A recent case in New Haven, Ct. involving a student arrested for videotaping cops shows just how broken the legal system is.
Luis Luna was arrested September 25 for videotaping a group of cops breaking up a fight. He was charged with interfering with police and spent the night in jail.
Police even stated in their report that he was arrested – under orders of New Haven Assistant Police Chief Ariel Melendez – for refusing to stop filming after he was ordered to do so, which is hardly interfering.
They continued to violate his rights when they deleted two videos from his iPhone, inadvertently photographing their feet as they fiddled with his camera as you can see in the above photo.
They did all this even though New Haven Police Chief Frank Limon has publicly stated that citizens have every right to videotape police. This, of course, in response to a couple of questionable incidents where citizens were threatened or arrested for videotaping cops.
According to the New Haven Independent, the chief’s exact words were:
“It’s not our policy to arrest people for filming,” Chief Limon said in a conversation Wednesday. “As a general principal, it is not illegal to video.
So given these circumstances, you would think that charges against Luna would automatically be thrown out and, wishful thinking here, the assistant police chief disciplined for ordering an unlawful arrest.
Instead, Luna was told they would drop the charge of interference of a police officer if only he would plead guilty to creating a disturbance.
These are the type of plea deals that are forced upon innocent people every single day in courthouses across the country.
They made me a similar offer after my first arrest, which I refused to accept. That decision prompted my first lawyer to drop me as a client. I was lucky I found another lawyer who wasn’t afraid to take it to trial.
By that point, I already knew I was in for a long, drawn-out fight, but most people don’t have the time, energy or resources to dedicate themselves to such a fight.
Luna ended up agreeing to plea guilty to creating a disturbance, even though he knew he did nothing illegal, the police chief knew he did nothing illegal and the judge knew he did nothing illegal.
But they still needed to teach him a lesson because Luna was, in fact, guilty of contempt-of-cop.
And that is a punishable offense unless you are prepared for a long, drawn-out fight.