Florida — A Palm Bay, Florida judge ordered the charges against a teenage girl to be dropped after he reviewed the arresting officer’s body cam footage. The officer, David Marcinik, lied in his police report and stated that the girl was belligerent, threatening, and resisting arrest with violence.
The body cam footage showed that the officer was actually the aggressor in the situation. In the video, the officer tells the passenger that he will put a bullet in him. Shortly after, he tells Melissa Bell, 18, to step out of the car. The officer then threatens to inflict harm upon her.
The judge said he was disgusted by what he saw in the video. He also said that this is only one out of hundreds of cases in Florida. “I will not tolerate this nonsense in my courtroom,” he said.
In this video alone, the officer broke several laws as well as constitutional laws. He searched their persons before they were even arrested. The judge said a “pat down” for officer safety is not legal justification for illegally searching someone prior to actually placing them under arrest.
“The judge sent a clear message to Florida law enforcement officers,” said Bell’s attorney. “The judge clearly said in his order that the police do not have carte blanche to abuse the citizens that they come into contact with.”
He went on to say that most officers lack education in the area of law. Reading a statute out of a department-issued book doesn’t cut it, he said.
Officers today think they can arrest anyone under the erroneous charge of “resisting arrest” or “interfering with an investigation,” he said.
“Officers most commonly arrest individuals for ‘resisting arrest’ when the officer is being video recorded, which is not only legal by state law, but protected by the United States Constitution,” the attorney said. “An individual cannot and should not be detained or harassed for recording an officer.”
This officer should have been fired, he said, and the judge agreed. However, the Palm Bay Chief of Police disagreed. The officer was not punished in any way. However, the officer did “retire” after a federal lawsuit was filed against the Palm Bay Police Department.
Recently, in Orange County, Florida, Jeff Davies was intimidated by deputies after they “ganged up” on him following a traffic stop for not wearing a seat belt.
Davies had just had a kidney stone removed and was told by his doctor that he should not wear his seat belt. Davies began to feel sick from the procedure while he was driving and had already planned on pulling over when a deputy initiated a traffic stop.
Davies said he thought he was going to “throw up” so he exited his jeep and walked around to the other side. The officer immediately began yelling at Davies and would not listen to his explanation. The deputy said he didn’t care what his problem was and ordered him back into his jeep. Davies then pulled out his cell phone and began recording.
As soon as he pulled out his cell phone, other deputies joined in. One deputy said, “So I see he has decided to record us.”
Davies said that the very sight of the phone infuriated the deputies.
Davies was arrested and charged with “resisting arrest.” During the arrest, he was slammed into the hood of his jeep by one of the deputies.
Davies was offered a plea bargain, but his attorney said no way.
Central Florida attorney Howard Marks said the charge of “resisting arrest” is a terrible abuse of the justice system and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. “When police don’t have anything, it’s always resisting arrest without violence,” he said.
Assistant State Attorney Will Jay said, “Resisting arrest is a very difficult charge to prove.”
Davies took his case all the way to a jury trial and essentially won the case.
During the trial one of the deputies told the judge that he felt threatened by Davies. The deputy said, “Davies had a weapon.” The judge asked, “What weapon? Because it was not mentioned in the police report.” The deputy responded, “He had a cell phone; that is a weapon.” The attorney said the deputy was just mad because he was being recorded with a cell phone.
According to reports, 60 percent of all “resisting arrest” cases end in favor of the defendant. Most officers have not provided enough evidence to present their case, and often times the cases are thrown out before they even reach the courtroom.
Davies is filing a federal lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Office this week.
Davies said, “I came to Florida from England to live my dream….and until now, I have never been treated with such disrespect. I think police officers are being trained to be grown bullies, and they are abusing their arrest powers because they think they can get away with it. “
Recording a law enforcement officer with a cell phone is quickly becoming a common practice. YouTube is filled with thousands of videos that show officers being recorded. Practically every cell phone any person owns has a built-in camera, and they have become part of our everyday lives.
Davies’ attorney said, “If a police officer is following the code of ethics and has nothing to hide, then he or she should not be bothered by a video recorder.”