On Saturday, Randall Thomas recorded himself being arrested for taking pictures outside of the NYPD Housing Authority police station in Bushwick. According to Thomas, he stood outside of the building for roughly an hour taking photos in preparation for "an upcoming trial stemming from a January arrest in which police deleted his footage after he had recorded them making an abusive arrest."
Around the video's 4:30 mark, Thomas is approached by a plainclothes officer who identified himself as Officer Soto. "You're making a lot of people feel very uncomfortable," he said. "How do I know you're not a terrorist taking pictures so you can figure out where you're going to put a bomb?" Thomas retorted: "If you think I'm a terrorist then you're an idiot and you shouldn't be a police officer because you're incompetent."
Thomas was eventually arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the station's driveway and using obscene language. He filed a complaint with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Civil Rights and Police Integrity Bureau & Corruption Bureau, claiming that Officer Soto engaged "in a willful act of harassment, admittedly knowing that he lacked any legal justification to do so."
This is far from Thomas' first arrest for photographing law enforcement. Homeland Security officers arrested him in 2009 for taking pictures of the FBI building located in Lower Manhattan. It should be noted that Thomas did not break any laws by taking pictures; it's legal to do so both on public property and in the subway.
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