Saturday, July 02, 2011

Arrest For Contempt Of Police: It Happened In Indianapolis

I misspoke in one of my earlier posts when I said that I didn't believe there were any cases of Indianapolis police arresting a private citizen for video taping their actions during an arrest in progress as we've seen happening increasingly throughout our nation. Sixty-six year-old Willie King was arrested and charged by police for refusing to turn over the video evidence to police. A Marion Superior Court judge acquitted King on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting arrest. WRTV has the story:
An Indianapolis man who was charged after he refused to give police video of an arrest he captured on his cellphone has been acquitted.
Willie King, 66, was standing on his neighbor's property in the 3900 block of North Whittier Place as he recorded officers arresting a man on Feb. 18. 
"I heard the neighbors screaming and hollering about the police. (They said) 'You all get off of him. He's already in handcuffs. Why are you doing this?' " King said. "I just got my camera out, put it on record, walked over to my neighbor's house and stood on his stoop."
Legal expert Joel Schumm told  6News' Joanna Massee he does not believe police have the right to arbitrarily demand citizens' cellphones.
He said recording arrests can help protect citizens and the police by proving what really happened, but suggested those doing the recording defend their rights without using profanity.
"I think if a citizen says, 'Yes, I've taped this. If you want to get this, here's my name and phone number. You can pursue a legal process to get it in the future,' I think that's fine," Schumm said.
King said he's upset he was arrested and had to go before a judge. He said he feels anything but protected.
"I had the camera out. I wanted the police to see, if you're doing anything wrong, stop. I wasn't glory hunting or nothing," he said. "There's something wrong with the system."
Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski confirmed an internal investigation is under way concerning the incident. The findings will be presented to the Citizens' Police Complaint Board for review.


Marv said...

It just amazes me that the police are all in favor of placing cameras all over cities to monitor the activities of citizens. When civil libertarians object the standard response is: “Well, it shouldn’t bother you if you have nothing to hide.”

I would like to have a camera in the office of every elected and appointed official. After all it shouldn’t bother them if they have nothing to hide.

Cato said...

Cops are scum. Where are the "good cops" to arrest this anti-American cop?

There aren't any.

Advance Indiana said...

Have you ever been arrested, Cato? You sure have it out for all cops.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, what I want to know is where was the police chief? When a situation like this happpens why doesn't the chief tell those officers they are not allowed to do what they did? They can't just go in and start taking film away from private citizens claiming it's "evidence."

Public intox, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest. Those are BS charges. Why did the prosecutor file them in light of the facts. That poor man was put through hell for months I'm sure before he was acquitted.

There is a middle ground between the police officers are always right and police officers are always wrong. Here they were acting improperly yet nobody along the way stopped them until the judge acquitted the defendant.

Cato said...

I have it "in" for Freedom, Gary.

Omnipresent, unaccountable, militaristic, imperious, short-tempered and violent police have transformed this country from one in which leaving others alone was the highest citizen virtue into one in which obedience to the government proves a citizen's worth. This servient condition is not only anti-American, it's pretty sick and a quality of a tyranny.

Then, to seal our fate as slaves, our supreme court issues "opinions" that give cops unfettered action in ensuring that we're all in jail upon a cop's bare wish.

No right to resist, no-knock warrants, and publicly intoxicated in a passenger seat have all occurred in the last month to allow disgraceful cop arrests to stand. Hundreds of other terrifying and freedom-stripping "opinions" preceded these, all in the service of the police state.

You're a frog in a pot who doesn't sense the heat increasing.

My thermostat is far more sensitive, and I have a keen eye for human nature. The people who become cops are deep-down evil, or hurt, broken, afflicted with an inferiority complex, or otherwise suffering under some form of inadequacy that is soothed by a badge, a gun and membership in a unit. Their loyalty is not to freedom, but to their corps.

We've just about lost what it meant to be an American. Unless we soon and strongly remind all Americans that a freeman answers to nobody, it's gone, forever. We need to have a large national public repudiation of police and a massive and scornful reduction of their numbers.

If we don't do this, soon, we really should stop calling ourselves a "free country."

Hell, the average Russian puts up with less crap from their government than we do.

We have the most people in prison, per capita, and we have the largest police force in the world. Just like Americans, we believe our own hype, and persist in calling ourselves "free."

Downtown Indy said...

For the lawyers:

Wouldn't that 'evidence' be thrown out of court for being illegally obtained if presented by the Prosecutor?

I realize they typically delete or destroy it anyway. Which then is tampering with evidence. Right?

Advance Indiana said...

Yes, the circumstances under which the police seized the evidence violated King's constitutional rights (i.e., the fruit of the poisonous tree); however, you can bet it wasn't being seized as evidence for use as evidence in the case of the man whose arrest was being recorded by King. I'm assuming King did, however, use the evidence to his own benefit since it helped prove that he wasn't doing anything unlawful when the police arrested him.

Advance Indiana said...

I should clarify the evidence seized didn't violate the other arrestee's constitutional rights. I'm sure he would have wanted to use the evidence if it had been beneficial to his case. Both seizing the evidence and arresting King, however, clearly was unlawful.

Jeff Cox said...

This trend of police hostility to private citizens recording their activities is more than a little disturbing. I'm tough on crime to the point of ruthlessness, as you know, but if anything recording police activities should felonies enforcement, both in providing additional evidence of crime and keeping police honest.

Police are supposed to be the watchers. But who's supposed to watch the watchers? We are. That's how government in the US is set up. Sounds like some people have a problem with that.

SW Lane said...

As a police officer, I have been recorded many times, especially when I worked late shift. I understand the rationale-bringing light (literally) to actions taken during the course of an investigation. It never bothered me, and as long as the recorder didn't physically interfere with the situation, they were free to record as long as they wanted.

I don't know the facts of the situation, but if the officers were wrong, they'll be disciplined.

Sometimes situations can be fluid and decisions made that aren't correct. One thing I have always done when the situation had calmed and the time was there, was to explain to family members or neighbors exactly what had transpired from my point of view regarding a law violation, as well as why I had acted in the fashion I did. Often, the person understood decisions and actions made, and more often than not appreciated the fact of being briefed. Those who didn't were advised to file a complaint.

Paul K. Ogden said...

SW Lane, good comment. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. You are being charitable though. There really is no scenario justifying the seizure of the video. I can understand they made a mistake, probably got frustrated and angry. That happens to all of us.

But that's why someone like the chief of police or some other supervisor should sit down and explain to them why they can't do that sort of thing. But they didn't do that. Instead they went ahead and charged the man and the prosecutor tried to prosecute him on the trumped up charges. What is wrong with the prosecutor that he would actually take these charges to trial?

Cato said...

Lane, come on; it's systemic.

Advance Indiana said...

Good question on the prosecutor's office, Paul. What is up with Curry? His performance to date must be giving liberals in his party a fit.

Cato said...

I guess I just have it for the cops. Sorry for making them do this:

Paul K. Ogden said...


I doubt they'll complain about Curry because frankly I'm not sure civil libertarian Democrats exist anymore. It's really quite remarkable. You'll get more Republicans bemoaning civil rights abuses anymore. Some of my friends who work on these issues on the state and national level confirm that. It's very weird.

Another example with regard to Curry: On civil forfeiture, Curry actually wants to expand it. He wants, for example, to seize vehicles driven by johns to allegedly pick up a prostitute. He has no problem with civil forfeiture being used against people never charged with committing a crime.

I'd like to see the break down on Michael Young's public intox bill that passed the Senate. I wonder if it was R's or D's supporting the bill which would have basically elminated a status offense, a blank check police officers have to arrest people allegedly intoxicated in public.

SW Lane said...

Hopefully Ogden, the Chief will have that information relayed to those officers who don't know that.

However, in that this is the same Chief who couldn't be bothered to respond to the scene of a fatal accident involving one of his officers, but can ride the Monon Trail on a bike while stating that other areas in the city aren't being shorted in patrolled coverage(so I guess the area I was in charge of on the North east side was somehow magically covered)...well, I wouldn't hold my breath on his doing the right thing.

Cato said...

Check the water temperature in your pot, Gary.

By the way, you asked me if I was arrested, as if being arrested can make the cops do the things in these innumerable stories.

I wonder of you: Were you raised in a house that taught subordinating yourself to other people or power collectives?

Paul K. Ogden said...


I think what Gary is saying is there is a middle ground. We can never forget that police officers have a very tough job and we should cut them some slack instead of accusing them of wrongdoing all the time. Most are good people who are doing a difficult job.

Still that doesn't mean you should never question what they do or look the other way. There's a certain radio host/blogger in town who takes that approach on every case.

Cato said...

Paul, do you have any proof of any of the arguments in your first paragraph? Seems rather like a prayer.

Cops have existed, in earnest, for about 130 years. In that time, they've taken over the country and destroyed the American understanding of the relationship of citizen to the state, and it's getting rapidly worse.

It's time to stop cutting them slack. Until we get them under control, we need massive reductions in their numbers and inescapable micromanagement of the remaining ones.

Indy4u2c said...

-Looks like something missing from this post, Gary: What were the complete facts of the case?

I hate to say it, but the post has only one side of the story. What facts came out in trial? What did the arrest report state happened?

I have to admit that after reading this post, it appears to be OUTRAGEOUS conduct by the police, but the PROSECUTOR FILED CHARGES; I have a feeling important facts are missing from the post.

I don't think the charges would have been filed given the information in the post. The prosecutor would have declined prosecution and admonished those who made the arrest if the facts of the post were the complete story of the matter.

I'd encourage a post containing the complete facts brought out at trial and/or the police report so we can all (except Cato, because his mind is always closed when it comes to police) have a better understanding.

Cato said...

Indy, grow up. Prosecutors regularly bring charges on flimsy or no evidence, expecting to bully people into accepting a plea.

Outside of the rare high-profile case like Nifong, how many prosecutors are punished for violating a citizen's rights?

With hateful juries having a punishment fetish, finding the defendant guilty over his "attitude" or any manner of irrelevancy unrelated to the crime charged, taking a plea is often the defendant's best option.

There are lots of people walking around with criminal records who have committed no crime.