An Indiana man is still facing charges after he tried to record the aftermath of a police shooting last December, even though his video proves he violated no laws.
But that’s only because his video so far has received less than 500 views since he posted it in December.
Prosecutors and police might take a different approach if they receive a flood of phone calls calling them out on their unconstitutional ways.
Jeremy Nielson, 30, was first told he was being arrested for refusing to provide identification, which he was under no legal requirement to provide.
He was then told he was interfering with an investigation, even though the video shows he was standing outside the marked perimeter.
Eventually, he was charged with refusing to aid an officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, spending three days in jail.
“They wanted me to give them the video as evidence,” Nielson said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime. “I told them no, they can’t have it. They took it anyways.”
It took him several days of filing complaints with the mayor’s office and the police chief before they finally returned his phone after his release from jail.
He has also been trying to obtain surveillance from outside the Lake Station government complex that houses the police department, city hall and the local jail.
But they have refused to abide by his requests.
“I told them I would pay up to pay $20, but they told me it will be much more than that, but they never tell me a price,” he said.
Nevertheless, he is confident he will beat the charges when he goes to trial in May where he will represent himself.
Nielson said he showed up to the scene about an hour after police shot and killed an 84-year-old man who had fired a shotgun in the parking lot of the government complex.
Within seconds of him recording, officials from the fire department began harassing him, ordering him to leave. He stood his ground, asserting his rights to record.
Fifteen minutes later, a Lake Station police officer demanded his identification “because you’re taking pictures of a crime scene.”
He refused to provide identification, which is when they surrounded him. He said he immediately placed his hands in the air, allowing himself to be arrested, which should be confirmed by the surveillance video, disproving his resisting arrest charge.
The arresting officers were G.Baldazo and G.Monroe of the Lake Station Police Department, which can be reached at (219) 962-1186. Detective J. Tomko of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was also involved, which can be reached at (219) 755-3822.
Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, who is well aware of the arrest, can be reached at (219) 962-2081. And here’s a directory of Lake Station council members, who should become aware of this incident.
He also said the Hobart prosecutor’s office is handling his case, which can be reached at (219) 947-4249.