May 2nd, 2014

NYPD Arrest Man for Video Recording Cops during Traffic Stop, Claiming Phone Could have been Gun 50

By Carlos Miller

New York City police arrested a man for video recording them with an iPhone, using the laughable old lie that the phone could have been a gun, even going as far as claiming an NYPD cop had been shot by a kid with his phone.

Not only has there never been a single reported instance of a phone being used as a gun in the United States, the only evidence that it ever existed appears in a Youtube video out of Europe using a bulky, outdated phone large enough to contain four bullets.

Nevertheless, Will Paybarah ended up spending 13 hours in jail on charges of  resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and criminal mischief.

He was also cited for running a red light on his bicycle, which is what drew the attention of the cop in the first place, but that is an offense he admits he committed.

And that is an offense that pales in comparison to the cop’s offense of snatching the phone out of his hand during the traffic stop.

According to Gothamist:

Paybarah, a designer specializing in lettering and typography, told us he was stopped on the morning of March 20th while biking west on Houston past Broadway. He says he was stopped by “Officer Rich” of the 10th Precinct, who was in an undercover cop car, after he (admittedly) ran a red light. Paybarah took out his ID and immediately started taking video as the cop approached him: “After those 10 seconds I was pulled off my bike, pushed up against the metal fence, placed in handcuffs and put into the back seat of the car. Other officers came. They joked saying they were going to ‘handcuff my bike to the tree.’”

The NYPD Patrol Guide Section 212-49 states that “Members of the service will not interfere with the videotaping or the photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer constitutes censorship.”

While in the back of the car, Paybarah says he asked the officers why he was arrested for taking video. One officer responded memorably:

“I was told by another officer while in the car that recording a police officer was illegal because people are using iPhones as guns and shooting cops through the camera lens…I told him that I have the right to be recording a cop and he said that there were incidents, specifically in uptown Manhattan where a kid shot a cop with his iPhone. Straight face. Very serious.”

While the 10-second clip he recorded shows the cop snatching the phone after ordering several times to “put the phone away,” Paybarah ended up sentenced to one day of community service.

Meanwhile, “Officer Rich” is still patrolling the streets of New York City, confident that he can get away with violating the rights of citizens to record him in public.

Here is the only evidence that a phone gun ever existed.


Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.
  • Lt. Redacted, USMC

    And the media wonders why so many people at the Bundy ranch in Nevada are fed up with law enforcement. If some of these media jerks would just look outside their ivory towers in New York City they’d see these outrages up close and personal.

  • JoeyWall

    The judge should have dismissed the charges (sans the red light violation). This is what happens when you go to court without an attorney, folks.

    • jackassletters

      You get a day of community service? The horrors!

      • JoeyWall

        So infringement of rights is okay if the punishment is small and the record is expunged?

        • jackassletters

          No, but the use of a lawyer is no guarantee the results would have been any different. He would have had to pay for the lawyer and may have still been in the same place.

          I’d be with you had he been sentenced to jail time or death, but it’s not like his lack of lawyer meant he was subjected to a grave injustice.

          • Jordan

            Being arrested for no reason is a grave injustice.

          • jackassletters

            But there was a reason. He even admitted he was guilty of a crime.

            Again, I am not arguing he should have gotten any punishment. I am saying that in this instance the idea that “THIS IS WHY YOU GET A LAWYER!” is a bit silly. Sure, get a lawyer, I encourage people to do so (I have two), but there outcome may have been the same, and I consider it a fairly inane outcome.

          • Jordan

            He wasn’t arrested for his traffic violation.

          • dickgosinya48

            Since when do you get a day of community service and 13 hours in jail fro running a red light on a bicycle. Shut the fuck up and stop making yourself look stupid.

          • jackassletters

            I’d reply, but you lost.

      • Difdi

        And a conviction on his record. Even a ticket is a charge of breaking the law — paying it is pleading guilty. And what he was arrested for is a lot more serious than a mere ticket.

        • jackassletters

          Might still have been convicted. A lawyer doesn’t always change that equation.

          Again, I’m more pointing out the fact that a singular day of community service is getting off lightly. Sure, he shouldn’t have had to do even that, but there’s a good chance a lawyer might have encouraged him to take just such a deal.

          I used a lawyer once. I spent nearly a grand to avoid a $200 ticket just for the reasons you gave.

          There are a lot of reasons to get a lawyer. I was in and out of court. The other defendants had to sit around all day waiting for their cases to be called. I was told I didm;t even have to show up, that the lawyer would represent me (I showed anyway because my bail said I had to). My lawyer made sure it didn’t go to trial and that by paying for court costs I waked away without a citation. It was still a shake-down.

          But at the end of the day it’s an equation. I would argue people can’t afford to not have a lawyer, but it’s still silly to pretend a lawyer would have saved this individual from the community service.

          • jcfromnj

            I hired a lawyer for a little dust up with local PD, and it was worth EVERY penny to beat them at their own game.The lawyer is the best defense for a quick in and out confrontation. You can recoup your expenses down the line in the next level of appeal, my settlement will net me 30 or 40 times my lawyers fee in the end. It’s just a poker games folks, who ends up with the most chips at the end of the night.

  • Difdi

    Aside from novelty items that pose no danger to someone wearing normal clothing (let alone ballistic armor), any ammunition you could fire through the camera lens of a smartphone is several times longer than the phone is thick. If someone is doing that, there would be no doubt whatsoever in the minds of anyone seeing the phone.

    While a gun could be concealed in a phone, the placement of the camera lens means the gun would only endanger birds while the camera is in use. Many phones are too thin for even this to be done.

    And if ‘could have been’ is sufficient to create probable cause, then police could be arrested because the pepper spray canisters on their belts ‘could be’ weapons of mass destruction — concealed nerve gas dispensers.

    • JWE

      Not only are they longer than the phone is thick, they are thicker then the phone is thick. making it impossible for a modern cell phone to be a gum. At least wise one that would not blow up in your hand.

      • jcfromnj

        There is NO credible evidence that the camera gun exits, or would in fact work. Until this nonsense ends up in court, the LEO’s will use this lame fairy on the great unwashed out there.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    The Officer said “put the phone away” three times before he snatched it. I think it’s very clear the officer knew that it was a phone not a gun.

    • RS

      Agreed.

    • Ron

      Otherwise he would be saying “drop the gun”, “drop the gun”

    • Frodo

      Correction, phone GUN!

    • JVincent

      If he really believed it was a gun and “in fear for his safety” why didn’t the cop pull HIS gun?

    • Stud Muffin

      When the police think you are pointing a gun at them they shoot you.

  • JWE

    “Not only has there never been a single reported instance
    of a phone being used as a gun in the United States, the only evidence
    that it ever existed appears in a Youtube video out of Europe using a
    bulky, outdated phone large enough to contain four bullets.”

    Not only that; The cell phone in that video, was a James Bond movie prop.

    • jcfromnj

      That little bit of Hollywood film making goes back to 2000, it’s the Big Foot of cop legend. The sound track and the Video itself do not sync up, I’ve done the forensic’s on that. That would get laughed out of any court that that would have used for as “evidence”

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Film The Police Always

    This dumbass should have appealed this guilty verdict. I’ve said this 100 times and I’ll say it again, but the first line courts are in place to teach people a lesson. These judges could care less about your rights, and it’s proven in this case where he was found guilty for recording a cop. DUMBASS! He was falsely arrested and he should sue. Period!

    • JoeyWall

      I don’t think the article said it was a guilty verdict. It was probably a plea.

    • jcfromnj

      He is is a dumb ass. I hope he reads these post…..

  • jcfromnj

    Paybarah blew a good opportunity to make a case for the urban legend of the iphone turned gun. He screwed up the whole arrest and the encounter, and in retrospect deserves to get bitch-slapped by the clown on the NYPD. If you don’t know what the hell your doing, or need to do to confront the LEO’s, shame on you and you will punked by a judge and end up a loser….

    • Jordan

      Hell yeah, bro. Anybody who doesn’t fully understand their rights *deserves* to have them violated.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    Carlos is full of shit and just a cop hater. I found this camera gun on the internet with very little effort.

    • JJ_Swiontek

      Is that the new iPhoneWTF?

    • ENTWAFFNUNGDERGESTAPO!

      for maximum impact the phun must be harnessed to a ferocious therapy dog.

  • Frodo

    This man’s second amendment rights were violated.

  • Mr. Wonderful

    The copy is obviously a total liar. If he actually thought the guy had a gun he would draw his own gun immediately. He would not grab it away. Another example of copy fantasy fiction talk. The guy taking the vid is an idiot if he pled guilty to this.

  • Ron

    All you see in that “gun video” is some device making a loud noise. How do we know it is even firing a bullet?

    • Mr. Wonderful

      We can play that game too. I saw “taxi driver” – he could have a gun up his sleeve, so all citizens should be handcuffed. He could be an amputee with a fake hand with a hidden gun. If it was a woman she could have guns in her bra cups like in Austin Powers movies. He could have a gun hidden in the tube of his bike; a bike gun. Maxwell Smart had a shoe gun so he should take his shoes off. He could have a fake eye with a gun hidden in it. His wallet could contain a small derringer so taking out his wallet could be an attack. His watch could contain weapons. etc. etc. The police should just shoot everyone because they may have weapons.

  • steveo

    This is a good case to use in federal court on 5th Amendment grounds and even during the criminal trial. The leo denied the defendant his right to collect exculpatory evidence since the leo took the recording, how can he prove that he didn’t resist arrest or any of the other things the leo alleges. This is a clear violation of a citizens right to due process.

    http://flliberty.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/due-process-right-to-record.pdf

  • ray brown

    It never fails. The cop grabs the suspected camera gun and starts fumbling with the buttons.

  • ENTWAFFNUNGDERGESTAPO!

    i’m working with harris corp, palm bay skunkworks, developing this very phone for FDLE. but shhhh, don’t tell anyone, its a secret, and a vital matter of national security.

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