April 14th, 2013

Louisiana Cops Arrest Man for Video Recording Them in Public (Updated II) 0

By Carlos Miller

 

Police in Louisiana continued to reveal that gangster cop attitude that has become so visible in this country thanks to the advent of online videos.

It was only a few years ago that we were forced to take the word of police on the facts that lead up to an arrest.

Now we’re seeing a systemic thug-like attitude within the police ranks throughout almost every law enforcement agency in the country because more and more citizens are asserting their right to record in public.The latest case comes from Louisiana, as we can see in a Live Leak video that was posted 14 hours ago at this time although it is not clear when it was recorded nor when.

It shows that a man sitting in his own car at least 50 feet away from police officers during a traffic stop get arrested because he did nothing but video record.

The video is long but worth a watch because the citizen is very knowledgeable of his rights but he gets arrested anyway in a disturbing abuse of power.

There is a long lag until 8:15 after the initial encounter with police when police return to harass and eventually arrest him.

The man tells police he had a run-in with cops on Christmas Eve in which his rights were violated. He said he has video evidence of his innocence and will show it in court.

He said ever since that incident, he’s been pulling over and video recording traffic stops as a third-party witness, which we know police can’t stand.

It starts off with an officer with a flashlight walking up towards him accusing him of interfering with the investigation, threatening to confiscate his phone as “evidence.”

Then they tried to nab him for refusing to provide identification, even though he wasn’t driving nor was he doing anything that gave the cop a reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime. He had also stated his full name which was Alexander John with what sounds like a Cajun surname that I don’t know how to spell based on his pronunciation (I’m sure someone will clarify this part).

But he ended up handing over the identification “under duress.”

They also threatened him with loitering.

Finally they just came out and demanded to know why he was recording, claiming that it unsettled them because he may know the suspect, asking him if he felt if he was a “self-appointed witness” to whatever investigation they were conducting.

When he said he was simply an activist, they arrested him, even going through the farce of reading him his rights.

UPDATE: PINAC correspondent Jeff Gray aka HONORYOUROATH determined the arresting deputy was Daniel Randall Broussard of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. Watch the video below to see and hear his phone conversation with the sheriff’s office.

Other PINAC readers determined the videographer’s name to be Alexander John Leger Lege.

Louisiana blogger Joshua Delano, who runs Bayou Perspective, called the sheriff’s office and determined that Leger was arrested on Thursday and released on Friday.

He was charged with interfering with a law enforcement investigation, which states the following in Louisiana:

A.  Interfering with a law enforcement investigation is the intentional interference or obstruction of a law enforcement officer conducting investigative work at the scene of a crime or the scene of an accident by refusing to move or leave the immediate scene of the crime or the accident when ordered to do so by the law enforcement officer when the offender has reasonable grounds to believe the officer is acting in the performance of his official duties.
B.  For the purposes of this Section, “law enforcement officer” means any commissioned police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal, correctional officer, constable, wildlife enforcement agent, state park warden, livestock brand inspector, forestry officer, or probation and parole officer.
C.  Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
Acts 2010, No. 349, §1.

The main question here is what is the definition of an “immediate scene” of a crime or accident. Lege was standing at least 50 feet away and was not yelling at the deputies when they approached him.

It is obvious they only arrested him because he was video recording them otherwise they would have arrested his wife or girlfriend who was also sitting in the car observing the investigation.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, stated the following in a text message Sunday afternoon as he was participating in a workshop where he was teaching photo students in New York City about copyright, social media and access:

Interference or obstruction of governmental administration in most jurisdictions needs to be physical. Being a “reasonable” distance away while observing and recording would not satisfy the elements of that crime.

Osterreicher followed the above text with an email stating the following:

I think 50′ away would be outside of the “immediate scene of the crime or the accident” but that would be up to the prosecutor or later the  judge or the jury to decide

But these are the very kind of “discretionary” charges the US DOJ cautions officers against using when faced with someone photographing or recording absent physical interference.

Now check out Gray’s video.

 

UPDATE II: The man’s name is Alexander John Lege, not Leger. Thanks to Busted in Acadiana for the correction and photo.

Call the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office at (337) 232-9211.


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.

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