Yet Another Innocent American Beaten and Arrested for Legally Filming Police
By End the Lie
Earlier this month, a very similar event occurred, albeit a much less brutal one in which an American citizen was illegally arrested for taking advantage of their legal right to film a public officer on a public street from their own property. Before we get in to this most recent event, I must admit (as the victim himself does) that he should not have said “nope” when the officer asked, “Do you live here?”. It seems as though the officer used that as justification for the attack on the victim, Mitchell Crooks.
In the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the actual video of the event has been posted along with a rough transcript which I will replicate here:
The words are friendly enough, but the tone is tense:
“Can I help you, sir?” Colling asks from his patrol car after parking it in front of Crooks’ driveway and shining the spotlight on Crooks.
“Nope. Just observing,” Crooks responds, fixing his camera on the officer.
Crooks had for an hour been recording the scene across the street from his home in the 1700 block of Commanche Circle, near East Desert Inn Road and South Maryland Parkway, where officers had several young burglary suspects handcuffed and sitting on the curb.
As Las Vegas crimes go, the activity was fairly boring. But Crooks wanted to try out his new camera, and he figured his neighbors would like to see the suspects’ faces.
When Colling loaded suspects into the back of his car and drove in a circle through the cul-de-sac, Crooks said he thought police were leaving. Then the officer stopped his car.
“Do you live here?” Colling asks.
“Nope,” Crooks says.
Colling steps out of his patrol car.
Crooks said he now regrets not telling the officer that he was in fact standing in his own driveway. His realizes his response seemed cheeky, but he said the officer made him nervous.
Colling walks toward Crooks, his left hand raised.
“Turn that off for me,” Colling orders.
“Why do I have to turn it off?” Crooks responds. “I’m perfectly within my legal rights to be able to do this.”
The officer repeats the command several times; each time Crooks reiterates his right to film.
“You don’t live here,” Colling says, now close to Crooks.
“I do live here!”
“You don’t live here, dude.”
“I just said I live here!”
As Crooks backs away, Colling grabs him by the shoulder and throws him down. On the ground, Crooks grabs the camera and turns it toward his face.
Colling’s leg then enters the video frame. Crooks says he believes that was the kick that broke his nose.
The video doesn’t show it, but it the camera records Crook screaming. He said that’s when Colling was punching his face.
“Shut up!” Colling yells. “Stop resisting!”
It is pretty obvious that this was nothing short of excessive force. Crooks was on the ground and handcuffed, thus effectively eliminating any potential threat Crooks might have presented. In addition to that fact, Crooks never goaded, insulted or threatened the officer in any way. There is absolutely no justification for the treatment this innocent man received. This shows a disturbing trend sweeping through the United States law enforcement community: the fallacious notion held by police officers that we (as American citizens) do not have a right to film public servants on public property, even though we pay their wages. This is turning down an ugly, dark road into a complete police state in which people cannot even film public officers performing their public duties in public. Does it get any more ludicrous than that?
To most Americans watching this film, Crooks might not even seem like he was getting abused because we have been so desensitized to violence, especially at the hands of so-called “peace” officers. The most disturbing part of the entire ordeal is that Crooks clearly requests medical assistance due to the barbarous beating handed to him by Derek Colling, the police officer. When he requests to be medically treated the following ensues,
Crooks asks for paramedics. Colling tells him to shut up and follow orders.
“If you fight again, dude Hey, if you (expletive) fight again, dude, you’re in a world of hurt. You hear me?
“You’re not in charge here, buddy. You hear me?”
Colling mocks Crooks’ labored breathing.
“Oh yeah, buddy. Hey, when you don’t do what I ask you to do, then you’re in a world of hurt. Then you’re in a world of hurt. Aren’t ya? Huh?”
Crooks was later diagnosed with a deviated septum and a chest wall injury. Crooks believes his ribs were broken, but never got X-rays that could prove it.
Clearly Colling is a sadistic narcissist who should be locked up himself. If we allow savage goons like Colling to walk the streets, how are we supposed to feel safe? We should respect, trust, and like our local law enforcement, not fear and despise them. However, it makes it a little hard for people to trust law enforcement officers when they commit brutal acts of violence and seem to enjoy it. When Colling said “Aren’t ya? Huh?” I lost it. The fact that this clearly demented sadist ever passed the psychological examination prior to being sworn in as a police officer tells me we need to radically restructure the way in which we evaluate potential officers. Do sadistic sociopaths get drawn into law enforcement or does law enforcement turn sane individuals into sociopathic sadists? If it is the latter, we have a lot more at issue than just the reformation of psychological testing, we must re-examine the entire paradigm in which police officers operate, the paradigm in which they are taught to assume you are guilty and a possible threat right off the bat.
This is not the first incident in which Colling has been involved, in fact he has been directly responsible for two on-duty shootings, all of which were declared justified. If this doesn’t point out the massive flaws in our legal and law enforcement systems, I do not know what does. LVJR writes,
Colling has been involved in two fatal shootings in his 5 1/2 years as a Las Vegas police officer. In 2006, he and four other officers shot Shawn Jacob Collins after the 43-year-old man pulled a gun at an east valley gas station.
In 2009, he confronted a mentally ill 15-year-old Tanner Chamberlain, who was holding a knife in front of his mother and waving it in the direction of officers. Colling shot him in the head.
Both shootings were ruled justified by Clark County coroner’s juries.
How are we allowing clearly sadistic individuals with a history of shootings and the murder of a mentally incompetent 15-year-old to not only continue to carry a loaded fire-arm in public but in addition, we give him license to use it whenever he feels necessary? If Colling is let off for this incident, just one event proving his complete sociopathic insanity, there should be a serious backlash from the people of Las Vegas. I would not feel comfortable having a psychopathic murderer loose with a badge in my neighborhood.
If police officers operated within the “innocent until proven guilty” framework, events like this would never happen. The officer would have nicely talked to Crooks, found out what he was doing and why and requested to see his ID to verify where he lived. All of this could occur in a calm situation in which no handcuffs, physical violence, or anything of the sort is necessary. Police officers seem to be blind to the fact that violence begets more violence and that the aggressive approach police officers employ on those they are sworn to serve does nothing other than make us trust them less and be more weary of them. I am happy to say that I have never had any physical altercations with a police officer in any form here in Los Angeles, although I cannot say the same about being hassled for literally no reason. I have (along with most people in Los Angeles, probably) been illegally detained by police officers with no probable cause and forced to sit on a curb on a busy street for a long period of time. Of course I have never been charged or even arrested for any crime, but that doesn’t stop LAPD from handcuffing me as tightly as possible and treating me like I’m a felon even though I have never received so much as a speeding ticket in my entire life.
This approach can be witnessed in airports now with TSA as well. The cancerous spread of this kind of behavior and the horrific actions that occur because of it is a great danger to America and our freedoms. When individuals with a badge are told to not trust anyone and to expect citizens to be dangerous and aggressive, a new paradigm is formed in which it is cops versus citizens. This is just wrong and serves to do nothing more than continue the metamorphosis of America into a total police state. We must take steps to make police officers and anyone else with a badge aware that they are here to protect us, not harass, threaten or scare us. I wish I felt comfortable walking up to any police officer and striking up a conversation, but nowadays I have a legitimate concern that the police officer could detain me claiming I was “obstructing his duties” or if I was highly unlucky, I might just get beaten to a pulp by some psychopath with a badge. These days there is no way to know.