Tampa, FL – On the afternoon of August 26, while filming MacDill Air Force Base from a public park, a U.S. veteran was illegally detained and bullied by police for legally recording the installation.
The filming of government buildings has been ruled to be protected under the First Amendment but is often cited as a reason for being detained by police who are either unaware or willfully ignorant of this right.
Flexing his rights immediately upon contact, the gentleman, who is in a wheelchair, can be heard asking police if he is “free to go or being detained,” to which Officer Yoeman authoritatively tells him that he is “definitely being detained.”
The man then asks, “What law did I break?” to which the officer has no response, as no law had been broken that he could cite for the detainment. Instead, the officer menacingly countered with questions about why he was taking pictures of the base.
Incredulously, the cop has the nerve to tell the man, “Don’t worry about what law you broke?”
In a display of his ignorance of the law, the officer tells the detained vet that he broke the law by filming the base. The veteran corrects the officer, informing him of legal precedent that affirms his right to film.
Officer Yoeman, obviously agitated that he is being questioned, attempts to use typical bully tactics as he continues his line of aggressive questioning. The entire time he refuses to acknowledge that without reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime afoot there is no legal basis to detain the man.
The man continued to assert his rights stating,
“I don’t consent to illegal searches, detainment or this conversation.”
The encounter then becomes extremely confrontational with both parties exchanging insults.
The veteran never provided an ID, but did provide a Legal Shield card. He was illegally detained until base investigators arrived, at which point he informed them that he did not answer questions.
Showing a level of professional intelligence, decorum and knowledge of the law far exceeding that of Officer Yoeman, the military investigator respected the man’s right to not answer any questions and promptly released him from custody.
This video highlights why many Americans have begun to question the manner in which police operate. If those tasked with upholding the law cannot do their job without demeaning and belittling the very citizens, they claim to “protect and serve,” perhaps they need to find a new career.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on BenSwann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.