By Davy V.
At first, the 3 minute and 54 second dark, and somewhat grainy video looks like some ordinary footage of police cruisers, with flashing lights on, at the scene of what looks to be a motor vehicle accident, in Rochester, NY on March 9th.
However, around the 2 minute and 5 second mark of the video, things quickly change.
It is at that point that a Rochester Police officer can be heard telling the man who is recording the video, “Get inside why are you still standing here I know you hear me.”
The man, who is in his North Street home, replies, “I understand you and I’m standing in my house and I’m filming an accident that has occurred”, when the RPD officer interrupts him and says “Sir I need you to go inside you are standing here and I need you to go inside.”
Then RPD officer, who is briefly seen in the video, then shoves the man inside his home as he continues to yell at the man to go inside.
The officer then slams the man’s door shut while while yelling “If you come out here again I am arresting you!”
As if the video of a Rochester, NY Police officer violating an innocent citizen’s first amendment right, forcing him into his own home and then threatening him with arrest if he comes back out, wasn’t disturbing enough, something I noticed after viewing the video, perhaps makes it even more so.
Around the 2 minute and 30 second mark of the video, the video captures a shadow of what appears to look like a gun being pointed, possibly at the man, right before he is forced into his home.
It happens so fast that it can be hard to see, but I paused the video, and took a still shot, which can be seen on the photo above.
I reached out to my good friend, Mr. Mickey Osterreicher, and attorney and General Counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, or NPPA.Having been involved In the Emily Good incident, the Rochester, NY woman who was arrested by RPD officer Mario Masic for video recording Masic conducting a racially profiled traffic stop in front of her home, I was interested in what Mr. Osterreicher’s thoughts on this video were.
“If the only reason that he was shoved inside his home was because he was recording, that’s exactly the kind of situation that the department of justice talks about on their statement of interest, that you can’t single people out just because they’re recording”, said Osterreicher, from his Buffalo home.
I asked the NPPA counsel, who is preparing for a trip to New York’s Columbia University, followed by a course he will be teaching in Orlando, Florida to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, what he, having personally met with Rochester Police Chief Sheppard after the Emily Good incident, thought about this officer’s actions.
“Clearly for this officer, I’d say a couple of things are needed, looking at the Rochester, NY Police department’s new website, policing in the spirit of service, where they talk about how it requires every employee to strive for excellence by demonstrating courtesy, professionalism and ethics, clearly courtesy wasn’t present at all in this incident”, said Osterreicher, before adding, “Being shoved into your own house forcibly, and being threatened with arrest without being told why, when you’re in your own home, and then to be threatened with arrest if you open the door, that’s not courtesy and that’s not professional, and I have to question the ethics of all that as well. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of things that we continue to see where officers are not necessarily directing someone not to record, but everything that they’re doing is for the purpose of interfering with the citizen, and preventing them from recording. It’s not like this person was bothering anyone for the few minutes that he was standing there, recording quietly.”
I don’t know if this RPD officer did point a gun at this man, or not.
I will say that as an activist exposing police misconduct and corruption in my hometown of Rochester, NY, I certainly hope that wasn’t a gun.
After all, as a Cuban-American, whose parents left their homeland, a police state, precisely because the police do these exact same things to people, it’s bad enough that this RPD officer violated this man’s constitutional rights and forced him into his home, in the United States of America, a supposedly ‘free’ country.
It would be even more disturbing if he did in fact pull a gun on this innocent man.
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