I’ve blogged about this before. Please Read!
The more I see it, the more I can’t help be concerned about the current state of local police overstepping their Constitutional boundaries. Today, I was greeted by not on, but two stories of law enforcement doing the exact thing.
In Milwaukee, a photojournalist for WITI was arrested on following a confrontation with a Milwaukee police officer who was trying to restrict access to the scene of a house fire.
Clint Fillinger was shooting video behind yellow police tape, where a small group of people had gathered to watch. According to Fillinger, a Milwaukee police sergeant singled him out and ordered him to move back. The video bellow shot by Fillinger shows the sergeant ordering him to move well beyond where members of the public were allowed to go.
The sergeant continued to bear down on him so Fillinger raised his hand in a defensive motion and touched the officer. At which point, the officer knocked him to the ground, handcuffing and arresting him.
The 68 year old veteran photojournalist was cited for resisting and obstructing a police officer. WITI management sent a letter to the Milwaukee Police Chief requesting that the citations be dropped.
The National Press Photographers Association also sent a letter of complaint to the department, requesting that they “commence a full and impartial investigation of this incident and bring disciplinary action against these officers if necessary.”
According to WITI, the police department is currently reviewing the incident.
In a related story, KOMO-TV in Seattle, filed a motion against the Seattle police department for violating the state of Washington’s public records law.
The TV station is seeking access to the department’s database of dashcam videos following an incident that was caught on a cellphone camera, in which Seattle police officers aggressively restrained an accused jaywalker.
The jaywalking episode is just the latest instance of questionable police behavior caught on tape and KOMO wants to see if the department’s dashcam videos reveal additional acts of misconduct.
According to the complaint, the department ignored request for video for the last 13 months.
While there are many police officers that are law-abiding and professional, there are others that taint the badge. Police departments across the country continue to test the boundaries of their authority over Constitutional grounds.
Incidents like these have us wondering, “is it laziness? is it megalomania? or is it something worse?”