This is the jarring moment a police sergeant was filmed making up a law to prevent an Uber driver from filming him.
When officer Kenneth Becker pulled over Jesse Bright, he had no idea what or who he was dealing with: a criminal defence attorney no less.
Bright had been pulled over and asked to get out of his vehicle so the officers could search it for drugs.
Shocked, Bright got his dashcam and began filming the incident. When Becker told him to stop, Bright asked under what law. It’s real showstopping stuff.
Be careful because there is a new law. Turn off or I’ll take you to jail.
Bright hit back, saying: ‘For recording you? What is the law?”
An accompanying deputy then agreed with Becker, saying there was a new state law forbidding the filming of police officers.
Impatient, they then called Bright a ‘jerk’ before once again demanding he get out of the car, even bringing along some good ol’ sniffer dogs to emphasise the point.
Bright told WECT at the time he still thought the officers were lying, saying:
They should know, I’m sure they do know, that it’s legal to record police.
Ralph Evangelous, of Wilmington Police Department, concurred, saying:
Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight, including the police, is your legal right.
As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.
Becker has since been demoted to corporal, which is said to have cost him a slight $1.38 an hour.
I was mainly surprised because one of the officers who was there has had a trial in court with me and so he recognised me.
I’d think that once they’d recognised that I was a trial lawyer they would’ve changed their tone and stopped violating my rights.
The sheriff’s department issued a statement saying, ‘not only does the Sheriff agree that it is legal to record encounters, he invites citizens to do so.’
Just not so great when it comes back to bite you on the heiny, is it people? It’s a very good job nobody got seriously hurt. Simply a dose of good old fashioned embarrassment and demotion.
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