Deputy Grabs Camera Out of Activists Hand at NASCAR Campsite

The following post was submitted via our Submit Page by Connor Pitt of Maricopa County Copblock

Deputy Don Hess #S1535 with the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office decided it would be a smart idea to abuse his authority and snatch the camera out of a marijuana legalization activists hand; and shut off the recording and tell the activist that he couldn’t film “because its private property and I said so.” But what he didn’t realize is that Phoenix International Raceway’s website states the following:

“Can I bring a camera or video recorder?
Yes! However, cameras and video recorders are permitted in the facility for home viewing use only. Images and/or footage may not be sold or used for commercial use. Camera/video bags exceeding 14″ x 14″ x 14″ will not be permitted through the grandstand admission gates.”

So not only did he assault the activist by snatching his camera, he lied about not being able to record and then threatened another person who tried to take a picture.

A statement from the person who was filming is posted below:

“We are volunteer cannabis legalization activists collecting signatures for #AZFMR LegalizeMarijuanaInArizona.org. {name removed for privacy}, the owner of the Cannabus bought an RV camp in the campgrounds from Wednesday to Sunday. On Thursday I left to go to school and {name removed for privacy} had a run in with PIR about our signs that said “Legalize Here” on the Cannabus. She has better info on that interaction. Essentially they told us soliciting signatures with out paying thousands of dollars for a soliciting permit and told {name removed for privacy} to take the signs off the bus. However the “Sign Here To Legalize” sign were still attached to the bottom of our clip boards we were still exposing the signs that solicited signatures. So they tried to send a dude over in a go card to talk to us and I tried to record him but he drove away with out interacting with us. Then he called up to higher to bring 2 PIR agents over to talk to us and they asked not to be recorded but because they were nice I didn’t recorded them However they believed they were still being recorded and lied to us and made us thing everything was okay. So I thought the incident was over n I go to get some bean dip which sucked by the way and on my way back a dude sees my shirt with a pot leaf on it n asked if I am from the cannabus. I said yes. He said there’s a bunch of cops at the bus. So I go back n run into volunteers who are showing up for the first time as I turn my camera on. Then I walk up n the cop takes my camera and his excuse was because its PIR private property and they don’t want us filming anymore so they can grab our stuff and shut it down. I was on the bus wanting to record but the cop was threatening to take me to jail so I shut it down. Then after I shut it down he threatened to take me to jail for not shutting off a camera when both my hands were up with no camera and all cameras were off. I called him a drama queen kuz he seemed like he was gonna have a panic attack. A buddy {name removed for privacy} was there n got some low profile go pro footage as we were packing up. So we packed up n they got on the quads n trespassed us out for soliciting signatures except no one had to sign anything. I don’t know if any paperwork was done. There is more details but I don’t know how much you want to read. I got some footage of scaring away the PIR dude on the golf cart with my camera and I got some of the cops escorting out the bus.

(on a side note there where some girl scouts there selling cookies but the PIR officials and police didn’t seem to have a problem with that).”


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Dylan Donnelly

Artist and Photojournalist from Fresno, CA Editor at Fresno People's Media & admin of Cop Block Fresno, CA Follow me on Twitter and Facebook Subscribe to my Youtube Channel