Drop That… Cellphone, Or I’ll Shoot

angry girl with mobile phone

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.



Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • MexicansaysLibtardsRpukes

    Soon they will say drop that google glasses Or I’ll Shoot?? I wouldn’t be surprised!

  • Harold Olsen

    Cops seem to use any excuse for shooting people these days. A guy has a cell phone in his hand and has it to his ear talking into it, a cop yells “Gun!” and opens fires. A guy is tearing the wrapper off of a candy bar, a cop sees him and yells “Gun!” and opens fire. A man who is deaf in one ear and has an earphone in the other ear gets shot in the back by a cop who was pissed because the guy ignored the cop because he didn’t notice the cop is cleared after the investigation by the cops because it gets ruled the cop did nothing wrong. A bunch of cops shoot an unarmed man 40 times and get away with it because they claimed they shot him by accident. They want to take our guns away from us because, among other things, they say we have the police to protect us. Well, who the hell is going to protect us from the cops?

    • Mark Are Reynolds Ⓥ

      Maybe we need to single out these kinds of cops and do what the IRA did to cops in Ireland that acted like this.

  • jdn

    The old saying that there was a straw that broke a camels back is true . One day there will be one too many instances of abuse against the average citizen doing nothing wrong and there will be hell to pay . Unfortunately more innocent lives will be lost than guilty . Weasels are good at hiding .

  • Cam Alft

    lets tell it like it is,corrupt cops don’t want to get caught stomping on peoples rights or committing crimes or crimes against civilians,period!they know you have a phone!on YT,the cops even say to people”it’s a hard object,it can be used as a weapon,so stop taping!”.whats wrong with that?2 things,your not lundging at them with it(dah)as a weapon and they want you to stop taping them(all together).for years we believed the police and not the arrested people,now were finding out that cops all lie!and we have proof to prove it now and they know it!now they have to step on our rights again to get away with corruption that is in every precinct!and they don’t need that,so now they say it’s a possible weapon,thats all it is!plain n simple!

  • Mpr

    For the most part, cops are nothing but thugs dressed in uniforms, and carry a badge and a gun. If/when the time comes to respond with fire on fire, keep in mind the rogue cop in Kalifornia.

  • FreedomFighter

    “police officers implore citizens to hand over their cellphones, claiming concern that the mobile devices are weapons.”
    Well they are weapons…weapons of truth, much feared by the criminal elements of society. Why would police want their criminal activities recorded?
    Laus DeoSemper FI

  • Ulisses Neunektar

    Well, here, we are in the world where corrupt law enforcers are getting excuses for going vicious on the public on their abuse of power.

  • $20587230

    The po po are fearful of their lives and lawbreakers are fearful of being caught. Well then; stop breaking laws . Return to being a moral populous. Even littering is breaking a law. Do lawbreakers even weigh the consequences. None are perfect neither civilian or law enforcer.

  • AngryLibertarian

    Seventh Circuit court ACLU vs Alvarez and First Circuit Court Gilk vs Cunniffe (among others) support the First Amendment right to record police. Unless you are issued an order to vacate an area for safety concerns, you have a Constitutional right, and in some cases a civic duty, to record public servants in the discharge of their duty. DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR PHONE/CAMERA. If they have no warrant, and no just cause, walk away with your device, go straight to the nearest news outlet. OR, better yet, stream it live to YouTube. Don’t let this happen: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fbf_1369118123