Geez guys, you were doing a great job. It’s still not bad, but it could have been much better.
A guy on a crouch rocket is stopped for speeding, somewhere in Oklahoma. The officer issues citations for speeding, no insurance, and expired license plates. So far so good, everyone is calm, no real problems.
Then they advise the violator that they are impounding the bike since the tags are expired over ninety days. The guy obviously doesn’t want his bike impounded, but initially doesn’t understand that he can’t take care of it at the scene. Then he starts telling the officers that they are not going to take his bike, and if they do it’s theft of his property. He also starts spouting some sovereign / voluntaryist BS about the State charging him money for his own property (i.e., he doesn’t want to pay taxes), but that has no real bearing on the issue at hand.
The officers suggest that he go inside, that he back off, and he refuses. Then the officers inform him that if he interferes with the impound, he’ll be arrested for obstruction, which in this case would be appropriate. Any the violator gets more vocal about the “theft” by the police, etc.
At which point the officer seizes the cellphone as evidence.
Legally, the officers are justified in every action that they took, including the seizure of the phone. On the seizure, technically a citation is an arrest in Oklahoma, so 43 U.S.C. 2000aa (Privacy Protection Act) would not apply. There were also exigent circumstances, since the violator was making accusations of criminal conduct on the part of the police and there was a danger that the evidence could be destroyed or altered. All of that is legal. The officers should be able to show that they were not committing theft or bullying the violator, and the video would prove that.
But if like most police departments, if the squad car is equipped with video, that should be sufficient. It’s not illegal, it is not wrong, there were just better ways to handle the cellphone video if there is squad car video.
It doesn’t appear that there was any problem with the individual filming the encounter – not one word was mentioned on that. The officers also stayed calm throughout, with no threats (despite the claim of the violator, the comments on obstruction were not threats, but were to advise the violator about the consequences of interfering).