Andrew Flinchbaugh found out the hard way that there are cops out there who think they can confiscate your personal property without just cause or even a warrant.
Andrew came upon a single car accident in Ocean County New Jersey and began filming.
Flinchbaugh, who has contributed in the past to a local news Web site, claims he was given permission to film by those first on the scene. However, one police officer seems to have taken exception to Flinchbaugh’s presence.
Flinchbaugh posted a 10-minute video of the events to YouTube and the footage appears to show him cooperating, while refusing the police’s principal request: to give them his camera as “evidence.”
As NBC 10 reports, the police officer in question was a detective from the Ocean County prosecutor’s office. Though Flinchbaugh offered to give him a copy of the video, for reasons that are still unclear, the detective wanted the camera.
He believed it was his legal right to take the camera. When Flinchbaugh refused to give hand it over, the detective arrested him for allegedly obstructing administration of law.
“I refused because I believe that that’s our First Amendment right,” Flinchbaugh told NBC 10.
When the officer threatened him with arrest, the video shows that Flinchbaugh calmly said: “Then you’re going to have to place me under arrest.”
To this, the detective replied: “Don’t push me like that.”
Flinchbaugh and his camera were released. Moreover, Ocean County prosecutor Joseph Coronato told NBC 10: “It would be my opinion that we’ll probably be dismissing the charge.”
He added: “We never would have looked at the video without getting a search warrant and, based on our information, we didn’t have the legal right to get the search warrant at that point.”