Video Recording Cops At Occupy Protest Crucial – Gets Charges Dropped

by dave on May 23, 2012

A lot has been said lately on the peoples’ right to record officers in the line of duty. And with everyone carrying a recording device on their phones, it’s an issue that’s not soon to go away. But in a recent case out of New York, an example of just how crucial such footage is will likely encourage more people to hit record when the cops come around.

The case marks the very first of Occupy Wall Street arrests to go to trial. It was the case of Alexander Arbuckle. According to Arbuckle, he came to the Occupy protests on January 1 to help paint the police in a fair light—he thought they were being portrayed unfairly by the media and others within the Occupy movement.

But when he was there he was swept up by the police as just another protestor, only one with a camera.

The cops said he was arrested for disorderly conduct, along with numerous other protesters that day, for blocking traffic. The criminal complaint alleged Arbuckle was actually standing in the middle of 13th street with other protestors when he was asked to move. Even under oath, the arresting officer testified that Arbuckle was blocking traffic.

But Arbuckle’s footage (and the police footage) indicated otherwise.

According to the Village Voice:

But there was a problem with the police account: it bore no resemblance to photographs and videos taken that night. Arbuckle’s own photographs from the evening place him squarely on the sidewalk. All the video from the NYPD’s Technical Research Assistance Unit, which follows the protesters with video-cameras (in almost certain violation of a federal consent decree), showed Arbuckle on the sidewalk.

As a result of the video and photographic evidence Arbuckle was acquitted of the charges against him.

Soon after the charges were filed, Arbuckle was offered an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) which would do away with the charges in exchange for his admittance of guilt. But he declined, stating, “It would have been nice to have everything over and one with, but it would have been an acknowledgment of guilt, and I knew I wasn’t guilty.”

In scenarios like the Occupy protests or other large gatherings, police often hand out arrests by the truckload, cuffing as many people as possible in hopes of dispersing the others. As in this case, where video showed all protestors to be on the sidewalk, sometimes the police will stretch the truth in order to justify their arrests.

But when there is evidence available to the contrary, your attorney is there to help you clear your name. If you’ve been arrested for disorderly conduct, let us put you in touch with a local criminal defense lawyer today.



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