Tag Archives: trespassing

Man Legally Filming in Public Harassed, Illegally Detained, and Arrested (Multiple Times) by Las Vegas Police

Filming in Public Las Vegas Metro Harassment

Video shows a man, who is legally filming in a public space, being repeatedly harassed, illegally detained, and unlawfully arrested multiple times by police officers from the LVMPD.

If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The video embedded below, which was posted to YouTube by Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs, pretty much speaks for itself. (Especially with the text that has been added to it.) Within the video, consisting of a series of different encounters over a course of several days in late October (2017), a Las Vegas man is out filming public areas at or near various police substations. Each time, he is stopped by members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, illegally detained, harassed, and on at least two occasions unlawfully arrested.

In spite of what the police say in the video, the Nevada “Duty to Identify” statute (NRS 171.123) only requires a person that has been legally detained to give their first and last names. They are not required to give any other information, such as an address or birth date. Not to mention the fact that the man in the video was never actually legally detained in the first place.

Police parking lots are public property and are open to the general public. The “no trespassing” signs that are referenced in the video only apply to a restricted area behind the building that is gated off. Filming areas that are visible from public spaces is absolutely legal and has been ruled to be a First Amendment protected activity by several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watching the video, it’s incredibly obvious that the stated “Reasonable Suspicion” the officers are using to justify their detention of the man are nothing but very flimsy excuses to harass him. As already stated, he isn’t trespassing and filming in public is legal so there was no legal cause to stop him for being in the parking lot. Also, even if “aggressively approaching” their car is even an actual cause to detain someone, that clearly didn’t happen on the video.

Regardless of the fact that he wasn’t legally detained during any of those instances, the man on the video still complies under duress and tells them his name. Therefore, they absolutely have no reason to subsequently arrest him for not telling them his birth date (which he actually does tell them before the final arrest) or any other information beyond his legal name.

The reality, widely known among Las Vegas residents, that this video illustrates is that the LVMPD are just a bunch of bullies who will not hesitate to harass and retaliate against anyone that doesn’t follow their orders, even when those orders are flagrantly unlawful. And contrary to their statements on the video, they quite obviously have not learned much of anything from their past behavior.

Also, while it should be surprising that supervising officers ranking as high as lieutenant are not just involved in the harassment and illegal actions depicted in this video, but actually initiating it, it isn’t for anyone that knows how Las Vegas area police operate. Metro is corrupt and out of control from top to bottom.

And as is commonly the case whenever the LVMPD are in the process of harassing and/or arresting someone on some minor (or non-existent) crime, the dozen or so cops that show up at the end are a great display of how desperately short-handed the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is these days.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Florida Officer with Violent History Interferes with Copwatcher Filming Police Brutality in Public

Officer D. Lade Obstructing Legal Filming Fort Lauderdale Police Beating Video

Recently, Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Derek Lade attempted to prevent a copwatcher from legally filming the police. Back in 2008, Lade was involved in a high profile case in which video vindicated a man who had been beaten and falsely arrested by the police.

Note: The video and description included within this post was shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The first section of this post and the video embedded under it consist of the original anonymous submission. In the video, a copwatcher begins filming the arrest of a man, whom he claims to have seen being assaulted by Fort Lauderdale police. Officer Derek Lade, who is moonlighting as security at a local bar at the time, notices the man filming and begins trying to prevent it, (Just in case one of the officers making the arrest happens to be a Bad Apple and feels the need to get a little physical.)

Officer Lade begins with the common tactic of trying to stand in between the cop watcher and the arrest to block the camera. Then he begins going through the typical roll call of police tactics to prevent filming. First, he starts berating the cameraman with things that he thinks will hurt his feels. Then he threatens to confiscate his cell phone because it is needed for “evidence.”

Next, he moves on to claiming that the public sidewalk is “my property” and therefore the man filming is trespassing. The trespassing claim is accompanied by demands to show ID. (He did, however, somehow miss the incredibly effective tactic of taking photos or video of people that generally don’t really mind being recorded.) The person making the submission also claims that the harassment, including an illegal physical detention, continued off camera afterwards.

After doing a search on the Google to see if there was additional background or images related to this story, I discovered that Officer Derek Lade does in fact have a history of violence during his career as a cop. Not only that, but it’s rather obvious that this previous experience, no doubt, taught Lade the importance of trying to make sure there are no digital witnesses available whenever people are getting their head dropped onto the hood of a police car or otherwise abused.

The second section below details an incident that happened in Dec. of 2008, in which Lade and two other officers assaulted a man. As is typically the case, after they attacked the man Officer Lade lied and claimed on his official police report (otherwise known as committing perjury) that their victim had actually assaulted them. Fortunately for him, surveillance video showed what really happened. Of course, although the charges were dropped against the man they assaulted, the cops were punished in no way whatsoever for their actions.

Officer Involved: Officer Derek Lade
Department Involved: Fort Lauderdale Police Dept.
Dept. Facebook Page: Fort Lauderdale Police on FB
Dept. Twitter Account: @FLPD411
Department Phone No.:
(954) 828-5700

Interfering With a Copwatcher Legally Filming an Arrest

After seeing police officers slam a handcuffed man’s head into the hood of their squad car, I started filming them. Officer D. Lade was there to try to prevent me from filming. Usually he is busy talking to drunk girls outside of the bar, so I will give him credit for actually trying to do police work for once.

After I stopped filming, he continued to harass me and even grabbed my wrist refusing to let me leave. Luckily I know the owners and bouncers who vouched for me and he let me leave the property, but threatened to arrest me if he saw me downtown again that night. This happened in downtown Fort Lauderdale, in front of Fat Cats (a local club).

Officer Lade Interfering With a Man Legally Filming The Police

Beating an Innocent Man Then Lying and  Falsely Arresting Him

As stated earlier, Officer Lade learned the value of not having video available all the way back in 2008. At that time Lade along with Fort Lauderdale Police Officers Stefan Silver and Steve Smith were in the process of breaking up a fight when a man named Joshua Daniel Ortiz had the nerve to question their technique as he got onto a nearby elevator with friends.

Apparently, Ortiz made the mistake of asking Officer Lade what his problem when he was confronted by the officers. According to Ortiz, Lade responded that he would “show him what a problem is” and shoved him backwards. Officers Lade, Silver, and Smith then proceeded to beat Ortiz after pinning him in the back of the elevator. In the meantime, several other officers stood blocking the door of the elevator and intimidating Ortiz’s friends.

As a result, Ortiz suffered black eyes, a broken nose, and other facial bruise. In the mind of Lade and the other officers, that wasn’t sufficient punishment, though. Instead they lied and claimed that Ortiz had initiated the altercation and assaulted them. Based on their police reports (which are considered sworn statements), Ortiz was charged with aggravated battery against an officer. That felony charge, obviously, could have had a devastating effect on Ortiz’s life.

Via the Orlando Sentinal:

“They were just sitting there watching my life go down the drain with those charges,” Ortiz said Wednesday. “I’ve been going crazy thinking my life is over. It’s barely started and it’s over.”

The looming legal charges delayed Ortiz’s enrollment in college classes, he said.

Fortunately for Ortiz, however, the hotel that he was in when the attack took place had surveillance cameras, including within the elevator. That video footage (embedded below) showed what really happened and it was dramatically different than the lies Officers Lade, Silver, and Smith had written in their reports. So those false charges were dropped.

Of course, in spite of them not only having assaulted a citizen, filed false charges against him, and committed perjury by lying in a sworn statement to justify that assault and the false charges, there were absolutely no consequences for Lade or any of his cohorts. Which is why Officer Derek Lade is still out there in Downtown Fort Lauderdale threatening innocent copwatchers to cover up for other Good Cops while they smash the heads of people they are arresting onto car hoods.

Personally, I can’t see any way that could eventually go bad.

News Coverage of the Beating and False Arrest

Surveillance Footage From the Elevator

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

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

Wisconsin Sheriff’s Deputy Attempts to Harass and Intimidate Legal Hunters to Eliminate Competition

The following post and accompanying video was shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader named Rebecca, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The video above shows a incident they were involved with in which a deputy with the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office confronts Rebecca’s family as they are hunting and accuses them of trespassing. According to the dialogue in the video they are, however, on public land that is legal for hunting.

Within the description below, Rebecca maintains that this sheriff’s deputy reason for harassing them is that he has made a deal with a nearby land owner. In exchange for that property owner allowing the deputy to drive his vehicle on his land in order to access the public land (which would otherwise only be accessible by boat), this deputy looks the other way while the land owner violates several laws on public land. This includes riding ATV’s on DNR (publicly owned) land building a permanent tree stand.

Date of Incident: December 10, 2016
Department Involved: La Crosse County (WI) Sheriff’s Office
Department Facebook Page: La Crosse Sheriff’s Office
Department Email: Deputy Contact List
Department Phone No.:
(608) 785-9629

A sheriff’s deputy attempted to intimidate my family as we began a late season hunt. He claimed we were trespassing, even though we were on Department of Natural Resources land and have been hunting this area for years. When he approached, he was loud and yelled accusations at my 65 year old neighbor. The sheriff’s deputy did change his demeanor as soon as I pulled out the camera. However, he was still violating the hunter harassment law.

The deputy has permission from a property owner that borders this public land to trap, as well as vehicle access to the public land, so he can trap that also. (The only other access to this land is by boat.) In return for his trapping and access “rights,” the sheriff’s deputy and the local warden grant special privileges to the bordering land owner by allowing permanent tree stands that the landowner puts on DNR land. The landowner is also allowed to use ATVs on this DNR property.

Typically when you encounter sportsmen or hunters on public land, they are very cordial and will avoid interfering in other party’s hunts. This deputy went out of his way to harass us at the beginning of our hunt as well as hiking onto the DNR land (in his dark, fur trimmed clothing) knowing we planned on doing a deer push. This is the second time these thugs tried to intimidate us while legally using this land – I believe we are too much competition for them. Unfortunately, we didn’t harvest anything this day, but went back the next day and had success.

– Rebecca

Dallas Transit Cop Committed Perjury to Justify Arresting “Citizen Journalist” for Filming Them

Apparently, a transit cop in Dallas doesn’t understand that Photography Is Not A Crime. Avi Adelman, who is described as a “Citizen Journalist” and local activist, was arrested by Officer Stephane Branch in February of this year by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Officer Stephane Branch.

What was his diabolical crime you ask? Standing quietly and legally filming the police during a medical call, something that he does on a regular basis. (The excuse used to justify that illegal arrest was a trespassing charge.)

Of course, since that’s not actually a crime, the charges were soon dropped, although it still cost him 20 hours in jail. However, that’s where the trouble began for Officer Branch. Not only did Adelman notice on the police report that Branch had completely fabricated statements on her police report (otherwise known as perjury, which is a crime) to make it appear she had cause to arrest him, but a microphone she was wearing confirmed she was a liar.

Via WFAA8, the local ABC affiliate:

…when DART officer Stephane Branch gave her account of what happened in the report, she included supposed verbatim quotes between herself and Adelman, starting with “Sir, please stay back so the firefighters can help this man.”

“That sent up a lot of red flags because I looked at that and said, ‘This isn’t what happened,’” Adelman said.

A microphone Officer Branch was wearing captured what actually happened.

“Sir, leave – you’ve got to leave,” she could be heard saying on the recording. “I’m talking to my supervisor.”

The officer’s report also included quotes from Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel and a DART passenger, but the internal affairs investigation found those quotes were entirely made up.

Branch “engaged in conduct that was illegal or could reflect poorly on DART if brought to the attention of the public,” investigators said.

“A sworn law enforcement officer lied – thought she could get away with it – stood by her lies – and then they busted her,” Adelman said.

Of course, the amount of potential trouble she might get into is up in the air, since she has one of those Magic Suits in her closet that renders its wearer impervious to meaningful consequences for their actions, no matter how illegal, immoral, or even violent they might be.

Morgan Lyons, a DART spokesperson, has stated that the investigation has been completed. However, Internal Affairs has not yet decided just how hard they will be slapping her wrist yet. In the meantime, Officer Branch is still out there protecting and serving the shit out of people in Dallas.

For his part, Adelman is hoping she will be fired for her clearly illegal acts. However, I wouldn’t advise him to hold his breath on that. Stranger things have happened, but the fact that criminal charges for her illegal arrest and blatant perjurious actions in the process of that is a pretty good indicator that they are preparing a nice Policeman’s Discount for her and any “punishment” she receives will likely be for show and not anything of substance.

The Internal Affairs Report

Internal affairs report: DART officer fabricated quotes by wfaachannel8 on Scribd

Video Included in Local Coverage

LVMPD Police Arrive 90 Minutes After Home Invasion 911 Call; Cite Homeowner Instead of Attackers

The following post was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Mariah Clanton, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Mariah, a Las Vegas resident, states that not only did officers from the LVMPD respond extremely slowly to a home invasion in which she was assaulted, but that once they did arrive instead of intervening on her behalf against those attackers they actually issued citations against her for defending herself within her own home.

Date of Incident: July 27, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer J. Weeks and three other unidentified officers
Department Involved: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD)
Department Facebook Page: LVMPD
Department Phone No.: (702) 828-3347
Department Address: 1851 Stella Lake Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89106

There was an invasion of my home, and I was attacked in front of my children. My ten year old child hid in the bathroom and made videos (see video embedded below) trying to describe what was happening, give descriptions of the people at our house, and upload them in the hopes someone would see them and come to help us.

Also, 911 was called on speakerphone while the attacker was in my home and the dispatcher was told I was being assaulted and needed immediate help.

My older children had to pick my toddler up from the ground, where the attacker knocked him, witnessed the attack, and were told to get away by me. They hid in the bathroom for over 90 minutes. I was left to force the attacker out of my home and was injured.

When police arrived they refused to document injuries, refused to speak to or take statements from my family, or to view the multiple videos of the incident showing these strangers on my property. They engaged immediately with my attackers, who were waiting at the curb to tell their story, while I stayed behind locked doors with my children.

I was cited for battery, and for trespass when I was in my home the entire time, and had video proof. I refused to sign the citations, and had to refuse repeatedly. This was not only a completely unacceptable amount of time to wait for response to a violent crime, the officers failed to do their duty in any way.

I had to leave my home in an ambulance and had Officer J. Weeks hold them up so he could claim I have a felony warrant that my lawyer verified I absolutely do not. I was then followed by my attackers, they were waiting when I was discharged from the ER. I had to sneak past them (they had luckily fallen asleep). In spite of my ambulance driver reporting the stalking/menacing, nothing was done. I not only received no assistance from those officers, I was issued citations for defending myself and my children.

– Mariah Clanton

Pennsylvania Police Officer And Brother Caught Burglarizing Apartments

A Wayne County, PA police officer was caught along with his brother on Friday breaking into an apartment complex. After breaking into several unoccupied apartments, Officer Matthew Spink and his brother John Hoffman were confronted by the residents of an apartment that was occupied.

Spink claimed that he and his brother were working undercover and had been called about the break ins. He continued using that lie after local police arrived at the Nazareth Borough apartments. Unfortunately (for him and his brother), they didn’t buy it.

Via LehighValleyLive.com:

Spink, 23, told a borough officer just after midnight that he received a call from a woman describing suspicious captivity (sic) at 176 S. Green St., police said. He did not identify the woman, police said.

Spink entered the apartment complex through a second-floor balcony door, then let in his brother John Brandon Hoffman, 32, of the same address, police said.

The pair went into several unoccupied apartments before picking the lock of an occupied apartment, police said. Spink identified himself and his brother to the residents as undercover police officers who were responding to a call at that location, police said.

There were no 911 calls at that address before borough officers were requested, police said.

Spink was recognized by one of the residents as a former student of hers, police said. He remained in the apartment and directed his brother “to go and search other apartments,” police said.

When borough police arrived, Spink came outside and identified himself as a Lehigh Township, Wayne County, police officer, court papers say.

Spink tried to convince borough officers that he was at the apartment complex on official business, police said.

He showed an officer that he got into the building by climbing up on an outside air conditioning unit and grabbing the porch railing of an unoccupied apartment, police said.

“The defendant is not authorized to be in or resides at 176 S. Green St.” and “he is not authorized to act as an undercover police officer in the Borough of Nazareth,” police say in court papers.

Spink also allegedly didn’t tell borough police ahead of time he was planning to enter apartments there.

While walking around the complex with officers, Spink, who appeared to have been drinking and smelled of alcohol, “through casual conversation” identified Hoffman, police said.

Hoffman was gone by that point, but police said they found him in front of his home and he resisted after police told him he was under arrest. He also smelled of alcohol, police said.

Victims later identified Hoffman as being present in the apartment, police said.

Spink was arraigned at 7:45 a.m. Friday before on-call District Judge Richard Yetter III on charges of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, trespassing and criminal mischief, court papers say.

Bail was set at 10 percent of $25,000 and Spink was not in Northampton County Prison later Friday morning, a Department of Corrections employee confirmed.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled 9 a.m. Jan. 22 in District Judge John Capobianco’s Nazareth court.

Hoffman was arraigned before Yetter on the same four charges, in addition to a count of resisting arrest, court papers say. He was sent to prison in lieu of $25,000 bail, with no 10 percent option. He remained jailed later Friday morning. His preliminary hearing is tentatively set for the same time and place as his brother’s.

You do have to appreciate the fact that he was breaking into his former teacher’s house. The icing on that cake is sweet enough to hurt your teeth. Of course, I’m sure they’ll get a big slap on the wrist and Officer Spink will be right back out there on the streets protecting and serving the community again in no time.

Call Flood Request: Drop Bogus Trespassing Charge by Butthurt Lakeland Officer

Michael Burns, of CopBlock Central Florida, submitted this post, via the Cop Block submissions page. This consists of an update on his arrest, supposedly for trespassing, the charges for which were not filed until months after the incident from which they originated. That arrest was reported previously on CopBlock.org in this post by Ademo. In addition, a first update including his initial court appearance was posted here on August 27th, shortly after the incident happened.

Mike Burns is probably best known on Cop Block as the guy who wore a “Fuck the Police” shirt in court and won.

Date of Upcoming Trial: November 17, 2015
Department Involved: Lakeland Police Department (Florida)
Officer Involved: Officer Aaron Peterman
Department Phone Number: (863) 834-6900

This is going back to a video I posted in April of 30 officers clearing a lot, which somehow ended in no arrest…Fast forward three months to July 27th and I am being arrested at my house for missing court on a trespassing arrest I never knew I had received. It wasn’t until I was at the Polk County Sheriff Station midway to the Bartow Booking facility where I was briefly shown a copy of a police report and realized I had been arrested over a video. After spending 23 hours between three facilities in custody, I returned to what I thought was the parking lot which the video referred to. At this point I had still never been told I was permanently trespassed from the property. So I went to speak with the security officer just to confirm my suspicion that he had never spoken with police that night.

peterman-underbiteI still had not read the police report at this point… I had to wait 30 hours after getting out of jail before I could do a public record request with the Lakeland Police to figure out one butthurt Officer Aaron Peterman watched a video 18 days after the fact and decided to go back and file a report for trespassing, citing my making fun of him in the video as his evidence.

I had only spoken with Peterman briefly. I had already spoken to the private security officer and two other Lakeland police officers at that point. Both told me I was good to be there doing what I do. There were about 30 officers total that night, 29 of which had no problems with me being there. The problem was 200 intoxicated people leaving a club at once.

In the full length videos from April I can be heard instructing the girl I was filming with to stay back from the crowd and other tips that would usually count as interfering with police. The officer however only pointed out the minute and second of each time I made fun of his lack of order.

During the brief encounter I had with Officer Peterman, he informed me that security wanted everyone out. This was a lie. Possibly security of the club wanted everyone out but not security of the parking lot. That old man didn’t care about anything.. obvious from my video.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

Peterman will lie in his police report saying the corporation that owned the parking lot gave them authorization to trespass people that were not patronizing a business or loitering, but I was able to gain a copy of the authorization form and it only cites their authorization to trespass for threats to public safety and welfare, neither of which my being there filming fell under. This property while owned by a private corporation “Nickanna Corp” rents spaces to the City of Lakeland on the property in question, including the court house I must go to to defend myself from these charges.

The full length videos from that night show a man hitting a woman. Officer Peterman not only doesn’t arrest him, he walks the still-yelling man and woman to their car to send them off. When he first approaches me and tells me about their trespassing powers, he starts to tell me to “go out there and film.” I ask if I can film them getting the people out and he confirms “as long as you are moving with us”. I don’t know exactly how to take that, but I know in my years of filming the police and dealing with the word “trespassing” my brief encounter with Officer Peterman was not in any way a direct order to leave under the threat of arrest.

Every few minutes in the video I pointed out Peterman and made fun of the fact that he had given me a half-ass non-order and I joked about having to stay away from him. Peterman misquotes my jokes as me seriously wanting to stay away from him. Yet minus an invisibility cloak, I followed him (and 20+ other officers) through the parking lot as they broke up fights and sent people home. The only thing I was worried about is that Peterman would actually give me a direct order to leave. He hadn’t successfully done that yet…he still hasn’t.

Knowing I live in Lakeland, they had the court summons sent to Avon Park and waited…I returned to the parking lot in question filming for the following four weekeneds. Many LPD saw me there filming in the following weeks, but no one told me I had been trespassed, I had an upcoming court date, or I missed my court date…I had to hear about it while being arrested for missing my court date…Funny how they knew right where to find me when that happened.

I know I can win this in court with the video evidence, but I also know the court may find ways to keep it out. I would ask people call both the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900 and the Prosecutor’s office at 863-802-6240 and let them know how you feel about the arrest! It seems punitive and a waste of tax-payer money to me.

– Michael Burns

Update to Michael Burns’ “Trespassing” Arrest

Michael Burns, of CopBlock Central Florida, submitted this post, via the Cop Block submissions page. This consists of an update on his arrest, supposedly for trespassing, the charges for which were not filed until months after the incident from which they originated. That arrest was reported previously on CopBlock.org in this post by Ademo. In addition, the video included below shows Mike’s initial court appearance for the arraignment on those charges.

Mike Burns is probably best known on Cop Block as the guy who wore a “Fuck the Police” shirt in court and won.

Date of Incident: 8/19/15
Department Involved: Lakeland Police
Contact Phone Number: (863) 834-6900


To recap,

On April 12, 2015, myself and someone else that will remain nameless were recording about 30 police officers clearing a parking lot of about 200+ club goers. When we first arrived I spoke with the security guard who granted us permission to film what was going on. From there we spent about 10 minutes filming as police started clearing the club. One hot-headed 5′ tall bouncer had a problem with us filming however I reached out to two different police as they were passing, one of whom can be seen and heard on video saying we were good to be there filming.

banner buy shiny badgesInsert Officer Aaron Peterman of the Lakeland Police Department, coming to tell everyone they had to leave. He approached us and said “We have been asked to clear the lot.” I asked him if we can film as they are doing it and he gave a very half-ass comment of “as long as you are moving with us” or “them.” The last word is debatable, but either way it was not a direct order to leave and no threat of arrest had been made.

We spent the next 10 minutes filming as the crowd dwindled, but a few small fights happened. We watched a man hit a woman in the face and Officer Peterman did nothing, but walk them to their car. I made a few (quite a few) sarcastic and comedic (in my opinion) comments as to having to stay away from Officer Peterman during the last 10 minutes of filming. I knew what he had told me was not an actual order to leave the property under threat of arrest, but I did not want it to reach that point. So I did keep about a 50′ bumper area between myself and the officers as they were doing what they were doing. No other officer seemed to have a problem with me being there and again, in my opinion, Officer Peterman at the time was just going with the flow and said what he said never to be heard from again. I poked the bear with a few sarcastic comments that he ended up hearing two weeks later when he watched the video on my YouTube channel.

He set my arrest in motion by filing papers with the state saying my video showed me in the act of trespassing after being ordered to leave. That never happened, but either way, they sent the papers for an arraignment to my house, knowing full well that I wasn’t living at my house. I was staying in Lakeland. They waited…they waited…I missed court…they waited…I saw Officer Peterman on the streets a few times after this and likely every other Lakeland Police officer at least one time between them filing for my arrest and my being picked up for a bench warrant for missing the court date. Funny how they knew right where to find me at that point.

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Click graphic to like Central Florida CopBlock on FB.

Finally my arraignment. After they once again switched the arraignment date from the 20th of August to the 19th and mailing the notice to my house once again so I would miss court. I was smart enough to check online every day following my arrest and I noticed this the same day they did it. I showed up and they basically tried to get me to take a plea that would end up costing me about 700… 1000, if you include what I paid for bond and what they stole out of my wallet while in jail for a “housing fee.”

I will not be accepting the plea and will be fighting it. My next scheduled pre-trial is Sept. 15th, 2015 in Lakeland, Florida…though this is likely to change with notice being mailed elsewhere.

Michael Burns

Arraignment for Trespassing Charge:

It was this arrest that tipped me into making these types of videos in addition to the CopBlocking now!