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I guess it is not just in Illinois. Police officers do not like to be videotaped in any state. And they will charge anyone who tries to record their activities, even when it is legal. The latest example of police abusing their power is in western New York.
In the city of Rochester, a woman filmed a police officer searching a man’s car from her yard. She was charged with obstructing governmental administration. Even though videotaping a police officer in public view is legal in New York State. Emily Good uploaded the video this week, more than a month after her May 12th arrest. The video shows an African American male being questioned by police officers at around 10 p.m.
“I just got out of the house, man, I’m sick, man,” the man says from nearby his car on the video while 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.
“This is my yard,” Good says.
“I don’t feel safe with you standing behind me so I’m going to ask you go into your house, you understand?” Masic says.
The conversation then escalates into a confrontation. Masic alleges that Good had already expressed other, unspecified anti-police statements before she began recording the scene.”Due to what you said to me, before you started taping, I think, uh, you need to go stay in your house, guys,” Masic stated.
Good’s public defender, Stephanie Stare, told The Huffington Post that she has talked to several of Good’s neighbors who were present that night. None of the neighbors stated that Good made any threatening comments prior to filming. Ryan Acuff, a friend of Good’s who witnessed the exchange, agreed. “None of us was talking to them until they came to us,” Acuff said. “The first contact was definitely on tape.”
The officer and Good argue about whether she is threatening his safety until Masic arrests Good. “You know what, you’re gonna go to jail. That’s just not right,” Masic stated after a minute of arguing. 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.
The police report from the arrest also contains discrepancy from the video. The report stated that the traffic stop targeted three individuals who “were all chalkem south gang members.”The video, however, only shows one man led out of the car.
In a statement released to the press, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard said that while he had “researched” the incident, “With the case still pending and my unfamiliarity with the specific details, any assumptions at this time would be premature.” An internal investigation is underway. Meanwhile, Good and her attorney are prepared to bring this case to trial if charges are not dismissed.