Charges Dropped Against Man Arrested for Video Recording NYPD Cop

It took five months, but charges were dismissed earlier today against Shawn Randall Thomas, the New York City man [__arrested for recording a cop inside a subway station__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/02/17/nypd-cop-attacks-man-video-recording-deleting-footage-man-recovers-footage/) in a video that went viral – the umpteenth time they have [__failed to make charges stick__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/05/05/nyc-photo-activist-heads-trial-case-cop-fired/) against him for recording cops in public.

Meanwhile, the cop who arrested him, Efrain Rojas, has been cleared of all wrongdoing – even though the video clearly shows he instigated the confrontation by walking up Thomas and barking unlawful order before pouncing on him and arresting him, then deleting his footage, which Thomas recovered.

In fact, Thomas spotted Rojas today after the hearing when he walked three blocks to the district attorney’s office to file a complaint against the officer. Rojas was signing in to work. Thomas was wearing his PINAC shirt. They both eyed each other wordlessly. Rojas was not expected to show up to court because it was only a hearing and not a trial.

Thomas had tried to file a complaint against Rojas with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office after his February arrest, but was refused because the case was still pending.

But even today, after his charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing, resisting and obstruction were dismissed, they still wouldn’t accept his complaint.

“They keep blocking me from making my complaint,” he said in a telephone interview with *Photography is Not a Crime.*

Not that he expects his complaint with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office to go anywhere.

Last year, he filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office over [__another unlawful arrest__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/06/19/nypd-cop-arrests-man-for-photographing-police-station-from-public-sidewalk/) where he was video recording outside a police station, but never heard anything back from them, even though it’s been months.

Today, he was told that he needed to file his complaint with internal affairs.

But internal affairs already investigated the incident and wrote it off by saying Rojas was simply guilty of being “discourteous” to Thomas, which is not against policy and may even be a requirement for all we know.

Nevertheless, he is now going to file a federal lawsuit against the NYPD over the arrest, which will make it at least the third lawsuit filed against the department [__this year__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/07/17/woman-sues-nypd-arrest-recording-cops-public/) for [__unlawful arrests__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/07/01/man-sues-nypd-snatching-camera-arresting/) for video recording. Earlier this year, the [__city dished out $55,000__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/04/24/nypd-pays-55000-settlement/) to another videographer who was unlawfully arrested as well as [__made another unlawful arrest__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/02/27/man-gets-arrested-video-recording-nypd-cops-piling-top-man-bus-fare/) of a man video recording them in public.

The issue has gotten so bad that the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board [__earlier this year announced__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/05/15/nyc-civilian-review-board-look-nypds-pattern-arresting-photographers/) it would launch “a study” to determine if there is a problem.

Of course there is a problem, but not for the officers themselves who have learned they can make unlawful arrests, even get sued for making unlawful arrests, and still continue to make unlawful arrests without any disciplinary action against them.

It took five months, but charges were dismissed earlier today against Shawn Randall Thomas, the New York City man [__arrested for recording a cop inside a subway station__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/02/17/nypd-cop-attacks-man-video-recording-deleting-footage-man-recovers-footage/) in a video that went viral – the umpteenth time they have [__failed to make charges stick__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/05/05/nyc-photo-activist-heads-trial-case-cop-fired/) against him for recording cops in public.

Meanwhile, the cop who arrested him, Efrain Rojas, has been cleared of all wrongdoing – even though the video clearly shows he instigated the confrontation by walking up Thomas and barking unlawful order before pouncing on him and arresting him, then deleting his footage, which Thomas recovered.

In fact, Thomas spotted Rojas today after the hearing when he walked three blocks to the district attorney’s office to file a complaint against the officer. Rojas was signing in to work. Thomas was wearing his PINAC shirt. They both eyed each other wordlessly. Rojas was not expected to show up to court because it was only a hearing and not a trial.

Thomas had tried to file a complaint against Rojas with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office after his February arrest, but was refused because the case was still pending.

But even today, after his charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing, resisting and obstruction were dismissed, they still wouldn’t accept his complaint.

“They keep blocking me from making my complaint,” he said in a telephone interview with *Photography is Not a Crime.*

Not that he expects his complaint with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office to go anywhere.

Last year, he filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office over [__another unlawful arrest__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/06/19/nypd-cop-arrests-man-for-photographing-police-station-from-public-sidewalk/) where he was video recording outside a police station, but never heard anything back from them, even though it’s been months.

Today, he was told that he needed to file his complaint with internal affairs.

But internal affairs already investigated the incident and wrote it off by saying Rojas was simply guilty of being “discourteous” to Thomas, which is not against policy and may even be a requirement for all we know.

Nevertheless, he is now going to file a federal lawsuit against the NYPD over the arrest, which will make it at least the third lawsuit filed against the department [__this year__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/07/17/woman-sues-nypd-arrest-recording-cops-public/) for [__unlawful arrests__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/07/01/man-sues-nypd-snatching-camera-arresting/) for video recording. Earlier this year, the [__city dished out $55,000__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/04/24/nypd-pays-55000-settlement/) to another videographer who was unlawfully arrested as well as [__made another unlawful arrest__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/02/27/man-gets-arrested-video-recording-nypd-cops-piling-top-man-bus-fare/) of a man video recording them in public.

The issue has gotten so bad that the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board [__earlier this year announced__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/05/15/nyc-civilian-review-board-look-nypds-pattern-arresting-photographers/) it would launch “a study” to determine if there is a problem.

Of course there is a problem, but not for the officers themselves who have learned they can make unlawful arrests, even get sued for making unlawful arrests, and still continue to make unlawful arrests without any disciplinary action against them.

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Carlos Millerhttps://pinacnews.com
Editor-in-Chief Carlos Miller spent a decade covering the cop beat for various newspapers in the Southwest before returning to his hometown Miami and launching Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC News in 2007. He also published a book, The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which is available on Amazon.

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