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Sgt. Arrests Video-Taker; IA Probe Begins

by Paul Bass | Jun 4, 2012 5:17 pm

(52) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Paul Bass Photo Tamara Harris Photo The police chief Monday ordered an internal investigation opened into a sergeant who allegedly had a woman arrested and a cell phone camera snatched from her bra after she recorded him beating a handcuffed suspect.

Chief Dean Esserman (pictured at center in above photo at an unrelated press conference Monday afternoon) said he acted as soon as he learned of the allegations.

The allegations against Sgt. Chris Rubino came from two women who observed a tussle between cops and an unruly man in the Temple Street plaza behind Pulse nightclub shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday.

If the allegations prove true, they would dramatically violate, in exquisite detail, police General Order 311. The order protects the rights of citizens to photograph or video-record cops in public; police cannot use the excuse of arresting someone for using a camera with a blanket “interfering” charge. (Read about that here.) Former Chief Frank Limon announced the policy last year (click here to read about that) after several controversial incidents of cops unconstitutionally harassing citizen photographers. In one case an internal investigation prompted by this Independent article concluded that an assistant chief violated department policy when he ordered one such photographer arrested then took his camera and erased his files; that assistant chief resigned. (Read about that here.)

The alleged actions would also violate the Constitution, in the view of the U.S. Justice Department, and could potentially open the department to a lawsuit.

Esserman said he will reserve comment on the incident until the investigation ends.

“Stop Filming Right Now!”

Contributed Photo The arrested woman is Jennifer Gondola (pictured), a real-estate agent and administrative assistant from Ansonia. She and friends went to Pulse for a drink. They left around 1:45 a.m. out the back entrance onto the plaza in the rain.

They came upon a commotion. Police were arresting a 24-year-old Bridgeport man; police said they had ordered the man and his friends to disperse, at which point the man refused and then started physically attacking officers as they handcuffed him.

People throughout the plaza whipped out their camera phones. Gondola was standing “6 feet away,” she told the Independent Monday. “I wasn’t in their way at all.” She started video-recording the action on her iPhone 4.

Five cops had the arrested man pinned to the ground, she said.

“The kid was anklecuffed and handcuffed. He was talking shit to them. He was on the ground. Blood was coming out of his mouth,” Gondola said. “They were hitting him.”

“They were roughhousing him. Stepping on his face. Kneeing in his back,” said Gondola’s friend, Tamara Harris, who was alongside her and taking still photos. Sgt. Rubino was doing the bulk of the beating, Harris said, “stepping on the guy’s head, doing all this extra stuff when he was already handcuffed.”

Harris said she saw Rubino look up from the beating and notice Gondola with the camera. He immediately left the arrestee and approached Gondola, Harris said.  “He went to snatch her phone. ‘I want your phone.’ She’s like, ‘No!’ He got mad.”

Here’s what happened next, according to Gondola:

“Stop filming right now!” Rubino ordered her.

“No this is my civil right,” she recalled saying. Gondola said she’s “always on all these news sites” reading about recent cases in which cops got in trouble for snatching cameras from citizens.

“Well, I have to right to review it,” Rubino allegedly told her.

Gondola claimed she remained “very quiet and calm” and “pressed play” to show him the video. “But I didn’t let him touch my phone.”

Rubino’s response, according to Gondola: “It’s evidence of a crime. You need to give it to me right now.”

Her response to his response: “I’m not giving you the phone.”

His next response: “If you don’t give me the phone, you’re getting arrested.”

So Gondola slipped the phone into her bra. Rubino “twisted my hand hard behind me and put the cuffs on me. Really tight. My wrists are black and blue,” she said.

Rubino next ordered a female officer to pat her down and commanded, “I want that phone out of her bra.” The woman removed the phone. Rubino “put it in his pocket,” Gondola said. An officer walked her to a prisoner transport vehicle. It was full with men already arrested during the mayhem in the plaza. She was next escorted to the back of a police car and driven to police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. to be booked.

Except for Rubino, all the cops treated her courteously, Gondola said. She eventually left the police station with a ticket for “interfering” with police.

Before leaving she encountered Rubino again. She asked for her phone back.

“No,” he allegedly replied. “That’s evidence.”

At this point only a judge can order her phone returned. Gondola will get to ask the judge for her phone next week.

Meanwhile, the police department’s internal affairs division is looking into whether Rubino violated General Order 311.

“The video recording of police activity in and of itself does not constitute a crime, offense, or violation,” the order states. “If a person video recording police activity is arrested, the officer must articulate clearly the factual basis for any arrest in his or her case and arrest reports.”

Rubino’s supervisor, Lt. Jeff Hoffman, declined comment on the specifics of the case pending the outcome of the investigation.

“The department has a general order regarding citizens’ right to video the police, which is very clear that people can video the police without repercussions. As far as this case goes, this will be investigated,” Hoffman said.

Rubino was involved in a separate incident the following night, when he chased a 16-year-old driver up State Street until the driver missed a turn and smashed into the front of Christopher Martin’s restaurant and pub. Hoffman said it does not appear Rubino broke any rules in that case; he said it will be reviewed like all other pursuits. (Read about it here.)

Police Union President Arpad Tolnay Monday defended Rubino in the Temple Plaza camera incident.

“Sgt. Rubino is a veteran officer. If he felt that he needed to take those actions at that time, I’m certain he followed what he thought was the best at the moment. I’m sure he had a reason for it,” Tolnay said. Rubino joined the force in the early 90s.

“At that particular point of time he thought what was being videotaped might be of evidentiary value. ... We’ll let IA [Internal Affairs] do its investigation.”

The question of whether cameras can be seized on the grounds of containing evidence has arisen in previous discussions of the order and of incidents in other cities. The suggestion to cops has been to seek a warrant for a camera if they feel it contains crucial evidence. The fear among police critics is that that argument becomes a pretext for seizing or destroying any evidence of police misconduct, not suspects’ misconduct.

Gondola said Rubino made that argument to her.

Her response?

“This is not the guy committing the crime,” she said. “This is the police doing the crime.”


Tamara Harris Photo

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Comments

posted by: East Rocker on June 4, 2012  8:11pm

If true, this is pretty scary; Rubino should be fired, both for what he did to Gondola and for beating the arrestee after he was already subdued.  What about the other four officers present?  Did they do anything to try to prevent Rubino from beating the arrestee?  If not, they should be disciplined, too.

posted by: OccupyTheClassroom on June 4, 2012  8:19pm

Yes, it is evidence of a crime..…the crime commited by the cop.

I really hope he fully secured this evidence to put himself out of a job.

posted by: Threefifths on June 4, 2012  8:31pm

He better start looking for another Job.

posted by: Threefifths on June 4, 2012  8:44pm

On the other side.How do the police know if this is being used.

Cell Phone Gun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDGSqrajvUc

Cell Phone Stun Gun Immobilizer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcyDWq-fO64&feature=related

posted by: RCguy on June 5, 2012  1:33am

So long, Mr. Rubino.
That is some grimy behavior.

posted by: random on June 5, 2012  7:51am

Simply a case of the displayed arrogance of a veteran officer who has no respect for the law that he enforces on others; one who feels above the law.I suggest he follow the path of other officers before him. Apply for retirement before he is subject to arrest and face the consequences of the “bad boy” policy.

posted by: robn on June 5, 2012  8:30am

Apart from video cameras and older style phones, theres a pretty simple solution for the retention of data from smart phones like an IPhone or Android. The department could instate a policy whereby an officer can detain a witness and, using their smartphone, email the pictures or videos to a department drop box (chain of custody is recorded for all, the witness gets to keep their device, and if a warrant is needed theres time to request it without risk of data destruction). In cases when the video is too large to email, police can have a USB universal data adaptor with their car laptop and download the pictures or movies in the presence of the witness.
Seizure of the device smacks of coverup and should be avoided by the department.

posted by: East Rocker on June 5, 2012  10:04am

robn - That makes a lot of sense, but I think it misses the point of this situation.  Assuming Gondola’s retelling of the incident is true, the officer wasn’t interested in preserving evidence, but rather of eliminating it.  What you suggest is rational, but he clearly wasn’t thinking rationally or else he wouldn’t have been beating the arrestee he was allegedly beating, nor would he have confiscated this phone in the presence of other witnesses, when he was well aware of the department’s policy on filming.  It seems he was reacting in a panic when he realized someone caught him on video acting in an abusive manner.

posted by: Noteworthy on June 5, 2012  10:27am

After all the previous coverage, discussion and court time, how could this happen again?

posted by: CT Liberal on June 5, 2012  10:27am

Cop should be arrested for aggravated assault on a handcuffed suspect (felony), unlawful arrest, and property theft.

posted by: Edward_H on June 5, 2012  10:53am

Can anyone really be surprised by this? At least one police officer has publicly stated his intention to disobey General Order 311 in the comments section of the NHI whenever he sees fit to do so. I have doubt this kind of action will continue

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/citizen_video_policy_unveiled/

posted by: streever on June 5, 2012  11:06am

Wow. Thank you for standing up and being brave, Gondola.

I am grateful to see that Esserman is fully investigating this issue. Rubino may or may not be guilty, but this absolutely deserves a full inquiry, and I am really pleased to see that we have a Chief who respects that and is opening the doors a little bit.

posted by: Threefifths on June 5, 2012  12:39pm

I wonder why people don’t take pictures when the gangs do drive buy shootings.

posted by: Mister Jones on June 5, 2012  12:41pm

Here we go again. This seems to me more proof that sometimes that best way to get arrested is to tell a cop that you know your rights.  I especially like the Tamara Harris photo in which others appear to be videotaping with their cell phone cameras.  If so, more videos should turn up soon enough shedding more light on the situation.

I will say this, at the risk of sounding like I’m defending the cop:  Gondola says she was six feet away, and Harris looks pretty close too, from the perspective of her stills. People videotaping police activity need to keep a safe distance.  In the celebrated incident outside Toad’s Place last year, the Quinnipiac student taper who got himself arrested was in the cops’ faces with his camera, and refused to move back when asked.

posted by: robn on June 5, 2012  1:18pm

ER,

What I suggest would set a policy that
gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, preserves potential evidence, and allows witnesses to retain their valuable property.

I think NHPD policy needs to be reworked to close the effective loophole (in which an authority seizes a recording device in the same way that it would compel testimony.)

posted by: jenand on June 5, 2012  1:24pm

Looks like you could sue this poser for assault, as it appears he had someone go into a personal private area for a phone that he has no right to ask for.  If the officer’s premise were true, why didn’t   he confiscate all the witness’ phones? Or, bring ALL the witnesses to the station for questioning?

posted by: Concerned-citizen on June 5, 2012  4:36pm

If he’s found guilty he should be fired, period! Not allowed to retire he should loose all rights to do so!
I hope IA finds he violated the NHPD rules and US Constitution! Enough of this us and them BS!

posted by: Curious on June 5, 2012  5:00pm

I agree 100% with Concerned Citizen.  Actually I posted much the same thing this morning, but it was not published for some reason.

Why are cops allowed to bounce out the door without getting fired?  In what other profession can you get nailed committing an offense worth being terminated over, and escape with your benefits intact?

posted by: JustAnotherTaxPayer on June 5, 2012  5:39pm

There is no defense for stepping on the head of another person, on the ground, handcuffed and anklecuffed.

But every weekend in downtown New Haven at the closing of the bars the bad behavior repeats, and the cops are called, and no matter what they do the young intoxicated adults photograph and video whatever they have to do, to insure everyone who has come out, particularly those who over indulge, make it home safely. Any one of these “crusaders” has a multitude of photos or video of officers doing a diffficult and ugly job, using legal amounts of force to stop individuals dangerously intoxicated, who if left unattended will hurt someone else or themselves.

Again there is no defense for Rubino’s head step, but how about an honest description of the arrestee’s behavior by these “witnesses”, and then have them imagine next weekend when the police will not rush to be involved in anything that happens in the bar district at the closing hour.

posted by: FrontStreet on June 5, 2012  10:30pm

Honestly, no heros and plenty of bad guys in this one.  Would be nice to have some creative, pragmatic approaches to dealing with the very predictable (like clockwork, literally) alcohol-fueled fights, scuffles and even near riots that occur every Friday and Saturday night on Crown Street.  9 pm, lots of young adults with hormones raging converge on downtown New Haven and consume lots of alcohol.  Inhibitions break down, hormones escalate, all are kicked out into the street at 2 am, and, voila, violence.

posted by: DoesTheTruthCount on June 5, 2012  10:47pm

I AM DISGUSTED!!!!! How quickly everyone becomes the judge and jury on ONE SIDE of the story! I can only hope that video is released, in fact the public should demand it! That way the officers who’s conduct is in question can be publicly exonerated and for once the people reading this garbage they call “news” will not only eat their own words and judgements, but will also finally see how hard of a day at work those officers face with NO PUBLIC OR INTERNAL support from their OWN CHIEF! No doubt an IA investigation is not only warranted, but despite what people think it is invited by the officers involved. After all the witness’s statements and that video is reviewed and found in FAVOR of the officers and Rubino, you’ll have already hung them in public opinion!  BUT I BET THAT WON’T MAKE FRONT PAGE!

posted by: random on June 6, 2012  6:04am

As stated there is NO defense for doing what Rubino did. NONE!!I would be sitting in a cage waiting to face the judge had I done this to anyone. He and others like him need to be reminded they are getting paid to “Protect and Serve”, Policing does not have to be “an ugly job”.

posted by: GeeLow on June 6, 2012  7:10am

Wow Threefiths is right on the money! The fact the our wonderful taxpaying citizens and residents love to record police when they knock some drunk out of control bar patrons over is ridiculous. How about the residents start recording drug dealing, gang beatings, robberies, shootings, and murders.

It’s hysterical that people are fed up with our brave Elm City cops getting tough on drunk disrespectful out of control bar patrons. These cops make thousands of arrests a year for murderers, child molesters, etc.

I have seen the havoc downtown after bars close. These college kids, NH residents, and other people don’t just leave after the bars close. They Pepe, mock, insult, and repeatedly disrespect our officers.

God bless law enforcement because you deal with things that most of us could not.

posted by: allthatjazz on June 6, 2012  8:19am

good for you Ms. Gondola.  People have to set there telephone to immediately send photos or video to an email account or “you tube” or a friend so the video is out and cannot be erased or telephone mysteriously lost or broken.  Thank you for taking the risk. More people should take action against low life cops who will do anything to protect the 3 “P"s. (Paycheck,Pension and Perks). Remember. This can happen to anyone you care about. All Law enforcement activity should be video taped. It would save alot of court proceeding. As long as the photo/video taker is not in the immediate proximity. its ok.

posted by: tomago on June 6, 2012  8:21am

I used to strongly advocate that it violated the 1st Amendment for police to confiscate cameras during arrests…until I spoke with a police officer that was detaining an emotionally disturbed woman, and was distracted by someone videotaping him. He was stabbed by the woman, and almost lost his life. I am torn about this issue. The rights of citizens to document police actions should be protected, but when the lives of police become endangered, the reality of what happens every day on the streets should give us pause. It’s easy to intellectualize an issue when we are not the ones doing the job. There is another side to this story…

posted by: Threefifths on June 6, 2012  8:33am

How about this.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/alleged_shoplifter_bites_2_cops/

posted by: robn on June 6, 2012  8:59am

The question, which can only be answered by eye witnesses and video documentation, is whether the police were “restraining” someone for safety or “punishing” someone out of anger? I think a a video capable public is good because it keeps everyone honest. And I see nothing wrong with setting a policy (as I’ve suggested earlier) allowing police to duplicate videos for evidence at a scene, so that civlians can retain their important device.

posted by: Concerned-citizen on June 6, 2012  9:14am

To: DoesTheTruthCount
The problem lies in the we can do whatever we like mentality of the police dept.
Let me clarify this, not all police men & women are bad apples. However, when one is found to have broken both NH and the civil right laws of a person he should be held to a higher standard!
Inasmuch, as I’ve seen and read some beauties concerning NHPD, most notably the narcotic division who’s commander was allowed to retire after stealing drugs and money then gets 80,000 pension!!!  Enough is enough.
You break the law you loose your pension period!
It time for the people of NH to stand up and be heard!

posted by: Curious on June 6, 2012  10:13am

Tomago, read again about how the man who got his head stepped on was already cuffed and on the ground.

This cop, if not terminated without pension, should get busted down to the worst assignment possible.

posted by: NHPD on June 6, 2012  3:00pm

And once he was handcuffed.  Hands only, no “ANKLE CUFFS” were used as stated by others, the officers, including Sgt. Rubino stopped struggling with him. Once the officers got up, he began kicking and struggling again.  He still wasn’t checked for weapons and the officer attempted to gain control of him again.  And right or wrong, Sgt. Rubino placed his foot on his upper back and pinned him to the ground, and allowed the officer to gain control of the arresstee.  You people should try dealing with it some time and see how you handle an all out fight.

posted by: NHPD on June 6, 2012  3:03pm

And every fight is an a fight for your life.  We never know who has a gun, a knife, intent to harm us, or anything else.  Until an arresstee is COMPLETELY under control, AND searched, the fight for OUR lives is still on.  And THAT’S ALL the matters at that point.  AS for the woman with the camera.  She was asked to review the fill by the Sgt. and she agreed.  He then decided to confiscate it.  Again right or wrong, that will be decided in court.  SHe was treated politely and asked numerous times to surrender the phone as evidence.  She refused and slid it down her dress.

posted by: NHPD on June 6, 2012  3:07pm

She was the one that was agressive.  And the Sgt decided to arrest her for not turning over the evidence, NOT because she filmed it.  And it was placed into evidence UNALTERED.  As all will see when the investigation is complete.  How about for ONCE, the public gives the police officer the benefit of the doubt until the investigation is over.  And maybe a little support from the Chief and Asst Chief (LUIS) wouldn’t hurt.  But they are too busy burying officers.  And you wonder why the dept is in such turmoil.  Think about it.

posted by: jenand on June 6, 2012  4:05pm

This really is a hot mess. Sounds like bartenders and bouncers at New Haven bars, may need to start using their judgment and aurhority to say “Hey Buddy (or Miss) - I think you’ve had enough for this evening - see ya tomorrow”  Smile, and show them the way out, before they are sloppy drunk, and out of control

posted by: disconnect on June 7, 2012  8:29am

NHPD:

“She was the one that was agressive.  And the Sgt decided to arrest her for not turning over the evidence, NOT because she filmed it.  And it was placed into evidence UNALTERED.  As all will see when the investigation is complete.  How about for ONCE, the public gives the police officer the benefit of the doubt until the investigation is over.”

Really? That’s your attitude? And you can’t understand why people don’t trust cops?

posted by: disconnect on June 7, 2012  8:39am

NHPD : I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your analysis of the cop’s actions towards the initial suspect. I’ve had a few instances where I felt my safety was in jeopardy, and probably nothing like what you all face on a daily basis. As to whether or not kneeling on the suspect’s head was warranted, I’m comfortable leaving that to whatever review board applies.

BUT. You’re in here unequivocally backing up the cop’s decision to apparently steal a person’s phone because she had the balls to record him doing his job. Well, if he wasn’t doing anything wrong, why’d he go nuclear at this woman who refused to kowtow to him? And you don’t get to yell “give him the benefit of the doubt” while simultaneously refusing to grant that same benefit to the woman he assaulted under color of authority.

THIS COP IS THE REASON I DON’T TRUST YOU. Jason Anderson, that rookie last year who ran over the kid on the motorcycle and then lied about it, the brainiac cops who shot their weapons at 1 A.M.: these are all your problems.

You want more respect? Clean up your house.

posted by: metaglypto on June 7, 2012  9:43am

@ NHPD ~  Since when is refusing to obey a cops illegal orders aggression.  First off the cop had NO RIGHT to look at the video without first obtaining a search warrant.  Ever heard of coercion?  You will soon. Read up on HB 1499.  Cops don’t have the right to just arbitrarily take personal property.  And “right or wrong” is the attitude of too many corrupt cops.  They know they will be held harmless, and the average citizen doesn’t have the finances to sue.  As for supporting the cops, maybe if they start doing there jobs correctly they would get some support.

posted by: Curious on June 7, 2012  10:25am

NHPD ....

First of all, what evidence was Rubino taking on that camera?  The only video is of him stepping on the suspect.  That’s evidence of HIS crime.  Period.

Second, I thank god you are not a doctor, because the picture clearly shows Rubino stepping on the suspect’s neck and jaw.  That’s not up for debate.  Yet, you call that his “upper back”. 

posted by: streever on June 7, 2012  10:30am

NHPD
Man, I know a lot of you guys, and like, respect, trust you—I have some awesome officers in my neighborhood, and have had the privilege of working with some other ones too.

With that said, I gotta support Disconnect on this. When Rubino became angry and threatening, HE escalated the situation.

Never forget that while you are in danger—and we do understand that—treating others with disrespect as he admittedly did puts you in more danger.

The officer who choked and dragged me around the street because I “disrespected” him by being confused at his anger and hostility and screaming was out of control, and in no danger at all. His own insecurities/fears put us both into a bad situation.

I’ve seen officers who treat EVERYONE with respect first, and work out situations so they don’t get to this level. I have enormous respect for that incredibly difficult job they do—it is amazing, inspiring, and an act of grace.

I have very little respect for someone puffing up their chest and abusing a position of power (Rubino was certainly in a position of power over this brave woman) and trust.

If she is too close, instead of screaming, talk to her—is it hard? Of course. It is a hard job.

posted by: Larch on June 7, 2012  1:36pm

Sometimes being a cop is a difficult and ugly job but cops must always control their actions and not break the law themselves.  If the cop really wanted to preserve the cell phone video as evidence why did he order her to stop filming?  Why didn’t he say “hey, keep recording and get all of this for evidence…When we’re done here I’m going to email myself a copy of the video from your phone”.

posted by: NHPD on June 7, 2012  1:59pm

Hate to tell you all.  The police can seize items if they hold evidence of value.  And specifically, in CT vs Boyde 2010, the CT SUPREME COURT said that phones can be confiscated.  So before you quote the Constitution and State statute, you should go back on do so research.  You will see that you need a warrant to seize the video but the phone can be seized and held until that time.  As for Sgt Rubino, he asked her to view the footage, and SHE agreed. As she says in her interview.  It was then that she was asked three times, pretty nicely, to surrender the phone as evidence.

posted by: NHPD on June 7, 2012  2:03pm

When she failed to surrended the phone, it was seized.  And placed into evidence for until the search warrant could be completed.  Sgt. Rubino never got out of control, or ordered her to stop filming.  If you had done so, it would have to be in the footage correct.  Well I guess we’ll see when the footage comes out.  AS for people turning over evidence like footage.  Have you EVER heard of someone turning in evidence that showed the police were right in their actions?  EVER?  Maybe once in a blue moon, if we’re lucky,  So maybe he did the right thing.

posted by: NHPD on June 7, 2012  2:07pm

And if the footage is all there, untouched, than it will show all this.  What if she went home, reviewed the footage, and said to herself, there is nothing here, and deleted, or just never made it public.  Maybe it does show that what happened out there was done correctly.  All I’m saying is, NOONE knows all the facts yet.  No one has even seen her video.  Or heard statements from the other officers out there.  Or other UNBIASED witnesses.  That’s what I mean by give him the benefit of the doubt until it is all in.  You have all convicted him already.  Kind of sad.

posted by: NHPD on June 7, 2012  2:19pm

ANd one more thought.  I am not sure if any of you know.  Sgt. Rubino has been in charge of the bar detail for at least a year, if not longer.  You cannot count the number of arrests, shootings, assaults, drunkness, bar fights, car accidents, DUIs, and everything else that he has supervised without incident.  All the owners down there respect him because he keeps the peace and generally downtown is peaceful, although is has become more active again recently.  If he is FOUND to be quilty of the accusations, than he will have to suffer the penalty.  How about waiting till then

posted by: streever on June 7, 2012  2:32pm

NHPD: Good thing that it is being reviewed and investigated! All such incidents should be. If Mr. Rubino is exonerated, my apologies, but please understand that after the experience I’ve had—and many people I know have had—it is hard to give the benefit of the doubt.

I was threatened with a felony arrest—for trespassing—when I showed up at IA for my appointed meeting. A spokesman for the NHPD at the time told papers that they were “waiting for Mr. Streever” to be tape recorded.

Meanwhile, the IA officer told me that entering his office “without explicit permission” was a felony, and that I was trespassing. We had a scheduled appointment (which he had scheduled) the day before.

So, seeing the Chief & the FBI move to investigate this is very gratifying and reassuring. Hopefully the probe goes without incident.

posted by: metaglypto on June 7, 2012  4:45pm

@ NHPD 345 ~ You said, “Have you EVER heard of someone turning in evidence that showed the police were right in their actions?”  Not exactly “evidence” but yes, I give credit where I feel it is due.  Go to http://www.tumblr.com/blog/metaglypto  and scroll down to the blog titled, “Umatilla Police Department Gets it Right”

This was after being threatened with arrest for trespass if I didn’t delete photos of a USACE security vehicle.  I didn’t know the law then, but educated myself and those twits, and make it a point to photograph them with the slightest of reasons now, just to insure they now know the law about photography and coercion.

posted by: robn on June 7, 2012  5:02pm

I think that NHPD 345 may be correct that officers have the legal right to secure evidence, however, I think that it would be better POLICY for the department to require officers to either copy or email smartphone videos. This would…
a) avoid unnecessarily inconveniencing civilian by taking away their smartphones (a critical personal and business instrument for some)
b) avoid the appearance of wrongful seizure of property from civilians
c) avoid the appearance of police wanting to suppress evidence of brutality

(wags please note use of the word “appearance”)

posted by: NHPD on June 7, 2012  6:24pm

metaglypto.  I also said “once in a blue moon, if we’re lucky.”  If I understand correctly and that was you that turned it in, than you are that blue moon, and thank you for aiding fellow law enforcement.  But I bet you would be hard pressed to find another.

posted by: Larch on June 7, 2012  8:39pm

NHPD ,  Just because you ‘can’ seize something that contains evidentiary value doesn’t mean that you ‘should’ seize it or that it is the best course of action.  If you found a bag of pot in a guy’s pants pocket would you seize his pants?  I think there were other options available to Sgt Rubino to get the video without seizing the phone and arresting the woman.  Given NHPD’s dubious history with seizing phones and erasing evidence it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt.  Also, a phone is more than just phone to a lot of people.  It has lots of private data on it ie…emails, banking info, passwords, pictures, work schedules etc…..so seizing a phone just because you ‘can’ when you have other options available does not sit well with the public whom you are supposed to protect and serve.

Sgt Rubino sounds like a great guy and dedicated cop who made a legal decision, but a bad choice, given your department’s history and the public’s sensitivity to seizing cell phones.  You need to open your eyes a bit and realize there are larger issues at stake here like the public’s perception of the NHPD, community relations etc…..Seeing the actual video will be interesting.  

posted by: metaglypto on June 8, 2012  5:39am

@ NHPD ~ As has already been pointed out, the video contained nothing of evidentiary value of the crime that had been committed by the person being arrested, only evidence of crimes being committed by the police.  So please explain why they needed to confiscate it.  On the “blue moon” issue, yes, it was me that blogged that, and generally police do their jobs well.  Why would anyone make a big deal out of someone doing what it is they are getting paid to do and doing it correctly?  It would be like me taking a picture of a postal carrier delivering a letter to a mailbox and then trying to make him into a hero.  Same goes for the police.  When was the last time a policeman stopped a citizen and commended that person for signalling a lane change. 

posted by: metaglypto on June 8, 2012  10:19am

What NHPD seems to need help understanding here is this: When the average Joe Blow citizen does something a LEO does not like, but not illegal, then it is suddenly open fishing season on Joe Blow citizen, all because Mr. LEO decides he does not personally like something.  LEO will then concoct all sorts of BS to justify arresting someone.  This is why you NEVER talk to the cops, EVER.  If they ask you ANY questions, you just give them the legal big middle finger and say, “I have the right to remain silent”.  No law anywhere in the US compels you to answer questions by a LEO.  You may get arrested for not talking, but now that seems kind of a mute point.  Thank you NHPD 345 for the opportunity to educate everyone here about the need to understand how to deal with cops, especially the jack-booted thug types who think it is their right to own the world and make up laws.

posted by: Paul Bass on June 8, 2012  5:34pm

Note: An earlier version of this comments thread included comments from someone identifying himself as “NHPD” plus a badge number. It turned out he was impersonating a different city officer who had nothing to do with the comments. We have since removed the badge number from the screen name on those comments. And we apologize deeply to the officer whose badge number that really was.

posted by: metaglypto on June 8, 2012  5:41pm

@ Paul Bass ~ It would appear there is more than one bad cop on that force.

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