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Controversial Arrest of Woman Filming Traffic Stop

The Rochester (N.Y.) Police Department arrested a woman for taping a traffic stop in front of her 19th Ward home on May 12. She was standing in front of her house with a hand-held recording device when the arrest happened.

June 23, 2011

Comments (48)

Displaying 1 - 48 of 48

K @ 6/23/2011 10:04 AM

I'm a retired law enforcement officer with 34 yrs of law enforcement under my belt. I can't understand why the subject officer in the video did not feel safe in this situation. And the unsubstantiated comment to the lady about being anti-law enforcement strikes me as an excuse to escalate his agenda against the woman. Maybe he should seek other employment if such an innocent situation makes him feel unsafe. I can understand his discomfort with the video taping, but an arrest?

R @ 6/23/2011 11:15 AM

I can't believe that this went the way it did. If anything the camera would justify what they are doing provided the officers are doing it by the book and professionally, the Rodney King suit tells us this. I think the officer and the Rochester (NY) PD better get a real good attorney to help mitigate the damages they are going to pay out.

NYPD @ 6/23/2011 7:37 PM

It's situations such as these, or rather officers like these, that make people dislike law enforcement. So now that this officer did this, the girl, her family, neighbors, friends, and anyone they tell or show this video to, will also have another reason to hate the police. And in turn, this is bad for other officers like me, we have to deal with a public comprised of criminals and now non criminals who hate us. Not good.

TeeJaw @ 6/23/2011 7:40 PM

This “officer" is a thug and should be fired forthwith. He doesn’t protect innocent people, he preys on them.

Ansy @ 6/23/2011 7:40 PM

I'm a retired Police Officer with 36years of experience in California. In the video it does not appear the officer's safefty was in any danger. The suspect was cuffed and in the patrol unit. There were three officer's on the scene and if the officer's who was afraid he was in danger, he could easily observe the woman with the camera and then take appropriate action, if necessary. In my opinion it appears thst he clearly escalated the problem, as his was mad about being video taped. In today's society it is not uncommon to having people video tape various situations. It appears that he clearly over reacted and was afraid he might be caught on tape for doing something illegal. I don't like to second guess an officer's decession, however it appears that it was and illegal arrest.

I feel he needs more training in interaction with his community. UIt will be interesting if he can get a POA attorney to represent him in a civil suit.

andie @ 6/23/2011 7:46 PM

I am proud of being a decorated LE, but this makes us all look bad. Rookie mistake? I don't know, but this guy needs another line of work. NY agencies are under budget constraints....Rochester is going to be under a BIG one after this.

TeeJaw @ 6/23/2011 7:46 PM

When she sues him I hope his department refuses to defend him. He should pay her damage award out of his own pocket. The taxpayers of Rochester should not have to pay for his hoodlum behavior.

S @ 6/23/2011 7:53 PM

If you are doing it right you don't fear a camera.

mini28 @ 6/23/2011 8:02 PM

I think his name tag says "Officer Dick Head". I hope his dumbass gets canned. Maybe even personally sued for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. It's morons like this one that make a tough job even worse by making citizens distrust the police.

Davesam25G @ 6/23/2011 8:21 PM

Wrong action Officer-apologize to the lady!! - Three officer's only one concerned, there were enough officers on scene for contact and cover...If he was that concerned then face her while other's are doing the vehicle search...Was she actually booked into jail? Wall's are build one brick at a time but they can come down a lot quicker with effort!

Blaine @ 6/23/2011 8:59 PM

It looks to me like some Rochester cops (like far too many cops across the nation) need some remedial training in the Constitution they have sworn to defend, at least a couple of weeks off without pay, and a sincere apology and flowers to their victim. Cops must not get away with bullying law-abiding citizens simply for refusing to obey arbitrary power-trip police orders.

Beth @ 6/23/2011 10:27 PM

Did any of you listen to the officer when he said "due to what you said to me before you started taping..."?? She is so clearly being antagonistic..

Doc @ 6/23/2011 11:40 PM

Abuse of powers. Gee, I wonder why citizens do not trust law enforcement officers.

Nico @ 6/24/2011 12:08 AM

I have over 15 years of law enforcement experience and I have worked some of the toughest beats in the country. This type of law enforcement is bullshit, he should be fired and the other two officers should be suspended for 20 days without pay for not stopping this officer. The other two officers have a responsibility of protecting the public not only from street criminals, but also from criminals who maybe wearing a badge and gun. If the other two officers had any "balls" they could have stopped this before it went too far. If Rochester PD does not fire this guy, it shows you what type backwards thinking this department has. Rochester PD needs to remember that sometimes they must protect the public from one of their own. This lady's constitutional rights have been violated; therefore, the FBI should also be investigating this incident.

Retired Cop477 @ 6/24/2011 4:21 AM

I agree with all of the other comments, but this Officer is either clearly unde-trained or just plain stupid. No one is going to believe his story about Officer safety, heck what would he do if it was a whole crowd video taping him, arrest all of them? Clearly not. But what about his fellow Officers? One of them should have stepped up and and backed him down. This is the real problem. Officers witnessing a fellow Officer screw up and not moving in to rectify the situation. I agree with the others, RPD is going to pay out big on this one. Hope the others learn a lesson.

Maleman39 @ 6/24/2011 4:28 AM

Another flagrant violation of civil rights. The officer was entirely in the wrong and it will cost the dept and the city PLENTY. The jury will not see it his way. he should have known better and needs to find another job.

Kyle @ 6/24/2011 5:20 AM

Poor police discipline. Made a mountain out of a mole hill. I am pro-law enforcement, but this should be a training video on how NOT to respond to a lady in her front yard filming when there are at least 4 officers there. <><

Matt @ 6/24/2011 5:50 AM

If that Officer wored for me, I would make every effort to fire him. I am a Chief of Police and if that Officer worked for me, I would make every effort to fire him. She did nothing wrong and there was no officer safety issue that I could see. She did step back as requested and the arrogant officer had his ego hurt by a woman and he had to show her he was the boss. I hope she sues and wins!

Joe Friday @ 6/24/2011 6:06 AM

Anybody with time on understands that the officer conducted a 4th amendment seizure but I do feel sorry for the offficer. He may lose his job over this incident. It is clear that he was frustrated and for whatever reason felt he had legal justification to arrest for interfering. It is a great example of why legal training is so important for young officers. Most do not understand constitutional law and how those principles apply to arrest situations.

jwebb714 @ 6/24/2011 6:14 AM

What an idiot ! I know what your thinking, that I was referring to her. I wasn't .

4sarge @ 6/24/2011 6:54 AM

I'm terribly disappointed in the Conduct of this Officer and his apparent Lack of Adequate Supervision. WE do not have to KA but Arresting her for filming from her own or public property is crossing the line from Public Servant to Gestapo. Bad PR that reflects upon All of Us.

Frank G @ 6/24/2011 7:08 AM

If that officer is uncomfortable in that situation how would he react in a real situation where there is cause to worry. Clearly a security job in a chain store will suit him much better

scpdblue @ 6/24/2011 7:20 AM

I too am a L.E.O. with 15+ years on the job and this woman was doing nothing wrong.. I think IA needs to have a talk with this officer.

Philip Burnett @ 6/24/2011 7:23 AM

I am having a hard time getting hired here in California due to increasing budget issues and extremely low numbers for academies when they are held; and this idiot is out there doing the job. I retired recently from military police with the US Navy in which I have held every job from patrolman to department senior enlisted advisor. The career in between included K9 Handler/Supervisor, FTO, Watch Commander, SRT, Chief of Police, and Deputy Antiterrorism Officer. I have more than enough experience, maturity, sound decision making ability and a true LOVE of police work and all it entails. I have a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, but it doesn't take even a GED to see that this officer should be unemployed and unfortunately the city of Rochester will be paying a hefty settlement in this case, especially when it hits viral nationwide. This lady should take her concerns to The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, whoever will get this officer's actions out there so TRUE Cops can know this guy isn't infesting their ranks any longer. His actions in this video are completely uncalled for, there are THREE officers on scene and the one with his back to the camera for most of this event never appears to say a word about being concerned with her presence...STANDING IN HER OWN DAMN YARD with nothing, allegedly, but a camera. Truly saddened and hurt for the profession I have spent over 22 years now studying and learning. Good Luck Officer, I hope you have plans for other employment; if you're not fired YOU SHOULD BE!

John @ 6/24/2011 10:20 AM

Here you go, why didn't this lady, who we know loves the police, just help them, stay away, offer some assistance if they needed it. But not in todays time. Then if not, get your ass back in the house. Instead of trying to get rich hoping those officers would do something wrong. Bash the officer all you want, but don't give our young generation anymore ideas of being just rude with no up bringing.

RW55 @ 6/24/2011 11:50 AM

The fact of the matter is, this officer has a duty and obligation to protect himself, his fellow officers, a suspect and while she is standing in her front yard just a few feet away he also has to protect her in the event something would go wrong with his stop!! She was wrong!! I've been a LE officer for 23 yrs. She was asked, then told to do something and she failed to comply.

RW55 @ 6/24/2011 12:03 PM

If I were on the jury she would be found guilty!!

gunner44 @ 6/24/2011 12:23 PM

More bad press for LE.

C.B. Thacker @ 6/24/2011 12:40 PM

I am retiring soon after 47 years as a Police Officer and the last 22 years as a Chief of Police. I have seen the rise and fall of respect for the badge over the years. This Officer has possiably done more to dammage our immage than you can beleive. This was all about his EGO and nothing else. More proper communication training in an adverse situation before they go on the street. I have found that the right Ego state (Adult) will end with you getting what you want and the other person agreeing. SEND HIM BACK TO SENSIVITY TRAINING.

Hank @ 6/24/2011 2:31 PM

Major idiot, did you happen to catch how he used his light to blind the camera?
I hope she sues his ass off.

tppatriot @ 6/25/2011 11:29 AM

As I see it, the PO acted according to current training standards. Which is the culprit here, however unjust. In my 17 years professional experience in the NY area, and vast interaction with police all over the country and 2 foreign countries, the training is geared to officer survival, NOT community relations- and damn ALL non-police. Because the police are so far removed from "community" this will continue to increase.

tppatriot @ 6/25/2011 11:29 AM

As I see it, the PO acted according to current training standards. Which is the culprit here, however unjust. In my 17 years professional experience in the NY area, and vast interaction with police all over the country and 2 foreign countries, the training is geared to officer survival, NOT community relations- and damn ALL non-police. Because the police are so far removed from "community" this will continue to increase.

Louis Kranyak @ 6/25/2011 8:17 PM

Bad Arrest. She was no threat!

Calvin @ 6/25/2011 9:32 PM

These clowns need to have some 'Adult Supervision' I would say that they would be beter assigned to the local elementry school but then again that would work. First day of walking the school sidewalk I could picture the three of them wrestling a 8 yr girl to the ground because she was giggling as she walked past them. Truth is maybe they should have stayed with Micky D's behind the scenes because their limited people skills would prevent them from working the counter.

Reynolds @ 6/26/2011 5:20 AM

No one mentions the fact that the officer did not feel SAFE with her behind him. The officer did what he thought was best for his safety and the safety of the community. What if this traffic stop turned into a shooting and the women would have gotten shot because she did not obey the order of the police. Then the community would have said he did not protect her. The Police lose no matter what they do. This whole thing was a setup and I am not a police officer

dpd @ 6/26/2011 1:42 PM

This is a case of two people destined to crash into each other. The officer and the female were both being stubborn. Sure the woman was being a pain in the butt and trying to push buttons but the officer should have recognized that and taken the high road. Let the A-hole ignorant citizens live with themselves because arresting them won't change them or anything, they are still A-holes.

GJ @ 6/27/2011 5:35 AM

Absent other factors not evident here, this is horribly wrong. Admit your mistake, make it right as fast as possible.

RLS @ 6/27/2011 1:22 PM

As usual this video only shows does not show the entire event, the officer mentioned in the video that he had already given the female some type of order, then the video starts, probably because the female was angry, and wanted to provoke the officers further (just my opinion), this is a common occurrence in law enforcement. that being said I do not see any reason for an arrest in this case, the situation was calm and she did not appear to be moving any closer to the officers. However I think that it is both parties failure to find that both are instigating the situation. Life goes something like if you have a problem take to the proper authority (supervisor) and make a formal complaint. I think both parties will second guess their decisions in the future.

Bill @ 6/28/2011 6:36 AM

I would agree with everyone this officer is WRONG, but why does she deserve a large amount of money??? I don't get it!! Everyone is so quick to pull the lawsuit card these days.....

Bob @ 6/29/2011 5:49 AM

I am normally always on the side of police but this is wrong. The officer needs to be removed.

olystacy @ 6/29/2011 9:07 AM

I am a 15 year veteran deputy sheriff. This cop makes us all look bad. The woman did nothing wrong. I hope she sues. We have no room for rogue cops like this one.

D @ 6/30/2011 1:04 AM

People have no respect for LEO's. Let us do our jobs. There is no point in standing there and video taping and then arguing with the officer. She should have just gone inside and respected the fact that the officer was keeping HER street safer. Or better yet, the officer could have just not made the traffic stop and possibly let that suspect break into her home. I 'd say a "thank you" could have been in order but instead she had to argue.

JOSE @ 7/12/2011 5:10 PM


MarcusPinson @ 7/12/2011 11:31 PM

People dont realise that when an officer violates their rights they are supposed to cunduct a citizens arrest, and take them to a secure location to be held until he/she can stand trial in an open public forum, this is how we are supposed to "watch the watchmen" without getting rid of them all togeather

(remember that this contry was designed so that "civilian" was the HIGHEST of ranks and that we have an obligation to maintain our rights)

D @ 7/14/2011 10:55 PM

Wow you guys claim to be 30-40 year cops? stick to your 9-5 admin jobs for chris sakes. let us do the real work. And keep your anti-cop jargon to yourselves while your at it. I dont't know about new york or cali....but in Florida its illegal for citizens (bleeding heart for criminals) to record traffic stops the statute is "electronic recording of leo or something. so yeah we can arrest. and if the po po tells you to do something you do it. or your suppose to do it. thats called obstruting police, resistance without violence, interference with investigation and a few other florida laws i could articulate she broke. I don't think florida is the only one with such laws. But with California and New York being so liberal and anti-cop you guys maybe right. except where your telling me he shouldnt have felt safe...yeah stick to your desks guys when people are refusing my verbal orders at 2am and i just arrested a dirtbag. I dont care what their doing I'm hooking them. I have done it before and i'm still employed. if you guys want to monday moring quarter back good for you! but we should support our brothers and sisters a little more.

BIG MOE @ 7/15/2011 3:18 PM

This officer is a jerk and a fool that give all of us a bad name. Were peace officers to serve and protect. this is bad business.

cowboy @ 7/28/2011 9:02 PM

the retired cops and other cops are from little bitty towns and dont know anything about real police work and have never used 148 P.C, and are usually the cops who get killed while working their little towns.

Professionalism @ 9/12/2014 1:21 AM

To "D"......
From the West Palm Beach Sentinel:
Smartphones are almost everywhere, and these portable video cameras can do a lot more than capture a picture of your last lunch or latest outfit. Sometimes, they can land you in jail, especially when videotaping the police.
But according to state law, they shouldn't.
The law allows people to shoot video and photos in public places, including pictures or video of working law enforcement, but some people wind up arrested when they do so. Legal experts say some police officers are playing fast and loose with the law, and these arrests are often tossed....Boca Raton Police Spokesman Mark Economou said the department's policy states "no legal authority exists to stop photographs or videotape from being taken.

....and the "wiretapping charges" have been struck down every time....

The laws in Florida, nor in any other State, cannot trump the Constitution....nor the Verdicts of Federal Courts, which repeatedly state that it is legal to film.

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