Video shows officer wrongly telling lawyer he can’t record traffic stop

News

WILMINGTON, NC (WCMH) — A North Carolina attorney who also drives for Uber is getting nationwide attention after his interaction with a police officer.

The traffic stop happened after Uber driver and attorney Jesse Bright picked up a passenger at a Wilmington, North Carolina home, according to StarNews. After the passenger was removed from the vehicle, a police sergeant noticed that Bright was recording with his cellphone.

“One of the officers told me that it was against the law to film the police, and told me to stop recording. When I refused, he came to my side of the vehicle and ordered me to get out, because he was taking me to jail for filming the police. I refused, and locked the door,” Bright told StarNews.

“Bud, turn that off, okay?” The sergeant said.

“No, I’ll keep recording, thank you. It’s my right,” Bright responded.

“Don’t record me,” the sergeant said. “You got me?”

“Look,” Bright said, “you’re a police officer on duty. I can record you. And of you come to this side of the vehicle, I can keep recording.”

“Be careful because there is a new law,” the sergeant said. “Turn it off or I’ll take you to jail.”

“For recording you?” Bright asked. “What is the law?”

Bright then identified himself as an attorney

“I know the law,” Bright said. “I’m an attorney, so I would hope I know what the law is.”

“And an Uber driver?” the sergeant asked.

Bright told the Washington Post he works as an Uber driver to help pay off law school loans.

A search of Bright’s car and of his passenger revealed no drugs.

After video of the exchange was released, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous released a statement about what happened.

The Wilmington Police Department has launched an internal investigation regarding a recent video-tape of a February 26, 2017, interaction between one of our Police Sergeants and an Uber Driver. While we are not at liberty to discuss the investigation, we do believe it is crucial that we address a question that has surfaced as a result of that video-tape.

“Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right. As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.” Chief Ralph Evangelous

A copy of this statement will be disseminated to every officer within the Wilmington Police Department.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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