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


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.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • seekjusticefl

    Well, I am sure surprised someone other than my local newspaper picked up on my story. You have all made great points and arguments, I have noted them. I’m an amateur and was not expecting the outcome that occurred. I was there gathering evidence regarding a traffic infraction when the thug approached me.

    I am currently waiting on the public records request for the officers dash camera of my illegal detainment.

    any questions, comments, concerns can be sent to:

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