The North Carolina cop who became a viral sensation after telling an Uber driver that it was illegal to record him under a new law – only to learn the driver was also a lawyer – was demoted in rank and pay.
Wilmington Police Sergeant Kenneth Becker is now a corporal whose hourly salary was reduced by $1.38, according to the News and Observer.
The 17-year veteran was also assigned to the planning and research division, which appears to be more of an administrative position, meaning he will have less access to the public where he has proven to conduct unlawful searches.
The fact that he did not hesitate to conduct an unlawful search knowing he was being recorded makes us wonder how he treats citizens when he is not aware he is being recorded.
The incident took place on February 26 when Wilmington police pulled over Jesse Bright and his passenger after driving away from a house they had under surveillance.
Police said it was a drug house and believed Bright and his passenger had just purchased drugs. But Bright said his passenger, a dog groomer, was only there to pick up a check, a fact that was confirmed by police when they searched the passenger with his consent.
But Bright, a public defender who was driving for Uber to pay of school loans, did not consent to being searched. He also did not turn off his camera when ordered to do so.
Not only did Becker tell Bright that a new law had just passed forbidding the recording of cops in public without their permission, a New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy also went along with the story, telling Bright the same thing.
That was when Bright informed him he was an attorney who was certain there was no new law in the books forbidding the recording of cops.
So they stopped harassing him about the recording, but then brought police dogs to sniff around his car after he made it clear he was not going to consent to any searches.
The police dog made no indication that there were drugs in the car, but Becker acted as if the dog did, proceeding to search the car for drugs, finding only some over-the-counter melatonin that Bright’s mom had left in the car. The cops then allowed the two men to go.
Bright was upset about what had taken place, so he reached out to the department and to Becker himself for an apology, but never received one.
So he posted the video online where it quickly went viral, which is when the department decided to take action.
Below is the video of the incident as well as a video interview we conducted with Bright through Skype.