More and more, police are acting like there's no such thing as The First Amendment. This woman was arrested for standing on her lawn and videotaping the police. She was exercising her First Amendment right to videotape the police -- an essential right, in order to see that there is no police misconduct -- and they arrested her.
Police Officer Arrest Woman in Her Front Yard for Filming the Cops
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May 12 2011 - A Rochester woman was arrested for taping a traffic stop in front of her 19th Ward Home. She was standing in front of her house with a hand held recording device when the arrest happened. Officer Mario Masic, Rochester Police Department, executed the illegal arrest.
NEW YORK -- In May, the Rochester Police Department arrested a woman on a charge of obstructing governmental administration after she videotaped several officers' search of a man's car. The charge is a criminal misdemeanor.
The only problem? Videotaping a police officer in public view is perfectly legal in New York state -- and the woman was in her own front yard. The arrest report of the incident also contains an apparent discrepancy from what is seen in the woman's own video.
That video, uploaded to the Internet this week, more than a month after Emily Good's May 12 arrest, begins by showing a black male being questioned by a police officer at about 10 p.m. The red and blue flashes of a police cruiser illuminate the scene on Aldine Street.
"I just got out of the house, man, I'm sick, man," the man who has been pulled over says. Other police officers search his car.
Then one of the officers, identified as Mario Masic in the arrest report, turns to the camera and asks, "You guys need something?"
"I'm just -- this is my front yard -- I'm just recording what you're doing. It's my right," Good replies.
"Actually, not from the sidewalk," the officer replies, incorrect about the legality of Good's actions.
For more than a minute of the video, the officer and Good argue about whether she is threatening his safety. Finally, it appears, Masic has had enough: "You know what, you're gonna go to jail. That's just not right."
Acuff claimed that he and Good were complying with the policeman's order to return to their porch when she was arrested.
"The real reason they arrested her was because she was videotaping," Acuff said. Both he and Good are activists who have previously protested foreclosures in the area.
Acuff has posted his own account of the arrest on Indymedia. He said he and Good were videotaping the traffic stop out of concern about police misconduct.
The police report of the arrest contains another apparent discrepancy from what appears on the video: Masic writes that the traffic stop targeted three individuals who "were all chalkem south gang members."
"This gang is known for drugs guns and violence," Masic notes, underscoring the danger of the situation.
The police department has launched an internal investigation.
Good is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, where her public defender hopes the case will be dismissed.
If that doesn't happen, Stare said, she was not afraid of bringing Good's case to a jury trial.
"She was well within her rights."
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