July 18th, 2013

Palm Beach Sheriff's Sergeant Handcuffs Man for Video Recording Sheriff's Building 149

By Carlos Miller


A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s sergeant handcuffed a man for video recording a sheriff’s department from a public sidewalk, an action he found suspicious.

But video recording government buildings from public sidewalks is completely legal and no grounds for detainment.

If anything, the man committed the crime of keeping his phone in the vertical position while recording, but we’ll forgive him considering it’s appears to be his first video.

Sergeant Brooke L. Thomas, Sr. begins by demanding his identification, but the man refuses on the basis he is not committing a crime.

The man then insists on asking to speak to a supervisor, but Thomas insinuates he is the top dog.

They go back and forth as we’ve seen so many times before until the man agrees to allow Thomas to frisk him.

Big mistake.

Thomas then orders him against the car with his hands over his head, ordering to spread his legs as he pats him down and even goes into the man’s backpack.

After the frisk, the man accuses the sergeant of frisking him illegally but the sergeant points out that the man allowed him to do so, which goes to show you the mind games these goons play.

Thomas continues to insist on knowing his name. The man continues to assert his right not to identify himself, even offering his first name, “Chris,” but that is not enough for the sergeant, who ends up handcuffing him.

According to Chris’s Youtube description:

Lawful citizen is stopped and detained illegally for photographing on a public sidewalk. The citizen allows police to “frisk” his person for weapons in order to calm the officers. Not shown on camera the Supervisor illegally searches the backpack on the person. After the “frisk” the citizen accidentally in the heat of the moment says he didn’t allow them to frisk. But that’s not the point. The video ends with the lawful citizen being handcuffed and arrested illegally. 15 minutes later the officers let the citizen go on his way.

Police need to be held accountable for violating lawful citizens rights. We are living in a police state.

It is understandable to be nervous in a situation like this. As you can see, law enforcement officers will lie and intimidate until you finally break down. And if that doesn’t work, they will simply arrest you.

But these cops are going to eventually have to accept that people are learning their rights, even if they still can’t figure out how to hold the damn phone while recording.

Thomas obviously doesn’t care because he knows he won’t be reprimanded by his actions in this video, even though he fully admits he is stopping Chris for doing something completely legal.

“You were standing there and you were taking photographs of my building,” he tells him shortly before arresting him.

The one good thing that Chris did that not enough citizens do in these situations is read the names of the officers for the camera, so we can at least begin to publicly shame them (and glance through their Facebook page if they have one as Thomas does, under the name, Ever the Clever).

Because that’s pretty much all the resources we really have in these situations considering anybody with any authority would rather turn a blind eye.

Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.
  • Jay

    Carlos, are these monkeys just antagonizing the police or are lawsuits involved. If they aren’t suing, then they are making matters worse.

    • Carlos_Miller

      The problem is, it’s very hard to find a lawyer to sue in a case like this because there aren’t any actual damages.

      • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

        There’d be damages. How much?–not sure. Not $200,000. But there would probably be attorneys’ fees if he won. 42 USC 1988. That’s a big fucking “if,” though. Like tens of thousands of dollars (or more) of “if.” And if things go south, the lawyer will probably have spent a lot of time and money on something where he could have been chasing another case.

        I think the bigger fear for most lawyers is that most lawyers–and today, most judges–don’t know the First Amendment so well, and especially don’t know how it would work in this situation. It’s all new to them, which makes it a risk for the lawyer. There will be lots of research involved, which is expensive and time consuming. They have to draft things from scratch instead of modifying stuff they’ve used before. Generally speaking, lawyers don’t like risks, and the legal process generally doesn’t like new stuff.

        And what is the prize you’re chasing? Not $200,000. (Mind you, you probably have a debt of hundreds of thousands of dollars from law school.) At the end of the day, law is not a noble profession. It’s a business. I think that’s true.

        I’m just too fucking stubborn to accept it. :) I’ll have another post in a bit about some of the things I see in the video.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          The advantage is that the law is fairly clear in Florida. There was no reasonable suspicion of a crime, therefore no requirement to ID, and therefore no obstruction. The photography could be relegated to a side issue, although it is fairly clear, and not just from Smith v. City of Cumming. See Abella v. Simon, No. 13-10255, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13638, 2013 WL 3368872 (11th Cir. July 5, 2013) (not designated for publication).

          Not much money in it though. The best option would be for minimal damages and a declaratory judgment.

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            I’ll grant you clearly established for QI purposes. But honestly–I think most people don’t know Smith exists. Moreover, I think most don’t understand TPM. Most private defense attorneys know a lot about breathalyzers. They know a fair amount about suppression. But generally speaking, they know much about the 1A beyond a functional grasp of true threat or incitement or whatever crap they learned in barbri. This is not where their focus is. =(

          • inquisitorX

            “There was no reasonable suspicion of a crime, therefore no requirement to ID, and therefore no obstruction.”

            And yet you would attempt to lyingly convince that a sergeant with the sheriff does not know this when interacting with a citizen or suspect.
            Shameful bro’.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent


      • theprez98 (总统)

        At the least, you can get a declaratory judgment from the court that such actions are legal and don’t violate the law.

      • io-io

        Here are a couple of law review papers that addresses this very question.They are somewhat dated.



        Yes, lawyers like to look at actual damages that can be measured rather than address the harm done by the taking of Constitutional Rights and what they might be worth. Some may see this as an argument on “how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin”, however in my view – the taking of one’s Constitutional Rights, should be measured in large part as a monetary matter, since that really is the only way to get the attention that it deserves. Putting a monetary value on something that is somewhat intangible is not easy, but if you can do it to one person, they you can do it to an entire Nation. That is what we are seeing. You start bankrupting some cities, towns and states – and the practice will come to a screeching halt.

        • TINY

          io-io wrong again about LAWYERS, read what i said and posted to CARLOS about LAWYERS/aka LIARS! [[ http://constitution.org/lrev/rodell/woe_unto_you_lawyers.htm ]] carlos and io io read that and tell me what you think of lawyers, then tell me again how they could help, but only if you could find one that could get passed the money part of it, or whatever poor excuse your using now! it is all much worse then that! much, lawyers go to LAW SCHOOL to get brainwashed! no one seems to know this little fact! TIME TO WAKE UP SHEEPLE! TIME TO WAKE UP!

      • TINY

        CARLOS: fact, the problem is much greater then just finding a lawyer, the system is owned by THEM! even if you get it into the courts, they will wiggle out! fact is like someone here said already, it is OUR problem, WE put up with this shit, AND IT IS UP TO EACH AND EVERYONE ONE OF US TO GET IT STOPPED! lawyers are bought and paid for by the system, they are nothing but puppets of the COURT! is any of this waking anyone up? TIME TO WAKE UP SHEEPLE! [how many years has it been, the ole shootout on miamibeach? how many innocents were shot in the crossfire, etc.? how many cops are in prison for this crap? could it happen again tomorrow? you bet your ass it could!!!]

  • Bill Larson

    It’s sad that these officers do not know the extent of their powers, perhaps they need to be sent back to the police academy and when they successfully complete it be assigned as rookie officers again.

    • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

      From what I have reviewed in many of these video that have taken place in the state of Confusion, AKA, Florida, it appears that most the police officers have absolutely no knowledge of the Constitutional Rights of Citizens of the United States. Accordingly, suggest that it is not Police Academy that they should return to, but rather elementary school as they are nothing more than a bunch of totally ignorant Badged Uniformed Fascist Thugs.

      • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

        If they have no knowledge, who do you blame? The officer is wrong–no question–but I blame most the people who sit above street level.

        • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

          Who is to blame? A great question with a very simple answer.

          It is the voters of the counties and municipalities of Florida and all of the other states are the ones that bare the brunt of the blame! They are the ones that vote for the sheriffs and the representatives that control the police. They, actually, WE, are the ones that allow such mediocre management of the police forces. Police Force that not trained in anything but instead the use of force to carry out what they believe to be proper and legal law enforcement as if they were a military organization, no thinking about the laws just act.

          This particular video is an excellent example of mediocre law enforcement, this gentleman taking the video did absolutely nothing wrong, he committed NO crimes but this Sheriff Sgt and deputy didn’t have a clue, he just acted like badged Uniformed Fascist Thugs demanding information because he believed that since he has badge and a gun that he can do any damn thing that he wants to under the color of law.

          WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY TO A POLICE STATE! If more of We the people do not start speaking out in a rational manner that demands a cease to such activities by the police by providing better education and training as well weeding out the Bad Apples will be there within 10 years.

          We all are aware of the story that starts, they came for Jews one day. I wasn’t a Jew so they didn’t bother me…………..

          This is exactly what is happening a steady grain by grain erosion of our rights being carried away by the river of tyrants.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Somehow the deputies don’t seem like liberal socialists to me (which is what a Fascist is).

          • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

            You have your description of fascism and I have mine. A fascism to me a NAZIS. Do not give me an example of a 1927 statement of Hitler when the NAZIS were just a small minor party as your proof. Rather, suggest that you look at what the Fascist did in 1933 once were able to take over legally with the monied support of the Right Winged Industrialist and GmbH’s with names like Heinkel, Krupp, Thyssen, Bayer, Damiler Benz., Mesrschimdt. et.al. It was there support and money that brought the NAZIS to power. Some of Hitler’s first acts were to purge the NAZIS party of the Socialist element, the night of the long knives, ban unions and take control of the press.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            LOL, what more do you want? The Nazi party followed all the main socialist programs. Redistribution of wealth. The only income that should be kept is from labor – investment and dividend income should be seized. Industries should be run by the state. Pensions should be increased. Health care should be run by the state. All leftist issues.

          • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania



            fas·cism noun ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-

            Definition of FASCISM


            often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralizedautocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

            Webster definition above

            Churchill called the Nazis’ – Fascists

            With all due respect, you are no Churchill

            The German pensions and health care systems were NOT started by the NAZIS but rather by Kaiser Wilheim. Now there was a real socialist for you.

            Look I was willing to walk away from this a couple of days ago. You brought back, let’s just forget it.

            I’ve been reading and concentrating on the History from 1875 to current now for over 50 years and I research what I write before I put it out.


          • Tijuana Joe

            Hemingway had a nice definition of Fascism; it is ” a lie
            told by a bully.” If you’ve had the unfortunate experience
            of visiting Palm Beach Co you know Ric ‘the Dic’ Bradshaw
            is the bully and safety/security is the big lie.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            No, you brought it back when you called officers fascists.

            The fact that fascists were socialists and leftists is not in dispute among reputable scholars, despite the efforts of the left to distance themselves from it.

          • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

            I do not agree and no amount of internet bullying directed to me by you will make me change my mind or my wording. You do not scare me.

            I’ve provided a definition of fascism as defined TODAY. You point to nothing. Just a another example of how extreme people that continue to shout the same thing over and over again making believe that it is true because you said it.

            So you stick to an this issue and I’ll GO FORWARD legally expressing my displeasure of the illegal and despicable actions of Badged Uniformed Fascist Thugs as they ignore, steal and threaten the honest exercise of the both civil and human rights of American Citizens under the color of the law.

            Wish you all the best in your endeavours in being the sole proprietor of the truth. Frankly, you bore me and we said in the Navy, THAT IS ALL!

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            No one is trying to bully you or scare you.

            If you’re that paranoid, maybe you should visit the VA. I’m sure that they can help you.

          • Voice-Of-Concern

            Ummm… Isn’t EVERY economic system some kind of wealth redistribution?

            Or, perhaps we can focus on what we have in common, ie PINAC, & avoid Left/Right politics, which only serves to divide us?

            For what it’s worth.

          • ts

            I concur.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Yes, a Nazi is a fascist. So was Franco of Spain. All of these were from the socialist side of the political spectrum.

            You can call it whatever you want and believe whatever you want, but that doesn’t change the facts nor the truth. All it does is speak to intellectual honesty.

            I’m also not willing to allow your mischaracterizations of officers to go unchallenged, so every time you call them fascists, I’ll be there to point out what fascists really were and are.

          • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

            As I’ve stated several times, you have your definition and I have mine. I’ve offered you logic and history as my rebuttal to which it appears that you have rejected out of hand as not being intellectually honest.

            While I strongly disagree; I will continue to believe and support that those that do not agree with me have the same absolute rights as I do. Hell, I would even defend your rights. As I have a history of already doing so, even though I was threatened by our government’s unequal draft laws, I served and served honorably.

            Understand that you feel calling a police officer a badged uniformed fascist thug is a insult to you and your colleagues. Well, in my years I’ve come to appreciate, understand and agree with the logic that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck it must be a duck! Thence what I believe to be a correct title for the ACTIONS.

            Accordingly, I will continue to call illegal executed actions such as the example provided in this Video of the Palm Beach County Florida Sheriff illegal actions as being carried by Badged Uniformed Fascist Thugs. To me this continuously repeated statement of show me your papers [ID], looks like this particular flock of ducks were wearing Swastikas.

            I ask you to recall my statement as to why I do not wish to call them NAZIS or even NAZI like. Taking a hint from the great comment of Mr. ” Tijuana Joe” , would you rather that I refer to them as Badged Uniformed Bullies [BUBs] ?

            At the same time, I will continue to refer to proper legal actions carried out by law enforcement officers. After all, I know that not all ducks are the same.

            But, let’s get back to the REAL POINT; leave the side track as what is or isn’t a fascist, of this debate. Simply stated were the Badged Uniform “WHATEVER” Thugs legally correct?

            So since you, by your own admission, are a retired cop, why do some of your colleagues behave in this manner? Please enlighten us, as I for one, would love not refer to them in the manner that I have. As I find having to employ such a distasteful title almost as repugnant as the illegal actions that they have taken. But it is they that must change and not the American People.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Look, you can call them whatever you want, and your studies in history are fine. The problem is that history is based on events that happened.
            The study of political theories is more properly in political science, which is what my undergraduate degree was in, and what I have studied. All I’m saying is that if you call police officers fascists, when in fact they are on the opposite end of the political spectrum for the most part, I’ll correct that statement with facts.

            If you want to learn more, I would recommend the following:

            David Beetham, From Socialism to Fascism: The Relation Between Theory and Practice in the Work of Robert Michels 25 POLITICAL STUDIES, Iss. 1, Mar. 1977, at 3.

            Reinhard Kuhnl, Problems of a Theory of German Fascism: A Critique of the Dominant Interpretations NEW GERMAN CRITIQUE, Iss. 4, 1975, at 26.

            Daniel Woodley, FACISM AND POLITICAL THEORY, 2009.

            Roger Griffin, THE NATURE OF FACSIM, 1991.

            Zeev Sternhel, THE BIRTH OF FASCIST IDEOLOGY, 1995.

          • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

            That is all means that is all, This is my last communicate to you

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Buh bye.

      • Difdi

        Given that they operate by causing fear in order to maintain control, don’t call them fascists, call them terrorists. It makes for a better acronym anyway.

        You can even make it the BUTT of jokes. :p

      • TINY

        or AKA/gang members,hmmmm with a badge and gun! and ready to shoot upon command of their puppet masters! they ARE ALL MORONS! and ya cannot fix STUPID! uuggghhhh! i am so fking sick of this crap going on!

    • TINY

      that in fact would not help, you cant fix “stupid”! get rid of em, all of em, let em get into the food line and fight for their next meal and see what happens when they end up in JAIL fighting to keep someone from poking them in the arse! morons, all of them!

  • Gomer Pyle

    The so called “Sargent ” must have got those three stripes on his shoulders from a cracker jack box !!! how dumb can you get?

    Hey dumb ass,,,,this is the yr 2013,,,,,,EVERYONE has a phone/camera/video camera on their person…ACTION CAMS are EVERYWHERE !….
    STOP acting surprised…this is not 1960 and the Cold WAR with RUSSIA is OVER !!! and lived

    Learn what PUBLIC PROPERTY is,,,stop being an embarrassment to Palm Beach County.
    I grew up there in 1957 and finally got smart and moved away in 2005.


      I know exactly how he got those three stripes. He was too damn stupid to earn them through test taking. Just ask those other cops that were there and I’m sure they will tell you.

  • pete

    Another example of a Florida cop using the constitution as toilet paper.

    • Difdi

      If the highest law is treated as no better than toilet paper by those sworn to uphold that law…

      Why should we the People, who are NOT sworn to uphold any laws, have any respect for lesser laws?

      If the sum total of someone’s argument in favor of respect for the law is “because we’re armed and outnumber you” then it’s not immoral to resist, up to and including lethal force.

      • http://mcbluefire.net McB

        Precisely the definition of anarchy….that is how our government rules – brute force and anarchy (lawlessness)

        • Difdi

          Exactly. We elect our leaders to represent us, but also to serve as examples for us.

          If our leaders can’t be bothered to keep their oaths and obey the laws they enact and enforce upon us in our names, why should we obey the laws either?

          If the highest moral authority a government can aspire to is LESS than that of organized crime (at least the mafia pays people), then it isn’t immoral to act accordingly.

      • TINY

        got that right! 100% and those that would even attempt to argue that point are morons! fact is the world is full of morons! :((((((

  • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

    Thoughts I had while watching and in reflection:

    1) Mr. Sheriff, or Mr. Deputy, that is not your property, unless you stole it. That property belongs to the people of the state of Florida, whom you serve and protect. It does not belong to your office. You are not a an earl and that is not your keep. Your castle, sir, is the home where you live with your family, not that government building.

    2) A handy phrase in similar situations may be, “I’m sorry officer. I don’t consent to searches.” Like repeated over and over and over and over. (Thank you, Flex Your Rights.)

    3) A handy phrase in similar situations may be, “I’m sorry officer. I do not consent. Are you asking me or ordering me?” Again, repeated. “Are you asking me or telling me, sir?”

    4) A handy phrase in similar situations may be, “I’m sorry officer. I’m exercising my right to anonymously speak in public.”

    5) It seems the young man was on a public sidewalk. I can’t tell for sure, but I think so. That is a traditional public forum. Individuals have strong speech rights in a traditional public forum.

    6) Moreover, the young man is criticizing a public official in that traditional public forum.

    7) Even more, the young man is criticizing a police officer in that traditional public forum in a manner that does not disrupt the officer’s lawful duties. “The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.” Houston v. Hill.

    7) It would be a question of fact if the officers arrested the young man to stop him from taking video, or to stop him from publishing the video, or to punish him for taking video based on its content, or to punish him for his viewpoint that was critical of officers. Those are all impermissible reasons to arrest the young man and would be abhorrent to the First Amendment.

    8) Almost certainly, the young man knew he was going to get arrested. He escalated. He could have been a bit less obstreperous if his goal was simply to capture video. I would guess his goal was to exercise his rights, because the exercise of liberty is a satisfying end in and of itself.

    9) They grabbed the young man’s body. I imagine they took his property too. What crime was the young man committing? Obstruction of justice? Obstructing investigation of what crime? Trespassing on a public sidewalk? Taking video?

    10) The young man did not seem to be obstructing sidewalk traffic. His speech and capturing of video caused no disruption of itself beyond the psychological effect it apparently had on officers.

    11) With the officer asking for ID, it doesn’t matter what state the young man is from, what country or what planet. Or did Florida pass a law prohibiting foreigners from using the sidewalks when I wasn’t looking?

    12) A wrinkle in the law
    If the officers had a reason to believe that the young man was engaged in criminally related activity, then they probably could demand identification from the young man. constitution The seminal case is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada. In that case, there was a statute on point, and SCOTUS held that reasonable suspicion was sufficient to uphold the statute on constitutional grounds.

    Here’s the wrinkle–I am not aware of a case that sets that power against the First Amendment right to engage in anonymous speech. (Like the right affirmed in Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of NY v. Stratton. <3 J.witnesses) I am not sure how things would pan out if the power to demand ID went up against the right to anonymous speech. That's a whole kettle of fish Im savin' for some other day, though.

    In the officers’ defense, they get this crap from washington in the wake of the Patriot Act telling them to watch out for people taking pictures of government buildings. Giving the officers the most generous reading possible, that federal government directive could have been on their minds.

    They also probably don’t get trained in ths stuff. No one has trained them to not freak out over someone taking video. I know, sounds a little crazy, but–yeah, they deserve some training. Or at least a clear fucking policy.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

      In Florida, they do have a stop and ID statute, but it is grounded on reasonable suspicion. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 901.151 (West); State v. Gonzalez, 840 So. 2d 401 (Fla. 4th Dist. Ct. App. 2003). It also does not provide for a criminal penalty. That’s why the sergeant kept telling the guy he would be arrested for obstruction, which is actually Resisting Officer without Violence, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 843.02 (West).

      Unfortunately for the sergeant, courts have ruled that he has to have lawful grounds to require identification for the charge to apply. C.H.C. v. State, 988 So. 2d 1145 (Fla. 2d Dist. Ct. App. 2008) (must have reasonable suspicion of a crime); Fournier v. State, 731 So. 2d 75 (Fla. 2d Dist. Ct. App. 1999) (citizen is not required to identify himself unless lawfully detained); Davis v. Williams, 451 F.3d 759 (11th Cir. 2006) (requesting a supervisor and name and badge number is not obstructing officer).

      From an officer’s standpoint, and echoing what Mario said, the deputies simply are not trained properly, not just on photography, but on stop and ID. At some point the sergeant decided that this was going to go his way because he honestly thought that he was entitled to the individual’s ID. If someone is to blame, it is the sheriff.

      • BusPass

        Or maybe it’s as simple that these cops don’t give a $#!+ about the Constitution, and know that they can lie their worthless asses off without penalty in these encounters.

        I’m sick of the practice of kicking the blame down the road, and not surprised that it was used by someone who was in law enforcement. Cops do it all the time.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Do you want it fixed or do you want it to continue?

          If you don’t identify the problem, you can’t fix it. Part of the problem is training. It’s not the only problem. Over-militarization is a problem, as it the failed war on drugs. In this case the biggest issue is training.

          Of course, if you’re happy with the status quo, ignore the training issue. But it’s insane to expect different results if you don’t do anything different.

          • BusPass

            90% disagree.

            I agree with the “identify” sentence, but the problem is not training. Yes, they may need more training, but that is not the foundation of this issue.

            The problem is attitude. And greed.

            It’s irrational to think this is happening because the cops are collectively dumber than the people they encounter in all these videos.

            It’s because they have no regard for people.

            The issue with the drug war is not simply that it is a failure, it’s that the police perpetuate the failure. An oncologist who cures cancer is out of a job. The police who win a war on drugs no longer have access cash and cars to confiscate. And then they have no money to buy all the gear to dress up like GI Joe.

            I’m furious with the status quo, but I don’t think for a minute that we solve this by sending them to school. We will gain far more benefit by exacting severe penalties on cops who pull garbage like this than we will by sending them to school.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Attitude and culture are a major part of the problem. Both the war on drugs and the militarization of the police have had a major impact on both attitude and culture, and it was not a good impact.

            The way you correct it is not a simple, punish the cops solution, which would just reinforce the us v. them attitude and would play to their benefit, not the public’s benefit. Most citizens support the police, and if you start harshly punishing them, you will spark a second round of police “bills of rights” and protections for the officers.

            It needs a multifaceted approach. You need more basic training at the start, and no officer should be allowed on the street until they have completed an academy and a licensing test. Some states allow a department to hand an officer a badge and a gun and hit the streets, so long as they go to an academy within a year or two. You need more in-service training, and new supervisors need training.

            You need civilian oversight that has real power. The power to subpoena, the power to override a chief’s decision on discipline, the power to set and enforce policy.

            You need to pull back the militarization of police, and limit SWAT and SWAT equipment to only those situations where it is truly needed. You need to go back to community policing and more of a “beat cop” approach. That takes more officers, but they are not running from call to call to call.

            There needs to be an end to the failed war on drugs. A “war” on anything is not conducive to good law enforcement.

            Most officers are good people. But they are doing what we have asked and taught them to do. We need to change that.

          • io-io

            We agree across the board. However, there is more. If an officer is terminated for cause, it needs to stick. I understand the police union and their lawyers taking the side of the officer, having to take the officer back is dangerous to the public’s well being.

            In instances like this, there is little in the way of traditional damages – however the damage to the individual AND the citizen’s Constitutional Rights are large. Each instance where the officers are able to “get away with it”, and to be backed up by the pronouncements of Homeland Security, just undermines whatever good is done by the DOJ letters and positions. The only thing that the city, county and state (along with their insurance companies) understand is monetary damages. The law is setup around property – not loss of rights (which are treated essentially as not a “real” loss. In order to prove a loss, you need to find a way to turn it into a property loss in order to get an attorney interested (unless you have a substantial bank account and fund it on your own – then it comes back to what you are actually going to be able to be compensated for).

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            In the court of law system, damages = $. It is how the court keeps score.

            In equity, you can get an injunction, but no damages.

            That is overly simplified, but is the gist of it.

          • inquisitorX

            The war on drugs is a failure because the government imports the drugs.

            The Florida Keys all the way up to Jacksonville is my home territory and stomping ground.
            I know the score when it comes to specifically…southeast Florida.

            I know people, who shall remain nameless, who have run drugs since the marijuana seventies and the cocaine eighties that did so for the government and still do so to this day.

            They don’t get arrested because they have the best job protection you can get in the drug world by working for the feds.

            Law enforcement over drugs is about keeping down competition, keeping prices high and perpetuating profits in the court and prison systems.

            In my younger days I used to buy weed from a Broward Sheriff and he would tell me all the stories about cop corruption.

            It is institutionalized…a mafia.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Yeah, they bring it in through Roswell too, and warehouse it in Area 51 for distribution. Funny looking delivery drivers however.

          • inquisitorX

            You must have had a desk job while on the force or cleaning the toilets.

          • TINY

            you have that only partly correct, it is “THE FEDERAL MAFIA/Irwin Schiff” a book everyone in the USA needs to read, and it is currently online and free to DL. http://constitution.org/lrev/rodell/woe_unto_you_lawyers.htm

          • TINY

            you have hit on something that matters a lot and most dont, and have never heard of. a BEAT COP! i agree 100% with that, no matter how we do it it, this would help situations like in the video! failed war on drugs, also 100% agree!!! end it now, people have to be responsible to run their life, and the only reason, i think, THEY have drugs laws is simply because the USA is the largest drug dealer in the world! and about the “civilian oversight”, i think it needs to happen yesterday! thank you for posting that, there is still some hope for you yet. http://constitution.org/lrev/rodell/woe_unto_you_lawyers.htm [by now i know you have read that, i am reposting it for everyone else that may not have had the chance!]

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            I would strongly advise against using the information from that site, for the reasons I outlined several months ago. He is simply wrong. Quotations that he attributes to various cases don’t appear in the opinions, opinions have been narrowed or superseded by statute, and he has cases out of order. Very bad legal analysis.

          • inquisitorX

            I am not convinced it is about training.
            To have an officer on the street who doesn’t know the basics of asking for ID and what is legal?
            My dog isn’t that stupid or that naive.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            So your dog is smarter than you are?

            Big surprise.

          • inquisitorX

            Almost better than your false interpretations and cop apologetics.

          • LibertyEbbs

            If they do know that what they are doing is illegal and do it anyway because they KNOW there will be no repercussions for doing so, it is not a training issue.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            From viewing the video do you really think that they knew they couldn’t demand ID? That’s not what it looks like, it looks like they believed that they were entitled to ID him. That’s a training issue.

          • LibertyEbbs

            I think in most cases like this one, yes, they are very aware that they cannot legally demand ID. This one I am not so sure of, but the way the Sgt. refuses to be specific about what he is ‘suspicious’ of until after the subject presses him on it, I am thinking he knew.

            I think that he is just so uncomfortable with the fact that he isn’t getting 100% compliance that he decides to press beyond the legal limit. I know I am doing a lot of speculating here, but I think the Sgt. has the habit of playing it slow and dumb for advantage but is actually not slow or dumb at all.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            I’m just basing it on experience and talking to other officers. I’ve had to tell a number of my officers in the past that they could not require ID without reasonable suspicion. It was usually officers that were just assigned to my shift.

            You’re right about the Sgt. wanting 100% compliance. That’s what they are used to and have come to expect. It throws them off when there is not compliance and sometimes people think that they know the law and don’t. For example, in Texas it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade of over 6 inches. I stopped a car for speeding and saw a knife with about a 10 inch blade on the floorboard, in plain view. The driver insisted that I could not go into the car and seize the knife, absolutely sure that he was correct (he wasn’t).

            The officer has been taught to control the situation, and that’s what the Sgt. appeared to be doing.

          • LibertyEbbs

            As you have said in other threads: Officer safety does not trump constitutional rights. This part is a training issue…we need to train police that there are limits to their powers and they don’t get to control every situation absolutely.

            I know there are some LEOs out there with the tools to handle varied situations with professionalism and courtesy while using only the force necessary and staying within the legally defined limits. They are few and far between. For most, every problem looks like a nail.

            Sure, better training can ameliorate this, but I think we are not going to see that any time soon. The answer is accountability.

            The Sgt. committed a litany of crimes in that video and he will never be held to account for a one of them. If the photographer had stepped onto the roadway or didn’t have the proper reflectors on his bike they would have cited him to the max.

            If there is one law for you and one for me, no rule of law can there ever be.

            So, how do we go about getting the Sgt. prosecuted? Before you answer, please imagine the Sgt is not an on-duty LEO…say…just some cat at the grocery store and he engaged in the same behavior with an innocent person minding their own business. What crimes has he committed? Since the detention itself was unlawful, there should be no QI for any of those crimes in this case and he should be held to account. Only then will we see improvement.

          • Difdi

            By that standard, someone who unknowingly breaks the law, who can claim they were trained to do so and did not doubt their training could not be convicted of breaking the law.

            No mens rea.

            I have yet to see it work for anyone but police, however. The person making such a claim tends to be informed by the judge that ignorance of the law does not excuse breaking it.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            I’ve seen civilians get off because of lack of mens rea.

            Mens rea and ignorance of the law are two separate issues.

          • Difdi

            That’s the thing though — if someone does not know they are breaking a law, they cannot intend to break one.

            While it’s certainly possible to lack mens rea without ignorance, being ignorant that you are breaking a law at all almost automatically includes a lack of mens rea.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Not entirely accurate. To meet the mens rea of an intentional crime, you have to intend to commit the act. The fact that you don’t know the act is a crime doesn’t negate that you intended the act. You thus have met mens rea while being ignorant of the law, and would still be liable for the crime.

          • Difdi

            That’s insane. Without intending to break a law or otherwise do wrong, there can be no guilty mind.

            I often intend to not break laws. I get up, intend to eat my breakfast and then eat it before reading the news. If cornflakes were outlawed while I was asleep, and I found out after eating breakfast when I opened my web browser, I did in fact break the law, but since I did not know it was illegal and had no way of knowing and had no intent to do anything wrong, an arrest for eating cornflakes would be the height of injustice and insanity, to say nothing of a conviction.

            Ignorance of the law includes a lack of mens rea automatically. One cannot be guilty or unremorseful at the same time one believes they have done the right thing in full accordance with the law.

            If people were convicted anyway, then they were wrongly convicted — or the system has utterly lost its way and needs to be torn down, ASAP.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            “Ignorance of the law includes a lack of mens rea automatically.”

            No, I’m afraid that it doesn’t.

            “The principle that ignorance of the law is no defense applies whether the law be a statute or a duly promulgated and published regulation. In the context of these proposed 1960 amendments we decline to attribute to Congress the inaccurate view that that Act requires proof of knowledge of the law, as well as the facts, and that it intended to endorse that interpretation by retaining the word ‘knowingly.’ We conclude that the meager legislative history of the 1960 amendments makes unwarranted the conclusion that Congress abandoned the general rule and required knowledge of both the facts and the pertinent law before a criminal conviction could be sustained under this Act.

            So far as possession, say, of sulfuric acid is concerned the requirement of ‘mens rea’ has been made a requirement of the Act as evidenced by the use of the word ‘knowingly.’ A person thinking in good faith that he was shipping distilled water when in fact he was shipping some dangerous acid would not be covered.”

            U. S. v. Int’l Minerals & Chem. Corp., 402 U.S. 558, 563-64 (1971).

          • Difdi

            Before I started discussing law with you, I envisioned the legal system as a needlessly overcomplicated thing that never-the-less strove for justice for all.

            The more I discuss it with you, the more it resembles the Geneva Conventions and laws of war in my mind.

            To a uniformed soldier the laws of war are fair, offer decent protection at worst and great protection at best, and allow for common sense. To a civilian caught in a war zone, the laws are nothing more and nothing less than codified brutality and tyranny in which that civilian has a right to die, a right to be executed by his own side if he tries not to die, and no other rights whatsoever.

            The legal system, as you have described it, and however it started out is obviously nothing more than an inscrutable tyrant for the common man. We cannot comprehend it, the parts of it that seem to be in plain language are not, and great swathes of it are effectively kept secret from us, due to a lack of ability to spend all of our time studying it (unlike a lawyer, most people get paid to do other things, not study law, and don’t get paid if we study law instead).

            Is it any wonder that most people read the law and think they understand how not to break it, but are utterly wrong? The legal system as it functions now is a thing of madness to the average person it governs.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            That’s why lawyers are so vital to society.

          • jimmarch

            The solution is to get rid of qualified immunity on civil rights violations.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

            Good luck with that.

          • Difdi

            Qualified immunity doesn’t protect against criminal charges. But with prosecutors unwilling to file such charges, we’re left with civil remedies.

            One problem I see is that courts tend not to consider that qualified immunity should not apply to civil lawsuits over acts that violate criminal statutes (and therefore cannot be something a police department can lawfully order an officer to do) until you get to your appeal after losing in the first court you sue in.

        • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

          Hmm. I think it’s kicking the blame up the road, not down. :) And I’m not kicking all the blame. Having interviewed lots of cops, I think lots of police are just average Joes and Janes who have been indoctrinated into a culture. Sure, there are plenty who really like being a dick. (Plenty of lawyers and people in other professions who are like that too.) Most just don’t know better. They should know better, and in no way hold this guy blameless. But when I see a video like this, I see something not shown in the video–how someone else allowed this guy to think that this was okay. And I’m hell of pissed at that someone else not in the video.

        • steveo

          They really don’t have to lie because they’ll document that they’ve arrested the defendant for not giving ID and then the SA will drop the case before trial only, 1) if the guy hasn’t plead guilty already (75% of the cases) 2) only if he has a lawyer or the court appoints one 3) if the leo doesn’t show up for the depositions or court 4) if the pre-trial motions are done properly. But most of these charges end up with the leo never seeing any testimony or courtroom appearance, so why not arrest the guy.

      • LibertyEbbs

        IIRC this Sgt. had three stripes. You think he might be involved in training deputies himself? Sure, the buck stops on the Sheriff’s desk, but does that mean that all violations of the law by his employees are just “training issues?”

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          No, it doesn’t. That’s the main issue here though.

          • LibertyEbbs

            When you train people to be aggressive and take control of every contact situation, as we train our LEOs in this country, you get this. You can try to also train police to know that without RAS they cannot legally detain, but it doesn’t work. As soon as the non-LEO says “no sir, I’m not doing that,” the cop just lost control and (except for the very rare exceptional officer out there) becomes a bully and violates the persons rights in order to reestablish that control.

            I think that your vision of policing is quite admirable, but I doubt that there are enough humans on the planet with the integrity and smarts to fill the vacancies and do the job the way it should be done.

        • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

          I follow. I don’t hold the guy blameless. See my comment above.

      • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

        Thanks for the heads up on 901.151 (and the generally informative post). I’m going to take a closer look later.

      • inquisitorX

        I believe the officer knew exactly what he was doing and there was no confusion or error on his part to be blame on his alleged insufficient training.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-LawStudent

          Well, since you’ve already established that you’re a whackjob, we’ll give that all the consideration that your opinion is due. In other words, none.

          • inquisitorX


            You…and the other…cops?

          • Difdi

            Him, possibly other cops, but certainly the rest of your audience of fellow commenters on this forum.

            You don’t convince anyone of your views by acting like a raging loon, and there’s little point in posting commentary that does nothing but convince most people here that you’re just a crazy coming out of the woodwork.

        • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

          Maybe you’re right. I have this horrible habit of giving my adversaries as charitable and generous of a reading as possible.

      • TINY

        ExCop-LawStudent have you ever seen or even read this, just asking! http://constitution.org/lrev/rodell/woe_unto_you_lawyers.htm [by any chance you are already beyond help, and are a lawyer. NM] if your already a lawyer, or/and beyond the help of that URL, then youll come up with whatever to dispute it in the words they taught you with your now, “ability” to confuse any issue and/or argue any point with nothing but BS! or what you would call the “LAW”! also, if your a LAWYER, you also know by now the only “CASE-LAW” that have standing are cases that come from the SCOTUS! and you also know why!

      • steveo

        Leos in Florida use 843.02 all the time to arrest people who won’t give ID, but in reality they have to have a RAS of something else to explain lawful detainment before charging the the defendant with 843.02. With 843.02, the courts repeat this over and over and over. “Words alone rarely rise to the level of obstruction.” Here we have a words only arrest. There are four instances where a leo can arrest someone for obstruction with words alone. 1) where the leo is serving papers/warrants and the subject falsely or won’t give ID 2) In an emergency situation, where the leo asks for help and the defendant says no 3) when the defendant is acting as a lookout in an undercover operation and signaling vocally to the others that there are police present and 4) when the defendant refuses to give ID when lawfully detained. So, the leos have to prove that they were lawfully detaining him first, in order to use 843.02.

        See this scholarly article by the State Attorney.http://flliberty.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/rs_10_04.pdf

    • flipadoo

      This is not a training issue. If it were, he wouldn’t be teaching criminal justice at Keiser U, as his linked in page says. I think I might send a note to Keiser to ask if they really think he is qualified, since he clearly does not understand the law.

  • Matthew

    Yet another great post – thank you for posting and reviewing these videos. They have served me very well in educating myself on my rights. Best wishes to PINAC.

  • Rob

    Don’t argue or try to debate with cops. Ever. They’re paid liars, and many are not intelligent enough to carry on a conversation with, which was plenty apparent with this deputy. However ignorant they may be of your civil rights, they are also trained in the art of deception, and will do whatever they can to get you to say something that conflicts with what you have already told them, thereby giving them reasonable suspicion to detain you.

    “Am I being detained, or am I free to go; and I do not consent to police searches or seizures” is all you should say to a cop. If they tell you that you aren’t being detained, then turn around and walk away, don’t press the issue with them. Don’t tell them they can frisk you, then in the same breath tell them you don’t consent to searches or seizures. That was just plain stupid.

    • Difdi

      When a private citizen lays hands on you, wrestles you to the ground, slams your face into the pavement and ties you up because he’s losing a purely verbal argument, that’s assault, battery, unlawful restraint, possibly even kidnapping if he transports your tied-up person somewhere.

      But when someone sworn to uphold the law and trusted by society to behave in a lawful, professional way does it, that’s purely in the line of duty despite the fact doing so often adds a color of law offense to the above list. Is it any wonder people are talking about police states, high court/low court and police being above the law?

    • Prothink


      • Rob

        There is that as well. I don’t talk to police without my attorney present.

      • Difdi

        Given a recent court case, you should probably increase that to seven words, by adding “fifth amendment” to the end. If you don’t specifically invoke your right to remain silent, you lose it.

    • inquisitorX

      Time to…stand your ground…against the rogue with a badge.

  • Wicked Vet

    Shame he isn’t a better oath keeper.

    • matism

      Shame there aren’t any REAL “Oath Keepers”. If there WERE, pigs such as this would soon be gone.

  • rick

    At the minimum file a formal complaint.
    Assuming it’s not filed under “G” it should become permanent record. Should future egregious violations occur those records would highlight the pattern of abuse by the officer. They also serve to show the conduct permitted by the PD.

  • Allen Drozd

    Carlos, can he not sue for false arrest? Perhaps a civil suit for false imprisonment and or assault/battery?

    • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

      He can sue. Can he win? More importantly–can he win enough to make it attractive to a competent attorney? Case should settle fast in my view, but I don’t know the culture around there.

      A complication: if he takes a plea, that can bust his civil case due to qualified immunity. If he doesn’t plea, he could be in the justice system for months. Most collateral consequences come into play after conviction, but some can trigger from just being charged. Being arrested sucks.

      • LibertyEbbs

        Take a plea? I believe he was arrested but not charged. Did I miss something?

        • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

          I missed that! You’re totally right. He was detained for 15 minutes and released apparently without charge. Yeah, he’d likely be able to open all kinds of claims, QI free. I mean, it’s like a torts final–you can go through the counts but there are quite a few to be had.

          But how much would a jury award the guy if it went all the way to the mat? What’s to be compensed? Okay, the offense of the touching. The apprehension of being touched. Some 15-20 minutes of liberty. The offense of being accused of a crime that doesn’t exist. A brief prior restraint–some of that video is lost forever, I’ll grant. How much is it worth though, to a jury of 6 Floridian peers? No maiming, no broken bones, no blood, back injury, loss of quality of life, or loss of earning capacity.

          In 1763, he might have been able to get a good sum. Today? Not sure. Say they offer $8k–can he really turn that down?

          • LibertyEbbs

            Oh, I agree that this is no money-maker. Not sure if I would try suing at all if I were in this gentleman’s place. It may be worth wasting some of his time and risking further harassment by filing a formal complaint at least, but I would understand if he chose not to take it even that far. I just hope that exposing this systemic criminal behavior will eventually educate LEOs and the non-LEO public both that refusing to ID in these situations is not a crime. Anything beyond consensual contact without RAS is a violation of the man’s rights and, therefore, a criminal act by the LEO.

            There’s the wrinkle: The photographer did not violate the law and was detained, arrested, threatened, etc. The Sgt. violated the law and will probably not be detained, arrested, or disciplined in any way. So where is the incentive for these people to change their behavior?

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            @libertyebbs:disqus I’m with you. A personal hope is to over time lower the transaction costs to see justice done (with articles and so on) and over time help effect a change in awareness.

          • LibertyEbbs

            No, the answer is to prosecute the person committing crimes caught on video. Just my opinion. I know the system is not geared to do this currently, but that is where the reform needs to start.

          • LibertyEbbs

            Also, my apologies for nit-picking, but I don’t think he was just detained. It looks like he was arrested at the end of the video but later released without charge.

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            @ LibertyEbbs Yeah. I didn’t mean detained in the Terry stop sense. I kinda doubt he went to a cell–booking etc. would have eaten that time. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

          • TINY

            heck with all the rest, anyone here ever hear of, “PUNITIVE DAMAGES”? as in, sock it to them so they think twice before doing it again! and why isnt the MSM going after, and reporting crap like this? i mean with it happening so often! fact is, THEY all in bed together, and having an ORGY and we all paying for it. as in, bending over getting it up the arse.

          • Difdi

            What would a jury likely award to someone treated exactly the same way without the badge being involved?

            Say one citizen grabs another citizen on the street, assaults him, ties him up, then lets him go 15 minutes later?

            Ignoring the oath to uphold the law, would a court result be any different?

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            @Difdi:disqus How much would you guess? Say it was a dispute between neighbors instead.

          • Difdi

            I’d consider the fines possible for a criminal conviction as a starting point, but they’re not terribly high in a damages sense. But since a civil case cannot result in jail time, it would probably be up to the jury to assign punitive damages.

            It would probably come down to how outraged a juror would be to be in a verbal dispute with a neighbor only to be beaten up, hogtied and stuffed in a closet.

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            @Difdi:disqus At the risk of accidentally sounding like a dick–I’m wondering what the number is, in your view, and maybe a reason for how you came up with it.

          • Difdi

            A quick Google search for Florida statutes and sentencing guidelines yielded information on several statutes:

            775.083 — Lays out maximum fines that may be applied in addition to prison time upon a conviction. Aside from the fines for the offense itself (varying from $500 to $15,000 per offense, depending on severity), this statute appears to allow a judge to order a convict to pay up to twice the damages suffered by the victim, such as medical expenses arising from battery.

            784.03 — Battery, which is a first degree misdemeanor. Statutory fine: $1,000. I don’t know Florida statutes and case law on the matter — Does being visibly armed with a firearm but not drawing it enhance simple battery into aggravated battery? If so, then aggravated battery is 784.045 and is a second degree felony, with a statutory fine of $10,000.

            784.021 — Aggravated Assault, which is a third degree felony. Statutory fine: $5,000.

            787.02 — False Imprisonment, which is a third degree felony. Possibly difficult to prove, but if the officer knew he lacked lawful cause for an arrest, it’s possible. Statutory fine: $5,000.

            Total would be about $11,000-$20,000 which isn’t much. But if the man suffered any injuries during the arrest, double medical expenses would also be legal under 775.083.

            Probably not enough to interest a lawyer, but remember these are all statutory damages on the criminal law side. A civil case could also result in punitive damages, which would likely be set quite a bit higher by a jury.

          • http://www.righttorecord.org/ Mario K. Cerame

            @Difdi:disqus I think that’s a pretty good estimate and good analogy. Since it’s a 1983 action, there would be fees too, but there’s also a risk that stuff goes south. So, say the counsel for the city offers a check for $8k. Can a fellow say no?

      • TINY

        qualified immunity. MARIO; and everyone else, that is pure bullshit! first off, where does it come from! I sure as hell didnt give it to them, did anyone here give it to them? i doubt it! and what the hell is it suppose to be? can do anything, even if its illegal and have a free pass??? what? can anyone answer, and if ya a lawyer, dont waste my time! and, you cannot give up rights you have, and under those conditions, those rights are there to protect you, and everyone in the USA from conditions just like this! anyone am i wrong on any point? THEY give themselves qualified immunity. so THEY now may do anything to usl, doesnt anyone else see what a bunch