Yesterday a well-known and outspoken activist, Ryan Scott, was arrested at his home in Dekalb, Illinois. His charge? The good-old, famous "Obstruction." The catch-all obstruction charge has, in the past, been used against people filming, not answering questions, and anything that makes an officer feel like you were a hindrance to them. The charge is based on an officer's feelings; therefore it can be applied to nearly any situation without the officer facing any consequence for his retaliation.
This case was different though. It was an especially disturbing case because Ryan had not stopped at someone else's traffic stop, as is the history of most bad "obstruction" charges. No, instead it seems that on this occasion the police actually charged him for simply exercising his rights.
It all started on 10/2/16 when Ryan decided to get some Chinese food for dinner. On his way home from the restaurant, he saw a Dekalb County Sheriff sitting on the side of a dark road waiting to sneak up on an unsuspecting driver. Ryan, being the freedom lover he is, decided to flex his first amendment right to express himself by flipping off the cop. While controversial, this is a clearly established RIGHT under the constitution. In fact, I was surprised to see what Google even knows about this law. Asking Google "Is flipping off a cop legal" will get you a custom google answer of:
"Flipping Off Police Officers Constitutional, Federal Court Affirms. WASHINGTON — A police officer can't pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.Jan 3, 2013".
That did not the stop the officer from following Ryan and his girlfriend for over a mile before pulling them over. The reason? Expired registration sticker. The only issue is that the tag is valid when looked up. The physical sticker is missing because it was stolen.
Ryan didn't bother to explain any of that because he stands very firm on the idea that you never talk to cops. He gave his information through his window and said "OK, no problem" when the cop says he is gonna write him a ticket. The cop seems annoyed that Ryan has not tried to put up more of an objection but continued the ticket.
After he returned, the officer tells Ryan to open his window. Ryan, at this point, begins to flex his rights. He explains to the cop he will sign his ticket, but he will not open himself up to harm by opening the window. The cop becomes enraged and demands Ryan step out of the car. Ryan refused and even calls 911 himself while asking for a supervisor. This is a simple traffic ticket and this cop wanted to escalate it into something violent. It was obvious by his demeanor that the officer had something rough intended for the citizen that questioned him in such a way.
After the officer realizes he was not going to win this, and not only was a supervisor on the way but he was being recorded by multiple sources, he concedes. He finally allows Ryan to sign the ticket and leave the scene.
You would think that was a happy fortunate ending. In fact, Ryan immediately uploaded the video to Youtube and wrote a full blog post on what had happened expressing his frustration and relief. That was not the end though. Little did anyone realize that the officer was not going to let being made to look like a childish brat go.
The very next day, Ryan's night was interrupted by pounding on the door by the Sheriff's department. Ryan once again flexed his rights and did not open the door. He chose to find out why the police were there though. He was told they had a warrant for his arrest. Ryan asked to see the warrant and was told if he did not come outside to be taken into custody, he would be given additional charges.
After calling his local police to ensure a warrant existed, and in the process, creating a record of what was happening (Very smart man. 911 calls are recorded and placed in a separate record), Ryan agreed to be taken.
The cops were nice about the kidnapping- overly nice to be honest. They knew Ryan had cameras and his girlfriend was standing nearby with her cell phone camera. I suspect they also realized that they were taking a man away for no reason, and felt some guilt over being mindless order-followers. Whatever the reasons, they allowed a cigarette, cuffing in the front, and even went as far as calling the station before leaving the scene to give the bail information to his girlfriend. They also said they would not put him into the jail since she was bailing him right out.
All things considered, the process was quick. Ryan was out and at home working on the article update by the end of the night. Now, He has to appear for the obstruction and is out $150 for the bail.
This was not about hurting Ryan though. This was about a cop showing someone who is boss. This was retaliation of the most corrupt kind, plain and simple. There is little chance that the officer will face any discipline though. Sadly, should Ryan seek "Justice" for the illegal and malicious arrest, he will simply get a check from the good old tax payers. I wonder if the courts will allow him to use the famous police excuse "I feared for my life".
Think of the implications of what these cops just did. Every citizen that shows fear, or even ones that break no laws, can be cuffed and hauled away for nothing other than exercising one's rights. How exactly do I have "RIGHTS" if legal loop holes exist to allow police to ignore them with impunity. Organizations from "CopBlock"(a group of activists that dislike police) to "Flex Your Rights" (a group of lawyers), and dozens in between, have depended on the system to uphold the rights of people.
These groups openly teach each individual their rights in various situations. They also show people how to say no to invasion. What would the result be if people could be rounded up for displeasing a cop? When merely opting to not be violated equates a crime? If that thought scares you, I challenge you to tell me how we are not already there. Look at this very article. There are hundreds of cases like this.
Why wouldn't there be? The cops that abuse the system in this fashion are not reprimanded. They are not personally liable for the lawsuits. They are immune from everything but public opinion.
With that in mind, here is the personal Facebook page for the head sheriff. If you feel angry at what has happened here, express yourself in a non-violent way to him. I will personally be letting him know that his officers actions are despicable. If you wish to join me, click HERE. The officer in the video is Officer A. Becker badge #67 of the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office.
You can also call the administration at: 404-298-8145
If you wish to reach out more, the area directory for police can found HERE
Original versions of the traffic stop, along with arrest, can be found HERE.
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