“Let’s be real clear. You have the absolute right to stand on your front porch and record what’s going on in your front yard.”The Free Thought Project Matt Agorist July 11, 2014
Two separate incidents within in 2 months in Petersburg, VA highlight the severity of police incompetence and lack of self control when dealing with people practicing their 1st Amendment rights.
With all the cases and videos online of police harassing people for filming and subsequently facing charges or lawsuits, or just looking like complete despots, one would think that cops would show some self restraint when being filmed in public.
However, the act of self restraint seems to be a rare commodity in Police land.
Just last month Petersburg police arrested a 19-year-old man, Devin Thomas, who’s only “crime” was holding police accountable through act of filming them.
Devin was recording a traffic stop when he claims he was assaulted by Petersburg Police, right outside of the Petersburg Police Department.
Now, this week, a cell phone video of another incident has surfaced.
Just two months prior to the Devin Thomas case, JaQuan Fisher was assaulted and charged for filming the police.
Fisher, 17, was on his own front porch when a Petersburg cop, unable to resist throwing a temper tantrum, rushed him for filming an arrest that was taking place in Fisher’s front yard.
After being assaulted by the officer, Fisher pushed back. As Fisher’s mother, Debra Fisher got involved, the altercation quickly escalated.
“They was trying to grab my son off the porch. I was trying to tell my boyfriend to open the door so we can get in the house,” Debra Fisher said. She is JaQuan’s mother and can be seen on the video wrestling with officers, according to NBC 12.
A second officer arrived during the struggle. There was an object in his hand. The family says he started spraying mace.
“They maced each other, too. He just started mace-ing everywhere,” Debra Fisher said.
A third officer came rushing in to the chaos and put Debra into a choke hold, nearly pulling her backward off the porch.
The over the rail choke hold by the third officer was particularly dangerous and could have ended much worse for JaQuan Fisher.
JaQuan Fisher was charged with two counts of felony assault on law enforcement. Eventually one of the counts was dropped and the other reduced to a misdemeanor. He pleaded guilty to that charge.
His mother didn’t have an attorney, and a judge found her guilty of obstructing justice.
The family is seeking legal council, and rightfully so, in order to appeal the convictions.
The lack of self-control exhibited by the police in these two incidents is disheartening to say the least.
The rage and anger within these officers was unable to be governed and led to senseless violence enacted against the innocent.
When citizens enact senseless violence against other citizens, this is called crime; when police officers enact the same violence against citizens, it is called tyranny.
Police will do well to quickly come to terms with the reality that more people begin filming them everyday.
The niche for legal recourse against tyrant cops whom cannot control themselves will quickly be filled by proactive attorneys seeking damages for their many clients.