It was just over a year ago that Prince William County police in Virginia welcomed the public to visit them at their newly built police station by posting a video to YouTube showing them lip synching and dancing to a pop song called “My House.”
But it was less than a week ago that Prince William County police showed their true colors by harassing, bullying and arresting a man for photographing a government building from a public sidewalk.
From the video posted by a First Amendment auditor Ten Point Program 703, it is clear that upholding the Constitution is not a vital part of the training that takes place at the Prince William County Police Department. Like most cops, they seem to believe the Constitution takes a back seat to their perceived “safety.”
In this case, the cops felt unsafe about the man standing on a public sidewalk taking photos and shooting video of the Prince William County Government Center, a tax-funded multiplex facility that can viewed by several angles on Google Street View.
A high-strung cop named G. Walsh (first name possibly Greg) was especially spooked when he spotted the man photographing cop cars leaving the complex’s parking lot – a completely legal activity that does not constitute reasonable suspicion because it is protected by the First Amendment.
In his paranoia-fueled police-trained mind, Walsh probably believed he was taking a heroic stand against a terrorist intent on blowing up the entire building – but who was only able to do so after photographing the building from across the street.
But the video shows him to be a thug cop who stopped his car in the middle of the street and stormed up to him getting directly into his personal space while shoving him with his hands. Pretty much assaulting him because no matter how he tries to spin it, he did not have a reasonable suspicion the man was committing a crime. That is the whole point of a First Amendment audit, after all; to see if the cops are dumb enough to violate their Constitutional rights on video.
Some of you long-time readers may remember the story we wrote in 2014 about a Prince William cop named Kevin Jennings who conducted himself in a very similar manner to Walsh. Unfortunately, although our story still exists, the video has been removed from both YouTube and Live Leak and it appears to be completely wiped from the internet.
But here is how we described in the 2014 article:
Virginia police were aggressively arresting a man at a McDonald’s when another customer decided to pull out his phone and record, capturing a pair of cops forcing the suspect to the floor, even though the man did not appear to be resisting.
The Prince William County police officers handcuffed the man and jerked him up, forcing him outside to their patrol car. The man with the camera followed them outside, intending to continue documenting the arrest.
That was when a cop named Jennings stormed up to him and ordered him back inside, first threatening to arrest him for interfering, even though it was clear he was not interfering, then threatening to arrest him for loitering, even though the man was a paying customer.
Not to mention that forcing him back inside would likely negate any loitering allegation.
“It’s my Constitutional right to do this,” the man said as Jennings bullied him with his body weight, crowding his personal space.
“Right, sure is, stay inside,” Jennings said after forcing him back inside the restaurant.
The 2014 video enraged PINAC readers who call-flooded the Prince William County Police Department complaining about the unconstitutional actions of their officer. The department issued the following statement on Facebook.
But fast forward to January 23, 2020, Prince William County police have changed nothing. The video shows the cops were intent on checking him for identification even though he was under no legal obligation to provide it as he was not breaking any law.
After Walsh’s aggressive tactics failed, a cop whose name appears to be Gardini gave him the old “in this day and age” spiel about photography leading to terrorism even though that is a myth fabricated by law enforcement. Then a supervisor named Hill accused him of breaking the law by wearing a balaclava ski mask to protect from the cold, even though the motorcycle cop was wearing one just like it.
After 18 minutes when it became evident he was not going to identify himself, they arrested him. We reached out to the man for an interview but he has not yet responded. Watch the full video below or the shortened edited video above.
Here is their lip synch video which was part of a short-lived trend in 2018 in which police departments across the nation attempted to distract from the police abuse videos posted daily by singing and dancing for the cameras.