Police Falsely Threaten Attorney with Jail for Filming Traffic Stop
By Beth Florkowski of Fausone Bohn, LLP posted in News and Press on Monday, March 27, 2017.
Jesse Bright, a criminal defense attorney and part time Uber driver, was pulled over for allegedly driving a man to a drug house under surveillance. When the police approached his car, Bright began filming, as he has the right to do. The officers wanted him to believe otherwise.
“Be careful because there is a new law,” the officer is recorded saying on tape. “Turn it off or I will take you to jail.”
Luckily for Bright, he was an attorney who had an understanding of his rights. When Bright alerted the officers of that fact, they were hesitant to believe that Bright could be both and attorney and an Uber driver. Bright says he works as a driver after hours to pay off the student loans from law school.
Neither Bright nor the passenger in the car were charged as a search yielded no evidence of illegal activity.
Bright stated that he decided to film the police, and recommends that others do the same, because it reduces confusion if the case were to end up in court.
Although the department did not issue a formal apology, the Police Chief did release a statement that seemed to align with Jesse Bright’s feeling towards the encounter.
“Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right,” the statement said, “As a matter of fact, we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during a police and citizen interaction.”