Keith Golden was filming the outside of the Wetumpka, Alabama, Police Department June 2 when an officer seized his camera thinking that Golden might be a terrorist (video below). The cop turned the camera off but was unaware that Golden had a body camera that was streaming live video.
"I'm asking why you're filming," says Wetumpka Police Officer Charles Shannon on the video, notes Photography Is Not A Crime. "I don’t care about your First Amendment rights. I'm asking why you're filming, sir. Can you tell me why you're filming, if you don't mind me asking?"
Golden tells Shannon that he is a journalist.
At this point, Golden says that his camera was confiscated by police, but he had his body cam on.
"Right now, I don’t know if you’re a terrorist or not, sir," Shannon adds. "That's why I'm trying to figure out who you are."
According to Golden's YouTube channel, Bama Camera, he was doing a First Amendment audit on the police department's building.
Golden refuses to provide his ID, and Shannon tells a second officer: "I don't know if he's a terrorist or not."
The second officer tells Golden to leave the area and informs him that there will not be any filming.
"Sir, the reason we're asking is we don't know if you're a terrorist," Shannon tells Golden. "You might be doing a terrorist plot on our building. So, if you don't give me the information, I don't know who you are."
Golden tells Shannon that he isn't required to carry an ID and asks Shannon if he knows the state law.
"Yes, I do, that’s why I’m a police officer," Shannon replies.
"Look up 15-5-30," Golden tells Shannon, who fires back, "I don’t have to, I know it."
The law that Golden was referring to says that police must have reasonable suspicion to believe that someone is involved in a crime before demanding that person's ID.
Shannon then searches Golden with no apparent probable cause beyond the terrorist theory.
After the frisking, Golden is given his camera equipment back and a third officer asks him if he would like to talk.
As Golden walks away, he says, "Hope you learn the law someday."
"I know the law," Shannon responds.
"What’s 15-5-30?" Golden asks Shannon.
"I don’t have to answer your questions," Shannon replies.
Golden said that he contacted the Wetumpka Police Department on June 3, but was told no report was filed about the incident and that a police body cam at the scene was not turned on.
The Wetumpka Police Department has not issued a statement.