Photographer Arrested and Left Bleeding for Filming in Public Place

In an all too common occurrence, another photographer has been arrested for filming in a public place, catching the sad event on film.These cases are contentious, and spark vigorous debate. I'm often outraged, but the outrage is tapered when the photographer is being extremely animated and loud about their rights. Knowing police officers (albeit in the U.K), there are a lot of people out there who aren't honest and reasonable folk with an understanding of their rights; they're looking for drama and could be aggressive. The above video is a shortened version with some commentary. The full video with more context can be seen below:

Thankfully, and indeed sadly, that's not the case here. The photographer in this case appeared to me to be polite and well-informed, but the situation simply escalated because the police officers didn't appreciate their lack of power in the given situation. They initially claim their motivation is that of a concern for the welfare of the man filming, purporting that he seemed intoxicated and they were worried he was going to get hit by a car. Whether that's true or not — and perhaps I'm naive for thinking that does sound fair as the man doesn't deny having had alcohol, but just that he's intoxicated — his welfare was clearly not their chief concern as he's left with scratched glasses and blood pouring from his forehead.

The caveat — and it's large — is that it seems the photographer filming and falling victim is a sort of cop vigilante, stalking police and waiting for them to act out. This could be due to abuse of power becoming commonplace and he wants to help put an end to it, but I can't help but wonder if he has other motives. Either way, an aggressive arrest against a non-violent person is extreme.

Can a photographer be in the wrong if they state their rights and don't comply with the requests of the police? I realize this topic could get heated in the comments, and I ask you to be polite and levelheaded. 

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34 Comments

Totally unacceptable behavior by these Law Enforcement Officers. Hopefully he sues the crap out of that department. It's the only thing they understand and apparently the only way to change this type of behavior.

Reginald Walton's picture

Soooo, if they felt he was publicly intoxicated, why didn't they subject him to a sobriety test and prove it right there and then (on video)? I mean if they feel you're intoxicated, they can do a sobriety test. IJS

Jeff Walsh's picture

That cop with the mustache was looking for a fight. Zero reason for them to come back, and when he started lying about getting things on body cam, it was done. It's so ridiculous that there are cops who feel the need to do this type of thing.

So much other stuff happening, and these cops are here just flexing authority in a situation where they really had no cause for that authority. In my opinion, even if the person filming has a history of starting trouble with cops, it doesn't matter. A cop's job is to protect and serve the people, not hunt down people they don't like.

In this case, I hope this guy sues and the assaulting officers are fired because their behavior is absolutely intolerable.

Jeremy Center's picture

"The caveat — and it's large — is that it seems the photographer filming and falling victim is a sort of cop vigilante, stalking police and waiting for them to act out."

Please cite your source(s)

Eric Salas's picture

The filmer’s YouTube channel and the commenter’s YouTube channel do the same thing. They both center on provoking cops to act like this and often have multiple interactions with the same police which only heightens the chances of them doing this.

Wrong for the police to act like this? Yes, of course it is.
An asshole move to waste the PD’s time repeatedly in attempts to walk the legal line for 1st amendment rights? Yup, I’d say that too.

The "photographer" does not need our sympathy. He needs some mental health counseling.

Terry Waggoner's picture

Personally, after explaining what I'm doing is my right and the "authorities" wont change their opinions. I would have packed up and gone to their superiors to have a peaceful conversation...............Being in the right is one thing......being in the need of medical attention is quite another............

Eric Mazzone's picture

Being in need of medical attention, or being arrested, just means the department will end up writing a larger check.

Terry Waggoner's picture

yeah but, to whom will the check be issued to..........myself, or my widow?

John Sammonds's picture

There is nothing nice about an American Cop sadly this pair of Aholes pull down the whole nation.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

bad cops
if photographer walked away he wont bleed

michaeljin's picture

The behavior of the officers was atrocious, but if you're the type to try to stir up shit, you have to realize that something like this is eventually going to happen. If a LEO tells me to move along, I generally listen even if I'm in the right simply because I have a family at home and I'm not willing to risk my physical safety in the event that the LEO is like the guys in this video. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic for your own sake because the world unfortunately doesn't work the way it ought to even according to its own laws.

Eric Mazzone's picture

Sadly we have a very large segment of our society who simply can't walk away, and simply aren't just left alone.

Michael Holst's picture

The reason that there are people out testing police (not claiming the photographer here is deliberately out to stir up trouble) in this way is because there too often an abuse by law enforcement and they aim to highlight that abuse of power. If police didn't abuse as often then there wouldn't be as many youtube channels dedicated to conducting "freedom audits".

michaeljin's picture

I get why they do it, but I think that if you're deliberately out to "test" whether people will abuse their power, you're already going in with the assumption that there is a segment of the population that you are testing who are prone to doing so. So by conducting this test, you are assuming the risk of physical harm so when it comes, congratulations, you've highlighted a person who is violently abusing their power, but you've also deliberately put yourself in that situation so don't bitch about it. You don't get to cry when you find exactly what you were actively looking for. That's all i'm saying.

Also, in the process of getting your ass kicked, you're not only hurting yourself, but you're hurting people around you who care about you and those who will have to deal with your recovery. Is it worth it? Perhaps. I guess it depends on how you value things.

Michael Holst's picture

Well yeah... This wouldn't be ta thing if there wasn't an issue with abuse of power. Fix the abuse and the law abiding citizens won't have anything to film.

How do we enlighten the population of the issue without it being demonstrated and documented by citizens?

michaeljin's picture

I don't mind people demonstrating and documenting it. I mind people acting shocked when they find what they're looking for knowing full well that it's out there. It's fine if the rest of the people viewing it are disturbed, but the person doing the filming should not be surprised at all.

Also, LEO's are human beings who, due to need, are often trained hastily and sent out without lawyer classes on the nuances of every legal circumstance that they're tested in. They're trying to do their jobs while these "auditors" are often "testing" them in contrived manners that don't apply to their everyday interactions with the public. So there's plenty of room for misinterpretation and mistakes and by "auditing" them, you only create more room for such mistakes to happen.

I'm not saying that this applies to this scenario because it clearly doesn't, but there are plenty of cases where an "audit" might demonize a good LEO trying to do his job just because he doesn't fully understand the situation and one who might have gone his entire career without running into such a situation if not for the contrivance of the self-appointed "auditor".

And honest people in law enforcement wonder why Joe Citizen doesn't trust them, and why they get called pig. It's because of fascist pigs like these.

The end of their days of freely doing things like this are coming to an end, because everyone has a camera now, to include houses and light posts. If you're not being recorded, it's because you're inside a building with the shades drawn, and I wouldn't give good odds even then.

For those who are saying, "He shouldn't have provoked them, he should have walked away", well, that's how rights are lost. When no one exercises them.

My biggest issue is with the title..."photographer". Recording with your camera phone, out of focus, etc, doesnt make you a photographer or videographer.

Your not a professional and even if you were, just say ok sir, quit arguing, and move on. If it that important then get a lawyer.

Michael Holst's picture

I think you're missing the point

Just finished watching this non-photographers video. He was resisting arrest, noncompliant and reached towards the cops.

Michael Holst's picture

Arrest for what though?

Christopher Eaton's picture

Once more the tax payers will have to write a large check for the brutality of its police force.

Michael Murphy's picture

Thing is even if he gets cleared of the Public Intoxication charge which to me sounds like and easy one, they take a blood test at the hospital or at the station and he is exonerated, they can't dismiss the charges because they are then stuck with 'the Officers' using unnecessary force and felony assault on a citizen. If he presses a Civil & Criminal case against the officers, the criminal case will get shot down by the officers superior, and buddies the DAs and the Judges they work with all the time. The Civil case he will eventually win but it will take a long time and in the end, do you know who will pay off the case? The Tax Payers! Literally nothing will happen to the officers to prevent them from doing this again tomorrow to someone else or even the same person, just to teach him a lesson that they can do whatever they want to whoever they want and no one will stop them. WELCOME TO AMERICA!

Keith Davis's picture

There was certainly something going on before the video. I would bet that if that were filmed and presented things would look a lot different and the police officers actions more understandable. I am not saying there was no fault on the part of the police but we are just getting one edited side of the story...as usual in these type of cases.

Michael Holst's picture

It's a 17min video...

Keith Davis's picture

Both the police and the photographer alluded to previous incidents that were not explained in context by the presenter of the video. I believe this information would be essential before we should assign blame to anyone. This story and video is very one sided without police or third party testimony.

The "photographer" does not need our sympathy. He needs some mental health counseling.

If he would've walked away when asked, he wouldn't be bleeding.

Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250 (2006) I believe may apply. The retaliatory nature, absent from reasoning suspicion, and nefarious intent could be construed as an attempt to deprive rights, 42 USC 1983.
Due to the fact that this is well established case law, I'd bet qualified immunity is off the table.

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