Less than a week after he was arrested while video recording cops, 17-year-old Addison Mikkelson had his phone swiped by an overbearing Kansas Highway Patrol officer who threatened to keep it as “evidence” simply because the teen was video recording a traffic stop the officer was conducting.
Mikkelson, who plans to major in criminal justice when he starts college this year, was standing at a respectable distance in a parking lot when the cop stepped out of his car and made a beeline towards the teen rather than towards the car he had just pulled over.
“Can I help you?” the trooper asks.
“I’m just recording,” Mikkelson responds.
“Ok, I’m going to have to take that for evidence then …”
“This is a public place, isn’t it?”
The cop grabs his camera.
“Why are you touching my camera, sir?”
The camera turns off.
Mikkelson said the cop returned his phone on the condition that he leave immediately. He said he would have stood his ground if he had his other camera with him, the one that he was using the night of his arrest.
But with his iPhone in the hands of the cop, he had no choice but to oblige. And he really didn’t want to end up in handcuffs again for obstruction, the same charge he was slapped with five days earlier.
He asked for the cop’s name and it sounded like “Walmar,” but maybe the cop was just making that up as they happened to be in the parking lot of a Walmart.
The cop did tell him his badge number was 41, so it shouldn’t be too hard to confirm his first and last name.
And speaking of Walmart, just six days before his arrest on Christmas night, he was kicked out of the store for video recording.
He said he was testing out his new camera, the Canon Vixia HF G20, that he had purchased days earlier from Best Buy, but was told he had to leave, which he did.
But the store manager called the cops on him and was threatening to have him arrested if he didn’t step off the property immediately.
Mikkelson said he walked across the street to wait for the cops because his car was in the Walmart parking lot and he didn’t want to be caught on the property after being ordered off. The Topeka cops who responded told him he was banned from Walmart for a week and didn’t push the matter any further.
When Mikkelson asked if he could cross the street back to his car without having to walk down the block to a crosswalk, one of the cops responded by saying, “as long as you do it safely, I don’t care, my man.”
But six days later, as he crossed an even less busy street at a crosswalk, he was confronted by two Topeka cops who demanded his identification, accusing him of jaywalking, arresting him when he didn’t pull it out fast enough.
Talk about mixed messages from the Topeka Police Department.
The story was picked up by several Topeka news organizations after it first appeared on PINAC with many local commenters siding with police, which probably explains why the cops in these videos think they can get away with anything.
But you would have to be a real copsucker to side with the state trooper in the latest video because he clearly violated Mikkelson’s Constitutional rights.
It just so happens that the Kansas Highway Patrol has a Professional Standards Unit that claims to take “all complaints seriously.” Contact Captain Dan Brown (785) 296-6800.
Or leave a comment on the department’s Facebook page.