(Memphis) Another accusation of police arresting people after they use their cellphones to record them.
John Holle was just about to feed the homeless at the Manna House on Jefferson Street two weeks ago, when he saw someone getting questioned by the police.
“There was one guy and six or seven cops,” he said.
He got out his phone and started recording. The video shows he was standing on the sidewalk, watching the action.
Five minutes later, an officer pulls up beside him.
“Sir, you’re obstructing a highway passage way right now. I understand you are videoing and it’s on video, so I’m going to take you to jail for obstructing highway passageway,” an officer said from a patrol car.
Holle was confused.
His video shows the sidewalk wasn’t blocked.
A woman is seen on the video walking right next to him on the sidewalk.
He said he was arrested, and when he was in the back of the police car, an officer made up a law.
“He told me in order for me to film anything on my phone camera in public that I have to have a permit to do it,” he said.
He wasn’t the only person told he needed a permit.
When his friend Paul Garner pulled up, he started recording too.
“I vocalized I was going to go back and record their squad number. When I walked back to the front of the car they started telling me that I needed a permit to film no matter what and that I was breaking the law. They put my hands on the car and took my phone,” Garner said.
Garner was arrested for disorderly conduct.
The two men are fed up over what they call harassment by officers.
“I’m very angry I’m frustrated for one I was arrested for something I should never have been charged with,” he said.”My picture has been in just busted paper I’ve got people left and right saying you were in jail what did you go to jail for that’s embarrassing.”
Charges against both men were dropped after they spent 12 hours in jail. They have filed a complaint with Internal Affairs against the arresting officer.
Now, their organization Homeless Organizing for Power and Equality, or HOPE, is holding a workshop this weekend to let people know their rights.
We’ve told you about several incidents lately where people claim officers tried to stop them from recording and were arrested.
The most recent was after a noise complaint about a downtown hip-hop gathering.
“Unfortunately, for our members this is just Monday night, and this is one instance, but it is indicative of a system problem. We want to educate people what their rights,” Garner said.
The event will be held November 16 at 1633 Madison Avenue from 2:30 to 4:30.
A public defender will be on hand.
We asked MPD again about cell phone recording laws.
They say there is no law preventing people from recording, and their officers are not trained to tell people not to record.