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Drop That… Cellphone, Or I’ll Shoot

May 23, 2013 by  

Drop That… Cellphone, Or I’ll Shoot

In a number of recent videos posted to YouTube, police officers implore citizens to hand over their cellphones, claiming concern that the mobile devices are weapons. The videos have raised concerns among some citizens who believe recording cops reinforces accountability in the criminal justice system.

Multimedia journalist-turned-activist Carlos Miller, who started the Photography is Not a Crime (PNAC) blog after running into legal trouble for video recording police officers, writes of the phenomenon in a recent post. Miller believes that the officers are, for the most part, not genuinely mistaking cameras and phones for handguns, but rather are trying to avoid starring in YouTube videos if they make Constitutional mistakes or abuse their authority.

Miller writes:

The trend of insinuating cell phones can be guns began earlier this year when Juan “Biggie” Santana had his Sony Bloggie confiscated by Hialeah police officer Antonio Sentmanat in South Florida.

It continued when San Diego police officer Martin Reinhold slapped a phone out of Adam Pringle’s hands and arrested him while writing him a citation for smoking a cigarette on a beach boardwalk.

Then again in Arkansas when a cop ripped an iPhone out of a man’s hands who had been trying to document the Exxon oil spill outside Little Rock.

Reinhold told Pringle that he had specifically been trained to assume cell phones could be guns, which is apparently a training lesson being taught at police departments throughout the country.

Police may be justifying outrageous phones-might-be-guns claims based on a case in Europe more than a decade ago when police discovered a four-shot .22 caliber gun disguised as a cellphone. However, the device looks nothing like a modern day video-enabled cellphones and there have not been any documented cases of similar contraptions being discovered in the United States.



Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Don miller

    So the cops say their trained to recognize cell phones as weapons to bad there department can’t train them to shoot better just like the new York cop that shot the hostage instead of the bad guy another instance in new York where cops shot innocent bystanders they got the bad guy but still hit bystanders looks like there focused more on the politics going on around them than sharpening their firearm skills you should be able to hit what your aiming at if your trained properly

    • Carl

      My god. Learn how to punctuate. Use commas, periods, etc.

      • Ron r

        Was that last one good enough for you processor????

    • CheshireMan

      Ok wise-ass: take yourself AND your ignorance and head out to the gun range nearest you. Spend three hours a day four days a week learning how to put a 9mm projectile iside the 4″ ring without EVER missing, or striking the ring itself. If you have talent, that training of your muscle memory should take you no less than 6months to get “fair” in execution. Now go to your police tactical gun range and try out your new skill-set on the “shoot/ no shoot” scenarios presented to you and see how you do!! Adrenaline, time, sight, sound, smell, muzzle ‘flip’ & fatigue all play into it. For you to verbally admonish a 12 year LEO veteran for hitting an innocent while having a gun levelled at him under the threat of its imminent discharge is just ignorant. I don’t care how often you train or how intense you are, there is NOTHING you can say, post, think or do that that Officer hasn’t already done himself. The only real difference is that when YOU close your eyes, you aren’t seeing it unfolding all over again. HE sure as hell is and probably will for the rest of his life. You, sir, owe him and the rest of the Law Enforcement community an apology for your thoughtless post and self-promoting high-horse attitude! Shame on you, sir! Shame on you!

      • Ron r

        That is the profession they choose. No one owes anyone an apology. Combat soldiers operating in urban combat face some of the same challanges.

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