You know you’re losing the PR battle when you’re arresting priests.
Father James Manship released video footage Thursday that contradicts an East Haven police report justifying his arrest.
Manship was arrested on Feb. 19 on misdemeanor charges while videotaping police officers in My Country Store, an East Haven business run by Ecuadorian immigrants. Manship pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that he was recording an incident of police harassment, part of an alleged campaign of systematic intimidation and racial profiling perpetrated by East Haven police against Latinos. Manship’s attorneys recently secured the footage from the East Haven Police Department, which confiscated his video camera at the time of the arrest . . .
The footage appears to contradict a claim made by the East Haven police department in a police report that was withheld until 13 days after the incident. The police report, David Cari, one of two arresting officers, states that he didn’t know what the New Haven priest was holding. He wrote that he saw an “unknown shiny silver object” that Manship had “cupped” in his hands, and was afraid for his safety. Read the police report here . . .
The police report alleges that Father Manship concealed the fact that he was videotaping the officers, by cupping his hands over “a silver object.”
“Not knowing if Manship was holding a camera or a possible weapon this officer asked Manship to show me what was in his hands,” Cari’s report reads.
In direct contradiction of Cari’s claim, the video from Manship’s camera shows Officer Cari twice verbally identifying the “silver object” as a camera.
“Sir what are you doing? Is there a reason that you have a camera on me?” says Officer Cari, in the video.
“I’m taking a video of what’s going on here,” Manship replies.
“Well, I’ll tell you what, what I’m going to do with that camera,” Officer Cari says, as he walks around a shelving unit to approach the priest.
Father Manship’s responses to the officers were calm and non-threatening, Fernandez-Chavero argued as he showed the footage.
The last few paragraphs are perfect.
Asked to respond to the allegations that police harassment has increased, [East Haven Police Department Attorney] Keefe said, “I have a very simple question: when was the last time anyone filed a complaint with any town official in East Haven” regarding police harassment of Latinos?
“None. Ever. No. None,” said Keefe, answering his own question.
“It’s one thing to have Father Manship slander the people of East Haven… It’s another to produce evidence of that,” Keefe said.
Manship has said that he was in the process of compiling evidence of police harassment before he was arrested by the police.
In better news, Connecticut public defender and blogger “Gideon’s Trumpet” reports that the state senate has passed the bill making it explicitly legal for citizens to record on-duty cops, and providing a cause of action against cops who violate that right.