There was an apparent break and enter to the XXXXXX Pawn Shop earlier tonight. I did my usual take on the scene and was filming the Police Officers in the surrounding area. I drove into the alley, which was not blocked off by the police and continued with my filming.
A Police Officer noticed me in the alley near the back door of the XXXXXX and was checking me out with his flashlight as I drove by.
He must have seen the video camera otherwise nothing further would have happened. He yelled at me to stop and I complied and put the camera into the center console.
He came to my door and asked me what I was doing with the camera. I said I was just driving by and was recording the scene. He was pissed right off and demanded the camera. I was unsure of my rights at this point and complied by handing over the camera.
I appologized and complied fully.
The Officer decided to sieze my video camera and I now have charges pending against me in relation to; interferance with a police investigation, obstruction of justice, dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention (because I was filming while driving down the alley at 10km/hr).
What a bunch of BULL SHIT. There is little to no merit and I am sure the pending charges will not be realized. By the end of my shift the Police had offered my camera back but I am still required to appear at the police station today with the possibility of being arrested and charged with the above offences.
At one point I was not even sure I had been "pulled over" after I gave the officer my camera he did not ask me for any identification or anything and he walked away. I got out of the vehicle and he started yelling at me to get back in the car or he was going to put his cuffs on me and take me to jail.
I got back in the car, he came back a while later and asked me for some identification. I gave him my drivers liscence, he ran me through his system and came back and read me my rights and asked if I wanted a lawyer and on and on. I said I understood and had no comment.
This guy was on a serious power trip and I will not be compliant with the police in the future. I should have kept driving after he told me to stop, I could have said that I did not hear him. I should have refused to hand over my property without a warrant and on and on.
What I did was nothing more than drive down an alley with a video camera in hand. There is no way in hell this would ever go to court. In my defence I could bring a front page news article showing the police conducting an investigation with a photo from the Lethbridge Herald, zero difference as to what I was doing. As for holding the video camera while driving, there is little difference to talking on a cell phone while driving, which is not illegal in Alberta.
His reasoning for the obstruction charge was that I distracted him from watching the back door in case the suspect was inside, thereby giving the suspect the opportunity to flee and possibly attack the Officer. The Constable asked me whether I would have helped him if he were being attacked. I said that I would have helped. I think that pissed him off more.
I guess I should be thankfull I was not tazed and taken to jail.