Colorado cops handcuffed a man for refusing to hand over his camera as “evidence” after he recorded them tasing a suspected shoplifter in the parking lot of a Walmart Monday.
By now, it’s been well-established that cops can only seize cameras as evidence under “exigent circumstances,” meaning they need to have reason to believe the video evidence will be destroyed.
But it’s also been well-established that cops can do as they please and get away with it as this officer from the Lakeside Police Department did.
As a result, nothing will ever change. Cops will continuing abusing their power and our rights and not be disciplined for it.
The only thing we can do is continue recording them in an attempt to educate other Americans about the reality of the badge.
The video shows two police officers wrestling a man on the ground. When they get the man in cuffs one officer realizes there is a camera. During the commotion the officer points at the camera and says “that phone is evidence. I want it.” Hoover then says “it’s mine.”
“So he snatched it out of my hand… I wasn’t going to resist. He grabbed my wrist, and then he put me in cuffs,” Hoover said.
Lakeside police would not go on camera, citing an ongoing investigation. However, they did say they stand by their officers. They say police have a right to detain someone if they have video of a crime.
“He said, ‘look, you have two choices,'” Hoover explained. “He said, ‘either I will arrest you right here, right now for obstructing justice, and then we will get a search warrant, and we will get your phone, and we will get that piece of video as police evidence.'”
The ACLU of Colorado says police can get a search warrant but that the phone typically should remain with the owner until that warrant is obtained.
“Police officers can ask for a copy or ask for the video, but in the absence of a warrant, to actually seize somebody’s personal property, I don’t think police officers can seize it or threaten to seize it except in the most extreme emergency circumstances,” ACLU Colorado Director Mark Silverstein said.
Hoover eventually gave in. He sent the officer a copy of the recording via email.
“It made me want to be angry, but honestly I was scared,” Hoover said.
Silverstein says more regulations may need to be put in place.
Sure, more regulations need to be put in place, but if the United States Department of Justice spelled out the law in a memo for police departments back in 2012, only for cops to blatantly ignore these guidelines, then we can be sure they will ignore any such “regulations” that are introduced.
And even though Hoover has a good case for a lawsuit, that will not have an effect on the cop who violated his rights by handcuffing him and snatching his camera. In fact, many departments have officers who have been sued several times yet continue to remain on the job.
So how can we honestly expect things to change?
Call the Lakeside Police Department at (303) 455-1980.