Citizen-Shot Video Shows Cops Lied About Citizen-Shot Video

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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.

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23 Responses to “Citizen-Shot Video Shows Cops Lied About Citizen-Shot Video”

  1. #1 |  croaker | 

    Of course, Keefe never dreams that there is a reason why these people don’t complain (see higher paragraphs that detail police retaliation).

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “…the state senate has passed the bill making it explicitly legal for citizens to record on-duty cops…

    Now we’re on the right track. It definitely has to be a lot easier to pass laws defining the relatively few things that are still legal in “the land of the free” than it is to define everything that isn’t.

    By the way, the fact that they had to pass a law explicitly giving recourse to someone who is arrested for recording cops is proof that what’s legal or illegal is defined far more by cops than the legislature. If the cops can get away with harassing you for recording them, it makes very little difference that the activity is technically legal. In other words, the legislature had to actually pass a law that over-turned cop-made law. That gives even more meaning to the term “police state”.

  3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Fakeconcretealligatorcide

    Kinda makes me want to cover my yard with a few dozen concrete dogs, set up a webcam, and wait.

  4. #4 |  marco73 | 

    Eventually, a test case on filming/recording police in public performing their official duties is going to wind up in the Supreme Court. Since the current court has sided with police/prosecutors consistently, I’d be willing to bet they come up with some lame-brained excuse to ban filming police anytime.

  5. #5 |  JS | 

    “You know you’re losing the PR battle when you’re arresting priests.”

    No they aren’t because nobody but a few people who read this site and maybe the local news where it happened will ever hear about this. Until this shit makes lead story on CBS evening news or Bill O’Reilly gets outraged about it nothing is ever going to change.

  6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #4 marco73

    Eventually, a test case on filming/recording police in public performing their official duties is going to wind up in the Supreme Court. Since the current court has sided with police/prosecutors consistently, I’d be willing to bet they come up with some lame-brained excuse to ban filming police anytime.

    Yup. I agree. They will say something to the effect that cops are the good guys, so there is no reason to record them and they can’t perform their job if they know their every move will be scrutinized by adversarial critics. If they can ban cameras in courtrooms, they almost certainly can ban the recording of cops.

  7. #7 |  Michael | 

    Good news for Connecticut, at least,

  8. #8 |  Bob | 

    Let me get this straight.

    This guy has a store, which, I assume as part of the decor… has a bunch of license plates screwed up on the walls.

    Is that even illegal? Sure, putting the wrong plates on your VEHICLE is frowned upon, but lots of people use them for decoration.

    The things were screwed to the wall! If he was SELLING them, with the intent that they would be used on cars illegally, you’d think they’d be in a paper sack behind the counter…. or otherwise out of view.

    According to the report, the only charges against the store owner was some mickey mouse “Failure to return Cancelled or Abandoned Plates” Woo! I feel safer already!

    Sure looks like harassment to me!

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    And of course, you gotta love the choice of language used in the report:

    “Manship did not answer this officer and had held his arms high over his head so that this officer could not see what he was actually holding and then
    bladed his body in a aggressive manner.”

    Look out, copper! That Priest is gunna go all biblical on you! Better arrest him after you’re done harassing the store keeper about his decorative license plates!

  10. #10 |  Bergman | 

    Well, if the SCOTUS eliminates all possible petitions for redress of grievances against the government under the first amendment by making it impossible to prove a grievance is valid, well, that’s one of the reasons the second amendment also exists: To make a more forcible petition possible.

  11. #11 |  Michael Chaney | 

    “Cause of action” is good, but it should also be a felony. Without criminal charges, it’ll do little good.

  12. #12 |  freedomfan | 

    So, this story is from March of 2009, has anything happened since? I saw some more recent coverage indicating that a federal investigation of the profiling is underway. I suppose that’s a good thing. But, I hesitate to be more enthusiastic because 1) we don’t know that anything will come of the fed’s involvement. And, 2) if the police are harassing citizens without legal cause, then it kinda sucks that the only way of going after them is on the racial profiling issue. Maybe that will be helpful in this case, but there are plenty of times when it happens without that factor playing an obvious role, and citizens should have recourse anyway. Moreover, incidents of racial profiling aren’t something everyone can identify with, so such cases lose the impact that cases where “that could have happened to me” gets the public attention.

    I am actually more curious if there has been any consequence to the officer who clearly lied on the police report about his fear that the camera was a weapon of some sort. This is a pretty clear-cut case of him making that up, since he is recorded calling it a camera. Contrary to what the police attorney (Keefe?) claims, what the cop claims the priest did afterwards does not change the fact that he knew that the camera was a camera and he lied about that on the police report.

  13. #13 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Radley you make sound like you expected the truth?

  14. #14 |  Peter | 

    “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?”

    I love this sort of intimidation as if the attorney doesn’t realize what happens to those that do file complaints. Really need to somehow split the IA/IG out of the police and then incentivize them to be extremely proactive and dilegent .. ja ja ja pipe dreams

  15. #15 |  the innominate one | 

    Can the cops be charged with filing a false police report for lying on their own reports?

  16. #16 |  Bob | 

    #15 | the innominate one | June 3rd, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Can the cops be charged with filing a false police report for lying on their own reports?

    Sure! But… Not by you. Only by the state. Good luck with that. See… the crime against filing a false report isn’t against YOU, it’s against the State. If you want to make it about YOU, then it’s a Civil Matter.

    Hence the segue to Civil Lawsuits.

  17. #17 |  supercat | 

    #11 | Michael Chaney | June 3rd, 2011 at 2:22 pm “Without criminal charges, it’ll do little good.”

    What would help would be if society would start recognizing that detaining someone without an articulable facially-legitimate reason for doing so is kidnapping, whether or not the person doing it is a cop. A cop who can articulate what he reasonably believes to be legitimate cause to arrest someone would not become a kidnapper merely because the information upon which he based his belief happened to be incorrect, but a cop who can’t articulate why he’s arresting someone, or who articulates a cause which is patently unreasonable, is a kidnapper and should be regarded as such. Note also that a cop who threatens to illegitimately detain someone should be regarded as a person who threatens to kidnap another, since that’s precisely what such a cop would be doing.

  18. #18 |  albatross | 

    supercat #17:

    I think it’s very hard to give police the powers they actually need to do their jobs, without there being some scope for abuse. The power to arrest someone, subdue them, even shoot them in some cases, are necessary, as far as I can see. And there will always be gray areas where it’s very hard to prove police misconduct, or where there’s an argument to be made about what really happened or how justified the police were in roughing some guy up or tazing him or shooting him or whatever. It’s hard for me to see how the police would do what we expect them to do, without also having the ability to push people around in a way that’s plausibly deniable. (Though I don’t really know all that much about day to day police work, so maybe I’m misunderstanding the situation.)

    What we need is to create the right incentives for the police and their supervisors, all the way up to mayors and police chiefs and prosecutors. We want those people to want to avoid having the police abuse their power. We want the police union and the other policemen to have a strong incentive to not have that stuff happening. (One clear indication that this isn’t happening now is the push to arrest people for filming the police. Another is the utter lack of interest in prosecuting even the worst police abuses.)

  19. #19 |  Pepper Spray (continued) | The Moderate Voice | 

    [...] A priest was arrested for recording an incident of police harassment in New Haven. The footage shot contradicted a claim in a police report on the incident. [...]

  20. #20 |  East Haven, Connecticut Cops Arrested on Federal Civil Rights Charges | The Agitator | 

    [...] pretty clearly show that the cops lied in their police report. Bonus points, they actually lied about the citizen-shot video. The police report, David Cari, one of two arresting officers, states that he didn’t know what the [...]

  21. #21 |  East Haven, Connecticut Cops Arrested on Federal Civil Rights Charges - Death Rattle Sports | Death Rattle Sports | 

    [...] pretty clearly show that the cops lied in their police report. Bonus points, they actually lied about the citizen-shot video. The police report, David Cari, one of two arresting officers, states that he didn’t know what the [...]

  22. #22 |  Camera Phones And Social Media Present An Opportunity For Police Reform - Forbes | 

    [...] the camera footage taken by citizens contradicts police reports. We’ve seen this several times with police responses to Occupy protesters, including the [...]

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