It seems as though our police officers need a much-needed refresher course on the Bill of Rights— in particular the First and Fourth Amendments. Once again, another cop has been caught on camera being naughty— not only for attempting to search a citizen’s home without a warrant— but also for refusing to provide his name and badge number.
And for yanking a camera from the man’s hands.
Officer Dale Wyatt is the latest police officer to bluntly expose his illegal police tactics-even while being recorded. On Monday, Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird announced at a local city council meeting that officer Wyatt has been suspended with pay until the Burlington Police Department concludes its investigation.
Although Beaird said in a statement to media that “police officers often face difficult and rapidly involving situations in the field” when talking about the incident that occurred involving officer Wyatt, the video recorded of the incident shows officer Wyatt with his body camera turned off, mocking the citizen, destroying his plant and then taking it upon himself to yank the phone out of the citizen’s hand, who was only exercising his First Amendment right to record the police in public.
“Does he need to announce a warrant, a name, a badge number?,” the concerned citizen is heard asking officer Wyatt in the video clip on which hit YouTube last week. “No,” Officer Wyatt replies three times staring right at the camera when doing so.
“Do you have all the legal knowledge?” Asked Officer Wyatt in a snap. “Look it up,” he added taking in his hands part of the citizen’s bush and crushing it unapologetically.
This month, PINAC reported on the use of body cameras within law enforcement and spoke to retired U.S. Marshall Matthew Fogg who stated that body cameras are crucial within police officers because the law enforcement system “is a human rights violation machine.”
Despite having the body camera on him, what the citizen’s video on YouTube also shows is Officer Wyatt having his body camera turned off, throughout the entire verbal altercation.
Still, Chief Beaird stated on Monday that despite Officer Wyatt’s actions, seen on camera, “it is not the policy of the Burlington Police department to interfere with the taking of videos by private citizens.”
“Unless there is an existing overriding concern for public safety,” added Beaird, which clearly was not the case with Officer Wyatt and the citizen recording.
PINAC reached out for comment to the Burlington Police Department as to why Officer Wyatt’s body cam was shut off during the incident. Calls and voicemails were not returned. We also reached out to the man in the video, but he did not respond to inquiries either.
Officer Dale Wyatt has been a part of the Burlington Police Department since March 29, 1999, according to the Burlington City website.