Did Brighton, NY Police Chief Mark Henderson & colleagues target anti-abortion protest?

Mark Henderson, Brighton NY PD chief

By Davy V.

Since the mid-1980’s, when I used to tag along with my dad, a community activist against police misconduct and corruption in Rochester, NY, I have attended and organized hundreds of rallies, protests, and demonstrations.

NOT ONCE, have I ever seen a police Chief show up to a demonstration.

Until now.

Case in point… Brighton, NY Police Chief Mark Henderson.

On Saturday, July 27, 2013, Henderson was one of several Brighton Police officials keeping a close watch on the national group Save America’s anti-abortion protest held in Brighton’s “12 Corners” intersection.

Remaining about 50 feet back from the crowd of demonstrators who were holding huge signs depicting images of aborted, mutilated babies, Chief Henderson looked more like a golfer, dressed down in a blue polo button pullover shirt, and sporting a pair of sunglasses, as he talked with his Lieutenant Dave Cataldi, and another unidentified BPD official.

Mark Henderson and Dave Cataldi

As you can see in the third video below, Henderson, who has been Chief since 2010, was not too happy when I asked him on camera with what purpose was his department video recording the demonstration.

In fact, Henderson seemed determined to avoid my question.

Now let me set one thing clear right now.

Those who know me, and my work, know that I am an advocate of the right to record, protected under the first amendment, and certainly that right goes both ways.

If me or you have that right, then certainly, so does a police officer.

However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to ask questions, whenever I see a law enforcement officer acting under the color of law, recording citizens.

I do.

And, as the video below shows, I will not hesitate to ask away.

Call it the inquisitive side of me, or call it what it really is, the fact that I find it a bit ironic, and hypocritical, that throughout the U.S., police agencies, and their officers are at war with citizens who exercise their first amendment right to photograph and video record them.

We have all seen police officers abuse, assault, and arrest innocent citizens, and violate their rights, and the U.S. Constitution, simply because a citizen was pointing a camera at them.

Yet, police don’t have a problem video recording me or you.

So, when I saw at least one Brighton Police officer holding a small video camera, recording, I just couldn’t resist.

“I was wondering if you could tell me, with what purpose were your Brighton police officers standing on the corner video recording the event?”, I ask.

“We’re good.”, replies Chief Henderson.

“We’re good”?

Watch the video to see just how unprofessional Chief Henderson is.

After speaking to “Jerry”, a communications dispatch supervisor, he told me that he did not show Chief Henderson logged on as being on duty.

A short time later, Brighton Police Lt. Dave Cataldi, who is seen in the video below standing next to Chief Henderson, called me back and informed me that it’s not unusual for a Chief to not be logged on.

Cataldi did confirm that Chief Henderson was on duty when he was at the anti-abortion protest, but Cataldi stopped short of saying if the Chief had come in specifically for the protest.

Lt. Cataldi also told me that he feels Chief Henderson was taken back by my video recording him in the manner I did.

I told Lt. Cataldi that we would agree to disagree.

Chief, despite your Lieutenant’s attempt at defending your actions, your unprofessional, arrogant, and cocky behavior, especially your “we’re good” response, and your overall demeanor, is not only unbecoming of someone of your rank, but it’s exactly the sort of behavior which furthers to tarnish the law enforcement profession.

And Chief, next time, when a citizen is asking you a question, take off the sunglasses, it’s how I do business.

NOTE: Brighton, NY Police Chief Mark Henderson’s unprofessionalism is not indicative of the overall professional behavior of many of the department’s officers.

In fact, I have gone out of my way to praise Brighton, NY Police officers such as Sergeant Mike DiSain, officers Jeffrey Hoffman, Keith Woodard, Ryan Lehigh, Mike Romach, and Lisa Hillier, who have always treated me with the utmost respect, and professionalism.

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/davyvara


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Davy V.

Davy V. is a Cuban-American Filmmaker, Video Producer, Photographer and Freelance Writer, best known for using the power of video and film to expose Police Brutality, Corruption and Misconduct. The son of the late Mario Vara, a community activist who for years fought against Police Brutality and Misconduct in Rochester, New York, Davy V. got his start in Television and Video by tagging along and working camera for his father's cable access television show, "La Voz Del Pueblo" (The Voice of The People). Davy V. later went on to produce and host "KEEP IT ON THE REEL", a cable access TV show with a mix of Hip Hop as well as issues affecting African-Americans and Latinos in Rochester, NY, such as Police Brutality and Misconduct. Some guests on the show included Treach, KayGee and Vinnie of Naughty by Nature, Method Man, Funkdoobiest, Da Youngstas, and the Rottin' Razkals. Davy V. won the U.S. ACM Video Festival Award for his Documentary, "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" about the Rochester, New York Police Department and their long history of misconduct, corruption and unnecessary killings of unarmed innocent citizens. "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" and Davy V.'s follow up, "R.P.D.: Badges of DISHONOR, CORRUPTION and MURDER!" were both screened at the National Hip Hop Political Convention at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Davy V.'s work has been featured in publications such as THE SOURCE Hip Hop Magazine, URBAN AMERICA Magazine, The Ave. Magazine, Insider Magazine, La Voz Newspaper, Minority Reporter Newspaper, CNY LATINO Newspaper, DOWN Magazine, as well as on television news stations, and programs such as CNN and Inside Edition. In addition to his freelance writing, Davy V. also writes a monthly Op/Ed Column for LA VOZ Magazine and Minority Reporter Newspaper. In June 2012, Davy V. joined Cop Block as a regular contributor.