Tag Archives: detained for filming

The Battousai is Harassed, Assaulted, and Illegally Detained by Austin Police Officers for Filming

Date of Incident: November 11, 2016
Officers Involved:
Officer Maufrais Badge #7432 and Officer Lane Badge #7705
Department Involved: Austin (TX) Police Department
Department Phone Number: Chief Art Acevedo – (512) 974-5000
Department Facebook Page: Austin PD on FB

Department Twitter Profile: @Austin_Police
Department YouTube Account: Austin Police Department
Internal Affairs Division: Citizens Complaints

The video above shows “the Battousai,” a man from Texas who often films the police, being harassed, threatened, and even assaulted by two officers from the Austin Police Department. At the time he is accosted by Officers Maufrais and Lane, he is doing nothing but quietly and very much legally filming a traffic stop from a very appropriate distance.

In addition to shining a light on his camera(s), Maufrais and Lane physically bump the Battousai numerous times and illegally detain him from leaving by declaring that the area where his car is parked is off limits, claiming that it is part of the area they are using to conduct their investigation despite it being nowhere near the actual traffic stop. All this deliberate and ridiculous harassment is supposedly rationalized by their need to protect the safety of the officer conducting the traffic stop, which is clearly nonsense.

austin-tx-police-public-filming-policyAlthough this video is fairly self-explanatory, there are a few “highlights” from it that are worth mentioning. One is that Officer Maufraus states in the early part of the video that he “is not intimidated by you people, like most officers are.” When asked for clarification he defines “you people” as people that legally film the police. That’s both telling and a little sad that police would be intimidated by someone simply filming them in public.

The second issue is that when Officer Maufraus is told that he is violating Austin Police Department policy by interfering with someone legally recording them in public, he not only acknowledges being aware of that, but states that he “doesn’t care about policy.” The APD, like most police departments at this point, does in fact have a policy that clearly states recording police officers in public is allowed and should not be interfered with. The screenshot to the left shows the first page of Article 302.2 in the official Austin Police Department handbook. (You can see the entire handbook in PDF form here.) The fact that this officer readily admits on camera to not caring about the department’s  policies is pretty bad.

And in keeping with that theme of not knowing or caring about policies or laws, the last lowlight is when Officer Maufraus states his definition of a “lawful order.” While threatening the Battousai with arrest for supposedly violating a lawful order, he is asked, “What’s lawful about it?” to which he answers, “because I told you to do it.” That’s very far from the definition of a lawful order. The fact that it was a cop who told someone to do something is incredibly far from what makes something a lawful order.

Below is the description from the Battousai, via Youtube:

“This was one of the most stressful videos I have ever filmed. I was harassed and intimidated for nearly an hour all for exercising my 1st amendment rights. I was grabbed, shoved, and bumped into a few times when trying to walk in a different direction. Then the cops prevented my from going to my car and leaving. They made me wait until after arrested the tow truck to come and take the arrested individual’s car. When the tow truck left I was allowed to get my property back and go to my car. Estimated amount of detention was 56 to 57 minutes.”

If you’d like to let the Austin Police Department know what you thing of the behavior of their officers and their stated disregard for department policies, you can contact them through several social media and/or email options, via the links above. In addition, you can contact Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo directly via Twitter using this link: @ArtAcevedo

Detained, 86’ed from Whole Foods by West Hartford, CT Cops for Filming

The video included within this post was submitted by Lisa Michel Williams, via the CopBlock.org Submissions page. Along with the description of the video Lisa states:

“I have way more videos of the West Hartford Police behaving badly. I am in the process of uploading them to my youtube channel. Also, as time is a major factor, I have not yet edited some of the videos. Those that are unedited are almost unbearably long and uneventful. Many apologies for that.”

Date of Incident: October 22, 2015
Officers Involved: Ct. State Trooper Comulda, Officer Robert Hass, Sergeant Daniel Moffo
Department Involved: West Hartford Police Department
Contact Number: (860) 523-5203

On October 22, 2015, upon entering the Whole Foods parking lot, I noticed a state trooper, (Comulda), and tow truck driver attempting to tow an Escalade truck. I pulled out my camera and began to film. The trooper approached and asked for my name. I refused to identify myself.

Shortly after, the Escalade was removed from the tow truck and parked, while I continued filming. Eventually, a local policeman, Officer Robert Hass, arrived on the scene. I assumed that Trooper Comulda had summoned him, but was uncertain whether it was for me or for the truck.

The Escalade was parked, the tow driver left, the trooper left, and yet Hass stayed behind, awaiting back up. Hass’ supervisor, Sergeant Daniel Moffo, arrived and we began to chat, as I continued to film. Hass was sent into the store to ask the store manager, Erin Foley, to have me “trespassed,” so they could identify me.

Now, I’m no stranger to this strategy. I just thought it would not work because I was a regular customer. Also, West Hartford Police have had more than their share of racial profiling in the past, such as the incident when one of their officers racially profiled ESPN’s Doug Glanville in his own driveway. Out of 120 officers, I’ve been informed that there are only four African American officers. However, I digress.

Hass returns and informs me that I’ve been trespassed and I am not to return to that store, ever. That’s right, I was Jim Crowed for filming.

When I reached the store manager, Erin Foley, she told me that the police were concerned because I was filming children, and they had asked me to leave several times. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seems that the officers were so interested in learning my identity, they went as far as to label me a “pedophile.”

They are disgusting!

– Lisa Michel Williams

Edited Version

Full (Unedited) Version

Texas Police Harass Man for Filming Police Station

This post and the video below were received via an anonymous submission at the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Date of Incident: April, 2015
Officer Involved: Sergeant Nault
Department Involved: Carrollton Police Department (TX)
Department Phone No.: 972-466-3333

We went to the Carrollton, TX police station to get a few minutes of b-roll footage to start our YouTube channel. We expected that we would be there for just a few minutes, and be on our way. We were on a public street, and in our personal, identifiable vehicle, so its clear we weren’t trying to be stealthy. Also, we had informed the department that we would be filming them regularly, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

After just a few minutes, multiple officers loaded up their vehicles to drive across the street and light me up as if I was committing a crime. This was my very first interaction with a cop for anything other than a citation in my life, so I wasn’t as fine tuned as I would have liked.

Nault-Thunbnail2Officers surrounded my vehicle, and two officers started knocking on my drivers side and passenger windows. I opened my window, and the first officer asked what I was doing. I asked if I was doing something wrong, and when she replied no, I refused to respond letting them know I wouldn’t be answering. She went to the back of my car where her sergeant was already in the process of running information on my car, and getting information about me specifically. It was clear he was trying to get something on me so that he could control the situation.

Upon finding no legal reason to control me, he came to my window to ask what we were doing. I remained silent as I had said I would. He asked again, and I remained silent. That’s when the problems really started.

Sergeant Nault then proceeded to look in my car, and asked if my parking brake was set. Now, I’m setting in a long line of employee cars parked along the street, so this was a clear tactic. When he used my parking brake as an excuse to demand my ID, I couldn’t remain silent because he was now using threatening actions. We went back and forth with this, until he finally reached for my door handle under the guise of arrest for not showing my ID.

SupportCopblock Square BannerI didn’t take the bait, because a parking brake is not an identifying infraction, and he had no legal reason to demand it. My head blew up because I couldn’t believe he was crossing that corrupt line, and told him he was going to have to arrest me He backed off thinking no one would risk going to jail for a parking brake violation, but I continued to call him on his actions. He finally decided it was best to walk away, but not before putting all my information in the system, and placing a BOLO (be on the look out) on me and my car. Don’t forget, I did absolutely nothing illegal, informed them we would be filming them, and wasn’t trying to hide in any way.

Being an old Texan, I don’t do the “calm citizen” thing very well when someone is trying to screw me over. I treat people the way they treat me. While this officer may appear “polite” on the surface, the fact is, he was trying very hard to violate my rights. Why? Because I was filming a building. If these officers had walked the 30 yards to cross the street instead of driving over, and approaching me like I was a criminal, this video wouldn’t exist. Instead, they chose to approach with intimidation, and surround me. Then to use such seedy tactics to try to circumvent my right to remain silent and not identify myself was the last straw. “Polite” is more than tone of voice. While he didn’t TALK with disrespect, every action he took was disrespectful.