Police Sergeant to Uber Driver: Stop Recording or “I’m Going to Take You To Jail.” – New American
Written by C. Mitchell Shaw
In late February, police officers and deputies in Wilmington, North Carolina, stopped a car driven by an Uber driver because they said the house he had just visited was “a known drug house.” When the driver used his smartphone to record the officers, he was told that doing so was illegal and that if he didn’t stop recording, he would be arrested. What the police officers and deputies did not know was that the Uber driver, Jesse Bright, is also a defense attorney.
Bright has been doubling for the past few years as an Uber driver to help pay off his college loans. When he was stopped by officers from the Wilmington Police department (WPD) and deputies from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s department (NHCSD) in the early evening of February 26, he assumed they were only interested in his passenger. But, as a lawyer, he followed his own advice to clients: He recorded the encounter using the video camera on his phone and refused to consent to a search of his vehicle.
Bright told The New American, “I tell all my clients first of all to record all their interactions with police. Mainly, that is because — though the police have body cams that record everything — [there is] a North Carolina law that makes [those recordings] not public.” Since a court order is required to obtain those recordings, Bright said, “I tell my clients to record everything so that they have a copy of it. It’s really difficult to get a copy of a police body cam [recording], especially if no charges were filed.”
Bright also said complying with the police is important. “I tell clients always to be polite and cooperative with the police,” adding, “I tell them to know their rights, be cooperative with everything that the officer says.” He explained, “With [the client] not being an attorney, if they are not sure whether something is illegal or not,” they should “err on the side of caution, but make sure it’s recorded.”
Read the rest of this story, just click here: Police Sergeant to Uber Driver: Stop Recording or “I’m Going to Take You To Jail.”
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