It sometimes pays to film your police interactions
April 2, 2014
A New York City man is thankful he invested in a personal dash cam, not unlike the kind used by police, after an officer accused him of doing something he didn’t do.
The man, a Brooklyn resident referred to simply as “Abraham,” was able to rectify an erroneous traffic citation after he presented his own footage as evidence.
Watch CBS New York’s report on this incident from four days ago.
Abraham was flagged down by an officer last month who accused him of making an illegal turn when he had done nothing of the sort. The interaction went as follows:
Abraham: “I was in the turning lane.”
Officer: “No. You weren’t.”
Abraham informed the officer he was filming their interaction with a camera set up to activate whenever he turns on his vehicle, but the officer proceeded to ticket him anyway.
Weathering the charge of an illegal turn would have cost Abraham $138, and would have incurred a 3-point penalty on his driver’s license, which in turn would have increased his insurance premium.
However, on Tuesday night police phoned Abraham to tell him they were dropping the charges.
“Without a camera, I would be guilty 100 percent,” Abraham told CBS last month, confident he had the evidence needed to beat the ticket.
The man told CBS with the aid of his dash cam he was able to prove his innocence, but for the millions of others who have no dash cams, there is little that can be done.
“I have proof — all of those innocent people, they didn’t install video, and they can’t prove it, and they are innocent,” Abraham said.
Mindful Americans would be well advised to take a cue from the Brooklyn man.
As we wrote last month, although some police departments are being forced to wear body cameras, it is still at officers’ discretion whether or not to initiate filming an event.
When thousands begin filming their interactions, and police realize their fabrications will not hold up in court, their conduct will likely change accordingly.