Buffalo, NY — Filming the police is entirely legal in every state. However, all too often, we will see police officers overstep their authority and arrest, attack, and assault innocent people for the constitutionally protected act of documenting their behavior in public. Ruweyda Salim learned about this the hard way this week when she was assaulted, called a derogatory name, and subsequently stalked and harassed for doing nothing other than legally filming the police — from over 20 feet away.
When Salim noticed nearly a dozen police officers begin to surround a man outside a 7/11 on Sunday, she decided to practice her first amendment right to film the police.
As the video shows, Salim is far enough away not to be considered a threat and is not talking or saying anything to the officers who have an unarmed man completely surrounded. Despite breaking no laws, harming no one, and not interfering in any way, Lt. Michael DeLong walked up to Salim and got in her face.
The officer, who is clearly larger, wearing a bullet proof vest, carrying a weapon, and surrounded by 10 of his fellow cops, singled out this young woman in what can only be called an act of intimidation and bullying. But Salim refused to be bullied.
"We have cameras, too," DeLong says as he walks up to threaten and intimidate Salim.
"OK. Get away from me. Can you get away from me?" Salim says.
"No," he replies.
"Why?" she says.
"Move me," he says.
Think about that statement for a moment. The phrase "move me" here is a clear attempt to provoke Salim. Had she actually given in to the bully's tactics, she would have been immediately slammed to the ground, possibly pepper sprayed, tasered, kidnapped, and thrown in jail. Instead of playing the bully's game, however, Salim stood her ground.
"I'm not going to move you, but you can get away from me, though," she responds.
"No," he says.
"You can get away from me," she says.
"No, I don't," he says.
"Personal space," she says.
"Excuse me," he responds, as he shoves his body weight and physically assaults the young woman. Uncomfortably breathing directly in her face.
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To justify his bullying tactics and subsequent assault, DeLong tells the woman that the man has a crack pipe and assaulted his mother. However, he appeared to be such an insignificant threat that none of the officers involved had so much as a taser pulled on him.
What's more, if he was suspected of assault, he would've been arrested. Instead he was loaded into an ambulance and not even handcuffed.
"There's no need for all these policemen to handle someone who is on drugs," Salim said. "He doesn't have to talk to you."
When Salim stands up for the man's rights — no matter the crime of which he was accused — the cop boils over and can no longer control himself.
"You're a disrespectful little f**king c**t, that's what you are!" DeLong says before walking in front of her and breathing down her neck.
"Thank you. You're going to be viral," the woman tells him.
After threatening the woman, DeLong then proceeds to tell her to get off the sidewalk. But it is a public sidewalk, so Salim, again, asserted her rights.
"I don’t care if I go viral," DeLong says. "I really don’t."
After being completely shut down, DeLong then tells the woman that "I'm gonna come to your work and film you."
"Okay," she responds, leaving the officer speechless.
When the video ends, the man is seen being loaded into an ambulance not in handcuffs — not a typical departure for people who just attacked their mother.
Salim's harassment did not end at the 7/11, however. After pulling out of the store, she was then targeted and apparently stalked by DeLong to further intimidate her.
This officer's actions were nothing short of abuse of power. He was a bully who assaulted an innocent young woman who was protecting her first amendment right to free speech. Luckily for Salim, her predictions of "going viral" were correct and 24 hours after she posted the video to her Facebook page, DeLong was suspended without pay.
As Buffalo News reports:
Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood has ordered an immediate internal affairs investigation into the matter, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo confirmed the lieutenant's identity as DeLong. He said he did not have any further detail about when and where the incident took place.
Rinaldo said DeLong has been suspended without pay.
Below is a video showing everything wrong with police in America. A tyrant intimidated and assaulted a young woman for practicing her right to free speech as all of his fellow officers did nothing to stop him. This is why people are upset.