Illegal arrest of Antoine Webington passenger in traffic stop

Recently, a “viral” video has been making the rounds after having been posted on TikTok originally. This video shows the arrest of a man named Antoine Webington by officers from the Anne Arundel Police Department in Maryland. In the cellphone footage recorded (and later posted) by his girlfriend, Heather Janney, Webington is seen trying to avoid being pulled from their car. However, eventually he is pulled from the car and taken into custody by the officers.

During the conversation between him and the cops at the beginning of the video, it’s stated that the original traffic stop was because Janney was going 45mph in an area where the speed limit is 30 mph. Webington is a passenger in the car and no cause for him to be suspected of a crime is ever given during the video. Although it’s also not indicated within the video, the reason later given for Webington’s arrest was that he had two warrants.

Once the video began circulating, viewers of the video criticized the cops involved for racially profiling and excessive force against Webington. The excessive force complaints are obviously based on the video itself. The racial profiling complaints are primarily based on the fact that the officers had no visible reason to begin demanding Webington give them his ID. Also, Janney had stated that she believed the police had stopped them because Webington is black and possibly because she was white, as well.

In order to dispel this notion, Kam Cooke, the director of media relations for the Anne Arundel Police Department, released a statement refuting the idea that the officers had used excessive force against Webington and that the force they did use was justified by his resistance. However, Cooke also told Buzzfeed News that the police involved “knew nothing of Wedington’s records prior to pulling Janney over” in response to the idea that they had targeted him.

Of course, the problem with this admission is that, since Webington was a passenger, they had no right to demand ID from him in the first place. During a traffic stop, the person being detained is the driver that committed a traffic offense. Absent a separate reasonable suspicion, the passenger cannot legally be detained and therefore are not obligated to identify themselves. By extension, they can’t then use his refusal to give them ID to pull him out of the car and place him under arrest. The fact that he’s resisting their illegal attempts to place him under arrest should be irrelevant, since they had no right to do so. As should be the warrants that they subsequently found out he had.

Note: 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.

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