Video footage taken by a citizen journalist who runs the YouTube channel Minnesota Guardian shows an officer angry over him recording hassling him for sitting in his car and documenting several officers peacefully arrest a man.
No one was hurt or injured in the video.
But one officer felt the need to speak his mind, expressing his dismay and disdain towards a citizen quietly recording an arrest.
Even though police officers record almost everything on their own cameras.
New footage from July 20 shows officer Ryan Garrett was the only officer at the scene to approach the man recording.
He begins the interaction by accusing him of “trying to catch us doing something wrong” after hearing Minnesota Guardian was tuned into the police department’s radio frequency.
Garrett accuses him of trespassing and insinuates that’s his reason for approaching him.
But seconds later, officer Garrett spills the real reason he approached.
“Well, I can tell you . . . that you’re trespassing here,” he says.
“Really? What is trespassing?”
“I’m just letting you know, man . . . that I don’t appreciate when we’re dealing with something that’s a serious situation when you’re just sitting filming us.”
“I don’t appreciate it.”
“You don’t like First Amendment?”
“I’m just letting you know, OK?”
“OK, am I breaking the law? Am I free to go?”
“I’m telling you — you’re absolutely free to go. What I’m telling you is . . . that I don’t appreciate it.”
Officer Garrett then goes on to say he’s putting his life on the line and that’s why he doesn’t appreciate being recorded making an arrest.
“Have you ever put your life on the line? What I’m telling you is we’re putting our life on the line in a serious situation.
“Why do you come up to me acting like I’ve done something wrong,” the YouTuber asks.
“We’re dealing with a serious situation….”
The man recording then asks him what that has to do with the First Amendment.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, especially with what’s been going on lately” which is the same line police officers have used to harass photographers since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“When you come up to me with this command authority like this,” Minnesota Guardian says.
“How is this command authority? I told you are free to go, right?”
“Yeah, but you’re threatening me with trespass.”
“I’m just letting you know. But did I . . . are you in custody? Are you out of your car?”
“How do I know if I’m free to go?”
“I just told you that you’re free to go,” officer Garrett says, showing some decency.
Minnesota Guardian comments the adversarial aspect of the interaction was unnecessary before the video ends.
“You could have been nice about it,” he says.
Officer Garrett technically has the right to express disdain or discontent with the photographer.
But if officers in his department are so busying risking their lives handling serious business, you might wonder what’s the problem with a citizen video recording?
Officer Garrett deserves some credit for not overusing his authority to arrest Minnesota Guardian for recording, which is mountains better than hundreds of officers we’ve written about in the past.
See the full, original footage from Minnesota Guardian’s YouTube channel above.