Max Bickford was filming an unidentified police officer making an arrest in Boston last night when the cop reportedly seized Bickford's cell phone and damaged it.
“I was riding my moped with a group of friends when I saw the cop tackle the man in the street, then kick him in the head,” Bickford told PhotographyisNotaCrime.com.
Bickford began recording the officer, who repeatedly said, “Thank you for your help" and told Bickford to move.
Bickford claims he moved his moped off the street and onto a public sidewalk where he continued filming the police officer.
According to Bickford, the officer walked up and grabbed his phone (which is when the video stops) and threw it on the street, which broke the face of the device.
Bickford wrote on YouTube:
Then the officer refused to give my phone or his name to me. he threw my phone back at me resulting in damage to my property. He also wiped his blood on me on purpose.
Bickford said he was then handcuffed by the officer and a second officer who arrived.
“They put me up against the wall, handcuffed me, then slammed me down on my ass,” Bickford stated.
Bickford was eventually released without being charged, but says when he called a police lieutenant she defended the officer's actions by claiming the cop believed the cell phone contained "evidence of a crime."
However, according to the U.S. Supreme Court blog, the high court ruled earlier this year in the case of Riley v. California that a warrantless search and seizure of digital contents of a cell phone during an arrest violates the U.S. Constitution.
Boston Magazine reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in 2011 in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe that filming a police officer in public is not illegal in Massachusetts.