A spokesman with the Wilmington PD confirmed to WECT that no "new law" prohibiting the recording of police in public exists, and that the department does not instruct its officers to tell citizens that it is illegal to record them. I'm sitting here in my vehicle.
"Turn it off", says the officer. Bright: "I'm scared right now". "For recording you? What is the law?"
"I hope so. I know what the law is", the officer claims. When Bright tried to explain that he was an Uber driver and did not personally know his passenger, beyond the information he received to pick him up from a particular location, the officers didn't believe him. He said an officer performed a body search on him too. The cops also called for a K-9 to search his vehicle completely.
"I hope so", said Becker, the police sergeant.
Bright, who also is a defense attorney, was stopped shortly after picking up a customer from what the officer's described as a known drug house. "I'm recording it in case anything happens", Mr Bright insists.
Sgt. Becker at first was in disbelief-Bright's a lawyer and an Uber driver?
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Bright was driving a passenger on the ride sharing app when he was pulled over near a pawn shop in Wilmington, North Carolina on February 26.
Bright asks him what this law is.
Sgt Kenneth Becker was caught on tape asking Bright to stop filming and threatened to send him to jail if he did not. We've heard reports of this but we've never seen It captured on video before'.
"Like super recently?" Bright asked. Bright told another CBS affiliate on Wednesday. The officer tells him he's being a jerk.
'As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary.
Jerry Brewer with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office said there is no internal investigation in that department because their deputy did not violate anything.
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"The WPD and (deputy) acting together to tell me that there is a new law where you can be arrested for filming the police are absolutely untrue, and I worry that this directive is systematic and not isolated", Bright said. They refused to tell me.
Video of an Uber driver being told by police to stop filming them with his cellphone is going viral.
The department's Chief, Ralph Evangelous, said: 'Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction'.
The sheriff's office spoke in similar tones: "Not only does the Sheriff agree that it is legal to record encounters, he invites citizens to do so". Had Bright not pulled out his camera and filmed, this situation could have gone far worse.
"As a result, the deputy involved has been counselled".
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