“You Have No Rights”: Baltimore Police Threaten Citizen Filming Arrest

filmed27n-1-webWe have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue. The latest case comes from Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland has been previously cited in abuses by police in this area as we discussed. In this case, the officer summed up too many such cases by telling the witness simply “you have not rights.” That simplifies things wonderfully for police and citizens alike.


article-filmed-026The confrontation occurred in Towson after an altercation arose between Sergio Gutierrez, a college student, and an officer. As the Baltimore police arrested two people Gutierrez began videotaping. An irate officer then confronted him and Gutierrez asserted that he was within his rights. The officer responds “Get it out of my face.” The citizen responds that “I have my rights” to which the officer proclaims “You have no rights.” When the man continues to record, the officer barks at him: “Do you see the police presence here? Do you see us all? We’re not [expletive] around. Do you understand? Do not disrespect us and do not not listen to us. Now walk away and shut your [expletive] mouth or you’re going to jail, do you understand?” After returning a third time, the officer appears to grab Gutierrez who protests “I thought I had freedom of speech here.” The officer then announces “You don’t. You just lost it.” t

The citizen did not file a complaint, which is odd. The officer clearly acted abusively and then falsely stated that the citizen was committing a crime. He also threatened arrest for a protected act. This type of misconduct occurs not only because of a failure to train officers but a failure to discipline officers when they abuse citizens who are acting within their constitutional rights.

Source: CBS

49 thoughts on ““You Have No Rights”: Baltimore Police Threaten Citizen Filming Arrest

  1. YEP – AND THIS IS NOW THE REASON MANY PEOPLE ARE DECIDING TO FILM THE POLICE – THEY ARE CREATING THEIR OWN PROBLEM !!!

  2. “The citizen did not file a complaint, which is odd.”

    Not really. Particularly if you live in the same community. People fear retaliation, even if they don’t admit it.

  3. The problem, as I see it.. Too many people who record instances such as this, do not follow through with lawsuits. If you are someone, who whether by design, and purpose, or even think you might have circumstance to record your’ interactions with law enforcement. Do your’ due diligence first. Shop around for a civil minded attorney. Tell them your’ intentions, and ask, if such is needed, they would be willing to represent you. The more lawsuits get filed, and from those lawsuits the more media coverage is generated, the more public awareness of these sort of incidents are going to rise. But if all your going to do is film police, and put the recordings on YouTube or Websites like this.. Then all that is accomplished is the videos being viewed by the same small minority of people. Public opinion, and awareness are powerful tools.. That is where taking your grievances to court comes in.. Thus the need of due diligence in securing the services of an arbitrator. If you really want to do something that might make a difference. Put your name to this..https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/initiate-doj-investigation-all-police-departments-nationwide-because-ongoing-police-brutality-and/TfxFJFjp
    Even if nothing is done.. the more people that sign.. The louder the impact our displeasure will have.. You think the president is the only one that looks at this petition page? Not by a long shot. Remember.. These people want our votes.. If a million.. 2..3..million people are pissed enough to sign.. somebody hungry enough is going to use this as a platform to take a stand on, and secure those 3 million votes for themselves..

  4. I can understand people not pursuing action against the police. I’ve been falsely arrested and detained several times. I just let it go, glad to be done with the whole ordeal. It is the turn the other cheek attitude.

    Police chiefs need to get on the ball and better educate and train their officers. There is always going to be this tendency for them to be abusive. I think of the Stanford Prison Experiment. People put in authority tend to become tyrannical and abusive.

  5. Good Morning, davidm2575. “I just let it go, glad to be done with the whole ordeal. It is the turn the other cheek attitude.” I don’t know if I fully understand that approach. The story is a bit too long for this blog, but I was arrested, but I fought back and prevailed. To ignore it, tacitly supports it.

  6. He’s right. We no longer have rights. This is the change Obummer promised. Bend over and accept youre police state anal probe or fight back, it’s your choice.

  7. Feds Lose Court Try to Curb Mocking T-Shirts

    By Cheryl K. Chumley
    February 21, 2014

    From The Washington Times

    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/freedom_watch/feds_lose_court_try_to_curb_mocking_t_shirts

    A Minnesota man who was sent a cease-and-desist letter by the federal government over his sales of merchandise, which mocks the National Security Agency’s citizen surveillance activities, has won his legal battle.

    “It’s a victory for First Amendment rights,” said Dan McCall, of Sauk Rapids, who runs LibertyManiancs.com, in FoxNews.com.

    Among his products: T-shirts that display the seal of the NSA along with text that states: “The only part of the government that actually listens.”

    NSA and Department of Homeland Security officials sent Mr. McCall cease-and-desist demands last fall, FoxNews.com reported. Mr. McCall headed to court and just this week learned that the government had dropped its attempt to prohibit sales of the items.

    As part of the settlement, the NSA also had to admit that the shirt designs and merchandise were only intended to parody to the government — and to retract their allegations that the items broke federal law. Moreover, Mr. McCall won back his $500 court costs after the judge ordered the government to pick up the tab, FoxNews.com reported.

    “I think this case showed the hush that can happen on the Web when people attempt to satire or write stuff,” Mr. McCall told the local newspaper, the St. Cloud Times. “People are reluctant to do satire or parodies and criticize these agencies when something like this hangs over you. I got a ton of letters from other artists saying, ‘I want to wait and see how this turns out for you before I do anything.’

  8. Well, hopefully he’ll see this blog & decide to see if he can get represented & press charges. You ought to be able to press charges on your own but in reality there is a strong likelihood of being arrested on a trumped up charge. It happened to me in San Bernardino, California & only paying a lawyer $1500 would get the ridiculous charges dropped. I’m white & so were the cops; were I black it would probably have been worse. By the way, I had a perfect false arrest case but I could not get representation for a return civil case on that.

  9. “Vigilantes with a Badge: The War Against the American People”

    By John W. Whitehead
    February 25, 2014

    https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/vigilantes_with_a_badge_the_war_against_the_american_people

    Excerpt:

    This brings me to the looming question, the one to which there is no easy answer: what can “we the people” do to protect themselves from the police? While there are scattered attempts to combat police abuses underway, ranging from increased surveillance of on-duty police officers through the use of lapel cameras, and campaigns to film police interactions with one’s smart phone, to legislation authorizing citizens to use force against a police officer who is acting unlawfully, few bring about any lasting change.

    The solution is far simpler yet so much more difficult to achieve. As with all things—no matter what level of government, whether you’re talking about abuses within law enforcement, Congress, the National Security Agency, or within your own community—for real change to occur, it will take Americans getting outraged enough to speak up and speak out. It will take them showing up at City Council meetings, picketing in front of police stations, and demanding that their concerns, complaints and fears about police brutality—not only for themselves but for their fellow citizens of lesser incomes, darker skin tones and questionable lifestyles—be acknowledged and acted upon.

    To put it another way, there can be no hope for freedom unless “we the people” recognize that every time the police shoot an unarmed citizen, taser an elderly person, or beat someone senseless or crash through a homeowner’s door, they are really shooting me, tasering you, and beating senseless your children, your neighbors and your loved ones.

  10. Cops are not adjusting to the new reality of everyone w/ a camera in their pocket. They will either adapt or perish.

  11. Oh no.. Cops are adjusting to the reality of cameras. Just not in a good way.. I have seen video of an officer intentionally kneeling on a mans arm. Punching the guy in the back of the head while screaming. “Put your hands behind your back, Stop resisting!.” Knowing that from the camera angle it would look like the subject was not complying. What the cop did not know, was that someone else was recording from a different vantage point, and showed what was really going on.. Been trying to find the page I saw this on.. No luck yet.. But the point is.. cops are learning to do what they want, regardless of cameras.. criminals are crafty that way.. and if all else fails they will just take the camera, and delete the contents.. banking on that most people do not realise there are programs that can recover deleted footage.

  12. The fractions of human beings hiding behind the thin-blue-line of professional thuggery strike again this time in Baltimore.

  13. Well, if there is a good general protest like this (not some attempt to racially divide like the Trayvon thing) you can bet your boots I’d do something. Maybe I couldn’t get to the main venue due to working elsewhere but I would make the protest where I were at the time, as long as in the States. To protest the planned Iraqi War on the lie about weapons of mass destruction in 2003 I put a Nazi & American flag together on my jeep with appropriate rhetoric; it got noticed! One Marine forced me off the freeway near San Diego, unaware he was the problem, not the solution, but I did not let that stop me.

  14. JH, You just proved my point. Police have acted w/ impunity forever, until the past several years. They’re playing the “Whack a Mole” game w/ cameras and you can’t win it. There are simply too many.

  15. Justin Petaccio wrote: “I don’t know if I fully understand that approach. The story is a bit too long for this blog, but I was arrested, but I fought back and prevailed. To ignore it, tacitly supports it.”

    In one case, the Judge declared the law unconstitutional and I was released. The news media wondered if I would sue for false arrest. I just didn’t see the point. I was declared to be right. In another case, the charges were dropped. I only suffered being in handcuffs in the back of a hot police car for 30 minutes. In many other cases, I was just being detained unlawfully. What am I going to do, spend all my time fighting in court? I don’t see the point. As long as I’m not found guilty of anything, I just go about my business.

  16. Alain, your insistence on Blaming Obama destroys us, yopu ebverything in the whole world. Why? Because it deflects blame from W Bush. W Bush destroyed the world. Anyone who does not blame Bush for everything wrong with the US is complicit

  17. Correction:

    Baltimore County police.

    If it was at Towson University, it would be Baltimore County police. The county and the city are two separate entities with two separate police departments.

  18. Film them when they arrive at the federal courthouse for opening day of the jury trial for damages on the civil rights lawsuit.

  19. Disturbing case. I wouldn’t be surprised if the camera operator did not sue out of fear. If the police department in this case allows this kind of obvious abuse, heads need to roll and victims need to sue the department and city/county in order to get change.
    anonymously post,
    thanks for the link to the Minnesota case. I had not seen anything about it.

  20. Here is the raw video. It seems to me these officers got way to amped up and lost control of their emotions. One claims the person recording is distracting him and therefore interfering with the arrest. I don’t buy that. I agree with the police chief’s statement and reprimand of those officers. When the man doing the filming asks what law he broke and the sgt comes over and manhandles him that was way out of line and should have been sanctioned by the department.

  21. Only people with money have constitutional rights. The rest of you need to just forget about it. The police know civil rights attorneys are paid by the hour. They know most of you do not have money to retain the services of a civil rights attorney. The police know they will get away with denying constitutional rights a hundred times before they find someone who has the money to take the matter to court..

  22. Guy.. I do not believe that it necessarily true. Given how many such lawsuits that have been won.. not to mention the rather large payouts.. I think plenty of lawyers would quite happily take on 1st amendment, and other civil suits on a contingency basis.

  23. Guy Fawkes, money and political influence mean “justice” in this country. Kerry Kennedy was just acquitted of drugged driving. Maybe it’s progress to see the Shanty Kennedy Klan women behaving badly, instead of just the men.

  24. Cuddy, Get out of the blame Bush & not Obama. That will not work because it isn’t true. I ran an ‘Anyone But Bush!’ campaign in 2004. Apart from having my billboards destroyed & being jailed & charged with trespass, all courtesy of the San Bernardino Police & highly wrong & illegal on their part as I had all permits, rents & legalities in, I did catch up with the times today & realize that Obama is actually worse. Not only has he ratified Bush’s Patriot Act but he has passed so many presidential edicts to take away our freedoms, the NDA Act being potentially worse than the Patriot Act. Wake up! The left/fight approach is a succers game & a betrayal of all.

  25. That officer’s actions appear to have violated policy: http://www.policeone.com/communications/articles/5052554-Baltimore-PD-releases-new-rules-for-videotaping-police/

    There have been some recent cases in Maryland and I suspect unfortunately it will take a few more for these lessons to sink in. As for the videotaped officers, if I was a lawyer dealing with a police misconduct case involving these officers, I would imagine this video would be quite useful.

  26. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.

    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.
    All the time go after your heart.

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