Home / Washington Deputy Arrests Man for Recording, Seizing Memory Card as “Evidence”

Washington Deputy Arrests Man for Recording, Seizing Memory Card as “Evidence”

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Scott Shimek covering a protest last year in Seattle.

A King County deputy arrested a man for video recording in public, confiscating his memory card as “evidence,” obviously not having learned a lesson from the termination of another King County deputy earlier this year for threatening a photographer.

Deputy Hall, whose first name is not known at this time, arrested Scott Shimek Sunday night on a charge of obstruction, even though Shimek was following orders to leave the area.

In fact, Hall only arrested Shimek when he lifted his camera over his shoulder to record the deputy along with several Burien police officers who were following him as he was walking away.

“As soon as I flipped my camera over my left shoulder, the deputy pulled out his taser and said, ‘you’re going to get tased,’” Shimek said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

“He ran up to me and kicked me in the back of the knees and handcuffed me after I fell down.”

Shimek ended up spending 19 hours in jail, never even getting the chance of telling his girlfriend he was being arrested, who was waiting for him at home cooking dinner.

It all started when Shimek was at home with his girlfriend and noticed a bunch of cops in his neighborhood. He stepped out of his apartment with his camera to begin documenting, realizing they were looking for somebody. Several other people in the neighborhood also stepped outside to watch.

But the cops were unable to find their man, so they left the area, only to return three hours later, prompting Shimek to step outside again with his camera.

He spotted several officers converging around a bush, so he stepped closer, making sure not to get too close, remaining behind a sheriff’s patrol car in what he considered a makeshift perimeter, even though nothing was clearly marked.

But when they spotted him, they told him to “get the fuck out of here.”

So he started walking away and they started following him, some officers with their dogs, most likely frustrated that they couldn’t find their initial suspect.

“As I was walking, I realized I should be recording this, so I flipped my camera around and that was when I was arrested,” he said.

After he was in handcuffs, Shimek asked Hall, “is it your policy to arrest citizens who committed no crime and have broken no laws?”

To which Hall responded, “yes, yes it is and you should know that by now.”

And he’s right. And it’s not just that department. It’s all departments. And we should all know that by now.

After getting out of jail, Shimek visited the King County Sheriff’s Office to get his memory card, considering they had no legal right to seize it in the first place because the camera was not being used in the commission of a crime, such as child pornography or upskirting.

But he was told he would have to go through Hall, which he did not want to do, considering the deputy has no regards for the law or the Constitution.

So he was advised to call Major Wills, who is one of Hall’s supervisors. Shimek left  the major a message, explaining the situation, but has yet to hear back.

Wills can be reached at (206) 477-2259.

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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.