Back in January, BuzzFeed news released a story in which they reviewed 62 examples of video footage in which a cop’s statement in a police record or testimony directly contradicted the video evidence. They discovered that in almost every case, the officer lied to retroactively justify their actions. While we know that clearly not all cops are liars, Justice Department reports from places like Ferguson, Chicago, Baltimore, and Cleveland (to name a few) offer evidence that there is certainly a problem within the institution of policing—whether it’s individual officers who lie or a culture within some police departments that inadvertently, or worse, actively encourage lying.
A recent incident which took place in Wilmington, North Carolina, on February 26 offers further proof. Jesse Bright, a criminal defense lawyer who also drives Uber to cut down on his student loans, was pulled over after picking up a passenger. The passenger allegedly was leaving from a suspected drug house that police had been watching. When Bright’s passenger was asked to exit the car, Bright began filming the incident on his cell phone. That’s when an officer told him to stop recording because it is illegal to film an officer on duty. Except that’s a blatant lie. It is a person’s legal right to film and take photos of any person who is in legal sight, according to Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous.
Here’s part of what transpires in the video, which you can see below.
In one of three videos Bright posted on Facebook, the following exchange occurs:
Officer: “Hey bud, turn that off, OK?”
Bright: “No, I’ll keep recording, thank you. It’s my right.”
Officer: “Don’t record me. You got me?”
Bright: “Look, you’re a police officer on duty. I can record you.”
Officer: “Be careful because there is a new law. Turn it off or I’ll take you to jail.”
Bright: “For recording you? What is the law?”
Officer: “Step out of the car.”
Bright: “What are you arresting me for? I’m sitting here in my car. I’m just recording in case anything happens. I’m surrounded by five police officers.”
Officer: “You’re being a jerk.”
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