Nashville, TN — 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. As the following case out Nashville illustrates, many cops couldn’t care less about your First Amendment right to film them and will violate their oaths to the constitution to carry out their tyrannical hatred for police accountability.
Andrew Golden, a police accountability activist was practicing his constitutionally protected right to film in public this week when he was assaulted by Tennessee State Trooper Harvey Briggs.
In a Facebook post, Golden explained what happened:
Tonight around 6:35pm CST I followed a citizen who was people pulled over by TN State Troopers for the purpose of filming their interaction. As I approached the vehicles, (while remaining a safe distance away on a public sidewalk) a trooper shouted at me, “Get back!”, or something similar to that. I responded colorfully that I was on a sidewalk & that I am filming. Apparently he did not approve of my verbiage, because he then begins to threaten me by saying, “Go ‘head & use that language again young man”.
As the video shows, the trooper snapped and walked over to Golden like a drill instructor in boot camp. He had his head down and finger pointed at Golden like he was a recruit.
“Don’t use that language again,” Briggs can be heard saying in the video. “You don’t talk to me like that. … I prefer better language than that out of you.”
When I ask him what he is threatening me with, he approaches me & says that I will be arrested if I impede with the traffic stop. I ask the trooper why his hand is on his gun to which he responds, “Because that’s the way it always is.” He then steps on my foot while getting directly in my face, all without wearing a mask.
The trooper gets uncomfortably close to Golden’s face with his face, nearly touching him with his nose. Had Golden done this to the trooper, rest assured, he would have been beaten, kidnapped and caged. However, because Briggs wears a badge, he gets a pass.
Though it is not seen on the video, Briggs allegedly rips off Golden’s mask and throws it to the ground.
“Absolutely dumbfounded I begin asking the other troopers if they were going to do anything,” Golden said. “I was met with a blank stare. Seconds later Trooper Briggs straight up says, ‘No I did not’ when I shout about him ripping my mask off my face. ‘I’m tired of you people making stuff up.'”
But when Golden tells him he has it on video, the trooper walks away silently.
After the video began to go viral on Tuesday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol announced an investigation into Briggs.
As COVID-19 cases continue across the nation, more than 20 states have imposed mandatory mask laws, forcing citizens to wear masks in public, or else. While many people praised the mandate, others did not, and, as the video above shows, the ones who are tasked with enforcing the mask laws, aren’t wearing them. And, they are reportedly going further by ripping the masks off of citizens too.
In Nashville, it is against the law not to wear a mask. Last week, the mayor announced that police will be targeting those without a mask for extortion.
“There is clear signage on Broadway reminding persons that the mask mandate has the force of law. Persons in violation can receive a Metropolitan Government citation for adjudication in Environmental Court, or a State of Tennessee criminal misdemeanor citation. Under state law, violation of the Health Department’s mask order is a class C misdemeanor,” the statement read.
This week, TFTP also reported on Metro Nashville At-Large Council Member Sharon Hurt who suggested charging people with attempted murder or murder for refusing to wear a mask.
“If they pass the virus, then they are tried for murder or attempted murder,” Hurt said.
It is important to point out that fining or arresting people for not wearing a mask certainly borders on the verge of tyranny and we do not support such laws. Wearing a mask should be a non-political issue done voluntary for the benefit of containing a virus — not used as a government tool to extort and arrest citizens.
But when cops clearly ignore the law and go as far as ripping masks from the faces of those who wear them, we have a serious problem.