Philadelphia, PA– Tony Soto, Pennsylvania fire fighter was pulled over for his tinted windows, and stood his ground brilliantly in a series of videos uploaded on March 25 which quickly went viral.
“Look, I pay my taxes. You work for me.”
In the first video which was captured via personal dash cam, the officer claims that he pulled Soto over for a couple of reasons. The first reason being his tinted windows- which Soto quickly invalidates by showing him his tint permit. The officer next claims that the man’s headlight is out, which Soto asserts it was not and he’s right.
Upon receiving the information proving Soto broke no laws, the officer attempts to illegally open the marshall’s door.
Soto requests a supervisor as the officer is attempting to violate his constitutional rights, and pulls out his identification as well as his fire fighter badge. He then hands the information over along with his tint permit.
“We’re going to stop all this nonsense with you guys down here- just stopping people and doing whatever you want so that’s done, those days are over,” Soto calmly tells the officer.
“I’m glad you think you’re changing the world,” the officer replies.
“No sir actually, let me explain something to you, I’m not changing the world okay, I’m professional, and we’re going to change it one person at a time,” Soto continues on to say.
After once again reading the tint permit, the officer returns to ask Soto if he has any firearms in the vehicle. Soto informs the officer that he does not, and explains to the camera that he does not have one and that he obviously does not consent to a search.
The officer walks away, gets in his vehicle and pulls across the street, after Soto had requested a supervisor over the harassment.
“I’m going to set my phone back down before I get shot and they say that I’m reaching for something,” Soto states as he ponders why the officer would pull away and sit across the street during a traffic stop.
After waiting several minutes, unsure if he is still stopped, Soto reminds us all to know our rights.
Video Number (2) of the traffic stop
Posted by Tony Soto on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The video ends as Soto makes a phone call. But in the second video from the stop, Soto explains that he is still sitting there unsure if he is free to go safely.
He notes that it is now 7:43 and he had requested a supervisor at 7:28. No backup has arrived, no supervisor, and the officers are still sitting across the street after pulling out from behind him.
Video number (3) of the traffic stop
Posted by Tony Soto on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
In the third installment, he shows the officers pulling off leaving the area of the stop entirely. The officer never approached the vehicle to tell Soto he was free to go or apologize for the harassment and the supervisor he requested never arrived. He documents the water damage to the speakers in his vehicle and shows that his headlights are in fact working.
Since the video went viral, Soto has claimed that he has been receiving threats from officers.
The following day he posted a photo of a cop car outside of where he was, with the caption, “Why r the police sitting outside of where I’m at? I’m not even home I just parked my car here seriously.”
Later that evening he posted to Facebook responding to his local news coverage and the police allegations that he was trying to “bait the police.”
He explained that last time he checked, it was the police officers who stopped him, not the other way around. He also explained that he is not anti-police, but that this is a prime example of how police officers get away with whatever they want.
On the 28th he posted another video claiming that the police are getting extremely aggressive with him and that there have been threats and attempts made toward his life. He also says he has been contacted by lieutenants and sergeants who have contacted him to voice their support.
The Free Thought Project reached out to Soto who informed us that he will be leading a statewide march against police abuse of power and brutality on Saturday, April 11. The march is expected to draw supporters from all over the country and aims to call for statewide retraining of officers on how to interact with civilians.
“This day is a call to action (nonviolent and nonmilitant) to unite the people and unite the police to stand as one to overcome this heavy burden of poor policing and mistrust of the community,” Soto said.
Know your rights, and always film the police. Had Soto not been filming, who knows how badly this could have gotten.
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