Man Awarded $75K Settlement over Seized Phone, Unlawful Detainment in Missouri
Either through sheer ignorance or willful manipulation, Pevely police officer Wayne Casey was convinced he had every right to seize a man's phone for recording him conducting a traffic stop from across the street last year.
It was most likely willful manipulation because he also claimed to be in fear for his life over a red light emitting from the camera.
Not only is that a stretch of the imagination even for a lying cop, the phone the man was using does not even emit a red light.
"Do you realize that in Missouri it is now illegal to record police officers," he said. "I can seize your phone right now as evidence."
Matthew Rankin of Corpus Christi, Texas stood his ground, refusing to stop recording, but the cop ended up snatching his phone and turning off the camera which was live streaming.
According to the lawsuit, which can be read here:
On January 16, 2019, at about 12:15 AM, Mr. Rankin observed a traffic stop in the City of Pevely, County of Jefferson, Missouri and began recording the scene with his mobile camera approximately 200 feet away.
Defendant Officer Casey observed that Mr. Rankin was recording the traffic stop.
Casey then got into his police car and drove over to where Mr. Rankin was standing.
Casey asked Mr. Rankin if he has ID with him.
Mr. Rankin responded that he did not.
Mr. Rankin then advised Casey that it is not a “stop and ID state.”
Casey responded that in fact it is.
Casey continued to state that in the state of Missouri it is now illegal to record police officers.
Casey then said, “I can seize your phone right now as evidence.”
Casey then said, “Let me see your phone. Go ahead and hand it.”
Mr. Rankin said, “No.”
Casey then said, “Hand it right now or I will place you under arrest.”
Mr. Rankin then said, “Sir, you just committed a couple felonies. Its protected…”
Casey then shouted over Mr. Rankin, “Listen do you understand what I just said to you?!”
Casey continued to shout at Mr. Rankin, “Stop it right now. Stop it right now.”
Mr. Rankin attempted to calmly respond, but Casey instead aggressively grabbed Mr. Rankin’s left hand and placed his thumb in a "thumb lock" with his right hand, and used pain compliance to pry Plaintiff’s hand open to retrieve his cell phone.
Casey then turned off the live stream which Mr. Rankin was using to record, and began scrolling through Mr. Rankin’s phone, viewing its contents.
Casey again reiterated in a loud tone, “It is illegal in the State of Missouri to film us.”
Mr. Rankin responded, “The Supreme Court already ruled against that sir.”
Casey shouted back, “No. Bull.”
Casey continued, “I am going to seize your phone as evidence.”
Casey was fired last year in an unrelated incident where he sat at his desk inside police station watching another cop named Robert "Ryan" Watson choking and shoving an inmate who had insulted him. Casey had only been hired a year earlier.
The settlement enabled Casey and the city of Pevely to admit to no wrongdoing but the video speaks for itself.
Watch the shortened edit video above or the full-length original video below.