“It’s within my legal rights [to film].” “No it’s not, you don’t have any legal rights right now.”
Caldwell, ID — A video taken by a group of BMX bicycle riders brings up some serious allegation of rights violations on behalf of a Caldwell police officer.
Joe Dondero and a group of friends were riding bikes at the Plaza Skate Park, a public park in Caldwell, when an officer, with apparently nothing better to do than to harass people for riding bikes 12 minutes after the park closed, showed up.
“He just rolled in and said the park is closed. Go home. He gave us maybe 30 seconds. He said, ‘did I stutter?’ Basically that was enough to tick off some people and that is exactly what happened,” Dondero told 6 on your side reporter Chris Oswalt.
The situation then quickly escalated and turned into 5 bike riders all being detained and searched.
“I’m still blown away at how this accelerated from five guys riding their bikes at the park. They searched everybody. They didn’t find any drugs or alcohol. We were just riding our bikes at the park like we have done several times,” Dondero said.
A friend of Dondero was able to film a portion of the stop, while you cannot see the officer, you can clearly hear everything.
“Okay. You guys are detained. You’re not free to leave. You’re out past 11 in a municipal park. That means that is a misdemeanor,” said the officer.
“We were trying to leave but he pulled out and said we are all detained,” one of the bikers says. “He told us to leave and we were listening to him.”
Then the officer notices the cellphone and tells the person filming to put it away. Knowing that he is well within his rights to film his police interaction, the man states that he will not put it away because it is, “within my legal rights to film,” to which the officer responds, “No it’s not, you don’t have any legal rights right now because right now you just broke the law.”
Only a 2 minute segment of the video was released to FOX 9 news, but an attorney for the group possess a full 20 minute version.
When the video was shown to Caldwell police chief, Chris Allgood, by FOX 9’s Oswalt, he claimed that he had not seen it and apparently launched an investigation into the incident.
Dondero and one other were ticketed for trespassing. Dondero was also charged with resisting arrest and obstructing; charges that he plans on fighting in court.
Below is the entire uncut 2 minute video of the rights violation caught on tape.