Skip to comments.Former Atlanta woman sues APD over camera seizure
Posted on 10/06/2011 9:14:50 AM PDT by rawhide
A former Atlanta woman on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the Atlanta Police Department, contending an officer illegally seized her camera after she took pictures of officers kicking a man who was handcuffed and laying on the ground.
The suit said Felecia Anderson, 24, who lived in the West End on Oct. 14, 2009, saw members of APD's now-disbanded Red Dog unit raiding her neighbor's house. When she also saw officers kicking and dragging a man, she went home and got her camera, the suit said.
As Anderson filmed the incident as she stood on the sidewalk, officers ordered her to stop recording, threatening to arrest her, the suit said, noting Anderson complied and began walking back to her house.
One of the officers came up behind her and demanded she turn over her camera, and seized it when Anderson dropped it, the lawsuit said. The officer also grabbed Anderson's cell phone out of her hand, the suit said.
The officer, identified in the lawsuit as Jeffrey Branum, then deleted the close-up photos Anderson had taken, and Anderson's neighbors witnessed him doing it, the suit said. Officers then placed Anderson under arrest for having no driver's license, walking in a roadway and disorderly conduct.
Those charges are still pending against Anderson, who now lives in New York.
"Documenting police activity in a public space is not a crime," said Atlanta lawyer Albert Wan, who represents Anderson. "In fact, it's a constitutional right and a well-established one at that."
The suit seeks "nominal and modest" compensatory damages as well as unspecified punitive damages. Anderson's lawyers say they have tried to settle the case with the city of Atlanta, but have had no success in doing so.
Gerry Weber, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights, who also represents Anderson, called on APD to fully investigate the officers involved in the incident.
Cops behaving like Gestapo. This is getting very bad.
Lady just won a boat load of tax payer funds, due to dumb and dumber cops.
Hmmm. I wonder if they would treat a news crew the same way. I doubt it. So why should a private citizen have less rights than a news crew. So much for equal rights.
If you want to ‘fix’ the problem, sue the cop - personally. What they did was outside their official duty, so why should the city of Atlanta be held hostage.
If a couple thug cops wind up fired, and lose their homes and have a lien on their earnings; I think this problem will go away.
These bullies are cowards, hiding behinda badge. Remove the badge, and they will cower like the craven boys they are; and once exposed, others will follow suit.
May not be a lot of money to be had this way; but it would ‘fix’ the problem.
We have come full circle. Law enforcement is now lawless. It’s time for some serious prosecution of these kinds of acts. No monetary damages only, but some serious jail time for offending cops. The word needs to go around forcefully that this is not going to be tolerated. Letting cities “pay off” people who have suffered this king of unconstitutional abuse should stop. We should not let them buy off these abuses.
Can’t use camera’s to keep them honest? All sorts of authority and non-authority film the general population all the time. Why should THEY be exempt?
Illegal seizure. GUILTY.
Take money from the violators and their bosses.
When it looks like a cop and acts like a cop ...
It's probably a cop on official duty.
If the DA is still carrying these charges, he's part of the problem, too.
Nope; if the cop while on duty, rapes a women; that's not the fault of the Atlanta PD. He gets to face those crimes all by his lonesome. Same thing with theft, drug trafficing, etc. He is protected while executing his duties; but not when he is operationg on his own.
Here are a couple of articles about this type of thing. It’s ACLU stuff, but the law is the law. Interestingly enough, the articles even addresse the taking of the cell phone and the deleting of pictures:
This unionized policeman mis-handled and destroyed evidence. Simple as that.
I think along with “hate” enhancements and “gang” enhancements to existing criminal charges for us regular folks, there should be an “under color of law” enhancement for criminal cops... and prosecutors should USE it.
If the city tool no action against the cop, it is conceding that it did not disapprove of his actions. Had they fired him, the city would have been on a much better position.
War is hell, and cops are essentially at war with criminals and associated civilian busybodies.
Meanwhile, you mentioned "rape" "theft, and "drug trafficking" where no such occurred.
PS: The WW-II camera was not returned.
Get with it ... It wasn't rape, theft or drug trafficking; it was a civilian meddling at a crime scene.
The only thing that’s going to stop this crap is cops being held personally liable both civilly and criminally.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (Who polices the police?) as some dead Greek would say.
No, interfering means physically placing yourself in a position to impede an arrest, aiding or abetting a criminal activity or resisting a lawful order. Standing outside a crime scene, filming an armed policeman beat a handcuffed and subdued perp is hardly interfering - it's gathering evidence of a Felony. Maybe you haven't noticed, that have a video surveliance camera in every one of their patrol cars - so are they alone allowed to record when it suits them? I think not.
Perhaps you haven't noticed that there have been numerous incidents where police have attacked and beaten people, without provokation, who were not resisting arrest and were 100% in compliance with the law. Give a thug a badge, and you won't have a Policeman, you will simply have a thug with a badge, who will behave in a more aggressive manner than a thug without a badge.
As another dead Greek said, "Power corrupts; Abolute power corrupts absolutely".
Recording the police in their official act IN NO WAY impedes justice, in fact in many instances it can re-affirm what the Police report states. The only legitimate reason for a policeman to reject having his PUBLIC actions, in a PUBLIC place, as a PUBLIC servant being recorded, is when his actions refute his sworn testamony, or are evidence which can be used against him.
This was not a scene of military intelligence (such as a military base, a naval port - where there are signs expressly forbidding photography). This was on public land.