A Boston police officer snatched a phone from a man who had recorded him making a violent arrest Wednesday night, claiming the phone contained “evidence of a crime,” before handcuffing the man who had done the recording.
The video did indeed contain evidence of a crime; one committed by the cop who had no right to seize the phone.
Max Bickford, 26, said the phone was returned to him, but ended up getting damaged in the process. He was also released after being detained for about five minutes.
“I was riding my moped with a group of friends when I saw the cop tackle the man in the street, then kick him in the head,”Bickford said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
So he stopped his moped, pulled out his phone and began recording. When the cop noticed him, he repeatedly said, “thank you for your help,” obviously upset that the man did not assist him in abusing the handcuffed man.
The cop then told him to keep driving, which was when Bickford moved his moped to the sidewalk and continued recording. That was when the cop stormed up to him and snatched his phone, which is when the video cuts out.
Bickford demanded his phone back and the cop eventually threw it back at him, but it ended up falling to the pavement where the screen cracked and the volume button broke off.
Bickford picked it up and tossed it to a friend, who caught it, but the cop then grabbed it back from his friend, held on to it for another minute or two before returning it to Bickford, most likely because more cops had arrived on the scene.
Bickford then pocketed the phone before the first cop and another cop moved in to handcuff him.
“They put me up against the wall, handcuffed me, then slammed me down on my ass,” he said.
The original cop then wiped blood from his arm on Bickford’s shirt, telling him, “your night’s wasted because of a …..”, stopping himself before completing his sentence.
Bickford never got the cop’s name, but he did call a lieutenant after getting home, who told him she had heard of the incident, defending the cop by saying he believed the phone contained evidence of a crime.
But the 2011 landmark Glik decision from the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which not only established that citizens have a First Amendment right for record police without intimidation, retaliation or interference, also resulted in the Boston Police Department dishing out $176,000 in a settlement.