NY State Trooper Handcuffs Man for Video Recording Him (Updated)


A New York State Trooper handcuffed and detained a man who refused to stop video recording him during a protest on Saturday, hoping to teach him a lesson.

Instead, Trooper Keller learned a lesson in Constitutional law when his supervisor refused to follow through with the arrest.

And hopefully we can teach the bully an even bigger lesson by shaming him on the internet.

But that is doubtful because we can see in the video he is shameless.

NY Trooper Keller

The man who ended up in handcuffs goes by Mikey Earthling on Facebook and posted the following description of the incident along with the above photo, which took place at the World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week Demo at Charles River Lab:

I simply was video taping the interactions of this officer with other activists when he demanded I stop recording. I explained to him that I’m not going to stop recording and that I have every right to film. I asked him what law or ordinance am I breaking….where he then proceeded to try to snatch the camera out of my hand 3 times. I didn’t let him take the camera and didn’t stop filming until he told me to turn around and that I was under arrest. I asked him what the charge was and he said “Obstructing Governmental Administration.” Ultimately, he called his supervisor, came back a few mins later and uncuffed me, giving me a lecture about how I should have just listened to him…even though I wasn’t breaking any law. Always film police interactions, it’s your right and it will save your ass and your comrades asses when trouble arises.

UPDATE: I had previously written in this story that the trooper who handcuffed the videographer was possibly Trooper Jack Keller, a public information officer, but that is not the case as you can read here.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • $22798478

    My name is made for you NY STATE TROOPER !

  • steveo

    I love what mario cerame says about just this kind of incident: ” When a police officer stops you from filming; this is the very worst form of censorship. When government used to censor material from pornography for instance, it was censored for a time, but afterwards it was released after litigation. The above form of censorship means that the images that the videographer was going to capture are gone FOREVER. This is the most extreme form of prior restraint.”

    On another note: It is rare when they un-arrest someone. But I would still sue for false arrest and violation of the 1st Amendment. Get ahold of Mario because I think you are in the 2nd Circuit. He’s looking for cases like this.

    • Barking Dog

      Who’s Mario? I have a great case in Queens for him.

      Is that in the second circuit? This is a NYS Trooper

      • steveo

        send a message to Carlos about your case and he can forward it to Mario

        • Barking Dog

          Going to court tomorrow to finally get the contents of the camera and the call to Internal Affairs that falsely claimed I was beaten so they can look in the camera without a warrant.

          What they don’t know is there’s a second camera that shows the sgt who made the call helping to push me around.

          And I never made a complaint about getting beaten, I asked for the FBI because of what happened last time in Manhattan where they erased vids but I was told I couldn’t bring charges. I was worried about the cam which after 4 years I still don’t have.

          Stay tuned, this could be big.

    • Ian Battles

      Sue for unlawful detainment too. And part of the suit should include a mandatory retraining stipulation.

  • rick

    File a complaint and hit as many media outlets as possible. Follow with lawsuit. Maybe EC-LS can tell us what claims are applicable. Good luck!

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      False arrest as a civil claim, but damages will be nominal based on the almost immediate release.

      • rick

        What are the claims for prior restraint?

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          First, was it for public dissemination? Filming for your own personal use or for personal evidence is not covered under free speech. I’ll have to look up those cases later if you’re interested.

          Anyway, if you can show that it was for dissemination, it would depend on what the damages would be – again, likely not much.

          You could go for injunctive relief and have a better shot.

          • rick

            That sounds like a very subtle argument. The option to make it available for public dissemination is retained by the citizen. For example, my dash cam isn’t for public dissemination, that is, until something I deem worthwhile happens. The above video probably would never have seen the light of day until the cop impinged the citizen’s right to record. At that point the citizen’s intent for the video changed. From DOJ letter regarding Garcia v Montgomery:

            “The United States addressed the central questions raised in this case – whether individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties, and whether officers violate individuals’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they seize such recordings without a warrant or due process … the United States urges the Court to answer both of those questions in the affirmative.”

          • Pixie

            “The above video probably would never have seen the light of day until the cop impinged the citizen’s right to record.” Not true. Friends and family might have enjoyed his video of the protest. Do not assume all video is meant to catch an officer in the wrong.

          • rick

            True, but is that public dissemination? My assertion is that the damages against the officer and PD should be equivalent no matter what the intent of the videographer is.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            It is a very subtle argument, but many points in the law turn on such.

            In some cases, courts have ruled that the recording must have a communicative aspect, i.e., not for personal use. See Pomykacz v. Borough of West Wildwood, 438 F. Supp. 2d 504 (D.N.J. 2006); see generally Kelly v. Borough of Carlisle, 622 F.3d 248 (3d Cir. 2010) (right to record during traffic stop not established).

            All I’m saying is that it is better to let the officer know that it is for public dissemination, which also invokes the protection of 43 U.S.C. 2000aa. That law requires that they obtain a copy of any video via subpoena, instead of seizing it or using a search warrant, and violation of that establishes a minimum damage of $1000.

          • rick

            Recording public officials in their duty is always potentially newsworthy, whether or not the video was originally intended for public use.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            I’m not arguing that.

            I am saying that by letting them know it is for public dissemination, you bring other protections into the picture. For example, the damages against the U.S. Secret Service didn’t begin until Steve Jackson Games informed them that the material was for public dissemination. Same thing goes on the street with an officer.

            It puts you in a better position.

          • rick

            I have the right to record but should a cop suppress that right it’s not a big deal until I give up my right to silence to inform them I am going to distribute the video. Great. I’ll probably get the cop that says, “this better not end up on YouTube.”
            I guess I am a journalist for PINAC, should I ever need to pull out my cell phone camera.

          • Proud GrandPa

            The way to assure this is always true is to always sign a contract for $1 with a friend to sell him publishing rights of the video you are going to make. Afterword always turn over the video and your friend posts it on his webpage.


            You can offer the court hundreds of contracts and actual publications. And it would be fun. Look at the web for examples. This is done all the time.

          • John Smith

            Privacy Protection Act?

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Good thinking, but probably not applicable here. The PPA provides for minimum damages of $1000 if the video was seized instead of what the PPA requires, which is a subpoena. There is an exception if the videographer is arrested, as here.

          • Difdi

            In other words, as long as a false arrest is made, the PPA is effectively abolished?

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            No. That is a fact question, that will vary from case to case. Besides, they didn’t seize the video.

          • Difdi

            No, they just seized the reporter to stop him from reporting.

          • Joel Pilon

            suck shit

          • Barking Dog

            “Filming for your own personal use or for personal evidence is not covered under free speech”


      • Proud GrandPa

        Winning the lawsuit prevents future abuses. If there is a next time, one can ask for more money, charge conspiracy to deny rights, and try for a criminal charge. You might even be able to take this to federal court if there are many other victories on the same violation. It takes a plan and repetition. It is not about money, but changing behavior.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          It is a federal claim to begin with. Further, if there are criminal violations, you should charge them, or attempt to get them charged.

          Criminal prosecution is not a form of progressive discipline. If an officer commits an offense, you charge him.

          • Barking Dog

            not allowed in nyc

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1136460199/ Brett Schnaper

    Why do we allow laws to be administrated by lawless people who have no respect for the law?

  • jimmarch

    And yet another assault and strongarm robbery that nobody defends against.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Except of course, it was neither. It was an unlawful arrest, but damages would be minimal. And that, of course, is a civil matter, not criminal.

      • jimmarch

        Wrong. The moment the cop grabbed the camera without any legal right to do so, that was both a strongarm robbery and an assault…because *every* strongarm robbery is an assault.

        Cops have been given the right to arrest people in most states with nobody having a right to resist even obviously false arrest. But they have not ever been given a right to commit strongarm robbery or assault – in any state.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          Except the actions on the video do not meet the elements required to successfully prosecute the officer for theft, much less robbery. I also did not see an assault – where was the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury? He did not look like he was in fear to me, nor did he sound like he was in fear.

          You can’t just make up crimes. You have to meet each and every element of the offense, which you can’t do here.

          • Phred

            If the cops can make up crimes, why can’t the rest of us?

          • MrDamage

            Because we can’t arrest cops for made up crimes which don’t meet the elements required whereas they can arrest us for made up crimes which don’t meet the elements required. Afterwards, I’m sure they’ll apologize, saying “hey, no harm, no foul, right?”

          • MrDamage

            I’m thinking false imprisonment. A felony.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Not everywhere. Most false imprisonment offense also state “without lawful authority”, which would exclude an arrest by a police officer in error.

          • MrDamage

            A cop has lawful authority to arrest and handcuff a person without so much as reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed? He would need reasonable suspicion to detain and question but blew right past that clear into deprivation of rights under color of authority territory.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            That’s why you take it to court for civil violations. You just don’t have a criminal charge for battery, assault, kidnapping, robbery, etc.

          • MrDamage

            google deprivation of rights under color of law. A criminal offence carrying, in this case, up to 1 year in prison. In more serious cases, life in prison.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            LOL, good luck getting a U.S. Attorney to file that charge.

          • MrDamage

            Well, yes. Being part of the law enforcement has it’s little privileges. Also known as corruption.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Well, yes. Being part of the law enforcement has it’s little privileges. Also known as prosecutorial discretion.

            There. Fixed it for you.

          • MrDamage

            You didn’t change the meaning in the slightest. It still amounts to a lawless police force unaccountable for their misdeeds.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Your opinion. Which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t change the law or the way things are in the real world.

            The U.S. Attorney isn’t going to waste his limited resources pursuing a federal charge on such a minor violation.

            If you want to hold someone accountable, file a civil case under 42 USC 1983.

          • MrDamage

            See, here is the problem. You are lawless. You know you are lawless. You don’t care.

            Then you wonder why you start losing the publics faith. Losing the publics faith all the way is not a good idea man.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            You better check your hat. Some of the tinfoil is coming off.

          • Bawk Bawkbagawk

            uh huh, but brushing up against a cop can be assault? stop defending the double standards you shill.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            How is brushing up against an officer assault (or, for that matter, battery)?

          • TVGraves

            Get a grip and be civil. Ex-cop is explaining the law. He’s not advocating whether the law is good or bad, but simply educating us to the facts of the matter. Calling him a shill doesn’t help.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Thanks. I don’t worry about the comments. One minute I’m not supportive of the police (by the occasional supporter that comes by), the next I’m a shill. On some of the police boards I’m on, I’ve been accused of being an ACLU/defense lover. I don’t worry about it, but I do appreciate the support.

          • Bawk Bawkbagawk

            aaaaaand… who the fuck are you?

        • Freedom_Fighter_of_America

          Correction, they have been given the PRIVILEGE to arrest people. It’s not a right. We the people need to recognize this in much of what government officials do, it’s not rights, it granted privileges, privileges which can be taken away. Governments are always trying to drill things we do are privileges. Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it.

      • Bawk Bawkbagawk

        assault, forcible confinement… these only apply to non-badge wearing civilians i guess.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          Pretty much.

  • rich

    Its time to start blaming and shaming the state senators they allow it to happen to thier constituants jam up thier face book pages.

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    What is it with Troopers?

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      I wish I knew. I never could see what the problem was with someone filming me or my officers, so long as they stayed back (about 30 feet or so, dependent on the situation) and didn’t interfere. BTW, your link comes up strange, like for a mobile phone, at least on my laptop.

      • Barking Dog

        Here, your comments on this one, perhaps.

        I was more than 30 feet away, they couldn’t hear me even with yelling, I was that far back, yet they accused me of interfering.

        You Tube:

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          I don’t see a real issue. They asked (not demanded) that you move back, but they did not force you to move, nor did they stop your filming.

          Yeah, they could have been more courteous, but nothing I saw was actionable.

          • Joel Pilon

            said perfectly by a friggin useless ex-cop, u fuckin poser;

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            Thank you for your totally useless input.

    • steveo

      I always liked the NY state trooper uniforms when I lived there, but what is it with the hats?

  • $19866595

    Middle name…A$$

  • JTF168

    Cop needs his butt kicked in a court of law.

  • Pixie

    What a jerk! The minute Mr. Earthling said “no” he had it in his head he was going to arrest him on principle. You can even see the glint in his eye, he’s enjoying this. He pleased that he gets a chance to show someone how powerful he is. GET THIS GUY OUT FROM BEHIND A BADGE. <barf

  • Haeshu

    What an incompetent ‘public information officer’. This cop is a criminal and should be arrested for touching Mr. Earthling, which is battery.

  • Bawk Bawkbagawk

    “Mikey would you just turn it off” -chick in the background

    what the FUCK are you doing at a protest you fucking sheep?

  • IHateFatChicks

    Most LE is corrupt and stupid.

  • John Kruzelock

    If he is the public information officer he should go back to school and learn the law about filming police in public.

  • BuddaRudda

    Fuck this idiot officer from New York we need to find out what country and what department he is with so we can call 24/7 and shit there phone lines down! There corrupt officer who’s need to be fired and thrown into jail for breaking the law and enforcing laws on citizens like nazi Germany!!! Fuck you police tyrants!!!

  • pathman25

    Contempt of cop. That’s what most of these are about. Too bad the law isn’t on their side.

  • john

    Unlawful imprisonment, menacing, civil rights violations? I/m thinking this guy is on his way off the job, and it will NOT come cheap!

  • KaoseThema

    Hi, Trooper Keller. You’re a douchebag and a pig.

  • Jonathan Orton

    oh boy, lawsuit awaits….lmao…friends know a lawyer who is fighting constitutional rights and you wont even pay lol

  • http://www.puppymillfreenyc.org/ Mikey Feldman

    Thanks for the write up Carlos. I’d like to go about suing, but not sure how. Please get in touch with me via Facebook if you have an attorney or advice for me. Thanks! https://www.facebook.com/anarchistvegan

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnny.dee.3705 Johnny Dee

    if your handcuffed your detained. That’s an arrest. This is actionable as a false arrest.

  • George Blackshear

    I will tell you little cheese eating liberals something, if you’ve got the balls to mouth off about law enforcement prior to hearing both sides of the story, then grow a bigger set and at least have the decency to put your real names on the material that you are mouthing off about, and who the fuck is Mario Cerame, means nothing except that he is probably a slimey liberal Tickturd, like the rest of you no name MF’ers. Ohhh by the way this is my first amendment right, just the way it is Mikey Earthling’s, if that is his real name, don’t hide behind fake names, stand up for what you believe is right is all I am saying.

    • Rich

      This is a private blog, your expression of speech in this forum can be censored at the pleasure of the owner of this blog the only person here with a first amendment right to speak is Mr Miller.


    for the cops: DON’T BE A DICK, READ THE COURT ORDER IN GLIK!! Glik v. Cunniffe, 1st Circuit Ct of Appeals, #10-1764, appeal denied by US Supreme Court – 8/26/2011.
    I hear a 42 USC 1983 case!!! KA-CHING, KA-CHING!!!!!!

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011) is not binding in New York. Although it may be persuasive authority, it is only binding on the First Circuit. New York is in the Second Circuit. In the Second Circuit, while acknowledging the Glik decision, courts have held that the right is not clearly established and officers are entitled to qualified immunity. Mesa v. City of New York, 2013 WL 31002 (S.D.N.Y. 2013). Currently, there has been no decision in the Second Circuit on the issue, which means until either the Second Circuit or SCOTUS make a ruling directly on point, officers will be granted qualified immunity.

      Normally that means no Ka-ching.


    for the NY’ers: MUGUMACI v. USDHS, et al., 10 CV 3370, 10/15/2010, USDC/SDNY; Richard J. Holwell, USDJ – photograph away!!

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      First, it is not Mugumaci. The case is styled Musumeci v. United States Dept. of Homeland Security, No. 1:10-CV-3370-RJH, which was consolidated with Heicklen v. United States Dept. of Homeland Security, 2011 WL 3841543 (S.D.N.Y.), dism’d 2011 WL 4442669 (2011). Musumeci withdrew as a plaintiff from the case on April 6, 2010 after settling with DHS. Heicklen’s claims were dismissed.

      First, the claims against DHS were dismissed. Second, as a trial court, none of this is precedential. Only appellate court decisions are precedential.