New York City police arrested a man for video recording them with an iPhone, using the laughable old lie that the phone could have been a gun, even going as far as claiming an NYPD cop had been shot by a kid with his phone.
Not only has there never been a single reported instance of a phone being used as a gun in the United States, the only evidence that it ever existed appears in a Youtube video out of Europe using a bulky, outdated phone large enough to contain four bullets.
Nevertheless, Will Paybarah ended up spending 13 hours in jail on charges of resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and criminal mischief.
He was also cited for running a red light on his bicycle, which is what drew the attention of the cop in the first place, but that is an offense he admits he committed.
And that is an offense that pales in comparison to the cop’s offense of snatching the phone out of his hand during the traffic stop.
According to Gothamist:
Paybarah, a designer specializing in lettering and typography, told us he was stopped on the morning of March 20th while biking west on Houston past Broadway. He says he was stopped by “Officer Rich” of the 10th Precinct, who was in an undercover cop car, after he (admittedly) ran a red light. Paybarah took out his ID and immediately started taking video as the cop approached him: “After those 10 seconds I was pulled off my bike, pushed up against the metal fence, placed in handcuffs and put into the back seat of the car. Other officers came. They joked saying they were going to ‘handcuff my bike to the tree.'”
The NYPD Patrol Guide Section 212-49 states that “Members of the service will not interfere with the videotaping or the photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer constitutes censorship.”
While in the back of the car, Paybarah says he asked the officers why he was arrested for taking video. One officer responded memorably:
“I was told by another officer while in the car that recording a police officer was illegal because people are using iPhones as guns and shooting cops through the camera lens…I told him that I have the right to be recording a cop and he said that there were incidents, specifically in uptown Manhattan where a kid shot a cop with his iPhone. Straight face. Very serious.”
While the 10-second clip he recorded shows the cop snatching the phone after ordering several times to “put the phone away,” Paybarah ended up sentenced to one day of community service.
Meanwhile, “Officer Rich” is still patrolling the streets of New York City, confident that he can get away with violating the rights of citizens to record him in public.
Here is the only evidence that a phone gun ever existed.