Tag Archives: Southeast Alabama Cop Block

Filming The Police in Dothan, AL: Cameras Are an Effective Deterrent to Police Abuses

This is a repost of an article originally published on the SouthEast Alabama Cop Block website, which discusses some of the many reasons why it’s always good to film the police, whether it be during your own personal interaction with the cops or when you see others being detained by them for some reason.

Dothan, Al: A Camera Can Be a Great Deterrent

FTP Film The PoliceTonight SouthEast Alabama Cop Block was able to capture some video of Dothan Police Officers making contact with four people. It was relatively uneventful, but I want to point out the possibility that the presence of an uninvolved third party recording the stop may have prevented a much worse turn of events.

My wife and I were driving on Hwy 231 south in Dothan when a Dothan Police car passed us at a very high speed. The car pulled into Walmart a short distance away and zoomed over to an area of the parking lot where blue lights were flashing.

We pulled into Walmart and parked. Although we parked at least 50 yards away, immediately upon exiting our vehicle we were able to hear a cop yelling and cursing “Don’t tell me how to do my job or you’ll go to jail tonight smart ass!”.

SEAlaCopBlockLogoI quickly put on my SouthEast Alabama Cop Block press badge, grabbed the camera, and fired up UStream. I could see they were frisking one young man as I started filming. As soon as I was visible, the cops on the scene lowered their voices. I saw them point toward me and continue to talk to four young people that they had detained. Two of the four waved at me and I waved back. It was only a moment before one of the cops approached me. As you hear in the video, I immediately informed the officer that I was broadcasting live onto the internet, would not answer any questions without my attorney present, and that I did wish to speak with him. He asked if I was the person who had called the cops while he studied the press badge hanging from my neck. (How likely would THAT be?) When I let him know I was not he stepped away. Seconds later, they released the young people they had been detaining and left.

If You See something Film SomethingThe four people came toward me when the cops left and thanked me for filming. They said the cops had made some excuse about the car that they were driving matching the description of a stolen vehicle. They also noted that the cops were being very loud and rude to them until they realized that they were being filmed. They thanked me profusely and said that they wished more people would do what I did. I asked them to pay it forward and film the next cop that they saw making contact with a potential victim.

What could have happened? Cops being belligerent to a group of young people late Friday night, early Saturday morning? It could have been the start of what some local area readers have described to us as “the push game”. Cops yelling, cursing, getting physical and waiting for the victim to make some mistake that they can charge them with. “Jess” commented on a previous story we published saying:

“I’ve encountered several problems with Dothan police playing the “push” game. In this game, they “push” with aggressive or bizarre behavior and wait for the intended victim to “push back” in word or deed. Then they employ overwhelming force.”

Perhaps the fact that these four stayed calm and that someone was nearby to provide impartial documentation was enough to prevent another tragic loss of life, limb or property.

It wasn’t a perfect contact. I should have asked for a name and badge number. I won’t forget next time!

Film The Police Banner

Know Your Rights! A Few Simple Questions to Ask When Stopped by the Police

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Shawn Peterman of Southeast Alabama Cop Block shared this post, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

A little knowledge and a few words can go a LONG way toward getting a cop to leave you alone and move on to easier prey.

Two simple phrases that could change the way the police deal with people everywhere:

  1. “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” Saying that line will usually make a cop believe that you are very aware of your rights (even if you’re not). It will also usually encourage him/her leave you alone and look for easier prey. In order to detain you, he/she must at least suspect you of committing a specific crime.
  2. “Officer, I am not resisting you, but I do not consent to ANY searches.” Say that loud and clear, and in front of witnesses. Prisons are full of people who claim that the cops put drugs in their vehicles. True or not, saying this will usually stop cops from searching or least make them send for a dog. In either case, this will often encourage them find easier prey.


“Officer, I’d prefer to not produce ID at this time. What crime do you suspect me of committing?”

Great line for a pedestrian stop. While you have to show ID in a traffic stop in Alabama (and most other states), according to Alabama law (2006 Alabama Code – Section 15-5-30) law enforcement is only able to demand ID from a person that he/she “reasonably suspects is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a felony or other public offense.” Even then, he’s only allowed to demand your name, address and your reason for being where you are. Check your local laws. Remember this the next time you’re walking down the street and a cop appears and demands your papers.

For more information, check out: www.flexyourrights.org, www.copblock.org facebook.com/southeastalabamacopblock

– Shawn Peterman
Southeast Alabama Cop Block

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.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org