Bronx Man Hauled To Jail For Exercising Right To Videotape CopsBy Ben Yakas
Mar. 18, 2013
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Once again, it's important to note that unless you are interfering with legitimate law enforcement activity, it is 100% legal to photograph or videotape anyone in public, including cops. Obviously how cops interpret interfering is the key here, but judging by the video (see below) and written account of community activist Ed GarcĂa Conde, who was handcuffed and taken to a jail cell for filming cops on Thursday night, it seems he was well within his rights at the time.
Conde, who writes the Welcome 2 Melrose blog, and a group of staff and volunteers from the Bronx Documentary Center were approached by officers after exiting the building Thursday evening just before 11 a.m. One person in the group was carrying a broken beer bottle out to the trash and using a cup to keep the liquid from spilling. Conde wrote, "Sergeant Delgado was accusing me of having an open container of alcohol...The sergeant refused to acknowledge the evidence in question and was hell bent on issuing summonses."
When the man holding the beer was being questioned by police, Conde took out his cell phone to record the interaction (and to capture "Sargeant Delgado’s aggressive, disrespectful attitude"). As you can see in the video, Delgado tells him to stop, and Conde responds, "It's my legal right, you cannot tell me to put it down." Conde wrote: "He called to the two officers under him and slammed me against the Bronx Documentary Center, rattling the windows, and proceeded to handcuff me."
Conde was taken to the 40th Precinct, where he was eventually given two summonses: one for open container and the other for attempting to create a dangerous situation. He also encountered other sympathetic officers who didn't bother searching him, and promised to come to his defense regarding the summonses ("[he] told me not to worry that if worse comes to worse and he’s called in that he will say that I wasn’t guilty").