Jacksonville sheriff’s officers arrested a woman who was video recording them while standing in front of a convenience store, confiscating her phone and refusing to give it back, even after she was released from jail – claiming they never had it in their possession.
But they probably were not expecting her attorney to obtain a surveillance video of the arrest, showing officers pouncing on her, even though she was not physically interfering.
However, that is exactly what they accused her of doing when they arrested her last summer.
On July 15, 2015, Kelli Wilson, 28, had pulled up to a convenience store after discovering her husband was getting arrested.
Police said she began interfering with their investigation by “interrupting the officers” as they were arresting her husband.
Wilson said she was only recording from the sidewalk when the cops demanded her phone.
She refused to hand the phone over, which was when they began punching and kneeing her.
The arrest report states that they had probable cause to shake her down because there was a “no loitering” sign in front of the store.
The report also states that she not only refused to provide identification, but attempted to make a phone call, which evidently made them fear for their lives.
According to the arrest report:
I asked the suspect who she was and she refused to answer. I asked her for her identification since she was continuing to interrupt the other officers investigation and was loitering in front of the store. She stated she did not have it with her. I asked for her name again and she picked up her phone and began to call someone. I told her to put the phone down and gave her another lawful order to identify herself and she did not. She put the phone back up to her ear and ignored me once again. I tried to grab the suspect’s arm and she snatched away from me. I told her not to pull away from me and she would be arrested if she continued to refuse to identify herself. She told me “don’t put your hands on me”. I asked her name yet again and she refused again to tell me. Sgt. M. Pfenning (5195) and I attempted to arrest the suspect. I grabbed her right arm and Sgt. Pfenning grabbed her left. The suspect balled her fists and pulled away from us. Sgt. Pfenning and I took the suspect to the ground and she refused to put her hands behind her back. Sgt. Pfenning delivered a knee strike to the suspect’s left outer leg and I delivered one to her right outer leg in an attempt to overcome her resistance. The suspect attempted to push Sgt. Pfenning and I off of her so I delivered a closed fist strike to her upper torso and pushed her head towards the ground. She continued to resist and pull her arms away from us. We were able to get her to roll on her stomach but she placed her hands under her body and concealed them. Afraid she was possibly reaching for a weapon, Sgt. Pfenning and I both delivered a knee strike to her outer legs again. She then finally released her hands. Ofc. C. Jackson (67199) came over and assisted Sgt. Pfenning and I with finally handcuffing the suspect.
A local news station, News4Jax, reported on the story, seeking answers from a man they called “News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith,” who took the typical police apologist approach, saying the cops had the right to beat her because she may have been calling somebody on the phone to come and attack the cops or whatever.
“There’s a possibility, if she’s on phone, calling people to come to the scene – then that could be a danger to police officers. So you definitely want to stop that,” said Smith.
So perhaps that is going to be the next trend in trampling on people’s rights to record, using the excuse that they could use the phone to call people to “come to the scene,” which is the same excuse a Texas cop used to attack Brett Sanders earlier this year.
But that also prevents people from calling 911 in case the cops begin breaking the law.
Smith also states that because the surveillance video contains no audio, it is impossible to prove her innocence, neglecting to mention that her phone contained the audio and video recording, only for it to go missing in the hands of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
The video shows the phone in her hand as the pounce on her, then one cop appearing to put the phone on a garbage can after she was laying face down on the sidewalk with her hands cuffed behind her back.
But there is no mention of the phone being taken in evidence on any of the reports.