Despite the United States Department of Justice making it clear in 2012 that police cannot seize your camera as “evidence” just because you video record them making an arrest, police continue to use this tactic to intimidate people from recording.
However, citizens are no longer buy their lies.
The latest example comes to us from Florida where a man is suing Orlando police after they arrested him for refusing to hand over his camera in December.
The federal lawsuit, which was filed earlier today, states that officer Peter Delio snatched the camera from the hands of Alberto Troche before throwing in jail for 15 hours on a charge of resisting arrest without violence, which is Florida’s most reliable contempt-of-cop charge.
The state attorney’s office dropped the charge and his phone was returned three weeks later.
The video, which was not deleted, shows officers making an arrest on a street as several citizens stand around watching. One cop is telling them to hand over their cameras while several citizens are telling him he is not allowed to do that.
The video ends when a cop, presumably Delio, walks up to Troche and says, “I’ll be taking that” before snatching it.
Nevertheless, Delio claimed in his report that he not only didn’t snatch the camera until after he had placed Troche in the back of the car but that Troche had shoved him in the chest.
So the video did, in fact, turn out to be evidence; evidence that Delio is a shameless liar.
According to the suit, Troche was walking to his car Dec. 7 about 2:30 a.m. when he saw a crowd, including several police officers, and heard a man calling for help.
The man was on the ground, and officers were arresting him, a video shows. Several bystanders were recording the confrontation on cell phones, including Troche, according to the suit, and officers ordered them to stop and to surrender the devices.
One woman complied, the suit alleges, but Troche kept recording, he said.
The video he shot appears to show an officer walking up and pulling it from his hand.
“They saw me recording,” Troche said. “He came and said, ‘Good. I’ll be taking that,’ and took my cell phone. To me that didn’t seem right.”
On it was the video of the arrest that Troche had recorded.
In the arrest report, Delio wrote that before he seized Troche’s phone, he told him that it contained evidence of a crime and that he needed it. Delio wrote that Troche said he would not hand it over then shoved him in the chest.
Delio also wrote that he did not take the phone until he had placed Troche in the back of a squad car.