Virginia Cop Strikes Teen with Baton for Video Recording, Hospitalizing him with Concussion (Updated)

A Virginia teen ended up hospitalized with a concussion Tuesday after police struck him on the side of the head with a baton for video recording them.

The video shows the cop asking his age before attacking the 19-year-old man, apparently figuring he can get away with doing that to an adult.

Devin Thomas was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, your typical contempt of cop charges.

Thomas being led away in handcuffs after he was attacked for video recording cops

It’s the usual video we normally see, the third one from Virginia this week, but this time Virginia Cop Block joined the teen and his uncle to file a complaint at the police departments, as you can see in the video below.

At first, they went to the Petersburg Police Department along with a television reporter who had been getting stonewalled, only to be told it was a Prince George cop who made the arrest.

Then they went to the Prince George Police Department without the reporter so Thomas could file his complaint and received the usual “it’s under investigation” routine that allows them to avoid the topic altogether.

But it’s interesting to see the reaction from officers at both stations to Cop Block’s cameras. A cop at the first station tried to order one of them away, telling him he has “no business” there, while chatting up the female television reporter, whose business is obviously more legitimate in his eyes.

It’s not.

A cop at the second station asked them why the need for cameras – as if getting struck on the side of the head by a baton for video recording is not self-explanatory. That cop tried to take Thomas to the back room to file his complaint, but the teen refused, so the complaint was filed in the lobby on camera.

At both stations, all the cops tried their best to pass the buck to another cop or agency, which is another common tactic they use, claiming they have no information or knowledge about a particular case.

But now that we’re catching on to their tactics, now that more people are becoming aware of their rights, we need to come up with ways to counter their brush-off attempts.

UPDATE: The cop has been identified as Anthony Patterson.

The cop’s actual name is Vance Richards. Sorry, Patterson. We were fed wrong info.

Vance Richards

Also, Virginia Cop Block has organized a protest against the Petersburg Police Department on Monday.



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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  • rust

    More Enforcers that need a one-way ticket to Las Vegas

    • inquisitor

      I would suggest police start to eat their lunches in-house at the station cantina…and wearing riot helmets when out on patrol or walking amongst the public.

      • Difdi

        They’ve been fantasizing about being warriors on the battlefield, gearing up to be all tacticool for years.

        I wonder if they’ll enjoy the reality of being at war with their own country?

        • inquisitor

          Check out the recent release of…

          CTB 14-07: Recent Spike in Violence Targeting Law Enforcement

          • n4zhg

            Apparently CTB 14-06 Recent Spike in Law Enforcement Excessive Use Of Force and Abrogation of Civil Rights was not approved for publication.

          • Difdi

            Yup. Treat people like you’re their enemy long enough and they’ll start treating you like you’re their enemy.

            Human beings are extremely good at killing their enemies.

            I found one section of that CTB file very interesting though:

            It notes that 21 people have been killed by jihadists and 37 by right-wing extremists since 9/11. Contrast that to the numbers killed by police. It’s actually safer (if only slightly) to be a US soldier in Afghanistan than it is to be a US citizen in proximity to police.

      • steve618

        Yep. Just like Northern Irel@nd during the 70s. Cops holed up in fortresses, seldomly venturing out on ‘p@trol”.

  • ocschwar

    They sure don’t like the cameras in VA

    • inquisitor

      According to the officer in the lobby…

      …filming and recording is not the way they do business.

      • Andre Maunsell

        Because lying and fabricating is how they do business. Video cameras streaming to another server and putting raw video content doesn’t. That is why pigs are so violent when they see cameras. They don’t like the light of truth being shined on them.

    • Morphik

      As a Virginian this scares me.

  • Uncommunist

    This is happening everywhere , the States, Canada etc …

    • Liz K. Baker

      dude no its not! I left VA and that’s all yall say. yall always say something is “happenin everywhere” shit like that don’t happen here or half anywhere else but VA and the more yall keep sayin this to yourselves the more it’s going to keep happening.. TO YOU. Its that lame ass slave farm mentality! Just an excuse to keep it happenin! Yall gotta shake it.This article say it was the third time in va this WEEK. Where else is this happening 3 times a week? It ain’t happenin in canada, some places in Canada barely get any crime wtf. yall need to take some action and stop settling for this kinda treatment cause it ain’t
      happening everyone” and it ain’t right to happen in VA either.

      • frank-kintz

        If you have a serious question about police abuse in VA or Canada, go to YouTube and type in Police Abuse in VA or Police Abuse in Canada and watch the videos. If you are a cop or cop relative then it does not matter what you think. Before you make blanket statements to a fact do some research, it will prevent you from being a laughing stock for all to see and making a fool out of yourself. “Yall” have a nice day you hear!!!

      • derp


  • Film The Police Always

    This man that was struck in the head is in for a HUGE PAYDAY. Violating of his rights, excessive force etc.

    I’ll bet that blow to the side of your head for recording the police has you with serious neck pain and severe headaches. (OUCH) You need to go back to the Doctor for more treatment. That pain MUST BE UNBEARABLE. I couldn’t imagine taking a billy club to the side of the head while standing outside on a beautiful day recording with your camera, exercising your 1st amendment rights, and some rogue racist white cop coming up and hitting me. That hard blow to the head is got to be god awful feeling right now. I hear that those type of blows to the head sometimes take a few days to a few weeks to really start feeling the consequences of the traumatic injury sustained. Seek medical treatment, AGAIN!

    Devin, I know you are reading this and I’m telling you, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING as this CORRUPT department along with the corrupt State Attorney will take you for a dumb ghetto black man and will try to get you to sign your rights of not suing for them to drop the charges. They hate black people! Tell them to stick it up your BLACK ASS. Tell them you want this (WHY YOU WERE ARRESTED) to go to trial! You need an attorney that will file a CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT on your behalf for what they did to you. DO NOT LET THIS GO! Do Not settle for pennies on the dollar either. Again, they will take you for a poor dumb ghetto black man and the settlement amount will be enough for you to buy a watch. Bullshit!! Your manhood, your pride, your GOD DAMN CIVIL RIGHTS are more important then any RACIST COPS JOB! That cop needs to be fired!

    Get everybody in your neighborhood to march down to that department. Go through your CHURCH and get your church to march behind you. Hell, call every black activist you can find and ask for their time. Call the ACLU! You were attacked for doing a normal god given right and that’s standing outside, and recording corrupt RACIST ASS WHITE COPS, with the help of that UNCLE TOM who started the entire event. File charges against all of them.

    • inquisitor

      Symptoms experienced following blunt force trauma to the head…

      Localized pain and-or numbness in area impacted
      Migraines, Stars and lights when eyes closed prior to onset of migraines
      Neck pain, reduced or restricted range of motion
      TMJ dysfunction
      Paralysis, numbness, tingling or shooting pain down the arms, neck and-or back
      Blurry vision
      Reduced visual acuity, blindness
      Visual halos
      Dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance and coordination
      Alteration of taste sensation, inability or reduced ability to swallow. speech deficits
      Mental and thinking deficits

      Many of these can be long-term or even permanent despite best efforts from medical treatment and rehabilitation.

      Keep all that in mind…when filling out the forms,
      If you are even able to fill out the forms in your severely injured condition.
      I would have already acquired a neck brace, wheelchair with an oxygen tank and mask at this point…along with a lawyer.
      And maybe one of those talk boxes like Stephen Hawking.

      • Dolt

        I can’t imagine how much work I would have to miss dealing with the long-term affects of a serious concussion. Not to mention all of the terror, stress, fear and anxiety I would now have every time i had to leave my house thanks to these cops. A jury needs to hear the details of all of these long-term affects thanks to the hands of these police in order to affix a fair price to the actions.

        • Film The Police Always

          Agree 100% I’m believing a monthly payment for the rest of his life is in order.

    • Guest

      Sue the cops personally and don’t talk to any cop about this incident without Alan attorney present

      • guest

        An attorney, I meant :)

  • inquisitor

    Second video freeze frame 4:23…

    …the look of utter contempt for and hatred toward the public.

    And that is all you need to know.

    • vickster339

      To serve and protect my ass, they have no constitutional duty to render aid and that glare says it all.

  • Virginia Cop Block

    If you’re in the area, Virginia Cop Block is holding a Protest, more info:

  • Harry Balzanya

    When exactly was Marshal law declared in that town that day authorizing the police to order Americans to be detained inside of their homes without due process of law? When was the first amendment right to gather newsworthy events suspended? Why did these officers refuse to take a complaint, a right and or privileged because the victim of a crime chose to exercise a right and or privilege. So due process of law will not be granted to victims who choose to use their right to document a newsworthy event. It looks to be a huge Den of Terrorists willfully and viciously doing what men crashing planes into buildings failed to do.

    • Difdi

      The basis of our legal system and the rule of law is that we’re all equal before the law.

      Older systems operated on the idea that might made right and no one was mightier than the King. But if might does make right, it’s not immoral to use force. And if someone turns out to be mightier than the King, then he becomes King.

    • n4zhg

      Not to be pedantic, but it’s Martial Law.

      • harry balzanya

        I hope that made you feel better, another person of color is beaten close to death and your correcting spelling. Im going to google pedantic look that up and get back to you. I dont pretend to be the sharpest tool in the shed but I think my priorities are straight.

  • Les Geames

    This video pissed me off! these cops are a dang joke.The cops on the video must be members of the mafia. Or think they are…. Wake up folks it can only get worse if you don’t.

    • Carlos_Miller

      The Blue Mafia. That’s the term we should start using.

      • n4zhg

        They’re not honorable enough to be called Mafia. They are a street gang, hoods in uniform. The only difference between them and the Crips is a dental plan and official imprimatur.

        • Ex Gang Member

          Crips have a pretty extensive code of honor that doesn’t allow this kind of thing either, actually. Same for Bloods, GDs, Vice Lords and probably other gangs.

        • Carlos_Miller

          They have their own honor system. It’s not about us. It’s about them.

          They’ll even tell you, there’s Justice and there’s Justice Us.

      • jcfrommnj

        Carlos, your just going to piss of the Crips…LOL

  • Ian Battles

    If the officer is not charged with a crime, that will suggest Assault is legal in this town.

    If Assault is legal in this town, the officer had better watch his back.

    • $910553

      Assault is only legal for Only Ones. If you, as a Mere Citizen, decide to do so, understand that the ONLY effective way to make sure YOU do not suffer more than THEM is the Miller way.

  • Happy Tinfoil Cat

    The stubby, pale, one pisses me off. He is actually worse than the assaulting cop. He’s clearly actively participating or covering up for other punk oinkers every minute of the day.

  • tonya

    Thank you Cop Block. I will be at the protest.

  • Sternen

    I usually just lurk here and have never commented before, but I gotta say… I am sick to my stomach right now…. this cop was clearly out of bounds.

    This cop had BETTER loose his job followed by being brought up on charges.

    Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • Eddie Vedder

    Police were trying to order people into their homes? Is this america?

  • Garnette

    Kaching!! go for it and use it to raise up your familiy and friends~

  • Misery

    This video is terrifying.

  • know_ur_rights

    the officers in Petersburg should have called a magistrate or chief magistrate…a magistrate would’ve used the “conflict of interest” excuse not to charge a local officer…however, a well trained magistrate would call their supervisor, a chief magistrate, to swear out a warrant on the officer in question…most cops are ill-informed, unknowledgeable, & always attempt to discourage any video recordings…most citizens usually have to obtain a lawyer to swear out warrants on police officers…the assault occurred in Petersburg that’s where the warrant should be issued…what these cops are telling them is wrong…total b.s.

  • RFalardeau

    I know I may sound a little slow for saying this, but I didn’t know until recently that 17 states actually DO grant extra “rights” with their badges. I only found out about the “Police Officers Bill of Right” about a month ago. Cop Block might have to change their logo if the FOP are able to successfully lobby for such a “Bill of Right” at the federal level.

  • kraz

    Reminds me of the bullshit I went through for trying to make a complaint against two Newark, NJ cops back in the 90’s for false arrest and stealing money from me. Of course I had no video evidence. In Newark, they basically make everyone sit in a room until they get tired of it and leave. There must have been 30 other people there making complaints. I left after 5+ hours of waiting and realizing that they would never had gotten to me.

  • kraz

    This pretty much sums it up. You cannot really make a complaint against a cop.

    • hang3xc

      In a 2 second search for Police Complaint Form, the first one I clicked on was DC, where you can download a complaint form in multiple languages. Obviously that is the way to go if someone actually had a complaint. However, I doubt it would matter at all

    • Zos Xavius

      “If your complaints are found unfounded then the officer has a right to sue you” WOW WTF?!?

      • kraz

        Although it’s true it’s a pretty fucked up thing to say to someone that they work for. It also pisses me off that cops routinely make up charges against people and even when they’re cleared in court the arrest will stay on your record and you have no recourse against the cop for defamation of character yet if someone files a complaint against a cop and THEY find it to be unfounded they can sue you. It’s just another double standard and privilege that the badge grants them.

        • Zos Xavius

          that video is highly disturbing. especially the last part.

  • Williamgrey9

    Brief forum complaint involving this alleged “Peace Officer”

  • Guest MVP

    Cops beat up tax payers. Tax payer takes the police department to court. The tax payer wins and gets paid the award by … other tax payers.

  • Zee L Usay

    Now that they losing “qualified Immunity’ over this crap insurance companies will start raising rates or dropping coverage. You canna no be-a de PoPo iffa you no can gedda de in-a-surances.

    • guest

      Loss of qualified immunity will be the number one deterrent to cops. I am assuming this interpretation is correct:

      The court noted:

      “As we explained above, claims of retaliation for the
      exercise of clearly established First Amendment rights are cognizable
      under section 1983. See Powell, 391 F.3d at 16. Thus, under Gericke’s
      version of the facts, any reasonable officer would have understood that
      charging Gericke with illegal wiretapping for attempted filming that had
      not been limited by any order or law violated her First Amendment right
      to film.12 “‘[T]he contours of [the] right [were] sufficiently clear’
      that every ‘reasonable official would have understood that what he [was]
      doing violate[d] that right.’” Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 131 S. Ct. 2074, 2083, 179 L. Ed. 2d 1149 (2011) (quoting Anderson v. Creighton,
      483 U.S. 635, 640, 107 S. Ct. 3034, 97 L. Ed. 2d 523 (1987)). Hence, at
      this stage of the litigation, the officers are not entitled to
      qualified immunity.13”

      The ruling directly controls courts in Maine, Massachusetts, New
      Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico, but is likely to be cited as
      persuasive authority in other circuits.

  • MiMi

    Dirty scum

  • IcedTeaParty

    Vance Richards…like father, like son. “Officer” Vance’s dad was a Virginia state trooper who was sentenced to nine years in prison for planting explosives in buildings in Hampton Roads and Richmond, ironically in an attempt to frame a 19 year old kid as well.

    Order your Gadsdens.

  • o0THX11380o

    Arrested for “resisting arrest” George Orwell would put his palm to his face.

    • Zos Xavius

      “Stop resisting!” “Hold still while I beat you some more!”

  • Film The Police Always

    We need to find out through the FOIA who their insurance carrier is, and we need to start attacking these carriers when these things happen. Seriously, let’s start doing that Carlos. Lets start calling these carriers and demand they drop these city police departments. Lets let them know that we will be filming them and causing such an issue with them that these rogue cops will again violate the peoples rights out of frustration and we will go after them for all that they have in bonds. We need to make threats that will cause them financial harm. Face Book pages, news worthy reports etc.

    • guest

      The insurance carriers are making money from the contracts they enter in to. They need a different motivation, more than just phone calls. Media exposure is a good way but very difficult given that this site is the exception (others don’t care much about abuses). I’m not just being negative for thew sake of it; I just don’t think that tactic will work on insurance companies.

  • Swannyww

    Cops are setting a dangerous precedent with the public.

    • Zos Xavius

      They need to start having serious repercussions for their actions. Giving them a paid vacation seems to be having a dramatic effect on curbing their audacious behaviors, wouldn’t you say?

  • Mark Burch

    good video, it would be even better if you didn’t have the COPBLOCK logo on 30% of the screen the entire video.

  • Rail Car Fan

    I heard someone turn the old saying of: “A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” into “A ounce of lead is worth a pound of cure”, or was it… “A ounce of lead IS the cure!”

    I really can’t remember which one of the last two it was though. (Wink)

    Rail Car Fan

  • osummors
  • Marianne Neal

    He just whacked him b/c he wanted to. No justification whatsoever.

  • Marianne Neal

    And they wonder why the citizens won’t help them. And they wonder why situations escalate. They escalate.

  • retchsweeny

    Too bad you can’t see through the logo…

  • ray

    Surely, the cop was arrested and fired – right? No? Maybe the general public will care when their property taxes triple from paying out endless lawsuits? Maybe not.

  • Concerned

    you do NOT have to file a complaint FIRST… how about filing assault charges within the jurisdiction where it happened….. does not matter who the perp was,, file the criminal complaint in the jurisdiction; then file a civil complaint within the department where the officer works….

  • f.t.

    A baton strike to the head is considered ‘DEADLY FORCE” and is in no way justified in this case. That cop should be charged with ADW at least.