Police Dept Settles with Man who Video-Recorded Police

When this man video-recorded police, they jailed him and took his phone.

video record police

I am not sure this is good news because they are paying a mere $15,000. His lawyers are requesting that the city pay another $44,000 for the time they worked on the case. The Orlando Sentinel reports,

According to the suit, [Alberto]Troche was downtown Orlando Dec. 7, 2013, about 2:30 a.m. when he saw a crowd and heard a man calling for help.

The man was on the ground and was being arrested by Orlando police officers, according to a video of the incident.

Several bystanders were video-recording the arrest, including Troche, and officers ordered them to stop and to turn over their cell phones, the suit alleged.

At least one woman did stop but not Troche.

His video appears to show a police officer walk up to him and take his phone.

The suit identified the officer as Delio.

Said Troche, “He came and said, ‘Good. I’ll be taking that,’ and took my cell phone. To me that didn’t seem right.”

Troche was handcuffed and spent 15 hours in jail, he said. He was accused of resisting arrest without violence, but prosecutors chose not to file charges against him.

In his arrest report, Delio wrote that he had told Troche before taking his phone that it contained evidence of a crime and that he needed it. Delio also wrote that Troche shoved him and said he would not give up the phone.

Troche’s phone was returned to him about three weeks later, the video of the incident still on it.

[See also, “Baltimore PD Officially Recognizes That People Can Video Police.”]

The real good news is that the Police Department has changed its policies:

Officers may not order members of the public to stop video-recording them or arrest or try to stop them, so long as they are in a public place, have not crossed a police line and are not interfering, according to a policy directive signed by Police Chief John Mina two months after Troche filed suit.

Officers also may not demand that a person recording them identify themselves, may not demand to know why they are making the recording and may not intentionally block or obstruct their camera, according to the directive.

“A bystander has the right under the First Amendment to observe and record … (police officers) in public discharge their duties,” the directive says.

We can only hope that this change of policy remains in place and is followed by other police departments.