A New Jersey man was arrested Thursday after refusing to hand over his video camera to a cop, who insisted he needed it as “evidence,” even though case law makes it very clear that citizens do not have to give up their footage unless their camera was used in the commission of a crime.
You would think a detective from the prosecutor’s office would know better.
But then again, cops make up their own laws when trying to protect their own.
After all, the so-called evidence demanded by detective Dave Margentino from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office involved a fellow cop who had veered off the road in a single-car accident, needing to be airlifted to the hospital.
Andrew Flinchbaugh, 23, was video recording the aftermath of the accident, standing well out the way of police and rescue officials, recording the victim being loaded onto the copter as well as the copter taking off.
After about 30 minutes, just as he was about to make his way back to his car, Margentino walked up and demanded his camera, telling him, “I’m not going to negotiate.”
Typical thug behavior that has become so prevalent in law enforcement these days.
After ten minutes of Flinchbaugh refusing to succumb to his demands, offering to allow the detective to copy his footage, even providing identification though he was not legally obliged, Margentino arrested him.
Once jailed, Flinchbaugh never gave them consent to search his camera and they never asked, but when they returned the camera upon release a few hours later, it appeared as if they had scrolled through his footage, which is illegal to do without a search warrant.
But at that point, it was obvious they were not very concerned about following the law.
He was charged with obstructing, but Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato told NBC New York that he will most likely drop the charge as you can see in the video below.
Coronato also said he will provide training to his officers on how they should handle citizens who record in public, but what he needs to do is file charges against Margentino.
But, of course, that’s not the way it works in the real world.
Meanwhile, not much information is available about the detective from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office who was injured in the crash other than he is in critical condition.
A local news site, the Lacey Reporter, published the story, generating the usual amount of comments from clueless citizens, including this gem from a person named JLo, who claims to be a first responder, but has no understanding of the HIPAA law (not HIPPA as JLo calls it), which only pertains to medical records.
I stand behind the police department. upon viewing the video you can clearly see the vehicle and the license plate of that vehicle which is a violation of HIPPA. Anyone who’s a member of that patients family (whom may have yet to be notified ) could have seen this and at anytime could have caused irreparable damage physiologically. It also shows officers starting their investigation of the incident. I’m all for social media but time and place for it is the issue. What if this was a member of your family? And yes Mr. Flinchbaugh was on the side of the road, but the fact that he invaded some private issues (make and model of car, the license plate in clear view, and the patient being loaded into MON 1 ) was unlawful, and a touch unmoral. Sorry, but as a first responder for this town, nothing agitates me more than the ones who seem to take pleasure( and yes pictures and filming is that) in others time when they are most vulnerable. Hence does one forget that the person is someone’s loved one, maybe yours? Have we lost compassion and respect for one another . Give that some thought..do you still feel the same way now?
The cell phone video of the conversation leading up to Flinchbaugh's arrest.
The NBC New York segment on the arrest.
The video Flinchbaugh recorded prior to his arrest.
Flinchbaugh's message to the PINAC Hotline, informing us of this story.