Video of an Uber driver being told by police to stop filming them with his cellphone is going viral.
In the video, Uber driver Jesse Bright from Wilmington, North Carolina, is seen being told by a police officer that he was “being a jerk” as the driver filmed police arresting his passenger.
Bright clearly knows his rights but that didn’t stop Wilmington Police Sergeant Kenneth Becker from trying to invent a fake law to stop Bright from using his cellphone to take the video.
“Be careful because there is a new law. Turn it off or I’ll take you to jail,” the Sgt. warned Bright who uploaded his video to Youtube.
A New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy is also heard on the video agreeing with Sgt. Becker that there is a state law that forbids filming of law enforcement officers.
But Bright, who recently passed the bar to become a lawyer, was not so easily fooled. “For recording you? What is the law?” Bright asked.
Mr. Bright refused to stop filming the officers telling him that he is a lawyer and he knows the law.
Sgt. Becker then ordered him to get out of the car so the vehicle could be searched.
Despite all the hubbub, Bright was never charged with any offense and not long after the video appeared on Youtube the police department told local media that an internal affairs investigation was launched into the officer’s actions.
A spokesperson for the police department said that there is no department policy for officers to tell citizens that they are not allowed to film them.
According to a report by WCET TV, there is no state law in North Carolina preventing the public from taking video of police officers carrying out their public duties.
Indeed, Wilmington police chief Ralph Evangelous assured the TV reporter that, “Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right.”
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