APD Seizes Camera, Tries To Suppress Footage of Raid
On April 22nd, 2010, Copwatch of East Atlanta observed APD officers searching a local business (Kloud9) with a drug sniffing dog. We approached the scene and tried to document the situation with a camera phone.
Several officers demanded that we stop filming them. When we continued to exercise our right to observe, officer Anthony Kirkman grabbed the cameraperson (Marlon) and, with the help of other officers, physically wrenched the camera out of Marlon's hands.
Officer Taylor informed Copwatch that the footage we recorded would be deleted, and we would have to retrieve the phone from the property release office later.
When Copwatch tried to retrieve the phone, we discovered that the phone had been improperly classified as "evidence" in a deliberate effort to prevent us from getting access to it. Anthony Kirkman told us that since the phone was password protected, he would not return it to us unless we would enter the password and assist him in deleting the footage we recorded.
Copwatch refused to cooperate and consulted civil liberties attorney Gerry Webber. Once Kirkman was informed that Webber would be representing us, he reversed his position and returned the phone.
Once we recovered the phone, we discovered that the original footage had been badly corrupted, almost certainly due to the fact that the police removed the battery from the phone after seizing it, which abruptly aborted the recording.