The police officer in this particular story went beyond telling a lie. The officer in question confiscated a citizen's camera in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The victim is receiving $200,000 as part of an out-of-court settlement for that violation.
This is more proof that it is not illegal to video or audio tape public employees, including police officers, while they are on duty. In fact, it would be prudent to do so considering the recent misconduct that has been reported in our area.
Many Lafayette citizens have been subjected to bullying, rude conduct, and profanities by some LPD officers in the past. We've heard many stories since we first broke the news about the Civil Rights lawsuit being transferred to federal court.
Notice to Local Law EnforcementLet this serve as official notice to police officers in our hometown. Citizens have a right to videotape your conduct, and many of us will be exercising that right as a means of protection from those of you who would think to violate your oaths of office. If you attempt to deny us of that right, you will likely face the same consequences as the officers from Indianapolis.
We would like to encourage concerned citizens to get involved. If you see the rights of a fellow citizen being violated, please stop and videotape the incident. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Police Officer, if you are caught on videotape violating the rights of any citizen, we will make sure it appears on this site where it will likely go viral.
Citizens are beginning to fight back against the abuse all around the country. We find it sad that it has come to this, but when police officers get away with threatening to kill innocent victims, it is our only recourse. When the mayor, the prosecutor, and other law enforcement personnel allow this to happen because of personal friendships, we have no other choice but to protect ourselves any way necessary.
We realize there are many fine police officers from our community, and we appreciate their service. However, the few bad apples can give an entire police force a bad name. For those who may not engage in abusive practices, but remain silent about it, you are part of the problem.
As part of the deal, the city has adopted a policy that recognizes that citizens have the right to videotape or audiotape IMPD officers during traffic stops, detentions and arrests. Attorney Richard Waples says this follows the February 2011 arrest of his client Willie King. Waples says King was arrested for videotaping police as they arrested a young man in his neighbor's driveway on the city's eastside. Waples says at the time, 66-year-old King was concerned police may have been abusive to the young man being arrested.
King alleged his First Amendment rights to observe and record and his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated when police confiscated his phone, threw him to the ground, injured his shoulder and took his cellphone. He claimed excessive force and false arrest. The case was set to go to trial March 10, 2014, but the settlement to pay King $200,000 in damages resolves litigation.
Ultimately, Waples says the settlement benefits citizens and police. He says it'll lead to less abuse of citizens and protect police from unfounded allegations of abuse. The policy does require people who videotape police scenes to keep a safe and reasonable distance while also not getting physically involved in the activity. An IMPD spokesman says they cannot comment at this time.