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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New England Cop Harasses Guy Walking Home, Gets Schooled

Amanda Warren

I defend this country...I defend those rights for you. -Cop, before arresting guy walking home.

It's October 2013 and a man is walking home down a picturesque road. He is being watched. He is being followed. This is evidenced by the police dashcam video that was finally released.

When he gets stopped by an officer for "suspicious activity" he doesn't just shrug and leave it at that. He morphs into assertive overdrive. He knows the law and his rights, even though the officer claims otherwise.


The officer demands the pedestrian's identification on the claim of suspicious activity. He follows the man, saying repeatedly that yes, it is his business.

The cop projects everything he is doing onto his prey. Stop escalating, he warns. And, you are acting suspicious right now. A second cop arrives to interrogate even after the man provides information to quell any suspicions of criminal activity. When they can't arrest him for acting suspicious or not giving ID, voila! they pull something else out of their bag-o-charges. 

The escalation of the cop and ensuing arrest resulted in damages awarded to the arrested man. At his request, the town's entire police department was to undergo more training on "Terry Stops" (described as proper search and seizure).

So much for, "I defend this country...I defend those rights for you," as the cop claims, and "I'm not doing anything that's illegal."

Volume begins at about one minute when the vehicle lights activate the dashcam recorder. There is no editing aside from the typed narration.


Terry Stops, which can include frisks and light searches of duffel bags, etc, are enacted when there is "reasonable suspicion" versus probable cause. 

From Terry vs Ohio (1968):

Where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, ...he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.
Guy walking home with grocery bag? Not exactly the adrenalin-inducing suspicion better placed towards a man who just pulled off an armed bank job.

According to YouTube poster, Michael Wright, the arrest led to legal financial settlement in the unidentified rural, New England town.

No trial. No jury. And of course, no admission of guilt on the part of the officer involved or the department.

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