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Annapolis, MD Police Officer James Spearman Threatens and Tries to Intimidate Citizen Legally Filming

The following post and video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Landon Tomsa, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The following post is fairly self explanatory. The person who submitted it states that they saw an Annapolis City police officer, James Spearman, parked illegally while having some unspecified interaction with a woman. Shortly after, Officer Spearman aggressively approaches Tomsa and begins filming with his own cell phone.

As anyone who has filmed the police knows, this is actually not an unusual reaction by cops. They often project their own displeasure at being filmed onto the people legally filming them and think they’ll  “show them” by filming them back. Generally, Cop Blockers don’t mind being filmed and it amounts to a whole lot of nothing.

However, in the case of Officer Spearman, as can be seen on the video, he acts very aggressively and purposely invades Tomsa’s personal space (something that would get a citizen arrested) in order to harass and intimidate him for exercising his legal right not only to film in public, but as has been affirmed numerous times in court, also to film public employees performing their duties.

Also on the video you can see several “Good Cops,” including Officer Kevin Freeman, show up after being called by Officer Spearman to back up his efforts to stop a citizen from exercising his legal rights. Initially, they remove Spearman from the area and pretend to be sympathetic to Tomsa’s valid complaint. However, when Tomsa begins walking away and Officer Spearman resumes his harassment of him, the other officers somehow don’t seem to notice, since they make no effort to intervene a second time.

Date of Incident: October 10, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer James Spearman Badge #2077, Officer Kevin Freeman, also multiple other officer who didn’t identify themselves.
Department Involved: Annapolis City Police Department
Department Facebook Page: Annapolis Police Department
Department Twitter Account: @AnnapolisPD
Internal Affairs Section:

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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I would just like to start off by saying that my prior interactions with the law enforcement officers of the Great State of Maryland had been pretty good, overall. The Annapolis County Police have given me nothing but respect and even a little help in some situations with my filming of interactions with the police. For some reason though, it seems that the Annapolis City Police Department doesn’t do things quite the same way.

On the morning of October 10th, I got up early and, having the day off, decided to head to the state capital to see what was going on. After walking around for about a half-hour, I came across a police cruiser, which happened to be parked in a loading only zone. I noticed a woman interacting with a police officer, so I decided to film this attraction.

After a while, the woman left and the officer, after sitting in his car for a bit, got out and started approaching me. What transpired next is exactly what you see on the video.

Having pulled out his personal cell phone, he approached me continuously while trying to get a picture of me for some reason. Officer Spearman then chased me down a main thoroughfare in Annapolis about two blocks from where I originally started the interaction.

It was about at this point that other officers started arriving. The arriving officers then separated Officer Spearman and I. A second officer approached me and, as you can see in the video, I sort of explain the situation to him. A third officer, with a body cam, identified himself as Kevin Freeman. I found out later he was the commander for the Annapolis Police K-9 Division.

I explained the situation to him, he seemed to agreeably and professionally take my complaint about the officer and assured me it would be addressed. Unfortunately, as I was walking back towards the Capitol Building, Officer Spearman continued to follow me. He again began walking, unimpeded, away from the other officers, who had told me they wouldn’t let him do this.

As he was following me he made some very odd comments. I don’t know if you can hear them in the video, but one was, “now we’ll do a follow up with the Department of Homeland Security.” The other was, “We may have a lone wolf situation here.” Both ludicrous statements as you can tell from my reaction if the video.

I hope the public finds this video as informative as I did about certain officers within the Annapolis Police Department. And if anybody feels like expressing their own opinion to the Annapolis Police department, included are the public access, non-emergency numbers and email for their Internal Affairs Department, as well as links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Feel free to express your opinion, it is your right as much as filming them in public without having to be being harassed and intimidated is.

– Landon Tomsa

Just wanted to give a big thanks and a shout out to everyone involved at CopBlock.org. Though I have not been doing this very long, you guys have helped me immensely. Keep up the good work and let people know that Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.

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Alberta Canada Checkpoint (Check Stop) Refusal and Assertion of Rights

The following video post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, using the (very creative) pseudonym “Sub Mitter.” It was sent in to us via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Although there was no description included with the video, it is pretty self explanatory. In the video, a man driving through a checkpoint (they’re called “check stops” in Canada) in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, where he is asked if he has been drinking and also to provide a driver’s license. He informs the officer conducting the stop that he won’t answer any questions. At that point the officer tells him to drive to a secondary inspection area.

The driver responds by asking if he is being detained. The officer says that he is and quotes a law that says he is authorized to determine if drivers have been drinking and also if they have a valid driver’s license. There’s then some back and forth about whether the police need to have a suspicion that a driver is drunk before they are compelled to submit to further investigation regarding that. Next, the driver asks if he is required to show a driver’s license without a requirement for suspicion. The officer replies that he is and the man then shows him his driver’s license.

Shortly after, and still without having answered the question about whether he had been drinking, the driver is released and continues on his way.

Date of Checkpoint: November 26th, 2016
Department Involved: Medicine Hat (Alberta, Canada) Police Service
Professional Standards Supervisor: (403) 502-8917
Department Facebook Page: Medicine Hat Police Service
Department Twitter Profile: @medhatpolice
Department Instagram Account: Medicine Hat Police Service

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If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Key West Police Wrongfully Arrest Homeless Man Then Assault Him After Turning Their Body Cameras Off

Key West Florida Police Brutality Homeless Body Camera

The following videos were originally posted at the “Blue Paper” an independent newspaper located in Key West, Florida. All commentary included on the videos are those of a contributor to the Blue Paper. In addition, police reports and all body camera footage that are included within this post were acquired by contributors and/or the staff of the Blue Paper and subsequently submitted to  Nevada Cop Block.  Between the commentary on the video and the video itself this incident is actually somewhat self-explanatory.

Naja and Arnaud Gerard, the editors of the Blue Paper, originally received a video taken by a concerned bystander of a homeless man, who had already been restrained, being treated roughly by a pair of Key West police officers during an arrest. This arrest took place in February of this year and resulted from a trespassing complaint by the manager of a local Publix grocery store. The justification given for this “rough arrest” was that the man being arrested, Kristopher Knight, had kicked the window of the police car once he was placed inside.

That original video was described in a post on the Blue Paper:

The initial bystander video showed Mr. Knight screaming in pain while Key West police officers were handling him. His hands were already cuffed and his legs had been tied with some sort of leash [a hobble strap]. It was not clear what kind of resistance the short 25-year-old would still have been able to show the officers. The level of pressure used on Knight was disturbing for some of our viewers; others found it perfectly justified.

After that video surfaced, public records requests were used to acquire the police report filed by Officers Julio Gomez and Michael Chaustit that day, as well as their body camera footage from the incident. This provided the entire context of the incident from the time the officers first arrived to the time they left.

Interestingly enough however, by some amazing “coincidence” one portion of the arrest was somehow not captured by the officers’ body cams. This, of course, was the part where the officers have pulled Knight back out of the police car. In fact, the body cameras were able to capture everything up to that point and everything after Knight was placed back into the car perfectly fine.

Due to the convenient timing, a skeptical person might even be tempted to think the cameras were intentionally turned off at that key moment. Fortunately though, the bystander was there filming the police as they threw Knight around and twisted his already cuffed arms. Therefore, between the body cam footage and the bystander’ cell phone video, there’s a pretty complete visual record of what happened between Knight and the police that afternoon.

The full incident was described in the Blue Paper’s post:

footage showed Mr. Knight dozing, while sitting down in front of Publix at Key Plaza. One officer, Officer Julio Gomez, wakes him up, and inquires about his condition. He is obtaining reasonable answers and compliance from Knight who he continues to address politely.

Another officer however, Officer Michael Chaustit immediately breaks into foul language and a confrontational attitude. Knight is ordered off the property. He complies, but as he is walking and once he gets about 30 feet away, he yells loudly “Fuck y’all Motherfuckers!” Officer Chaustic is heard saying, “Nope!” Gomez asks: “You want to take him?” Answer, “Yep”.

Chaustit follows behind Knight. He orders “Stop!” Knight raises his hands over his head but keeps walking “Man I didn’t do nothing.” Officer Chaustit, who is twice Knight’s size, throws him into what appears to be some plastic drums then grabs him again and throws him, flying across the walkway, where his head stops inches from a cement column. From that moment on and at all times thereafter Chaustit uses one form or another of “pain compliance.”

The whole thing is captured by KWPD’s new body worn cameras, to one exception: the really disturbing scene, where Knight is completely restrained and yet constantly subjected to pain, that part, is not recorded. The footage however resumes immediately after, as Knight is being put back inside the police cruiser.

It’s pretty evident in the video who was the aggressor that day. From the time he arrived, Officer Chaustit is verbally abusive and confrontational, even when Officer Gomez is being fairly polite and Knight is being cooperative. Obviously, Chaustit is waiting for any excuse to arrest Knight and likely hoping for an opportunity to use force against him. Shortly after, when Knight yells, “Fuck y’all Motherfuckers!” Chaustit seizes his opportunity and proceeds to assault, arrest, and then once again assault him after pulling him out of the car.

Within their post, Arnaud and Naja Gerard also state they contacted Key West Police Chief Donie Lee, who subsequently ordered a review of the incident by the KWPD Professional Standards Department. As a result, according to a statement from Chief Lee, Officer Chaustit received some unspecified “discipline” for his actions (described as a reprimand in the Blue Paper’s post):

“We have concluded our review of the arrest of Kristopher Knight by Ofc. Chaustit on Feb. 4, 2017.  Although we believe there was probable cause for the arrest, we believe the arrest was based on an emotional reaction to provocation by Knight.  My expectation is that our officers always strive to maintain their professionalism and avoid attitude arrest. Ofc. Chaustit also didn’t use his body cam according to policy.  Ofc. Chaustit has been disciplined for his actions.  He is a good officer and has accepted responsibility for his actions. We have determined that the use of force in this arrest was within policy.”

The basic gist of that is “we found that Officer Chaustit probable cause (of which cursing at the police isn’t) to arrest Knight, but it was unprofessional of him to do so because someone had insulted him. And he violated department policy by turning his body camera off right before he assaulted Knight the second time, but Officer Chaustit is a Good Cop and promised not to do it again.”

The video shows otherwise, though. Officer Chaustit, like many of his “Brothas in Blue,” is a violent bully who was looking for an excuse to assault someone whose dangerous crime was coming onto someone else’s property without their permission and going to sleep. It’s not a situation that should require force against a person who is being compliant, even if they are being verbally defiant in the process, especially when Chaustit initiated the hostility himself. And in spite of his “acceptance of responsibility for his actions,” you’d be foolish to believe this was the first time Ofc. Chaustit unnecessarily used violence against another person, even more so if you believe it will be the last.

Full Video With Additional Commentary

Unedited Bystander Video

Bystander and Body Camera Videos Combined

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Michigan Police Harass Black Man Claiming He “Fit the Description” of a White Man

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader named Brian (no last name provided), via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Along with the video, Brian stated:

“They harassed me, because I, ‘fit the description’ of a black male in black clothes. The real description was of a white male.”

Date of Incident: August 23, 2013
Department Involved: Canton (MI) Police Department
Department Phone Number: (734) 394-5400
Department Email: Email Canton Police Department
Facebook Page: Canton Police Department on FB
Twitter Account: @CantonPSD

In a description included on the video, Brian explains that he was heading from his house to the gym when he noticed that he was being surrounded by police cars, including an undercover vehicle. Soon after a uniformed officer and undercover officer in plain clothes (who refused to identify himself) approached and began demanding ID from Brian.

Brian further states that he told them that he was not required to give them ID unless they had reasonable suspicion of him having committed a crime to detain. They then responded by telling him that he “fit the description” of someone that had been reported as exposing himself to women in the area. According to the officers, that description was “a black 20 year old male wearing black shorts, a black shirt, and a medalion.”

However, Brian indicates that he later found an official report from the Canton Police Department, which included the description of the person(s) suspected of exposing themselves. That description actually included two people, both of whom are white and significantly different in appearance to Brian’s physical characteristics.

Within that description and also numerous times on the video footage itself, Brian also states that when he refused to provide his ID and instead asked to speak to a supervisor, the original two officers acted aggressively toward him and appeared ready to assault him. He equates the fact that did not happen to his having began filming them shortly after.

It’s certainly not impossible that a third person who was black had been reported exposing himself that day. However, it’s also not an uncommon tactic for the police to claim someone fits the description of a suspect they are looking for to justify stopping someone they have decided they want to harass. In fact, cops have even been caught using fake 911 calls to manufacture a reason to perform illegal searches.

In this particular instance, the cops never bring the alleged victim over to visually identify Brian (which is often done from within a police vehicle to ensure anonymity), nor is any other type of evidence produced to substantiate their claims of suspicion. Instead, the dozen or so cops that have shown up to harass Brian simply leave once the supervisor has (finally) shown up and spoken to him.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Norfolk Constabulary Kidnap UK CopBlocker Marcus Potter for Publicly Filming Cops Outside a McDonald’s

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Marcus Potter, a UK CopBlocker who has submitted numerous other videos (see “related posts” section below) to the CopBlock Network, as well. It was shared via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

In this post, marcus was legally filming several cops inside a McDonald’s. Soon after, a manager takes offense to him filming the inside of the store, even though it is clearly within public view from the outside. Also, in spite of his claim that they “can’t be filmed,”  that manager even states that they have cameras of their own inside.

Whether the fact he was filming the police is related to his complaint isn’t clear, but regardless of that, this complaint is used as an excuse by officers from the Norfolk Constabulary to first harass and demand ID from Marcus and then to illegally arrest him, when he refuses those demands.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Date Of Incident: February 2, 2017
Officers Involved: PCs Christopher Giddens #31 and Katie Swann #1161, Sgt. Daniel Smith #3427, Sgt. Youngs #174, and Sgt Willows #702
Department Involved: Norfolk Constabulary
Department Telephone No.: +441953424242
Department Facebook Page: Norfolk Constabulary on FB
Department Twitter Account: @NorfolkPolice

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I was doing some CopBlocking in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK and had pointed my camera into the local McDonald’s, at which point a disgruntled member of staff (Steve) approached me and proceeded to whine about my filming. Sgt, Dan Smith 3427 approached Steve and asked if I was upsetting him or his customers. He explained that he wasn’t allowed to be filmed and that I was upsetting him.

At this point, another officer present, PC Christopher Giddens 31, got out a section 35 pad and Smith used Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 to demand my name and address so that his colleague could issue me with a section 35 notice. I stood my ground and refused to give either officer these details, at which point Giddens arrested and then read the caution to me. Smith then handcuffed me and Smith then conducted a Section 32 PACE search. After this was concluded, I was then placed in the rear of Smith’s van by Giddens and he sat with me in the back whilst Smith drove us to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre.

I was walked up to the holding area by both officers and took a seat whilst the custody sergeant became available. After about five minutes, the buzzer sounded alerting Smith and Giddens that the custody sgt. was available and I was taken to a charge desk where I was booked in by Sgt. Youngs 174 of the Suffolk Constabulary. I cooperated with most questions and provided her with my name (which I hadn’t been asked for prior to this point) but refused to provide my date of birth which she demanded from me using a number of threats.

Eventually, I was subject to a second search, which was conducted by PC Giddens. After this search was concluded, my bag was searched and all possessions were handed to Youngs, including my driving license that stated my date of birth and address. This information was entered onto the computer by Youngs. At this point, I expected to be released from my custody without charge and issued with a section 35 notice. However, I was taken to a cell for no apparent reason and my unlawful detention in custody continued for another six hours.

I was then taken to the charge desk by a police officer, at which point I was charged and released on bail to attend Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court with conditions “Not to enter Great Yarmouth except to attend court or for a prearranged solicitor’s appointment for reason to prevent further offenses on bail” by Sgt Willows 702 of the Suffolk Constabulary. I was then shown out of Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre and made my way home. I returned to court and pleaded “no case to answer” and was released on unconditional bail to attend my trial at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court.

My custody records stated that the circumstances of arrest were: “DP has been at a location filming people outside and inside which has antagonized people & caused issues and was going to be given a sec 35 but refused details.” That my detention was authorized by Sgt Youngs 174 of the Suffolk Constabulary as being necessary for the following purpose: “To ascertain details as DP refuses to provide those details” and that the reasons the arrest was necessary were: “To enable the address of the person in question to be ascertained, per PACE CodeG 2.9 (b). To enable the name of the person in question to be ascertained, per PACE CodeG 2.9 (a).” It also stated that the arresting officer was PC Giddens 31, the same officer giving the account of arrest to Youngs, that the escorting officer was Sgt. Smith 3427 and that “The search was conducted by PC31 Giddens.” In relation to my unlawful handcuffing it stated: “Force/Restraint was used because front stack in roder.”

It later transpired from the video footage that PC Giddens spoke to his colleague, PC Katie Swann 1161 whilst Smith searched me and asked her to get a few lines from Steve stating that “distress” was caused by my actions. He explained that I had been arrested under “section 59” which in fact relates to the seizure of vehicles and is a section of the Police Reform Act 2002.

– Marcus D Potter

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