Wednesday, July 6, 2011
National Press Photographers Slam Crackdown, June 24 2011
Cops Arrest Woman On Her own Property For Filming Traffic Stop
Cops in Rochester, New York, arrested a woman who was merely standing in her own front yard filming them conducting a traffic stop in front of her house, once again raising concerns over the continuing unconstitutional crackdown on filming police officers.
28-year-old Emily Good has been charged with obstructing governmental administration after she politely refused a police officer’s order to stop filming, leave her front yard and go back into her house.
The resulting video, capturing the entire incident, has gone viral online.
As WHEC-TV reports, Ms Good’s tape shows one of the officers telling her that he feels “threatened” by her standing “behind” him because she appeared to be “very anti-police.”
“This is my front yard, I’m just recording what you’re doing. It’s my right,” Good tells the officer.
The officer then orders her to go back into her house, claiming she is on the sidewalk and she cannot film police from there.
Good replies “I’m going to stay in my yard if that’s OK”.
The officer then walks over and once again says he does not feel safe with her “standing right behind us”, even though Ms Good is clearly more than 5 meters away from the police and facing them.
“I’m going to ask you one more time to go back into your house” the officer states.
“All I have is a camera, I’m clearly wearing nothing… I have no weapons.” Good replies.
“It does not matter,” the officer states, “you are not listening to our orders.”
After Ms Good says she does not understand what she is being ordered to do or why, the officer says “I am not going to explain myself to you, you’re going to end up going to jail.”
As she stands her ground and continues filming the officer says “You know what, you’re going to jail, this is not right.” He then cuffs Ms Good and takes her away as she breaks down in tears, saying “I did nothing, I did nothing”.
Ironically, the man who was stopped, hand-cuffed and subjected to a police search was released without so much as a ticket.
Watch the video:
The Rochester Police Union President defended the officer’s actions to reporters, noting “I think she was certainly trying to engage the officers, in my opinion, and that’s what’s so dangerous because it’s a distraction to what these officers are doing,”.
Good’s attorney, Stephanie Stare, has filed a motion to have the misdemeanor charge of obstructing governmental administration thrown out. They are also considering a civil action.
“Basically the grounds for the motion to dismiss are that her actions did not rise to the level of a crime,” the attorney said. “It doesn’t fit the statutory elements of obstructing governmental administration.”
The incident has sparked a reaction from the National Press Photographers Association, a regular campaigner for the protection of the right to take photographs and film in public.
In a letter to Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard and Rochester Mayor Tom Richards, NPPA General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher demanded that the charges against Good be dropped
Osterreiche writes: “While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness, that is still no excuse for them to not recognize a citizen’s right to take photographs/video of an event occurring on a public street.”
Osterreicher added that the NPPA regularly receives complaints about incidents like this involving police and citizens, noting that they “are happening across the country on almost a daily basis.”