Florida Police Arrest Prankster Not For Prank But Filming Prank

charles-ross-arrested-jumping-over-cops-videoWe have another case of police arresting a citizen because he filmed them in public. This one however is with a twist (and a flip).

Charles Ross, 18, in this video does a pretty remarkable flip over an officer sitting on a bench. Ross runs the YouTube channel Ross Creations featuring his pranks.

It was an impressive but dumb move to be sure. The officers at first appear to be taking the stunt in admirable stride, warning the kid that if he did that again they would have to do something in response. I am not sure what that is precisely since I do not see the crime in the stunt. The officer however appears to be thinking of something other than an arrest in saying “Next time you do this I will break your freakin neck.”

However, the officers go from reasonable to rage when one asks if he filmed the stunt. When he says that it was filmed, the officers state that they intend to “ruin his day” and proceed to tackle and arrest him. The fact that it was filmed is no basis for an arrest since that is a protected act under the first amendment. The arbitrary basis for deciding whether to arrest raises serious questions of abuse and false arrest for these officers.

Here is the video.

39 thoughts on “Florida Police Arrest Prankster Not For Prank But Filming Prank”

  1. Lawrence:

    I understand where you are coming from. Yet, there is the issue of whether any run-of-the-mill crook then claims he believed he was about to be beaten by the police and then it becomes the standard defence to running from the law.

    It would certainly be better to just clean up police abuse and then this type of defence would not be believable.

    In this case it is apparent the defendant in this article was just trying to make a joke of the thing, not to scare or harm the officers. They needed to lighten up. People do this once in a while, and when I was at the S.O. we did this often with each other. It’s generally not a big deal.

  2. I think people don’t get up in arms for the same reason they don’t about the wars, it does not effect them personally so heck, can’t be all that bad.

  3. Darren,
    In light of the police abuse that seems to be on the rise, I would have run if the cops were walking towards me as I was filming them. Especially after the threat that they had uttered. I would have run to save my camera and the possible evidence of abuse on it, and prevent a tasering or beating that would likely go unpunished. When the police overstep their authority and face little or no consequences, citizens cannot assume that they will be handled professionally and properly can they?

  4. I believe the arrest was unlawful but I am on the fence as to whether this could legally be considered and assault. Here is why:

    About half way from the bench to where the camera was, the three begin walking toward the camera. The man then starts to run and the officer picks up on this and then takes him down. In general in this situation, where someone starts to run when they are about to be arrested, the officers have a legal right to use reasonable force to effect their arrest. It is also a safety issue in that bad things have happened during or at the end of foot chases.

    Sorry for not having the case to cite as a reference but there was I believe a supreme court decision (it was either WA or US) that declared a suspect does not have a right to resist arrest even if the arrest is based upon evidence that is insufficient to secure a PC hearing on arraignment.

    Given these two issues I don’t believe the assault charge against the police would fly but I do have a concern in another arena.

    If the officers willfully or recklessly violated the civil rights of the defendant, such as in this case filming the police, would this then change the game and the force used against the defendant be considered part of the civil rights violation?

    Two examples:

    Officer receives report of a suspect involved in an assault named John who is wearing blue pants and a striped red and white shirt. The officer sees a man with this clothing description and calls out “John” to him, the person turns around, sees the officer and runs. Even though in actuality this man is named Steve but he mistakenly believes the police are looking for him. The officer chases the man and tackles him, cuffing him up.

    In this example the officer could articulate assault crime, matching clothing description, responding to the name John, then fleeing upon seeing the police as suspects often do. Once it was sorted out and Steve was released the officers would have qualified immunity both civilly and criminally because they were acting in good faith.

    But in the example that is the supect of this blog, I am not so sure it would apply.

  5. Everyone goes wild about the abuses happening in Egypt and I read things like this and I wonder why all those with the beef against everything in the MENA region doesn’t recognize the police abuses, rapes, domestic violence and everything that goes on in THIS country. This kind of thing is mentioned EVERY DAY in these posts.

  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/15/mark-stone-china-detained-sky-news_n_2885139.html
    Mark Stone, Sky News Reporter, Detained Live On Air In China

    Compared to this story, the Chinese were quite dignified in the way they went about handling a “foreign” reporter (and from their perspective one that was potentially agitating political issues? Foreign journalists must be suspect generally as to motives and covert intentions being at least a possibility). What is most interesting is not only did the Chinese allow the reporter to continue filming, but filmed the reporter and filmed the filming themselves. The reporter thinks “they don’t know it was live…” but that is rediculous…they obviously wanted it to be seen and filmed it themselves to provide assurances that the incident had both sides accurately depicted. it is interesting to note that our police from Chicago to Florida have been much more brutal to our own citizens and the “law” is being shaped to place offenders in jail simply for filming police in action. We might expect it from the Chinese government but how is it that we have allowed direct suppression of “accountability” by film in America and not kicked and screamed about political oppressive regimes against the Constitution itself?

  7. Keep publicizing these abuses.

    Public pressure against police abuses has to build.

    Please include the jurisdiction so that your readers can call the department and register their disgust.

  8. This is a Polizeistaat. The Polizei ARE the law. Whatever they say is the law — is the law.
    Use a camera – that is breaking THEIR law.
    Amerika the beautiful …

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