Saratoga Springs police released the camera they had confiscated on Saturday, showing officer Nathan Baker pepper spraying a man sitting in his car before grabbing the man’s arm and twisting it out the window.
Officer Baker claimed he was arresting Adam Rupeka for disorderly conduct. Rupeka had flipped him off while driving past him.
And while the New York statute for disorderly conduct includes a line about making an “obscene gesture,” the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which encompasses New York, ruled that flipping cops off is protected by the Constitution.
And that is just one of many court rulings that decided the same, so Baker should have known better.
But he didn’t know or seemed to care, which, of course, gives us even more reason to want to flip him off.
But Baker was the one punished, if you want to call it that, when he was placed on paid administrative leave this week after police viewed the video.
According to the Times Union:
Officer Nathan Baker was taken off city patrol while police brass investigate what happened during a traffic stop he conducted at 3:34 p.m. Saturday near High Rock Avenue and the Hampton Inn, Chief Gregory Veitch said Monday afternoon. During the stop, Baker arrested Adam Rupeka, 35, of Troy, and charged him with the traffic infraction of having an obstructed view, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, police said.
“During the arrest, Baker used force, including the deployment” of pepper spray, Veitch said. Rupeka recorded part of the incident, Veitch said, and the video (shown below) was posted on YouTube and the Facebook page titled “Capital District Cop Block.” Rupeka was treated by medical personnel at the city police station and Saratoga Hospital emergency room, Veitch said.
“I take very seriously any allegation of improper use of force made against any officer of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, and I have been in contact with Mr. Rupeka regarding this incident,” Veitch said in a statement. “An internal investigation of the entire incident has already commenced.”
Note how they later cited him for a traffic infraction of “obstructed view,” along with the misdemeanor of resisting arrest.
But in the video, Baker never states a reason he had pulled Rupeka over, even though it is obvious.
He was pulled over, pepper sprayed and arrested for contempt of cop.