The Dallas Sheriff’s deputy who arrested a motorcyclist on Memorial Day after he refused to hand over his video camera as evidence against other bikers was suspended today for more than a month without pay, which is more punishment than we normally see in these incidents.
Deputy James Westbrook will serve a 38-day unpaid suspension for pulling over Chris Moore, then telling him he was going to seize his helmet camera as evidence against other bikers, some who were apparently speeding and driving recklessly.
When Moore reminded him he had no right to seize the camera, Moore arrested him for an obstructed license plate.
The above video, which was shot from Moore’s helmet camera, indicates that Moore’s license plate was not obstructed.
Besides, it took Westbrook more than three minutes to come up with that allegation. And even then, that is normally an offense that amounts to nothing more than a citation.
Westbrook pulls Moore over at about 3:00 into the video.
“The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m gonna take your camera and we’re gonna use it as evidence of in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers,” he tells him.
“I have not committed any crimes and you can’t take my personal property from me, sir,” Moore responds.
At 6:30 in the video, Westbrook announces he is arresting Moore for an obstructed license plate, which astounded Moore, prompting him to start reading off the license plate number.
At 8:10, Westbrook loses his temper and shoves Moore hard into the back of the patrol car, slamming the car door on Moore’s leg. Then at 9:50, he pulls him out of the car and appears to loosen the cuffs.
Westbrook made the arrest on Memorial Day weekend, when local law enforcement departments were on high alert. They wanted to prohibit reckless behavior by motorcycle riders on the anniversary of a biker event where they shut down North Central Expressway in Dallas and sprayed graffiti on the road.
During his arrest of biker Chris Moore, Westbrook said: “The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m gonna take your camera and we’re gonna use it as evidence of in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.”
It is not illegal to wear a camera on your helmet. And experts say Westbrook’s reason did not constitute probable cause to make a traffic stop.
But what bothers Taylor more than Westbrook’s traffic stop is the deputy’s verbal outbursts and how he slammed the squad car door on the biker’s leg.