A Rochester, NY woman is facing misdemeanor charges after police arrested her for filming a routine traffic stop from her front lawn.
Emily Good began recording officers on her iPhone outside her home after they pulled a man over shortly before 10 p.m. on May 12. Ryan Acuff, a friend of Good, writes that cops stopped a young black male, handcuffed him and detained him in their cruiser while they searched his car for drugs. While the suspect was released, Good wasn’t quite as fortunate.
A police report says Officer Mario Masic of the Rochester Police Department is the individual that told Good she had to retreat into her house after he noticed her filming.
Masic asks, "You guys need something?" to which Good responds, "I'm just — this is my front yard — I’m just recording what you're doing. It's my right.”
"Actually, not from the sidewalk," replies Masic.
While Good tells the officer that she has the right to record from her front yard, Masic tells her that he doesn’t “feel safe” with her there. The woman responds by pointing out that she is nowhere near him and clearly doesn’t have a weapon.
Masic alleges on tape that Good and her friend made an “anti-cop” statement before the recording began, but Good, her friend and their neighbors have since disputed that.
“I think, uh, you need to go stay in your house, guys," says Masic.
Good and Masic argue over if she is actually doing anything wrong — or threatening her safety — until the officer comes onto her property and says, "You know what, you're gonna go to jail. That's just not right."
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Good’s public defender, Stephanie Stare, says, “She was well within her rights." Acuff writes that the officers’ encroachment was trespassing onto Good’s property.
The official report filed says she was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration, but Acuff writes that Good was taken to a parking lot of a nearby high school while cops pow-wowed for an hour on how to write up the case in a way that would “minimize their wrong doing.”
In a statement from the Rochester Police, Chief James Sheppard says, “I have researched the incident and determined that the case is currently proceeding through the adjudication process.”
Speaking to Rochester’s WHEC, Councilman Adam McFadden didn’t seem too impressed with the way the police officer handled the situation.
"It did not look well for us in terms of how we police and what it is we're attempting to accomplish for public safety,” says McFadden.
National Press Photographers Association General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher has since written to the Rochester PD, and tells them that “While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness, that is still no excuse for them to not recognize a citizen’s right to take photographs/video of an event occurring on a public street.”
To the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Osterreicher says that even if this video may be going viral, it is far from a rare occurrence across the country.
Good was arrested earlier this year after she and others staged a protest and attempted to block a home from being foreclosed. Oddly enough, that incident was videotaped by police.