This video and the accompanying post were shared with the CopBlock Network by “Nasty” Nathanial Thomas, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Nathanial has been featured several times previously on CopBlock.org. Those posts can be viewed here, here, and here.
Date of Interaction: January 24, 2016
Department involved: Fresno Police Department
Department Address: 2323 Mariposa St, Fresno, CA 93721
Department Phone Number: (559) 621-7000
How are all of my fellow Cop Blockers doing out there? Nasty Nathanial here with you all. I still have not set up a WordPress account yet so I can start writing for Cop Block full time. I am actually preparing to head off to Manila and begin the “Life On The Beat With Nasty Nathanial: Cop Block World Tour“. Let’s see how cops in other countries treat their citizens.
But before I share the story behind this latest Cop Block submission of mine, I would first like to thank legendary activist/filmmaker Brian Sumner for encouraging me to film the police, and legendary writer Josh Hotchkin for encouraging me to write about it and for always posting my material. A big THANK YOU for that.
Anyways, last month I found myself in beautiful Fresno, California, one of America’s finest cities. The purpose of this visit was to spend a few days with my good friend, activist and filmmaker Brian Sumner, and the rest of the Fresno Cop Block crew to do some police filming. I enjoy spending time with these guys. They are great people who are passionate about what they do.
While cruising around the city in my little Fiat, which is becoming the Cop Block Mobile, we came upon a squad car parked in front of a residence on Olive Street. As we were preparing to go check this out, we noticed more squad cars heading into a residential neighborhood. At the speed they were traveling we figured they had to be in a hurry to get to wherever they were going. So we decided to head in their direction and see what was going on.
Soon we found ourselves approaching what we would later learn was a crime scene. It became apparent that a shooting had taken place as the police were searching for shell casings. I parked my Fiat down the street and we all got out and began heading over towards where all these police vehicles were parked. As soon as the officers saw us approaching they began doing the ol’ shine their flashlights in our lenses. This is typical of officers when they see Cop Blockers. As Brian began explaining that we had a right to be there and to film, one of the officers began yelling out to us that we were walking in a crime scene. Well, if that was the case, than why didn’t this dumb shit, or any of the other officers on the scene, bother to put up crime scene tape and seal off the area? That is a reasonable question don’t you think?
But here is where I give credit where credit is due. The sergeant on the scene immediately stepped up to plate and apologized to us. You can hear him in the video say that their failure to seal off the area was entirely their fault. Wow. It is not too often that you hear the police admit when they have done something wrong.
Now as professional as this police sergeant may have been acting at this particular moment, it makes me wonder how he would have responded if we were not filming. Say we were not Cop Blockers and just some curious bystanders that wanted to check out what the police were doing. Or somebody who actually lives on that street and was just trying to get home after a long, hard day at work. Professionalism would most likely have gone out the door and we would have been treated like second class citizens.
So the point of writing this is to make light of the fact the camera can be used as a weapon. I don’t mean a weapon as a means of hurting or killing anybody. But instead as a means of putting the police in check. I believe that the camera is the objective record and the police are either going to shape up and act professional, like they should always be or they are going to continue to act like jerks. Either way, the camera is there to capture it all and the camera doesn’t lie.
So while I leave you all with that final thought, I look forward to receiving responses from everybody, including the Cop Block haters. To be honest, it’s the haters’ responses that I most look forward to. Although I love to be complimented, the haters seem to give the most entertaining responses. Until next time, may the force be with you. Happy trails.
– Nasty Nathanial