Like a scene out of Goodfellas, a group of court cops tried their best to bully PINAC correspondent Shawn Randall Thomas into the Brooklyn courthouse they were supposedly protecting after confronting him for taking photos from the sidewalk outside.
But Thomas is no fool. He’s had a rich history with New York State Court Officers, a 4,000 officer agency assigned to all the state courthouses but have full police power.
He knew they would arrest him once the stepped inside.
“Come inside,” a cop told him as he tried to shove Thomas inside the courthouse.
“Are you detaining me, are you arresting me?” Thomas asked.
Already having personal experience with the tactics of tState Court Officers
“Yes, come inside
“Under what authority do you have ….? Get your hands off me,” Thomas
“This is assault. Get your hands off me. I do not consent to you touching me
Another cop stepped in, telling him to “step in, please,” also trying to lure him into the trap, where they know they could arrest him in private, knowing they had no probable cause. More officers surrounded him, also ordering him inside.
This is how he explained it in a Facebook message.
I went to the Barnes and Noble on Court Street downtown Brooklyn to pick up a copy of Supreme Court Decisions.
After picking that up and a copy of the U.S. Constitution, I walked home, which took me past the State Supreme Court and Family Court Building on Jay Street.
I decided to test my new point and shoot camera, taking shots of the court from outside of the building.
The buildings are new, most of them came up after 2005. I’ve lived in the area for more than 40 years and just saw an opportunity test the camera.
State Court Officers, not unlike most in law enforcement, seem to have a problem with me photographing them or “their” building, so they exited the building to confront me.
The idea was to get me into the building, then into some back room where they would have sought identification, and the regular arrest procedure.
But Thomas, who has been arrested several times in New York City for taking photos in public – with still no conviction to show for it – turned the tables on them by calling them out on breaking their oath to the Constitution.
He then demanded their names and badge numbers, which made them slither away after one of them tried to place his hand in front of Thomas’s lens.
By then, a superior officer, identified by this white shirt, stepped out to see what was taking place. Thomas told him he wanted to file a complaint against the two cops who assaulted him.
To nobody’s surprise, the cop told him he wasn’t going to accept the complaint.
Thomas, who was first written about on PINAC back in 2009 and many times since, will soon be writing a regular column for our opinions page.