In Trump’s America, things like free speech are slowly but surely disintegrating.
A reporter for ShareBlue media, covering Virginia’s gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, was violently arrested by a group of police officers over absolutely nothing.
Mike Stark was attempting to film Gillespie during the annual Annandale Parade when Fairfax County police officers confronted him over whether where the reporter was standing counted as a sidewalk or walkway. The completely pointless altercation happened after a woman in red, reportedly associated with the Republican candidate’s campaign, reported him filming the parade to the police officers.
What happened next was caught on camera.
After a brief argument with the police officer, during which the cop told Stark he would not allow him to ask Gillespie any questions, the reporter vented his frustration with a loud, “F*** this.”
With that, the officers pushed the reporter against a wrought iron fence and proceeded to pull his hands behind him. Stark, who didn’t seem to be resisting at all, said something (probably something about the unfairness of the arrest) when suddenly another officer grabbed him and roughly tried to put handcuffs on him.
“Wait, wait,” said a flustered Stark as the officers almost jump on top of him, but suddenly one of the cops grabbed hold of his ankle and threw him down face-first on the pavement. Both officers then pinned the reporter on the ground, which caused his left arm to be stuck beneath him.
Throughout the exchange, Stark seemed to be trying to reason with the officers calmly.
“Stop, I will give you my arm,” Stark said, as an officer shouted something. “I can’t. You have your weight on top of me. I cannot give you my hand. My hand is stuck beneath me.”
However, the two cops refused to listen and soon four more officers arrived to wrench at one single man, who was then shouting in pain.
After once again placing Stark’s arms behind his back — like the reporter had done before the officers unnecessarily threw him to the ground — the police handcuffed him.
They also added resisting arrest to the reporter’s charges even though the video clearly showed he did no such thing.
The video ends after even more police officers arrived and told the man with the camera to stop filming.
“I’d appreciate it. OK? I really would. Job’s hard enough,” said an officer.
The officers claimed in the video that Stark was being arrested for public swearing, but his record showed he was taken in for disorderly conduct — aside from the cursing, there was no sign of that — and resisting arrest, which everyone knows is a cop’s favorite catch-22.
Stark was released on a $3,000 bond the next day.
“I think they were letting me know who was boss,” Stark stated in an email to The Washington Post. “It was unnecessary, unlawful and violent, but not brutal.”
Stark has previously reportedly tried to ask Gillespie about his campaign’s reliance on white supremacists as well as the candidate’s attempt to link his rival, Ralph Northam, to a drug gang. Gillespie has also promised to safeguard Confederate monuments, like Robert E. Lee’s statue that incited a neo-Nazi rally in August that ended in tragedy.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters, Stephanie Keith