On Thursday, police in Syracuse NY arrested a man who had committed no crime whatsoever and was legally filming them perform a pat-down on another man that had been detained.
Maurice Crawley was standing across the street peacefully filming a traffic stop when one of the officers involved began telling him not to speak to them, even though Crawley hadn’t done so previously. After Crawley asked him to repeat himself because he hadn’t heard him, the officer began threatening him as he crossed the street and placed Crawley under arrest.
Both filming the police and speaking out loud in public (or even actually cursing at police officers) are protected acts under the First Amendment. So, it’s pretty clear that this cop had no valid justification for arresting Crawley.
Maurice Crawley, 52, was streaming live on his Facebook page Thursday when one of the officers across the street shouted that if he said “one word,” he’d be arrested.
Crawley asked the officer to repeat himself, and the cop walked across the street and placed him under arrest while swearing at him.
“Don’t f—— move, you understand me?” an officer can be heard saying in the video, obtained by Syracuse.com. “Don’t you f—— move, I am going to f— you up.”
In the four-minute video, as a white officer and a black officer can be seen arresting the motorist, Crawley says “see what’s going on with these boys, make sure they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be doing.”
Crawley later zooms in on the black officer handcuffing and searching the man who had been in a car that was pulled over. Crawley can be heard referring to the officer as an “Uncle Tom,” but it doesn’t appear that the officer heard his comment.
After being forced to spend the night in jail for the non-crime of asking a cop what he had said, Crawley was released after attending court and pleading not guilty on the false charges of “obstructing governmental administration” and resisting arrest.
Neither officer has been identified yet, but the Good Cop who didn’t actually arrest Crawley was obviously distracted momentarily during the time that the Bad Apple he was working with conducted a hostile, vindictive, and illegal arrest on someone who hadn’t committed any crime at all.