A Virginia activist and independent journalist was walking his dog on the evening of June 10th, 2015 when he noticed some peculiar activity happening inside a Richmond, Virginia firehouse.
To Chris Dorsey, it looked as if city firefighters were actively working on their personal vehicles inside the firehouse garage.
So he did what any activist would do. He whipped out his camera and started documenting the situation to expose the misuse of public property through his YouTube channel and various other media outlets.
Apparently, the firefighters were not too excited about being caught up in a corruption scandal, so they called in their brethren in blue to put a stop to this citizen who was attempting to hold them accountable.
Richmond police arrived and confronted him, yelling over to the group of firefighters, asking them, “do you want to press charges?”
Apparently one of the firefighters answered, “yes,” and the officer proceeded with an arrest.
It unclear exactly how the rest of the encounter went down since Dorsey’s camera was confiscated prior to him being hauled away.
Luckily, Dorsey’s girlfriend got word that he was being detained and was able to arrive on scene with her camera just seconds before he was loaded into a paddy wagon, which you can see in the video below.
Dorsey was able to yell out a brief statement while being handcuffed across the parking lot from where his girlfriend was recording:
“The firefighters were inside the fire station changing their oil and they got pissed off and started pressing charges on me. They fabricated the whole thing. They stole my camera and it should all be on video”
Dorsey’s dog was unharmed during the encounter and was handed over to his girlfriend without incident.
Dorsey’s friends were unable to locate his whereabouts for several hours after the arrest since he was rerouted to VCU Medical Center to treat injuries he suffered to the head, back and shoulder during the physical arrest.
He was eventually charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, an overly broad charge that is often used by cops to arrest people for no good reason.
After a night in jail, followed by a long day of waiting, Dorsey was arraigned and released. Walking out of the Richmond City Jail, he spoke freely about the arrest for the first time in the second video below where he recapped the events that transpired the night before.
Sporting an appropriate t-shirt which read “End the Prison State”, Dorsey explained how the police had stolen most of his personal belonging during the arrest.
“I was railroaded. They stole my camera, they stole my hat, they stole my Bible, they tried to steal my dog, and they made up a false report because I was filming the Richmond Fire Department using the inside of the fire station to do mechanical work on their personal vehicles. And I’ve been video taping them using the public dollar to take care of their own personal stuff constantly.”
At one point in the video Dorsey lifts his sleeve to expose a giant bandage on his shoulder which was the injury that had one nurse order the police to take him to the hospital. Other abrasions can also be seen on his forehead.
Dorsey is no stranger to the bureaucrats in Richmond. And police in that city know him well. He might be a rabble-rouser but he is not a violent criminal.
The key video in this case, however, is likely sitting in an evidence locker collecting dust while the city’s legal council figures out how to avoid being sued.
Police are not lawfully allowed to seize cameras without a warrant unless it was used during the commission of a crime or if they can prove exigent circumstances, such as, they believed he was going to destroy the evidence.
Dorsey has obtained legal council and is not speaking to the media at the direction of his lawyer.
Stay tuned, Photography is Not a Crime will be reporting on this interesting, multi-faceted case as details emerge.