In another example of abuse of power and sheer arrogance, an NYPD officer arrested a man for recording officers from a public sidewalk, accusing him of blocking pedestrian traffic.
It was a lame excuse for an arrest in the nation’s most populated city where congested sidewalks are just a way of life.
The incident took place in 2014 when three NYPD cops were surrounding a man who had passed out on the sidewalk. The man was awake and talking to police when An walked by and began recording.
One cop told him to back up, which he did, but that was not enough, so he arrested An on charges of obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct, but he was eventually acquitted of those charges.
Now An is preparing to sue with the help of the Legal Aid Society of New York.
His goal: to stop NYPD officers from arresting citizens for recording police activity.
Apparently, Constitutional law and departmental policy is not enough to keep NYPD officers from arresting citizens for recording.
They need a special court order from a New York City court that specifically orders them not to make these arrests.
According to the New York Post:
The lawsuit alleges that the NYPD has a practice of permitting officers to interfere with New Yorkers’ First Amendment right to record in public places.
It seeks a declaration from the court that An had a right to record public police activity and that the officers’ actions violated that right.
He also seeks an injunction “from continuing to retaliate against New Yorkers for recording public police conduct,” according to his lawyers from the Legal Aid Society and Proskauer Rose.
An’s lawyers did not say when they will officially file the lawsuit but they released two videos Wednesday that they say supports their case.
The two videos are posted below. The first one is from An’s camera. The second one is from a surveillance video showing An enter the picture at 30:45 in the video.