A man recording the rescue of a 5-year-old child trapped in a revolving door at a public library was ordered to hand over his cell phone camera to a police officer, who deleted four minutes of video and a photo.
Richard Culp, a 12-year reserve officer with the Akron Police Department, told the man that “this is none of your business and you can’t take pictures; now give me the phone if you don’t want trouble,” according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Maurice Howard, who said he intended to provide the footage to the local TV station, has since filed a complaint with the Akron Police Department, Akron City Hall and the local ACLU chapter.
It appears that Culp is on his way to learning a lesson in Constitutional Law.
It also appears that the boy’s mother, Cathy Ballard, will also learn a lesson in Constitutional Law.
Cathy Ballard, the mother of Kolbe and his five siblings who were visiting the library, said she was pleased with the officer’s actions initially because she was unaware of Howard’s intentions.
However, she said, had she known Howard was taking the photos for documentation to share with her, the media or others, she would have allowed him to continue shooting.
She also used her cell camera to document the accident, including a picture of her son being comforted by his father, Mark, during the rescue.
Well Cathy, as you now probably know, it really doesn’t matter what his intentions were. You should be more concerned with making sure your child doesn’t get his leg trapped in a revolving door than trying to quash the First Amendment rights of a curious bystander.