News Release

Are Police Targeting People Who Take and Distribute Damning Videos of Them?

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The Daily Beast reports: “The owner of the convenience store where Alton Sterling was killed last week by cops alleges in a lawsuit that police stole surveillance video from his shop, confiscated his cell phone, and locked him inside a car for the next four hours.

“Abdullah Muhlafi, proprietor of the Triple S Mart, saw police confront and kill Sterling who was selling CDs with his permission in the front parking lot last Tuesday night. Muhlafi recorded part of the incident in footage he gave The Daily Beast last week that shows Sterling did not have a weapon in his hand when Officer Howie Lake shouted ‘gun!’ and Officer Blane Salamoni fired six shots into his chest.

“Muflahi claims in a lawsuit filed Monday in Baton Rouge district court that after Salamoni killed Sterling, he immediately told responding officers Lt. Robert Cook and Officer Timothy Ballard to confiscate the ‘entire store security system’ and detain him.”

CARLOS MILLER, carlosmille[at], @pinacnews
Miller is author of The Citizen Journalist Photography Handbook and founder of the website — which regularly posts videos of wrongdoing by law enforcement. He recently broke the story: “Man who Posted Alton Sterling Shooting Video Arrested 24 Hours Later on Fabricated Charges,” which states: “The man who made the video of the Alton Sterling shooting death go viral, one of two brutal videos from two states that sparked a national outrage and led to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers during an anti-police brutality protest Thursday — was arrested 24 hours later [Note: is experiencing server problems; the story is also available on AlterNet. Also see Photography Is Not a Crime’s page on]

“Chris LeDay believes it was an act of retaliation.

“Considering police handcuffed and leg-shackled him after accusing him of assault and battery — only to jail him overnight for unpaid traffic fines — it certainly appears that way.

“Especially considering his arrest took place 24 hours after he had posted the video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where it instantly went viral.

“LeDay, 34, lives in Georgia, but was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the shooting took place early Tuesday morning, so he learned of the video through friends back home but it wasn’t getting much exposure.

Miller said today: “Since when does a person with unpaid traffic tickets get arrested at his place of work that he did not even drive to, then get led away in handcuffs and leg shackles?

“The fact that his arrest took place 24 hours after he posted a video that exposed two Baton Rouge cops killing a man who was already restrained shows this is likely a deliberate act of retaliation.

“Cases like this should be investigated by media and political figures who say they want reform: Who gave the order for the arrest and why?”

See Photography Is Not a Crime’s side-by-side videos of both videos of the killing of Alton Sterling.

Also see: “NYPD Arrest Ramsey Orta, Man who Recorded Eric Garner Death, for Recording too Closely” and — from last week: “The man who filmed Eric Garner’s death just accepted a plea deal that puts him in prison for 4 years.”