Albany, NY — A man practicing his first amendment right to film in public was stopped on Friday by a New York state trooper who attempted to violate his rights.
Instead of knowing the law, trooper Fougere of the New York State Police demanded that the man filming identify himself. However, in New York, if an officer demands that you identify yourself, that officer must have reason to believe you have committed a crime, are about to commit a crime, or have evidence of a crime that was committed.
Trooper Fougere lacked all of this criteria, which made his detainment and subsequent harassment of the man filming unlawful.
The fact that this detainment was illegal was of no concern to Fougere or his backup officer, Trooper Maniscalco. Fougere made it quite clear that he was going to escalate the situation, to possible violence, to force this man to identify himself.
“I wanna know who you are and why you’re videotaping this right now,” demands Fougere.
“You probably want to get a supervisor out here right now,” replies the man filming.
“Sure. Here’s my sergeant. He’s coming out right now,” says Fougere, confident that his supervisor would be as ignorant of the law as he is.
However, his supervisor was not ignorant of the law.
As Fougere attempts to tattle on the man filming, his sergeant quickly shuts him down.
“Stop, stop, stop, stop,” says the sergeant trying to prevent his trooper from digging an even deeper hole.
“He can videotape as much as he wants? He doesn’t have to give any identification?” asks Fougere, hoping that his sergeant would back him up.
But he didn’t.
“He can videotape. It’s not a problem,” replied the sergeant.
At this point in the video, something amazing happens — trooper Fougere, a police officer, admits that he was wrong.
The sergeant then apologizes to the man filming and the incident is over without any further escalation. When officers actually know and respect the law there is peace, what a novel idea.
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