North Carolina freelance photojournalist Carter Rabil was arrested April 26th after refusing a police order to move back as he was filming an accident scene involving a fatality.
Now the State Bureau of Investigations is investigating the Smithfield Police Department to determine whether they acted improperly.
Rabil’s video shows Smithfield Police Captain Bruce Gentry ordering him “away from the crime scene”, which is clearly on the other side of the intersection.
Rabil can heard arguing with Gentry, who is standing directly in front of the camera, not allowing Rabil to film the scene. Rabil asks to speak with the department’s police chief before finally telling the captain to “get the fuck out my way”
That was when Gentry arrested Rabil, telling him that he is being charged with disorderly conduct stemming from his “abusive language”.
Another journalist at the scene, Mickey Lamm of WMPM 1270 radio, told the Dunn Daily Record that Rabil’s arrest was unfair.
“When Rabil was arrested he was clearly outside the boundary of the crime scene tape,” Lamm said. “During the arrest, police threatened to use their Taser gun on Mr. Rabil unless he dropped his camera equipment.”
Rabil believes he is being personally persecuted by Smithfield police because of his 1991 lawsuit against them.
“I sued them before and settled out of court in 1991,” he said. “Then I started keeping records of the way they were behaving again. I shoot video all over the state and they’re the only ones I have trouble with. I have footage of other instances when I was treated unreasonably by the Smithfield Police.”
Here’s hoping Rabil’s other videos make it on the Internet.
Thanks to GM for the tip.159