Rochester, NY — A video uploaded to Facebook last week is causing an uproar as it shows multiple Rochester police officers assault and pepper spray innocent bystanders for exercising their first amendment rights.
As the video begins, a man inside his car is filming two officers on top of an apparent suspect. Becoming agitated with the way police are treating that suspect, bystanders voice their opinion — from a distance more than enough to be considered non-threatening.
However, that does not stop police from targeting the woman who is standing on the sidewalk in front of her own home. As the officer approaches the woman, he becomes enraged that she is not immediately submitting and giving into his demand to stop practicing her first amendment right to film — and speak.
The woman attempts to explain to the officer that she is on the sidewalk in front of her home and that the sidewalk is not his — to which the officer replies, “Yes it is my sidewalk!”
After multiple threats, the woman turns to walk inside her front yard, but, as one of the cops said, “It’s too late.”
As young children are heard crying in disbelief and fear, cops swarm the woman, tackle her, and pile on top of her on her own property.
The cops were not content with only arresting the one innocent woman and after they assaulted her, they turned their sights on the other man filming.
“You’re under arrest,” says an officer who is likely going to be the subject of a lawsuit that will cost the taxpayers of Rochester dearly. He then takes the phone out of the man’s hand and places it facing down on the cruiser.
The phone continues to record until the officer sees that it is on. The film ends as the officer asks the man how to stop the phone from recording.
The Rochester police are notorious for attacking people on their own property for filming them. The department made national headlines years ago when they assaulted and arrested Emily Good, who was filming them, just like the woman in the video below, from her own front yard.
The citizens’ right to film the police is a legal precedent, established in Glik v Cunniffe, where the court held that “a private citizen has the right to record video and audio of public officials in a public place.”
In that case, the court went on to say:
“…we have previously recognized that the videotaping of public officials is an exercise of First Amendment liberties,” affirming Glik’s constitutional right to videotape public officials in public places.
The court went on to state that the right to film public officials in public places was clearly established a decade prior to the case, which would mean it was already established as early as 1997.
In spite of court rulings, the myriad of lawsuits against police, and the sheer negative publicity given to departments for police attacking those who would film them — the abuse continues.
Below is yet another example of why so many people, rightfully so, do not trust the police.
h/t Davy V