Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Yet another instance of someone videotaping the police — in this case, a woman taping them roughing up her son — and getting arrested for it. Bearing in mind that this is only her side of the story, if what it says is true then some of it is truly disturbing. She got a call from the police saying her son was in handcuffs at a movie theater, for allegedly handing a ticket to another person to get in to the movie. Her story below the fold:

After pulling into the parking lot, she started filming as soon as she stepped out of her car.

“I saw my son surrounded by five officers and I started filming them, then I filmed the officer walking up to me,” she said.

Rather than stop to talk to the officer, she walked up to her son and asked him what happened. He told her that he had been tackled from behind by an officer and handcuffed after having been thrown out of the theater by a security guard.

“I kept asking the officers, ‘Was he aggressive? Did he pose a threat? I cannot perceive why you would want to put a child in handcuffs’,” she said.

But the officers seemed mainly concerned about the camera.

“They said ‘you can’t record people without letting them know’,” she said.

“So I said, ‘Ok, Tasha Ford is recording you’ and I continued filming them.

“I was filming them for my own protection,” said the mother of two who recently moved to South Florida from Washington DC. “I’ve seen the way cops interact with civilians down here.”

She said one of the officers, Robert Kellman, pictured right, was extremely antagonistic towards her and told her son, “since your mother is such a fucking asshole, I’m going to arrest you for trespassing’.”

And then a supervisor arrived and when he noticed that she had a Maryland driver license, he allegedly told her, “you fucking northerners think you can come down here and mess with cops. You are about to get a lesson 101 on how to deal with Florida cops.”

She was arrested and originally charged under Florida’s electronic surveillance law, which prevents people from recording conversations with another person without their permission. This does not apply in such situations and the judge dismissed that charge the next day. But the judge kept a charge for “resisting arrest without violence” for, apparently, asking the cops too many questions.

I’m just fed up with this. We’ve seen incidents of this all over the country. It’s time that legislatures and courts send a very clear message to the police that citizens absolutely do have a right to record them doing their job, and if they harass or arrest someone for doing it, they’re the ones who will be going to jail.