Oregon Deputies Caught on Dash Cam Acknowledging Illegal Traffic Stop


Here is a perfect example of why we should all learn the public records law in our respective states and use them to our full advantage.

Last May, animal rights activist Steve Hindi was kicked out of an Oregon rodeo for trying to video record after they had hastily posted up signs saying it was not allowed, then announcing on the loudspeaker that only locals would be allowed to video record.

Hindi, founder of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), had flown into town to bail out another animal rights activist who had been arrested at the rodeo the previous day for video recording.

That activist, Adam Fahnestock, was arrested by Malheur County sheriff deputy Bob Wroten – who happens to sit on the board of the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo – which is an obvious conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, it is a private venue and many would agree that they can create their own rules, even if it means opening it to the public for an admission price, then selectively deciding who gets to video record.

So Hindi didn’t bother arguing with them about getting kicked out. But he also didn’t bother providing identification when they asked for it because he knew they had no legal basis to do so. He just got in his car and drove off.

But then he realized he was being followed by a Malheur County sheriff’s deputy, who pulled him over more than ten miles away from the rodeo on the basis that he had not provided identification back at the rodeo.

Anybody can see it was a bullshit traffic stop. Even the deputies themselves knew it was a bullshit traffic stop, according to a conversation between two deputies recorded on their dash cam as they pulled him over.

Hindi obtained the video through a public records request and posted it on Youtube, which you can see above. Here is a sampling of their conversation:

“I didn’t want to stop the man.”

“God, we’re going to get sued.”

‘We’re going to be in a world of hurt.”

It’s all because of that rodeo board.”

“DAMMIT, I was still recording.”

Call the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department at (541) 473-5510 or email the sheriff at  Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe.

And call Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris at (541) 473-5127 or email him at Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris.

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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  • rick

    The only quote missing, “I was just following orders.”

  • moonshine

    since the cops knew it was a bad stop they can be arrested for violating civil rights under color of authority

  • rick
  • discarted

    I just made my own extensive public records request regarding my June arrest.

    After watching this video though, it’s likely laws will be passed to restrict the public’s right to public records. Obtaining and exposing this video shows just how much power citizens have, which is something law enforcement and government don’t like.

  • Ron

    I dont think he says

    “I didn’t want to stop the man.”

    But instead

    “I didn’t want to stop him, man.”

  • Elliott Whitlow

    Holy cow, they might as well just hand over an empty check and say “you put in any number you want and we’ll pay it”, it simply doesn’t get any more cut and dry than that.. They can’t even argue it was a good stop..

  • hazy

    “ORS 164.278¹

    Criminal trespass at a sports event

    (1) A person commits the crime of criminal trespass at a sports event if the person:

    (a) Is a coach, team player or spectator at a sports event;

    (b) Engages in inappropriate behavior;

    (c) Has been ordered by a sports official to leave the premises at which the sports event is taking place; and

    (d) Fails to leave the premises or returns to the premises during the period of time when reentry has been prohibited.

    (2) Criminal trespass at a sports event is a Class C misdemeanor. [2003 c.629 §3]”

    If you read the statute carefully here, this a logical statement that requires 1 or more things to be true for the trespass law to have been committed.

    First, the spectatormust engage in inappropriate behavior. That is true according to the guidelines set by the rodeo.

    Second, they must have been asked to leave. Also true.

    Third, they must fail to leave or return to the premise during the period of time when reentry was prohibited. This is where the rodeo and the cops misapplied the law. The PD’s chief is using his agency as private security and has a specific agenda above the unbiased enforcement of the law.

    Apart from misapplication of the trespass law in Oregon and violation of his 4th amendment civil rights, there must be laws against collusion between private entities and government ones.

    As for the police stating that, “it is illegal to audio record without informing the other party” that is also not true.

    1. Case law in Oregon has already tested the wiretapping law with regards to when both parties are recording, but only one informs the other the conversation is being recorded.

    2. Case law has also tested when recording is done overtly but not verbally stated by one of the parties that audio is being recorded. It was found that a camera being pointed at the officer was enough notification that he was being recorded and thus no violation of the wiretap law.

    3. Although case law in Oregon has yet to test the question of surreptitious recording without notification there was a memo sent out to several PDs in Oregon telling their officers to not arrest people even for surreptitious recording as the courts would probably rule in favor of the defendant for such an arrest.

  • Lonni Clarke

    I had no idea that horse roping was allowed in the US. I thought only the bull fighting Mexicans were inhumane and stupid enough for that. Despicable! Go get those guys! Cost them everything they own, and it will still not be as much as they cost just one of those poor animals.

    • Proud GrandPa

      Mongolia, Arabia, and Canada and other nations also have rodeos. Ever hear of Calgary Stampede?
      The same evil dynamic happened repeatedly in history from ancient times to now. Atleast in the USA we view this as wrong and oppose it. The LEOs were sued before. In some other countries people just accept police corruption.
      Examples of past corruption like this include Al Capone’s Chicago and New York City before the Knapp Commission. Every system will become corrupt if we don’t elect only moral and honorable people. More recently in my state, there have been perfectly legal sweetheart deals between obscenity-sellers and local LEOs, who refuse to enforce the laws or investigate. The dynamic is the same in all these cases. Solution: Elect only morally good people. The Bible says, “Where the righteous rule, the people rejoice.”
      What can be done in the case of this video to bust up the rodeo mafia? The photog is doing the first thing by publicizing the video. And the state laws are working too by making the cops record their car talk and traffic stops. Someone else here offered a reasonable suggestion: Make the cops carry body cams and recorders. Sadly these expedients are necessary when we elect evil to lead us.

      • Lonni Clarke

        Yes, lots of countries have rodeos, but the point is that normally rodeos don’t include horse tripping. The cattle are treated terribly, but usually the horses, man’s willing partner and on whom this culture rode to dominance, get a pass from the rodeo crowd. Even the bucking stock are regarded as valuable assets, not to be mistreated. And then there’s this. I’ve never seen a North American rodeo do horse tripping. It’s normally a depraved Mexican amusement- a break from the cock fighting and bull fights. Cruelty is always the hallmark of underachieving cultures. However I seriously doubt that the Calgary Stampede has ever done such a thing, even in its salad days. Considering the trouble that humane organizations went to to stop horse tripping in the making of movies, I’m surprised that this is even legal. It might not be, and that might be a major motivation for the rodeo promoters to involve the sheriff.

        • Proud GrandPa

          Thanks for the note about horse tripping. Your original post did not mention tripping, just roping. I have known of the cruel practice of horse tripping and agree it serves no human purpose other than entertainment. We are just to outlaw such cruelty.
          The USA allows states and localities to regulate and enforce humane treatment of animals. I personally am a devout Christian and follow the Bible’s commands to treat animals kindly. This legal area concerns a person like me. Thanks for the updated info.

    • Photog at Large

      Read on another site that as of July 2013, SB 835 banning horse tripping was signed into law by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber – http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/SB835/

  • Photog at Large

    Close to it – at 2:07 they say “Well … even so, we were going off what we were told”

  • steveo

    You can learn a whole lot about photographer’s rights, how to record and deal with police, and obtaining public records from Steve Hindi. Even if you don’t go in for the PETA and animal rights activism, Hindi is an expert in public easements, fighting bogus tickets in court, making cops look like simpletons. Just going through his videos one can learn alot.

    • http://www.rockinghorseguy.com/ TheFlashingScotsman

      Righto, Steveo. He seems to have his situation well in hand, and it looks like his organization will receive a large donation from the county sometime in the future. I don’t agree with what he was there to do, nor with PETA or any of it’s followers in general, but once he left as asked to, there was NO excuse for what happened later. Maybe the dashcam should have it’s own whirling red light on top to remind LEOs that they’re running.

  • Corey

    Just heard the FBI will be investigating this