A bicyclist says he was arrested by an NYPD officer in late March after he took out his cellphone to record the interaction with the cop when he ran a red light.
“When I tried to record my interaction with the officer I was arrested … in 10 seconds flat,” Will Paybarah, 24, told the Gothamist. “You can see that interaction quickly play out in the video below.”
The 24-year-old said he was pulled over by the officer on March 20, who he identified as “officer Rich,” when he admittedly ran a red light downtown.
In video posted to YouTube, the officer can be seen instructing him to put his phone away. Shortly after, the recording ends.
“After those 10 seconds I was pulled off my bike, pushed up against the metal fence, placed in handcuffs and put into the back seat of the car,” Paybarah told the Gothamist. “Other officers came. They joked saying they were going to ‘handcuff my bike to the tree.’”
It is legal to record officers in public and the NYPD Patrol Guide Section 212-49 states, “Members of the service will not interfere with the videotaping or the photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer constitutes censorship.”
However, the 24-year-old said one officer denied this, contending recording was not allowed because his phone could have been a gun.
“I was told by another officer while in the car that recording a police officer was illegal because people are using iPhones as guns and shooting cops through the camera lens … I told him that I have the right to be recording a cop and he said that there were incidents, specifically in uptown Manhattan where a kid shot a cop with his iPhone. Straight face. Very serious,” Paybarah said.
Detective James Duffy, a spokesman for the NYPD, told TheBlaze Sunday he was not aware of any instances where an officer in the department had been injured with a supposed iPhone gun.
Duffy, however, added that he was not familiar with Paybarah’s specific case and, thus, declined to comment.
When asked if he wanted the URL to watch the YouTube video posted online by the 24-year-old, Duffy told TheBlaze he wasn’t interested. He then refused to say if the incident was something the NYPD would investigate, saying he hadn’t seen the video.
Paybarah told the Gothamist he was sentenced to one day of community service after being charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and criminal mischief, as well as running a red light. He added that he spent about 13 hours in jail.
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