Eric Brandt, the man who carries a “fuck cops” sign nearly everywhere he goes, is at it again. For those who don’t know who Brandt is below is an overview I wrote about him in January:
Eric Brandt is no stranger to the Westminster (Colorado) Police Department, in fact, he’s no stranger to CopBlock.org. Brandt submitted a post in2014 where he caught police officers harassing the homeless by driving by their camps, blowing an airhorn and then driving off (see video at end of this post). For those of you who are unfamiliar with Brandt’s style of CopBlocking, he’s the man from Colorado who not only wears a “fuck cops” shirt but also rolls around with a HUGE sign that says the same.
As you might expect, because Cops are emotional softies, he’s gotten some attention from the local authorities who have repeatedly arrested him for a number of things from chalking sidewalks (I can relate) to the vulgar sign he carries with him.
And this time was no different. Brandt was helping a friend who was going through a foreclosure and decided that Cañon City, CO was as good a place as any to break out his “fuck cops” sign (or flag). Since he had chosen to do this near a Middle School Brandt modified his sign to be a big turtle, as stated on his YouTube Channel:
So, check it out: I was walking down the main drag in Canyon City today, just minding my own business carrying a giant “kid friendly” animated FUCK COPS turtle sign… You know, JUST MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS! When all of a sudden, out of nowhere, over two dozen police, sheriff deputies, and state troupes totally surround me and get super stupid and try to intimidate the FUCK COPS guy.
First they fail miserably trying to trick me into giving up my right to not answer any questions. Then they think they are creative by ordering me to move to a part of the sidewalk that is away from the edge “for my safety, so I don’t get hit by a car”. I was unaware there were prohibited zones on a public sidewalk. Upon that fail, he rediculous asserts that somehow a person using a sidewalk for a lawful activity is somehow obstructing traffic.
BUT WAIT… Just then, another officer stood his cruiser in the center lane, exits to cross traffic and engage me where not only did he utterly fail to obtain my background check information, but then steps into the right lane of actual busy traffic creating an actual personal safety risk but needlessly obstructs the public right of way forcing droves of undeserving motorists to cram down into one lane – ACTUALLY BECOMING THE HAZARD THEY ONLY MOMENTS EARLIER FICTICIOUSLY ACCUSED ME OF!
Naturally I get my usual loud self going and begin attracting quite the assembly of spectators all around the scene. And just when I start to get on a good protest groove, a plain-clothes officer rushes on scene hastily exiting his vehicle to yell out “DISENGAGE NOW! LEAVE HIM ALONE. END THUS RIGHT HERE! LET’S CLEAN THIS UP AND GET OUT OF HERE IMMEDIATELY!
The officers scurry like cockroaches in the light as I am forced to chase them down in the street to get any I’d cards from them.
The incident occurred, as luck would have it, directly in front of the local newspaper office – the Canyon City Daily Record. Several news people came outside to witness and record.
My cellphone captured the first half of the debacle before the battery died. The Canyon City Daily Record posted a brief article with a video that begins about where mine gave put.
Brandt messaged me to let me know about his most recent encounter but when he told me that this was the most police attention he ever got and that they all just disappeared once a plain clothes police officer said, “disengage.” I had to see it for myself.
Seems somebody realized that Brandt doesn’t mess around when it comes to exercising his first amendment rights. Or maybe they heard about his pending lawsuit with the Westminster (Colorado) Police Department, see here. Either way something got the police attention according to Denver Record News:
Cooper said that he monitored radio traffic and that a uniformed supervisor gave orders that if Brandt was only expressing his First Amendment rights and no physical altercation occurred, then the officers were to stand down and let him continue his protest.
“Once the officers on scene determined that there was not a physical confrontation and that Brandt had not broken any laws then it was appropriate for the shift supervisor to stand them down,” Cooper said in an email response to the Daily Record.
Brandt said he will be back in Cañon City for his friend’s other court dates. He said he plans to bring his sign.
“Our response will probably be the same. If he is committing no crime, he may be contacted to verify his purpose, but we will not infringe upon his right to express his opinion,” Cooper said.
I swear I googled this story another two times just to make sure this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.
This is what many contributors here talk about when we say no victim, no crime and is a principal of policing that can be applied to many scenarios. Far too often police will make an arrest, or issue a ticket, when there hasn’t been any physical harm. As far as also not ‘breaking ANY laws’ that’s not as clear as it sounds. There are far too many bad laws on the books and I’ll go as far as to say that’s any law that doesn’t have a victim.
So kudos to the Cañon City, CO police department for possibly showing other officers that you don’t have to identify, arrest or ticket someone just because you got complaints. Hopefully other officers are inspired by this like new CopBlockers are by the old ones. I’d like to blog about more cops acting rationally than those I currently do. Unfortunately that’s most likely not going to happen because a) governments only grow larger and b) police are the enforcers of governments.