NV Highway Patrol Cop Blocked on Vegas Strip

(Cross-posted at Liberty On Tour.)

LAS VEGAS, NV – A couple of days ago Adam and I were walking across a pedestrian bridge on The Vegas Strip when we saw two vehicles being pulled over by the Nevada Highway Patrol. As advocates of holding public officials accountable we filmed the stop.

Overall I think we did well but we could have done a bit better. Specifically, I should have responded to questions with questions. Instead of explaining myself I should have asked “Am I legally required to answer that?” or just inform them that I choose to remain silent. But, knowing that the footage we captured may end up in a video online I decided to use the opportunity to explain why I believe that filming those with badges is so important, not just to the cops themselves but to those who would later watch the video. Also, in retrospect, it’s clear the cops were trying to bait us into saying that we may use the footage in court, for which they then claimed that they needed our information.

That said, we did well in a couple of areas – we spread out so the cops couldn’t corner us and when they demanded our ID Adam asked if we were being detained. We didn’t want to end up in another situation where the cops stole our cameras (see posts about Denver and Greenfield, MA) so we moved to different vantage points to better cover the traffic stop. And throughout the incident we remained calm, cool and collected.

What do you think? Did you learn anything? Do you have any recommendations for us?

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How to Interact With Cops

EPN

Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability.

Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation.

In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.

  • Mike

    You didn’t capture why the cops pulled the guy over. So really your not getting the entire stop. Your there to try to piss them off. What your really doing is showing what a pain in the ass you can be. The guys are just doing their jobs. They are enforcing traffic laws to keep people safe. Your the one who is making a big deal out of all of this.

  • Mike, thanks for sharing your thoughts. The two vehicles were in the process of being stopped as we were walking over the pedestrian bridge.

    As for your comment about us being there just to be a pain in the ass – that’s not the case. It’s clear we weren’t impeding their functions but stood off to the side. And I communicated as much to the cops – that we were just there to film. They were the ones who pressed the issue. Do you advocate that someone who’s salary is paid by taxpayers not be filmed? Especially when they’re on duty?

    I really don’t think this video shows any “big deal” – it’s a fairly routine stop and the cops engaged us. As I noted in the post, I think we did some things well but could have done others things better. In the end, all I know is that were I similarly-situated as those in the vehicles I’d appreciate if the stop were filmed. Wouldn’t you? Just in case?

  • kelly

    as someone who has been harrassed by police really truly for nothing, i have to respectfully disagree with mike…

    sure… these particular cops did not seem nasty… this time.

    and… what’s a pain in the ass about being filmed? the guys weren’t all in the faces of the cops… they were just filming. they were also respectful in their comments back to the cops.

    i think y’all did a great job and i think you’re right… the only way we are going to stop the abuses that occur daily all over this country is by holding them accountable with video.

  • kelly

    my last comment didn’t appear for some reason… i won’t repeat it, but i will say… pete, YES. i would appreciate it, just in case.

    there are many police officers who are “just doing their jobs.” and there are others who get away with being abusive… if we all made it our business to hold the police accountable in this way… many fewer abuses would occur, i’m convinced.

  • Rob

    Great video guys, You handled your selfs perfectly.

    @Mike, If you were pulled over and lets say the officer started beating you for no reason, wouldn’t you like to have video footage of that? Adam and Pete were standing there filming when the officers started hassling them. There was no big deal until the cops started asking for ID

  • Jim Babb

    Having cameras on can PREVENT abuse. Also, if you did nothing but slow up the highway robbers, then that itself is a public service.

  • Mike

    There are laws to prevent abusive cops. There is something called a jury to decide guilt and innocence also.

    @Kelly: A lot of people feel they are being harassed by cops. If they weren’t breaking the law the cops would have no reason to stop them. Obey the rules of our society and you will be fine.

  • Mike

    http://www.copblock.org/951/brad-jardis-engages-nh-state-trooper/

    Just like in the above link. The people who are smoking marijuana are breaking the law and using bad taste by trying to start a confrontation with law enforcement by doing it on their doorsteps. This “lets break the law and get upset when we get called on it” is crap! If you get pulled over for not stopping at a stop sign take it for what it is and don’t automatically think your being harassed.

  • Ken

    There may be laws against abusive cops, but laws can’t do anything without evidence. Surely you understand the need for evidence? A jury will always side with the establishment in the absence of overwhelming evidence. This is why the State, the only institution in our society that we authorize to initiate force, must be under a constant microscope. Like a vicious dog, it must not be allowed to come off the leash. It must be ruthlessly monitored. And it’s not just cops. It’s every aspect of the State.

  • John

    cops need to be reminded of their place. Filming can do that. Pain in the ass? Too bad, get another job.

  • Jenn

    Mike, please read the Cato post below and the America, the police state post. You are making a lot of assumptions about police, how they conduct business and the legal system.

  • Marty

    hopefully, Mike’s a troll. no one truly believes ‘There are laws to prevent abusive cops’ and ‘If they weren’t breaking the law the cops would have no reason to stop them’…

    if he really believes this, the best thing to do is ignore this anecdotal bullshit. unless he’s a cop or politician, he’ll get an ‘education’ eventually.

  • Marty

    good job on the video- I especially liked the way you split up.

    be careful out there!

  • John

    I think that what u guys are doing is horrific and a complete waist of time. These are officers who put their live in har,s way everyday and may never see their families again to protect u. But yet u are on a mission to do them wrong by baiting them with ur activities knowing that they will respond poorly to the camera being in their face. As u can see in the video is that they were professional all the way to the point u got involved!

  • Invest in telephoto lenses and zoom mikes, with hidden videocams as backup if face to face with a cop.

    Just yesterday I videotaped a traffic cop driving home after running a speed trap all day, as he illegally exceeded the speed limit for 10 miles. I’ll be filing an affidavit of probable cause for criminal complaint with a county judge in court, seeking his arrest, with my video as evidence.

  • Hazy

    I’d say the only mistake you guys did was try to offer an explanation as to why you are recording.

    You see how they tried to use it against you? “Oh you may use it in court? GIMME YOUR ID”

    Give a simple answer like, “I think this interaction is interesting, I love watching ‘Cops’.”

    That’s a good answer because. If they try to question you further, you can just repeat that response. Saying there’s no complex reason for filming other than your own curiosity.

    Other than that, you guys did good. You did not become involved when he tried to get your ID and moved away. You did not interfere, you did not try to reason with the cops(a fool’s game).

  • Jenn

    John – what protection are they engaging in this video? Extorting some poor citizen for money for violating some stupid traffic law? Wow, I feel so safe now. Please look into some basic facts about how police “risk their lives.” They don’t have very dangerous jobs, and their jobs are much safer than that of roofers, millers, miners, cab drivers, loggers, sanitation workers, pilots, merchant mariners, and other professions. Further, police often make their own jobs more dangerous by engaging in paramilitary raids over stupid drug laws, driving like maniacs when it is unnecessary to do so, and enforcing other victimless crimes.

    When you look at the stats, you are just almost as likely to be shot, assaulted, or sexually assaulted by a random dude on the street as you are to be by a police officer. This is pretty disgusting, given that most people like you believe they are just out there to “protect” the population.

  • Dr. Q

    John wrote: “u are on a mission to do them wrong by baiting them with ur activities knowing that they will respond poorly to the camera being in their face.”

    John, can you point out a single instance in the video where either Adam or Pete puts a camera “in [an officer’s] face”? I watched it and I can’t find one.

  • Mike

    Dragonator : “I’ll be filing an affidavit of probable cause for criminal complaint with a county judge in court, seeking his arrest, with my video as evidence”

    So really what your doping is showing a judge you exceeded the speed limit to follow a police officer. If the speedometer on your vehicle calibrated and tested every year like they are on law enforcement vehicles? There is a degree on inaccuracy on vehicle straight from the factory. Mine shows about 4 mph fast at 70 mph. So by your evidence I guess a ticket can be issued to you from your evidence correct?

  • Mike

    Marty: Laws are put in place to control our society. They also control our government and its actions. There is something called reasonable suspicion and probable cause. They are standards a law enforcement officer must meet for a detention/arrest. Beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury to convict someone. There are penal codes for officers abusing their powers under the color of authority. You should really do some reading. And yes, a law enforcement officer can pull you over for no front plate for example and have other reasons for pulling you over but that doesn’t mean the stop isn’t valid. Fix your car so it is legal and you can’t get pulled over for such things.

    I see people who smoke weed in public who knowingly break the law then try to use the same set of laws they are breaking to try and defend their actions. We hate this law and aren’t going to follow it but we are protected by this law so ha ha. Nothing but morons.

  • Jon

    @Mike

    I think Dragonator’s point may be close to the fact that if a ticket can be issued against him then the same ticket should be issued against the speeding office.

    My uncle is deputy sheriff and he always told me that an officer shouldn’t be speeding if his lights aren’t on. I always see highway patrol cruising in the 70-80 rang (Cali. freeways are typically 65 mph; some are 70). I don’t really mind that they cruise above the speed limit, especially since I have never been ticketed when travelling at the same rates. The point is, they could pull me over for speeding even in the case where I am travelling behind them at the same (or slower speed). Then use that speeding as a basis to seek additional incrimination (drunk driving, drugs, license violation, etc.). All the while, I was obeying the California driving laws to the exact extent the officer was obeying the Cali. driving laws. It is this type of disparity between enforcing and obeying the laws that bothers many of us.

    Additionally, I find it really troubling that police and EMT are exempt from the no driving on the cell phone laws in most states I know of. I understand that an officer needs to be able to type into his computer to run plates while driving (though I think a stop should be required before a plate check), but why the cell phone exemption. Does an officer need to be on his cell while driving. Hell, does an officer need to be on his cell while working 90% of the time? Of course, personal calls cannot be avoided 100% in realistic situations, but driving around on the phone all the time annoys the hell out of me. What kind of example is that setting? It is like, “haha I know that driving on a cell phone is almost as dangerous as driving drunk but the law is the law and I am not breaking it.” I mean the cell phone laws are about the underlying safety concerns of distracted driving right? But who cares about the safety issue or the spirit of the law as long as the officers are following the letter of the law.

    Police are “just human” but they are also supposed to set an example for the rest of society to encourage us to obey the law too. If they aren’t willing to set the example why the hell should non-police citizens obey the law when obviously it isn’t that important to the police to 1) obey the laws the enforce, or 2) set an example for society based on the safety aspects they purport to provide through their enforcement of the laws.

  • Mike

    @Jon:

    I agree with a lot of what you say. Rememebr also, because a law exists that an officer or deputy doesn’t have to conform to a law like a cell phone law doesn’t mean there is not department policy about it. In Cali law enforcement is exempt from the seat belt law and cell phone just to name a few.

    The only defense I can give for cops driving with cell phones is that most are really much better at multitasking then most people. They drive, look around for people/cars, listen to the radio, have to be aware of where their partners are and what type of call they are on and doing it all at once. I think if they do get a call they can answer and pull over as soon as it is reasonable. More and more they are issued cell phone or required to use their own.

    If Dragonator is trying to get the officer in trouble and he is successful at it I’m guessing he would have no trouble being issued a ticket as well.

  • Guy Fawkes

    One thing not pointed out yet, and especially Mike and John should think about is filming cops can also be helpful to police. Lets say that guy decided to go down to the station and claim the officers assaulted him, and filed a lawsuit too. Well, it’s right there on video the cops did no such thing. Cops don’t like being filmed because they think it will be used against them, and if they don’t follow proper procedure, it will.
    “And yes, a law enforcement officer can pull you over for no front plate for example and have other reasons for pulling you over but that doesn’t mean the stop isn’t valid. Fix your car so it is legal and you can’t get pulled over for such things.”
    The same goes for cops, follow procedure and they won’t have to worry about a camera taking video of them.

  • Dr. Q

    “The only defense I can give for cops driving with cell phones is that most are really much better at multitasking then most people.”

    There you have it. Cops are just plain better than the rest of us.

  • Great stuff. I personally would have said some things differently, but so what. There needs to be room in the liberty movement for different personal styles without people sniping at each other about woulda-shoulda. The part I love the most is when you ask if you are being detained and then, when he says no, you just walk away. That’s truly beautiful.

  • Jon

    @ Dr. Q
    Well except that one distracted officer that blew through the cross walk and hit a pedestrian. I have never done that myself so maybe I get say I am at least a better driver than that guy. And yes, I get the sarcasm in the post. ;)

  • Great vid and commentaries. I was detained and treated criminally by a Nevada Trooper while on my motorcycle. Didn’t get a ticket, just a lecture about my “attitude” as she wondered whether my helmet was legal or not. She postured and was a complete bully to me and ordered my 64 year old husband like a dog – YOU – SIT!

    I filed a complaint and asked for the dashcam and was told it didn’t exist.

    I never leave home without my own recording devices!!

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