Indianapolis police not only had to shell out $200,000 to a man whom they falsely arrested after he video recorded them making an arrest, they are also required to create a new departmental policy that forbids them from harassing citizens who record them.
Obviously, existing law was not enough to deter them from shaking down citizens with cameras.
According to the Indiana Lawyer:
“Willie King was wronged when the officers stopped his videotaping and took away his cellphone,” said King’s attorney Richard Waples. “We want to make sure that in the future police officers understand that people have the right to video record their actions.”
Within two months of signing the settlement agreement, the city’s police chief must issue a legal bulletin that explains officers should not interfere with civilians who are observing or recording their actions in public as long as these civilians maintain a safe and reasonable distance from the scene, do not interfere with the officers’ work, and do not pose a danger.
Waples, partner at Waples and Hanger, called the settlement an “important victory” and one that “secures the right of all citizens to observe and record police officers’ public actions.”
King began videotaping the officers during the February incident when he became concerned that they were physically abusing the young man they were handcuffing. He retrieved his cellphone from his vehicle and began digitally recording the incident. He first walked to his neighbor’s property, then proceeded to the neighbor’s front porch.
A police officer walked over to King and ordered him to handover his phone. When King did not, the officer grabbed King, tackled him to the ground and, with the help of another officer, confiscated King’s cellphone and arrested him.
A legal bulletin, eh? We’ve seen how effective that was when the Broward County Sheriff’s Office introduced one last year, only for Jeff Gray to prove they still had no clue of the law.
But $200,000 is a solid settlement.
The arrest took place in 2011. You can see part of the video he recorded in this news report after his acquittal.