This video was put on our radar by 321FilmGuy, who had a little run-in with Pensacola Beach Police employees, one of whom – Phillip Nix – lied to obtain his ID. Some may say such encounters are trivial, but they’re not.
It was clear 321FilmGuy hadn’t done anything wrong. Nix – someone who’s salary is paid by Pensacola residents under the auspices of serving them. Failure to call-out such actions only sets the stage for worse.
If 321FilmGuy would have praised Nix and his colleagues for their work, do you think Nix would have told him that he was required to hand-over his ID? So what then, was Nix’s motivation? To add to a database the name of someone who asks questions, perhaps? To use hostility and threats to gain the compliance of someone else as a form of conditioning?
This situation, like all the ‘stop and frisk’ and checkpoint stops made daily, depicts an interaction in which one claims extra rights based only on their place of employment. News flash: no one has extra rights.
I wanted to hear what Nix himself said about his actions. The exchange depicted in this video happened on July 21st. I was made aware of the incident and on August 2nd called Nix’s employer, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and was told to call back that night, as Nix works swing shift. I did, but was told Nix wasn’t there. I was told to call back.
I called on September 9th and again was told Nix wasn’t present. I was told to call back another day. I asked about the policy to film police and was told to call during business hours to talk with the media relations person.
I called on September 24th and was told Nix was not working so I left a message (name, phone, overview).
I called on September 30th, spoke with Karen, and was told Nix was not working but I left a message for his supervisor – Joseph Eddins.
On Oct 4th I received a call from Nix (850) 982-5092. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to record the call as I answered the phone when in my vehicle but over the next 24-min, Nix and I had a good conversation.
He essentially told me that there was still a related incident under investigation so he couldn’t go into detail about his interaction with 321FilmGuy but he did state that he was in the right demanding ID. He encouraged me to file a public relations request to obtain information about the investigation mentioned – he made it sound like 321FilmGuy had had a recent interaction with himself or a colleague.
I later spoke with 321FilmGuy who said he has no idea of any investigation nor the reasons for an investigation. In fact, he stated that the totality of his interactions were as follows: He’d been at the beach when he witnessed two police employees talking to someone on foot. He filmed the stop. After the stop concluded the two police employees walked toward him and asked that they not be included on whatever video he published. He said he told them “ok.” He then went and sat on the beach. Soon after, four police employees walked up to him andasked him if he had a permit to film. They told him that as they the boardwalk was private property and told him to leave, which he did. He then went online and learned of Cop Block and Flex Your Rights. He also discovered that the boardwalk was not private property. A week later when back out at the beach, camera in hand, he was approached by a police employee who sought to question him. He asked “Am I being detained? Am I free to go?” and was told he was not being detained so he left the scene. Later, when he witnessed a group of police employees, he filmed. One of the police employees – Nix – approached him and demanded his ID.
So, while I don’t support Nix’s claim that he was justified in demanding ID from 321FilmGuy based on whatever previous interaction the latter may have had with him or a colleague, I do appreciate the time he took to converse with me. It turns out, there’s a lot of overlap in our ideas. Such interactions hopefully reinforce that badge or not, we’re human and most of us would prefer to live in a freer society, absent arbitrary dictates. The question is, how do we get there? What are the means?
It’s not by resorting to collectivizing the actions of one or a few to many. It’s not to view the police as the “enemy” or for current police employees to view all “citizens” with suspicion, or unable to take care of themselves.
We’re all individuals who, no matter our place of birth, have the right to act – to follow our chosen pursuits, so long as we don’t violate the equal negative rights of others. The current structure doesn’t allow for that, hence, the need for something better. A voluntary society.
To his credit Nix, after learning more about my motivations for following-up and about Cop Block, made statements that I thought solid: “I don’t think your objectives or what you’re attempting to accomplish is something negative to law enforcement.”
After touching-on heavy-handed or corrupt individuals who wear a badge Nix noted “I’m bright enough to realize and honest enough to admit it . . . all of them are not good” and that having such colleagues “makes our job more difficult.”
I sought to outline to Nix why it is that he even works with such undesirable individuals – that its the perverse incentives inherent to policing today – the fact that its actors operate in a vacuum, a claimed monopoly. He advocated that it was the “public’s responsibility to hold them accountable” yet what about a better alternative: let each person allocate their money where they want. Currently, money is stolen from people to pay the salary’s of others who initiate force and to build cages, filled mostly with individuals who’ve harmed no one else.
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office
1700 West Leonard Street
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 932-9211 sgt. Phillip Nix