PINAC (Photography is Not a Crime) reports that a New York City police officer “beat up and arrested a man for video recording him inside a subway station from 30 feet away Saturday night, walking up to him and getting in his face all while claiming the man was invading his personal space.”
Claiming that the photographer and known activist, Shawn Randall Thomas, had “physically interfered with another arrest,” Officer Efrain Rojas then “deleted the video, never mentioning the camera once in his arrest report.
PINAC goes on to report Thomas was not only able to recover that deleted footage (shown below) but he was also able to obtain additional footage from another man showing “Rojas with his knees on Thomas’ back as he lay face down on the sidewalk just outside the sub station, seconds after Rojas had bashed his face into the pavement, busting his lip.”
The injury was so bad that they had to transport him to the hospital twice during his 24-hour incarceration where doctors described him as a victim of assault.
“I was bleeding profusely,” Thomas said during an interview with Photography is Not a Crime Monday night.
“I was having really bad head pains while in jail, so they took me back to the hospital the following morning.”
Raw Story reports that:
[It]t gets worse. Officer Rojas apparently grabbed Thomas’ cellphone and either deleted the footage or removed the battery in order to prevent Thomas from filming any further. (PINAC’s account of this event mentions “deletion” and Thomas using Recuva to recover the deleted footage, but the description of events only says Rojas took Thomas’ phone and pocketed the battery.) Thomas then took out his backup phone (a Blackberry) and tried to continue filming, at which point Rojas “knocked the phone out of [Thomas’] hand” and slammed him to the ground.
Rojas’ attempt to conceal the incident did not stop there. As reported by PINAC on their Facebook page:
It looks as if NYPD Officer Efrain Rojas is asking Youtube to remove the video of him attacking and arresting a man for video recording him.
Youtube sent Shawn Randall Thomas a notice, asking him to respond to the privacy complaint within 48 hours.
Although Rojas’ complaint doesn’t meet Youtube’s standards to remove the video, this might be a good opportunity to give him a lesson in the Streisand Effect.
Thomas posted the following on YouTube along with his footage of the incident and you can see the actual report here:
If you like to read “Legal Fictions” you should read the criminal complaint filed against me in this matter by NYPD Officer Rojas and the Kings County District Attorney, Kenneth Thompson. It’s not very creative, but it is very interesting.
Recording While Black and Contempt of Cop are not crimes just yet, but I think NYC Politicians are working on it, because Photography Is Not A Crime unless you are photography the Cops of course.
Yet the Department of Justice sees no reason to intervene.
Here is what Police Officer Efrain Rojas Shield No. 23404, says happened:
Deponent states that, at the above time and place, inside of a Transit Station on the 3 and 4 platform train, which was public, deponent was issuing a lawful summons to an individual and that deponent observed defendant in very close proximity to the deponent and deponent’s partner while issuing the summons and that deponent continued to repeatedly ask defendant to step back and that defendant repeatedly refused to do so.
Deponent further requested the defendant to leave said train station and defendant refused to do so, deponent escorted defendant out the above mentioned location and informed defendant that defendant can not come back into said station, defendant continued to film deponent and closely follow deponent back into said train station.
Deponent further states that, at the above time and place, defendant did resist a lawful arrest by crossing defendants’ arm across defendant’s chest while deponent attempted to place defendant in handcuffs.
You can watch Thomas’ video, below: