Columbus, OH – One week after a police officer in California was caught pointing a gun at and threatening to kill an innocent citizen who was filming him, a similar incident with an Ohio State Trooper was documented and shared on social media.
The video began with activist Brandon Wilson walking across a parking lot towards a street where a state trooper was conducting a traffic stop. Even though Wilson was still several feet away from the scene, he caught the officer’s attention and the officer yelled, “Get your hand out of your pockets!”
“No thank you,” Wilson responded.
The officer appeared to pull his gun out of its holster and point it at Wilson, who yelled, “He just pulled a gun on me! He just pulled a gun on me! What the fuck?”
The officer repeated the order for Wilson to get his hand out of his pocket, and he moved to the passenger side of the car, with his gun raised and pointed at Wilson.
“I ain’t got no weapons. I have no weapons. This guy has a gun pulled on me,” Wilson replied. He was holding his phone in one hand, and he raised his other hand up to show that he was holding a cigarette.
“What are you going to do? Murder me?” Wilson continued. “Here, I’ll back up. I had nothing to do with this… You’re being crazy man! I ain’t got no weapons… He’s trying to shoot me for no reason… You’re crazy man! You’re being a psychopath. Fucking nutcase! He’s a fucking psychopath! This is not Nazi Germany.”
The dangerous encounter could have been avoided had the officer not perceived the man with a camera as a threat. If Wilson had pulled a gun on the officer, the highway patrolman would have opened fire, potentially killing the man. But in the land of the free, under near 100 percent immunity from prosecution, officers are allowed to pull a loaded weapon, point it in the direction of an unarmed pedestrian, and order that man to comply—even when he was not committing a crime or attempting to harm anyone.
This video was released days after a similar video was posted online that showed a police officer in Mesa, California, harassing an innocent man and holding him at gunpoint, all because he was minding his own business and filming with a GoPro camera. As The Free Thought Project reported:
The man filming was simply walking down the street with a camera when he came upon the officer identified as officer Everett with the Mesa College Police Department. As was his constitutional right to do so, the man filming stopped on the public sidewalk and video recorded the officer in his official duties.
“What are you filming for?” asks the cop, clearly acknowledging that the man was holding a camera and not some other object that he was going to use to cause him harm. However, when the man filming exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, the officer escalated the situation and began to claim he feared for his life.
As illustrated by his original question, the officer knew that this man was holding a camera. However, after the man attempted to assert his rights, the officer then claimed he did not know what the object was being pointed at him.
As more activists take to the streets to document traffic stops, the sheer number of such interactions will likely increase—as will dangerous and potentially deadly incidents, until police officers allow their routine contacts with the public to be peacefully recorded.
There is no war on police. There is nothing to fear from having police contacts recorded and documented. It is for the safety of both citizen and police officer alike. There is no crime in photography, but some police officers still don’t get it. The officer in Mesa was suspended following his assault with a deadly weapon. It is unclear if the Ohio Highway Patrolman will be suspended as well for an action that would send the average citizen to jail.