A Michigan deputy who spotted an armed man video recording the parking lot of his agency from a public sidewalk confronted the man, demanding to see his identification.
But the man refused to provide it on the basis that the deputy was unable to state a reasonable suspicion that he had been committing a crime.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Sergeant Tom Vida tried to blame the man for trespassing, accusing him of entering the department’s parking lot to record the license plates of vehicles.
But the man, whose name we have not obtained, denied he did that.
“What makes you think you have the right to go in our parking lot and start videotaping …”
“I’m not in your parking lot,” the man said.
“You were in our parking lot.”
“No, that’s a lie,” the man said.
While Vida did not believe the man had a right to video record the license plates of vehicles that can be seen by anybody in public, the sergeant believed he had every right to rifle through the man’s pockets without consent, pulling out his identification and jotting down his name, before telling him he was free to go.
“You jackboot fucking pig,” the man said. “What right do you have to go through my pockets when you have no suspicion … ?”
“Because I like to know who I’m talking to, sir,” Vida replied.
“You fucking pig. You’re a disgrace.”
That video was one of three videos recorded by members of Hell’s Saints, an open carry activist group out of Michigan who conduct audits with their cameras and their firearms, which are legal to open carry in Michigan. The group describes itself as “Earnest and friendly like Jehovah’s Witnesses, but heavily-armed.”
That video was the second in the three-video series where armed activists stand outside the Oakland County Jail in a public areas to conduct their audits. It was posted on Tuesday and a third video was posted on Wednesday. The first video was posted in October of last year. All three videos are below, starting with the second, the following with the third and first in the series.
In all three videos, various Oakland County sheriff’s deputies confront the men recording, demanding their identifications, resorting to various tactics in trying to obtain that identification.
But none were as egregious at Sergeant Vita, who stuck his hands in the man’s pockets to pull the identification out, not much different than a pick pocketer.
Call the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office at 248-858-5000. Or leave a comment on its Facebook page. The man appears to have been standing in the area marked in red below.
UPDATE: Here is the unedited video that combines the first two videos.
PINAC researcher David Verner contributed to this report.