The video above was sent to me via email by a person who wishes to remain anonymous. The footage he submitted shows four officers intimidating a man into providing identification. The law states that a person is only required to identify themselves if they’re suspected of committing a crime, but the Fort Pierce (1st cop in video) police officer didn’t articulate such suspicion – as seen in the video. The officer stated that the manager of Kmart thought the gentleman was looking through cars and acting suspicious. For the record, ‘being suspicious’ is not illegal. The man behind the camera quickly stated to the officer that it was his car he was looking into it (because his kids were inside of it) and that he stepped out of the car to smoke (hence the pacing around the car).
That’s when the Fort Pierce officer asked if the man had ID and he replied, “NO.” The officer then asks another question, to which the answer was, “I’m not answering questions.” The conversation turns back to getting ID and the man states he’s not doing anything wrong, therefore, not providing it to him. The officer seems to realize, IMO, that there isn’t really anything to worry about with this guy. This is further highlighted when the man repeatedly asks “Am I being detained or am I free to go?” Finally the officer says, “if you ain’t done nothing wrong I guess you’re not [being detained].” This is where I thought the interaction should have been over, after the man successfully stood his ground.
He might have if it wasn’t for the additional three police officers that showed up (two being St. Lucie County Sheriffs) and without knowing the full situation, demanded the man be put in handcuffs if he refused to ID himself again. The justification for this was because the Fort Pierce officer was conducting an investigation; and I guess that means, to the male Sheriff (with “POLICE” on his vest), that the man was required to provide his ID. Yet, you have no legal obligation to assist the police in their investigations of yourself so merely being part of an investigation doesn’t require you to ID yourself. Especially an investigation that hasn’t established if a crime was committed or not yet.
Never mind that during this investigation the Fort Pierce officer had already been told that the car was belonged to him, his kids were in it and that he stepped out of it to smoke. Of course the officer forgot to tell that to the arriving Sheriff’s and they didn’t think to ask either – typical cops. They simply demanded compliance and maybe a little revenge, likely because the male sheriff didn’t seem too happy about being asked for his name/badge number upon arrival.
I was told that after the video was shut off the man was handcuffed and placed into the back of a squad car. At that time he decided to provide his identification and the police let him go after a short lecture about why they “had to do what they did.” IMO, this man had no legal obligation to provide government ID to these cops. Yet, that didn’t matter, as the officers bullied him into compliance and finally producing his identification.
I’m sure the CopSuckers will say, “next time just give him your ID and everything will be fine.” I’d say film the police every chance you get and if’ you’re not doing anything wrong, refuse as many of their request – or unjust laws, as you can. My hats off to this man for having the courage to stand his ground. Even though he had to ‘give in’ and show his ID, I’m sure he planted a seed in those officer’s minds, or that he will do so in the mind of someone who watches his video of this interaction for years to come.
Fort Pierce Police Department (Facebook Page): (772) 467-6800
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