filmed them witnessing something illegal?

    Because that does not seem to be the position of everybody else in this discussion, including Ed.

    But OK, that’s your position. That’s fine. To me, it’s not so unreasonable for a cop to exercise judgement on these matters. Nobody was hurt by the kid’s obviously dangerous and illegal prank, so a stern talking to seems fair. If the kid gets in more trouble because the police realize that he is not only committing dangerous crimes, but also brazenly filming himself doing so, again I have no beef with that.

  16. 16
    edmundog

    If you look at the linked videos at the end, one of them involves the guy sexually assaulting people as a “prank”. I’m not so sure this isn’t faked to drum up interest for his other videos. Stuff put up to draw attention to police misconduct doesn’t often have ads for other wacky stunts at the end, nor does it blur faces.

  17. 17
    SallyStrange

    It’s precisely because cops are entrusted with more power than the average citizen that they should be held to a higher, not lower standard of behavior. It disgusts me when people excuse cops’ abusiveness on the grounds that they are cops. No. Indeed, I might be pissed off if someone was executing dangerous pranks right over my head. However, that’s not illegal and neither is filming it–which means that the cops here were in the wrong, full stop. Their cop status makes their overreaction MORE worthy of condemnation, not less.

  18. 18
    abb3w

    @11, tuxedocartman:

    (Ed, what’s the best way to directly forward things to you we think you may be interested in? Crackpots and kooks seem to be able to send you mail, but I can’t figure it out).

    Clue here.

  19. 19
    carolw

    None of the three linked videos work. I say fake, too. The cops’ shoulder patches were either blurred really well, or had no text on them.

  20. 20
    scottmange

    @15 Lofgren

    So your beef with the cops is that they didn’t arrest the kid immediately, but rather waited until they realized that he had actually filmed them witnessing something illegal?

    My beef with the cops is they didn’t realize or willfully ignored the fact you’re allowed to videotape them when they have no expectation of privacy. If you or I didn’t like being filmed while out in public and chased someone down we could be arrested for assault. It’s because they abused their power that upsets me.

  21. 21
    demonhauntedworld

    If you want to see any of his other videos, go to his Youtube channel. The video Ed linked is from someone else’s account:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/RossCreations?feature=watch

  22. 22
    gopiballava

    When I saw the YouTube video a few days ago, my first thought was “wow, that kid was dumb and those cops were assholes.” It seemed like the cops were bizarrely hostile to being filmed in a way that might have maked them look dumb or something.

    After reading the comments here and reflecting further, I am changing my opinion. Obviously what the kid did was dangerous, and probably arrestable on its own. The filming adds two things beyond making the cops look silly:
    a) It means the kid planned it. He didn’t just see the cops and randomly jump.
    b) He may have done it before and is likely to do it again. Doing a one-off dumb thing isn’t as bad as a pattern of repetitively doing dangerous things

    Now, I don’t know if the police were actually thinking of what I consider to be good reasons when arresting him. But, given the number of good reasons to arrest him I don’t think I am as offended anymore.

  23. 23
    Ichthyic

    sorry, but I gotta disagree with the lot of you thinking this an appropriate reaction from the police here.

    reason?

    simply one:

    The ONLY reason they arrested the guy, and very roughly I might add, is because he filmed it.

    so fuck you all for deciding it’s OK to bully someone simply because they punked you on film.

    If they really thought he was breaking any laws, they wouldn’t have done it that way.

    seriously…. that’s a pathetic argument from you guys.

  24. 24
    Ichthyic

    After reading the comments here and reflecting further, I am changing my opinion.

    I’m sorry to hear that. Your initial reaction was the correct one.

  25. 25
    Ichthyic

    … I mean really, it’s right there IN THE FILM. The cop was pissed off, but wasn’t going to arrest the guy until he saw the camera. HE SAYS IT RIGHT THERE.

    sad.

  26. 26
    Taz

    Indeed, I might be pissed off if someone was executing dangerous pranks right over my head. However, that’s not illegal…

    It’s not? Certainly seems like it should be.

  27. 27
    edmundog

    Ichthyic: As someone says above, that can easily bee seen as the cops were annoyed but didn’t think it was worth their time until they realized they’d been recorded witnessing a dangerous and probably illegal act and doing nothing. Or, more likely, it was faked to promote this jackass’s “pranks” videos.

  28. 28
    robertbaden

    Kind of like those rapists who filmed their assault on that unconscious girl and then broadcast it?

  29. 29
    Jafafa Hots

    Kind of like those rapists who filmed their assault on that unconscious girl and then broadcast it?

    Oh fuck off.

    Sure, the kid could have been charged with reckless endangerment or something.
    That’s not what happened, and that’s not what this blog post is about.

    And for those thinking that such video’d things have to have been faked, I wish I got to live in your world.
    In MY world, none of this is a surprise.

    I was assaulted by a cop at an anti-Iraq war protest. I was standing there not even paying attention to the cop when I heard someone ask for his badge number. That made me glance over and I saw him put his middle finger up (giving the person who asked “the bird”) over his badge, and he said “you want my badge number? HERE’S my badge number!”

    I laughed and said “hey, do that again, lemme get it on camera!” My video camera was hanging by my side. The cop grabbed me and yanked me forward so his face was inches from his (yes, that’s assault) and growled “you want to get arrested?!”

    I laughed again and said “for what?” Others nearby said the same thing. An ACLU observer was standing nearby, so the cop’s supervisor called him away.

    The cop was steaming mad, red-faced. We were a totally peaceful crowd, standing, even laughing and talking with other cops, I had been actually proud of the cops’ handing of things, they were engaging the crowd positively, there was actual rapport.

    But this one guy could not handle the slightest challenge to his perception of what his authority was.
    What would have happened in a one-on-one situation?
    I’d have been arrested, if not worse. That’s what.

    Here in the Bay Area, a cop shot and killed a young man who was handcuffed and on the pavement on his stomach, surrounded by other cops.
    The cop pulled out his gun and shot him in the back in a BART station.

    The rest of the cops then confiscated cell phones and cameras from the horrified onlookers, but they didn’t get them all, which is the only reason the thing even went to trial. Some people in a train that had just pulled in video recorded it, etc.

    Maybe you grew up in Mayberry, but where I grew up and have lived, cops are people to be wary of. Not hated, but you certainly don’t automatically give them your trust. You definitely don’t take their word over someone else’s.

  30. 30
    edmundog

    “And for those thinking that such video’d things have to have been faked”

    I didn’t say “such things have to have been faked”. I said based on the blurred faces (and generic uniforms, as someone else noted) and the fact that it ends with an advertisement for his other wacky prank videos, this particular one is probably, in view of the evidence, fake.

  31. 31
    robertbaden

    Jafafa Hots,

    He sure as hell wasn’t documenting any police malfeasance, like you were. They were just sitting there.

    This strikes me as a really weak example. The people arrested don’t seem that different in spirit from men who take upskirt photos. They are doing it for their own gain, not to protect others.

  32. 32
    gopiballava

    @Ichthyic:

    … I mean really, it’s right there IN THE FILM. The cop was pissed off, but wasn’t going to arrest the guy until he saw the camera. HE SAYS IT RIGHT THERE.

    I identified what I believe two legitimate and rational reasons for filming to change how the police would deal with a situation.

    I don’t think these cops acted particularly professionally before or after they discovered the camera. I’m not at all convinced that they were thinking of an (in my opinionated opinion) legitimate reason when they did arrest him.

    So, after reading comments here, my view changed from:
    There was no legitimate reason for arresting him
    to:
    There were some legitimate reasons, but based on the police behavior and attitude I don’t know if they had a legitimate one in their minds.

    As to whether it’s fake or not, I think the discussion about this as a hypothetical is interesting enough that I’m happy to talk about it that way. There’s enough out there about police misbehaviour that I don’t think that one video more or less is going to change my perspective on the severity of the problem.

  33. 33
    Gretchen

    It’s never okay for a cop to arrest someone for filming him while on duty.

    Even more obviously, it’s never okay for a cop to threaten someone for filming him on duty.

    Period.

  34. 34
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Fucking pigs. The kid may have been a complete asshole, but that does NOT give the piggies free reign to threaten him.

  35. 35
    Jafafa Hots

    He sure as hell wasn’t documenting any police malfeasance, like you were.

    That may not have been his intent.

    But that was the result.

  36. 36
    Jafafa Hots

    The people arrested don’t seem that different in spirit from men who take upskirt photos.

    The more I think about this, the more disturbing and sickening I think your attitude is.
    Upskirt photos are a gross invasion of privacy and personal space and I believe illegal. Definitely disgusting and slimy.

    Taking video or photos in a public space in the US is legal – there is no expectation of privacy in public.
    It is a civil right guaranteed under the first amendment – even if the people in the public space are police officers.

    if a person exercising their constitutional rights is, to you, comparable to someone violating someone’s constitutional rights, you have your head up your ass.

    Add in your inability to differentiate between extreme sexual harassment and publicly protected civil rights and your argument becomes not only wrong but creepy as hell.

  37. 37
    edmundog

    Check out his other videos, and it seems he actually is the kind of person who would violate people’s privacy and personal space, as he does in his “hilarious” sexual assault “pranks” video.

  38. 38
    Jafafa Hots

    Check out his other videos, and it seems he actually is the kind of person who would violate people’s privacy and personal space, as he does in his “hilarious” sexual assault “pranks” video.

    Well then that TOTALLY justifies the police in this video breaking the law.

  39. 39
    lofgren

    If I”m going to start getting upset at people for doing the right thing for the wrong reason, I’m going to have to start slicing my outrage very thin. There’s enough actual injustice in the world without me adding to it by playing thought police.

  40. 40
    Brandon

    Indeed, I might be pissed off if someone was executing dangerous pranks right over my head. However, that’s not illegal…

    What? Yeah, it actually is. At a bare minimum, it’s harassment.

  41. 41
    lancifer

    For the people claiming that this kid did something “reckless” or “illegal” PUH LEEZE! Watch the video again.

    The two officers are sitting about three feet apart. The kid runs up the other side of the picnic table, runs between the two cops (not endangering them in any way) and THEN flips in the air well past the two asshats.

    So, unless you think it is illegal to run between two sitting people, which it isn’t, the kid did nothing dangerous (to the cops at least) or illegal. In fact the one cop sees the kid coming and hardly flinches.

    At most it might have been annoying and since the two cops weren’t engaged in police business, unless that business was holding down a picnic table, he wasn’t “interfering” with their duties.

    What pissed the cops off was that the kid came back and “eyeballed” them, but they didn’t get up or very upset until they saw the camera.

    Then they physically attacked the kid.

    Now if you still think this is appropriate behavior for a police officer make the two guys just plain “citizens” and recount their behavior.

    If the kid had done this to two “citizens” and had filmed it, the two violent bullies would be facing criminal charges and if the kid had been injured or his camera damaged a possible civil suit.

  42. 42
    edmundog

    “Well then that TOTALLY justifies the police in this video breaking the law.”

    Never said it did.

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