Alabama Police Officer Assaults Man For Recording at Anti-Police Brutality Rally

At a rally against police brutality on Saturday in Alabama, a police officer tried to grab a man’s phone to prevent him from recording the officer’s actions.

Tyler Henderson was among a throng of people holding signs in downtown Mobile, one of the many outcries against police brutality spurred by the recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri.

Henderson began recording as a police officer gave the crowd orders on where they could stand. When the officer spotted Henderson recording his orders, he immediately grabbed for the phone, as if he had a right to it.

When Henderson asserted his right to record, the officer tried to use enforcement of a Mobile city ordinance that purportedly allows officers to disperse crowds as justification for assaulting Henderson.

“Now I’ve already explained to you what you need to do, just do it.”

“Move it along,” one of the protestors added in.

“And everything will be fine. Otherwise you’re violating our city ordinance.”

Mobile does have a statute on the books that makes it against the law for someone to refuse to move on after a request by police to do so.

Sec. 49-2. Refusal to move on after request by police officer to do so.

It shall be unlawful for any person to stand or loiter upon any street after having been requested by any police officer to move on.(Code 1965, § 14-8)

However, even if Mobile’s city ordinance is constitutional – despite its use to restrict First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly – the officer has no right to grab Henderson’s camera, and committed an unlawful assault.

In the days after Ferguson, this type of behavior seems routine for police, but is, in fact, a criminal act constituting assault that would land a person in jail if he were not wearing a badge. Law enforcement officers are not above the law and prosecutors should be treating all assaults equally, whether or not the offender is wearing a badge.

Call the Mobile Police Department at 251.208.1700.

For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter @theandrewmeyer.

About Andrew Meyer

For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. You can also read his work on Tsu @AndrewMeyer, and at

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  • Scott Parker

    “despite it’s use to restrict First ”
    Sorry to be that guy, but it’s “its”. Remember, “it’s” means “it is” or “it has”. There are absolutely no exceptions to this. If you can’t replace “it’s” with “it is” or “it has” then you are using the wrong word.

    • tvcs

      way to go…get those priorities in order

      • rust

        Hey Buttmuncher, CLEAR COMMUNICATION is a priority. Learn Engrish, creep.

        • Revak

          On PINAC correcting grammar, you must really be a winner there huh? So what about when it isn’t their first language and they don’t have every form of the English language down pat?

          Sad you can only speak one language and are forever alone? Wish I could relate, but I pity you. Get a hobby.

          • rust

            I speak two very fluently, and two more or less passable, and some understanding of Portuguese. Sorry, no Cyrillic or asian languages. So, mange la mierde, andate a la cresta, fick dich, and eat shit. On PINAC whining about people who correct the AUTHOR’S grammar? Get a life, loser. Andrew Meyer should have a better command of English, considering he has a DEGREE in Journalism..

    • marrowbonez

      I know you are correct but I’ve never understood that grammar rule.
      If I replaced the word “IT” with “THE ORDINANCE” the sentence would be “despite the ordinance’s use to restrict First Amendment rights…”
      If it would be proper to use an apostrophe to show possession for THE ORDINANCE then why not to show possession for the word IT?

      • Clare King

        Because it’s is really a contraction for it is, not the possessive of it. I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either but that’s how I remember its vs it’s.

      • Calireefer

        Wouldn’t it be “despite the ordinance used to restrict First Amendment rights…” ?? It is only one ordinance, and it can not posses anything.

      • rust

        You usually can just drop a substitute into a sentence EXCEPT in the case of “it’s” and “its”. Just learn Engrish, you mooks.

      • n4zhg

        Do I have to repost the link for Word Crimes?

      • Kaemaril
      • putaro

        Well, you’ve got the contraction and the possessive (it is -> it’s and it possesses -> its). They had an arm wrestling contest for the apostrophe and “it is” won.

    • ScottUgly

      That is one of the few that I will excuse. It is an exception to the common rules. Get over it, man.

      • Dave Walker

        It’s hardly and exception. People claim it’s possessive, but then you should ask them if you add apostrophes to his, hers, theirs, ours, etc. Just like “its”, personal pronouns don’t have apostrophes.

        • putaro

          That would be “an exception” :-).

  • rust

    Identify this Enforcer and have him thrown off the force for committing assault and attempted strong arm theft.

    • Jason Jones

      Strong-arm would require him to have presented a weapon. He attempted armed robbery, which does not require him to have presented his weapon, just that he had a lethal weapon or acted as if he did.

  • Liberaltarian

    Unless the ordinance gives a much more precise meaning to “loitering” I think that ordinance is unconstitutional. See

  • Chip Seal

    (Wistfully…) Sigh. I remember when the constitution actually had meaning.
    Not only was the officer violating their free speech rights, and their right to assemble, that wasn’t enough, oh no! He had to violate his right to be a journalist.

    • Richard Lord

      False memory syndrome, the constitution has always meant something. One thing for one class another for the other. If you meant that you once were in a, protected class and it had meaning for you once ok. But it seems they got through the list now your off it.

  • steveo

    They were on the sidewalk. (to stand or loiter upon any street) they know they can’t restrict expressive conduct on the Category 1, public fora which are public sidewalks. They can tell you to get off the street, so this guy is just using this ordinance to bluff the protesters.

    The “street” thing probably has to do with protests that march down the street without any permits which could be a public safety issue.But when you’re on the public sidewalk, and people who are walking on the sidewalk can get by you and you aren’t blocking their way, go for it. You can even juggle there. Jacksonville used to arrest jugglers and men who were supported by females in the household prior to 1972. Papachristou vs. Jacksonville.

  • Dave Morrison

    What kind of law makes it a crime to refuse a “request” —- “It shall be unlawful for any person to stand or loiter upon any street after having been requested by any police officer to move”. Seems to fail right there.

    • steveo

      Hey, this is Alabama. They arrested Martin Luther King, Jr. 15 times for loitering, trespassing, stuff like that. They were just marching for civil rights. This is the home base for people like George Wallace and Bull Connor. Watch Mississippi Burning, The mayor remarks that “We have our culture and they have their culture. They like it that way and we certainly do too.”

      The leos used to kidnap folks there and you’d never hear from them again. Remember Medgar Evers, that was in Mississippi, but same place, basically.

    • Guest

      You’ve done the hardest part by asking the right question. Believe it or not the answer is quite simple and you are very close answering with your own question with your last statement.

      However, in order to get the bigger picture answer you may have to set aside everything you think you are or were ever taught to be in order to realize the complete answer.

      As Dr. Zaius said in the movie Planet of the Apes: “Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.”

  • borderraven

    I can’t tell where they are standing. If they were on the city park or courtyard or overpass, they’d have better leverage.

  • NJHC

    If things keep going we’ll see someone defend themself when leo tries to steal a camera. Reminds me of Crispus Attucks in the making.
    Pray for peace and a repentance of the hostility leo seem to enjoy to embrace.

  • jackassletters

    Does Alabama have free-speech zones?

  • Guest
    • Film The Police Always

      The Officer who sat down with you was pretty nice. He was calm, cool & collected and didn’t try to blow smoke up your ass. He knew his Officers violated your rights. His response (the look) when you said that the officer refused to loosen the cuffs until you ID’d yourself was priceless. They might not consider that excessive force, but it falls under a whole other category. Go here:
      and then scroll down to “Rights At Stake”

      He knew that that was fucked up. If you filed a lawsuit, I believe you WILL receive a settlement for them violating your rights, and the torturing of you until you ID’d yourself will net you a guaranteed settlement. A black man being tortured by white cops looks pretty bad. Go get em!!

      • StevieNitro

        And as a citizen of Round Rock, I’ll be watching.

      • Jamesdiamond

        Would unnecessary use of force have fit better on the complaint seeing how he shouldn’t have been handcuffed at all? Asking cause I really don’t know which one is best, not to state or prove anything.

      • PINAC Troll

        I just can’t wait the look on your face soon!!!!

  • Cynic in New York

    “You have rights as long as your not using them to expose our wrongdoing” – cops

  • Armchair Activist

    Police need to stop being afraid of cameras. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  • Jamesdiamond

    Slightly off topic but I have recently started using Bambuser and have a question about it. I have noticed that when I go to live stream it will log in and when it logs in it stores the password needed for it. If a LEO were to physically take the camera away he would be able to delete what was recorded from the phone itself. Is there a way to prevent that from happening? Only way I have found is that after recording, select settings and manually delete the password in the password area, but I would have to do that after each time I live stream and could only do that if the phone is not physically taken while I am recording.

    • eeeddy

      Put a passcode on your phone. Keep your finger on the lock button when the pigs get close. When you hit the lock button, your stream will cut off, but the passcode lock will keep them out long enough for you or someone you know to change your passwords.

      • Jamesdiamond

        No way to start it recording then have it lock? Example being my phone will allow me to open the camera on the passcode screen so that I can record without opening the phone, no way to allow it to use Bambuser the same way?

        • Kilroy238

          no the camera being able to do that was written into the ROM. Apps can’t do that. Your only option is to start Bambuser then lock your phone. It will still continue to record.

          • Peacefulstreets Lewiscounty

            We also use Bambuser, it’s quite handy. But it’s important to note how much signal strength you have when you start recording. If there’s not enough to log in, it’s possible to miss the “go offline?” prompt, and end up with nothing. If it does log in, audio streaming is pretty good, video quality depends on signal strength; with the option to (manually) upload the remainder of the data later. (If your phone is still in your posession.)

            As an alternative, we use the phone’s native camera paired with a cloud sync app such as Dropbox or Copy. Upload begins when recording is finished, but it’s automated and in the background. Effective if your phone’s been confiscated. (so long as it’s not smashed.) Options to consider.

    • Rail Car Fan

      The biggest problem with Bambuser is its co$t. The free program is only good for a limited amount of time, while the next $45 upgraded one is very limited in its capacity.

      Any average video taker can’t afford their upper two monthly programs.

      Rail Car Fan

      • Jamesdiamond

        Yeah those upper two are more meant for business use seeing how they are more expensive that a car payment can be. I saw that the free trial is for 15 days is that only if you are thinking of going to premium? I think I’ve had it longer than 15 already but all I did was create an account and nothing else

  • Sidekik

    Anyone interested in ending the police state and the war on filming police should watch this video:

    It’s for an app which will not only document interactions with police by streaming the audio/video to a secure server, but also hold the officer accountable by initiating a video call to a nationwide attorney network so that within a few seconds the app user is represented by an attorney who will interact with the officer on the app user’s behalf. If the officer does anything outside their authority the attorney will file a lawsuit. If enough people in a given jurisdiction are using the app then that area’s police department will go the way of the Maywood, CA police department:

    For more info you can view the campaign for the app here:

  • Meade Village