In a case much larger than photographer’s rights, possibly involving police harassment and racial profiling, a Connecticut police force’s alleged racist agenda surfaces with the arrest of a priest who tried to videotape an incident at a Latino market. While it’s a classic cop vs. perp scenario, one thing is clear – the officer’s report doesn’t match the videotape.
Father James Manship went to the Ecuadorean-run My Country Store in February to document the ongoing harassment of immigrants in the New Haven area. The police were there to confiscate the collection of license plates the owner had on his wall, but it was Father Manship who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with police.
In the police report he filed – which only surfaced two weeks later - Officer David Cari of the East Haven Police Department claims he didn’t know what the priest had in his hands, calling it an “unknown shiny silver object.” He says he felt unsafe. “Not knowing if Manship was holding a camera or a possible weapon,” he writes, he asked the priest to reveal what he was holding and he wouldn’t.
However, in the footage that Father Manship shot, Officer Cari clearly sees the camera and says, “Sir, what are you doing? Is there a reason that you have a camera on me?” To which Manship responds, “I’m taking a video of what’s going on here.” (Cari was probably counting on the footage never seeing the light of day and his abuse of power would go unnoticed – as so many likely do.) You can read the whole fictionalization - I mean, report here.
So who are we to believe? Father Manship, a Catholic priest who has devoted his life to helping his immigrant parishioners, or another entitled cop who was finally caught because of his own recklessness?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “the videotape doesn’t lie.”
Article via the New Haven Independent