Largo, Florida – A video submitted to the Free Thought Project this week shows an undercover police officer agreeing to leave a neighborhood where he was attempting to catch speeding cars after he was confronted by a local activist who openly filmed the encounter.
Adam Bocanegra posted the video on his Facebook page and said he chose to approach the officer in an attempt to stand up for his community. “Nope, nope, N-O-P-E. Not in my neighborhood! This is how you properly handle police remember guys they work for us. Protect and serve or kick rocks!” he wrote.
In the video, Bocanegra can be seen walking up to a silver car with tinted windows that was parked on the street, blocking the end of a driveway. As he approached the vehicle, the interior appears to look like that of a patrol cruiser with a laptop mounted on the dash, and when the driver rolled down the passenger window, he was wearing a police uniform.
Bocanegra wasted no time, and immediately accused the officer of blocking the driveway with his car. “Can you not block my driveway and do that here?” he said.
“Can you please move and take that shit somewhere else? I’m an activist in the community and I don’t like you guys hiding and pulling people over,” he continued. “That’s trying to generate revenue for the city, and you’re blocking my driveway. Can you please take that shit somewhere else?”
The officer nodded and said he would move, but tried to justify his presence by saying that he was just trying to keep citizens safe, as he placed what appeared to be a radar gun into the passenger seat of the car.
“If you really cared about people’s safety, you would just hold a sign out here and tell them to slow down,” Bocanegra retorted.
“Trying to generate revenue for the city is kind of an ass-backward way of trying to save people from hurting themselves,” he continued. “I stood out here with a sign and told people to slow down one time, because you guys were pulling them over down there, and everybody was hitting their brakes and beeping and saying ‘Thank you.’ THAT is trying to help the city, and that’s trying to make them safer. Trying to write them tickets—I don’t believe in that.”
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Bocanegra then argued that by giving residents traffic tickets for driving a few miles over the speed limit, officers were extorting hard-earned money from individuals who worked to provide for their families.
While the officer did not say much in return, and he did not attempt to justify why forcing individuals to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees for nonviolent crimes helped keep them safe, he looked like he had clearly heard enough of Bocanegra’s rant.
In some cases, as documented by The Free Thought Project, a police officer who was being read the riot act by a citizen who was filming him would have acted much differently—the officer may have insisted on arresting the citizen, or he may have even assaulted the citizen while trying to disarm him of his phone, as if it was a deadly weapon.
In this case, the unnamed officer acted in an honorable manner when he was called out, and he agreed to leave and then immediately drove away from the property.
While this officer was civil in his interaction with Bocanegra, the activist told The Free Thought Project that he felt the need to confront the officer and to film the encounter because in Pinellas County, Florida, typically “the cops are like vultures” and undercover officers roam the neighborhoods regularly.
“If they really cared about people's safety they would be holding a sign telling people to slow down—not hiding from them in an unmarked vehicle trying to generate revenue for the city that already pays their salary with our tax dollars,” Bocanegra told TFTP.
“Since everyone seems to be afraid of them, I'm on a mission to remind the public that they work for us and we can hold them accountable for their negligence and behavior,” he continued. “Not all cops are bad but we definitely need to weed out the ones not protecting and serving our communities. It's a dangerous job but someone has to do it.”
Watch the full video of the encounter below: