Less than a month after charges were dismissed from his last arrest, San Diego photojournalist Edward Baier was arrested again, indicating that police are retaliating against him.
After all, he was arrested Friday for interfering with a police officer when all he was trying to do was video record an ongoing investigation involving some whacked out dude attempting to stuff a brick inside a mailbox.
That, of course, prompted citizens to think terrorism, which led to a multitude of San Diego police officers responding to the scene.
Baier, a freelance videographer who sells his footage to local television stations, was one of the first to respond after hearing about the incident on his police scanner.
He was there before police had even taped off the area, so he began interviewing possible witnesses, including the owner of the home whose water hose the man also tried to stuff into the mailbox.
The brick also came from this man’s yard. And the USPS mailbox stood on the public sidewalk just outside his property. A short brick wall divided the man’s property from the sidewalk.
“At this point, I had no idea what was going on,” Baier said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime. “But the police kept arriving and they started blocking off the streets.”
Baier set up his tripod on the sidewalk and started talking to the man who was standing on his property. The wall between them was about two-and-a-half feet as you can see in one of Baier’s photos below.
The man was explaining how some random stranger walked into his yard, picked up a brick, then tried to stuff it into the mailbox. He then walked back onto the yard, grabbed the water hose and tried to do the same.
A woman spotted this bizarre behavior and figured he was some Al Qaeda operative trying to blow up the mailbox, so she called police.
A police car pulled up containing two officers, one who already has a history with Baier.
“That cop told me specifically, ‘you have to leave, it is too dangerous to stay here,’” Baier said.
“But there were at least four other people standing around, including the owner and three other people on the sidewalks.”
Baier asked the property owner if he could step onto his yard and continue working on his footage. The man said yes.
When Baier started to step over the short brick wall, one officer grabbed his wrist and brought him down with the other officer joining in.
“They twisted my arm and I landed on my face on the brick wall,” Baier said.
“They kept yelling, ‘stop resisting.’”
His face ended up breaking a couple of bricks from the top of the wall as you can see in the photos below.
Then they handcuffed him and shoved him into the back of a patrol car.
The Wall was already cracked but the RED BRICKS on top where damaged when my chest and face impacted the top of the wall, Baier wrote in the email when he sent these photos.
Meanwhile, police had nothing to say to the other four men watching the altercation unfold.
They impounded his camera, threw him in jail and did not return his camera until the following Monday. And only because Mickey Osterreicher started giving them hell on Saturday (I was with Mickey that day in Fort Lauderdale so I witnessed his telephone conversation with one of the assistant chiefs).
Baier ended up with a dislocated thumb, a sore elbow and abrasions on his face and body.
He has gone to the doctor who stated the following in a request for evaluation of his thumb.
Mr. Baier had an injury to his right thumb on Friday, July 20th. Upon evaluation, I believe that his first metacarpophlangeal joint stabilizing ligaments are torn on the index finger side. Please evaluate and give Mr. Baier your opinion on treatment options.