Defense attorney and part time Uber driver Jesse Bright was stopped by two police officers in North Carolina who suspected him of carrying an illegal substance in his vehicle. When Bright started recording a video of the encounter, one of cops told him that filming them was illegal.
Little did he know that Bright was an attorney himself who was fully aware of his rights.
Sgt. Kenneth Becker told Bright that he had just taken his passenger from a known drug house. When Bright tried to explain that he was an Uber driver and did not personally know his passenger, beyond the information he received to pick him up from a particular location, the officers didn’t believe him.
They arrested the passenger, and constantly threatened the Uber driver to turn off his phone or wind up in jail. The cops also called for a K-9 to search his car completely.
“There’s a new law, you’re not allowed to record me,” Becker shot back.
When Bright asked him about the law, Becker did not have any answer, because he lied. Such a law doesn’t exist.
“I know the law. I’m an attorney so I would hope I would know the law,” Bright commented.
The cop still didn’t believe him: “And an Uber driver?”
Bright showed Becker his bar card, but a K-9 was still brought at the location to search the car. However, when they were unable to find any illegal substance, Bright was set free.
The attorney explained later that people believe whatever police say without knowing the law.
“If he’s willing to directly lie to me, and tell me you know this is against the law to film police, then it worries me you know most people when they’re given an order by an officer they don’t know that it’s an unlawful order.”
The Wilmington Police Department later published a statement that said taking photographs and videos of police men was a legal right of citizens.
A spokesman for one of the police departments involved in the incident reportedly confirmed that their officer would be counseled on how to handle such cases properly in the future.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Tyrone Siu