Caldwell, ID — A video submitted to the Free Thought Project this week illustrates the infuriating ability of police officers to target people who disagree with them, and legally enact violence and/or kidnap them.
The video, submitted to us and taken by a man who wants to be identified as IR Pedro, shows a cop throw a temper tantrum for Pedro’s protected free speech. He then calls in fellow officers to help him act out his rights violating and unlawful detainment.
In an interview, Pedro explains to the Free Thought Project that the entire incident began after he decided to express himself through extending his middle finger and showing it to the officer.
“I flipped him off as he was driving passed me. I didn’t notice this, but he turned around and parked until I came out of the gas station,” Pedro said.
Flipping the bird has been ruled to be free speech many times over. In fact, in a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit addressed the specific action of flipping off cops when it ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”
However, we’ve seen citizens pepper-sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for this act of free speech. And, as the video below shows, police could not care less about protecting your free speech if it’s something they don’t like.
“My ride just showed up [sic], and as I’m getting into my car, I notice this SUV almost ramming the car. I get out my phone and immediately start recording,” explains Pedro.
As the video begins, the officer claims that he is questioning Pedro because “somebody said you needed help.” However, this was clearly untrue as Pedro blatantly tells the officer that he does, in fact, not need any help.
“Normal people don’t do that kinda thing (flip the bird), so obviously you need some help,” says the cop as he quite literally puffs out his chest.
“It sounds like you guys are infringing on my rights,” accurately explains Pedro.
Pedro, who knows enough about police interactions to ask the most important question, then asked the officer, “Am I being detained?”
Having no legal basis to detain Pedro, the officer should have said ‘no,’ and the incident should have been over. However, that is not what happened. This cop was hell bent on punishing Pedro for his act of free speech.
“You don’t need my ID,” Pedro tells the cop.
“Yes, I do.” replies the officer. “You are not acting correctly.”
“I have not committed a single crime,” explains Pedro.
“I just want to make sure that you’re okay,” falsely claims the officer. If the officer genuinely wished to check on Pedro’s well-being, demanding his ID does absolutely nothing. He is merely attempting to assert his authority over Pedro as being flipped off has triggered a fit of rage inside this officer.
“I am fine, I don’t need any help,” Pedro pauses. “Actually, I’m not okay. I have cops bothering me.”
“Give me your ID or you’re going to go to jail,” demands the officer, who just seconds ago claimed to have been worried about the wellbeing of Pedro. However, as his rage builds and his backup arrives, this officer can now hardly contain himself.
It has been clearly established that all Americans have the right to record the police as well as flip them off. For an officer of the law to remain willingly ignorant of this precedent is at best, dereliction of duty, and at worst, unlawful deprivation of rights. Either way, this officer was in the wrong.
In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, the Supreme Court upheld state laws requiring citizens to reveal their identity only when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place. Commonly known as “stop-and-identify” statutes, these laws permit police to arrest criminal suspects who refuse to identify themselves.
As of 2014, 24 states have stop-and-identify laws, and Idaho is not one of those states. Demanding to see Pedro’s ID for practicing protected speech is an unlawful order.
“What crime did I commit?” asks Pedro as the officer gets only inches from his face.
“Obstruct and delay,” replies the clueless cop. However, to ‘obstruct’ an investigation, there has to actually be an investigation. This was an unlawful detainment under the color of law — not an investigation.
“You apparently need some help,” the cop said again.
“No, I do not.” replied Pedro again.
“That’s what we are here to determine,” replies the cop, completely ignoring the fact that Pedro said he does not need their ‘help.’
When the officer’s backup arrives, they swarm him for swearing — another entirely protected form a free speech.
Pedro is then assaulted, arrested, brought to jail and charged with disorderly conduct — a bogus charge used by police as a means of revenge for Pedro flipping them the middle finger.
Pedro tells the Free Thought Project that he was charged with disorderly conduct for a “bad gesture and language.” Pedro tells us that he plans to fight the charges next week in court.
Below is what happens when power-tripping cops act out their aggression on innocent individuals, wasting taxpayer dollars and depriving morally innocent individuals of their freedom in the process.
We are seeing more and more cases of police officers violating the rights of individuals for the sole reason that the choose to assert them. Just this month, the Free Thought Project has reported on two separate instances during which innocent individuals were detained and assaulted for doing nothing more than legally asserting their rights.
In Philadelphia, a 50-year-old black man was unlawfully detained, handcuffed, and his gun stolen from him by cops — for legally open-carrying.
In New Jersey, Rebecca Musarra was pulled over by two New Jersey state troopers after they suspected her of speeding. The troopers’ careless disregard for the law was subsequently captured on dashcam showing them arrest this woman for the sole act of practicing her constitutional right to remain silent.