Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Emily Good Arrested While Recording Rochester, N.Y. Police Traffic Stop from her Yard

A Rochester, New York woman was arrested while legally recording a police traffic stop from her front yard.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and the Huffington Post, 28-year-old Emily Good began recording Rochester police officers who stopped a vehicle driven by a black male in front of her Aldine Street home around 10pm on May 12. She was standing in her front yard as she shot the video. Also present was her neighbor and friend Ryan Acuff. They were concerned about the possibility of police misconduct and wanted to capture any wrongdoing on video.

Officer Mario Masic then turns to her and asks “You guys need something?”

“I’m just– this is my front yard– I’m just recording what you’re doing. It’s my right,” Good responds.

“Actually, not from the sidewalk,” Masic erroneously retorts.

“This is my yard,” Good counters.

“I don’t feel safe with you standing behind me, so I’m going to ask you go into your house, you understand?” Masic asks.

The exchange deteriorates into a heated confrontation, and Good ended up in handcuffs.

“The real reason they arrested her was because she was videotaping,” Acuff opined. According to the Huffington Post, both Good and Acuff are activists who have previously protested area home foreclosures.

Good was charged with second degree obstructing government administration, although under New York state law, she did nothing wrong.

Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, wrote to Rochester mayor Tom Richards: “While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness, that is still no excuse for them not to recognize a citizen’s right to take photographs or video of an event occurring on a public street.”

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Osterreicher said that such incidents involving police and citizens “are happening across the country on almost a daily basis.”

Good is scheduled to appear in Rochester City Court on Monday.

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20 Comments

  1. jimmJune 23, 2011 at 5:53 amReply

    Wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Should be enough to bankrupt Rochester’s PD if she finds a reasonably greedy attorney.

    • Ack!July 2, 2011 at 4:23 amReply

      greedy attorney is redundant. I feel bad for the good cops. Unfortunately, not all cops are good. Way too many are just power hungry thugs.

  2. ChristopherJune 23, 2011 at 12:17 pmReply

    who likes to have someone watching them while they work? He was nice about asking her. If something had happened and she was harmed then what would the outcry be. Her excuse of fresh air was lame! She could go inside and open a window. She could go in the backyard. I praise police and if they ask me to move along while they are doing their job I would move! This is that same looky loo syndrome that causes problem on the freeway. Don’t look at the accidents keep moving your screwing it up for everyone else. WHY? What is the big deal? WHY couldn’t she just go inside? Her rights your going to say Her freedom you call out. Her freedoms are not free! They were nice if everyone is was soo concerned why didn’t they stop the police from arresting her instead of being couch quarterbacks. The police should not be sued. The policeman should not be fired. The woman should be slapped for hiding behind ” I am on my property” “I feel I needed the fresh air” “It’s my right” Again he was nice about asking her several times to go inside. If she had not challenged his authority then she would not have been arrested

    • Brett WilkinsJune 23, 2011 at 12:22 pmReplyAuthor

      In a free society, it is the right and the duty of the citizenry to monitor the police, who are public employees and work for the citizenry. The people have power over the police, not the other way around. Your comments sound like you would like to live in North Korea, not the USA.

    • Ack!July 2, 2011 at 4:08 amReply

      It’s people like you and opinions like yours that allow all of our freedom to be removed. Her arrest was illegal. The cop felt threatened by her camera. He was the one hiding behind an imagined threat. I don’t care how “nicely” someone asks me to do anything. It’s my RIGHT to refuse. “looky loo”? So now you want to remove people’s right to look at something? You said she “challenged his authority”. He doesn’t have the “authority” to remove people’s rights. You seem to think he does. She should be slapped? Since when did exercising your rights become something punishable? Who gave police the right to punish law abiding citizens for doing something they don’t like? People like you scare the hell out of me. Your arguments are weak and your logic is flawed. Good thing you have a right to say what you like…Unless some cop has an issue with your right to free speech. Let’s see how you would react to an illegal arrest by a “nice” cop. Please trample on my rights nicely!

  3. ericJune 23, 2011 at 5:26 pmReply

    God help us if the country needed all of us to stand up against an opresive gov’t. What if the cop told everyone w/in a mile to go inside, is that OK? where does it end. The cop seems nutty in my opinion. He just doesn’t want to be on video in case he screws up and harms the guy he was arresting, or he’s ultra paranoid, in which case he’s in the wrong business. If she was dangerous, how would her going into the house solve that? To be dangerous, she’d need a gun, which could be fired from the house just as easily, and in the house is likely where the gun would be stored. If he felt she was connected to the guys under arrest, why didn’t he immediately pat her down? Clearly he knows she’s not involved with the “incident”, and he doesn’t really feel she’s dangerous or he’d pat her down. But he doesn’t because he knows he can’t justify doing so. He just doesn’t want to be on video. What if he told everyone w/in a mile to go inside or be arrested? Where does it end? There are often bystanders watching such things, only difference here is thet she had a camera, or maybe he’s a new/young cop. Peopel woudl defend the cop are not thinking or are racist (note I’m a right-wing white male, but I also have a brain).

  4. Darrett SmithJune 25, 2011 at 2:54 pmReply

    And they say us Southerners are oppressive and backwards? LMAO.

  5. ReneeJune 25, 2011 at 7:44 pmReply

    What is this? Soviet Russia? The constitution is supposed to protect us from a police state mentality. That ‘cop’ should not be allowed to carry a gun and badge. The police should be trustworthy, not armed thugs ordering people around.

  6. katie bolderJune 25, 2011 at 10:54 pmReply

    She should mind her own business.It had nothing to do with her.she is nosey and went to jail for it and that makes me smile.nosey bitch!

    • Ack!July 2, 2011 at 4:13 amReply

      OMG!!!!You’re a moron!!! Let’s arrest every “nosey” person!!!! WOW!!! People like you scare me!!

  7. YoungoJune 26, 2011 at 2:37 amReply

    the obamananation is taking hold…

  8. fm MAYJune 26, 2011 at 8:57 amReply

    Americans we need to stand up for truth and justice. Police are trained to serve protect.
    The officer did his job well and by the book. Emily did “NO” Good for Americans.

    Youtube should be censoring some of the horrible comments that threaten the life of a police officer. This is a crime and the offender should be accountable by the law. Where are the RPD officer’s rights? This is disgusting and this should not be permitted by YOUTUBE.

    See for yourself who this person really is:

    http://tinyurl.com/6z64cd6

    • Brett WilkinsJune 26, 2011 at 10:04 amReplyAuthor

      So what if she is an activist and has met with Hugo Chavez who, by the way, is considered a hero to millions of Venezuelans because he has championed the cause of the country’s have-nots and rejected the corporatist brand of imperialism pushed on the world by the United States? You people who are coming down on Emily Good simply for exercising her rights– rights we should ALL be exercising– scare me. You remind me of those who stood by and enabled or even cheered the Nazis as they took control of Germany in the 1930s. Why are you so quick to surrender your constitutional rights? Why are you so willing to allow the encroachment of a police state that may one day be coming for YOU…

  9. DanJune 26, 2011 at 12:00 pmReply

    The point of the arrest was that she was not following his commands, I have watched this video many times, and not once have i heard the officer tell her she can not record the traffic stop. He asked her to please go to her house for his own safety, so by the standards that all of you are trying to set no police officer has the right to secure a scene and that officer safety isn’t important??? I see both sides of the argument, yes she was in the right to be taping, but she was asked to move to her house where she could continue to tape from!! Y’all expect the police to be there at the drop of a hat when you need them to come and help you, but at the same time you wont give them the ability to continue to be safe and go home at night to their families.

  10. SurfinServerJune 29, 2011 at 11:26 amReply

    http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20110628/NEWS01/106280327/Break-Emily-Good-s-home-an-oddity
    Its bad enough to watch Emily be carted off to jail while excerising what we all thought was our legal right, but then to hear that her house was robbed and her electronics stolen is heart breaking. Her ipad and other stuff was stolen. Tools of the modern day activist robbed! I hope that some how we can see that she is blessed with new electronics. We need people like her armed with video recorded and not dangereous except to those who visiblly break the law, or those who would trash the rights of people becaused their scared of a women in pajamas armed with video recorder! She needs new stuff. I hope that somehow we can get her a new ipad vis internet support. SS

  11. Sean A. FleschJuly 1, 2011 at 8:58 amReply

    Everyone seems to like making this into the video taping, but the officer NEVER asked her to stop taping. For the common folk it may not seem it, but he DID give her a lawful order. It was reasonable, especially on a dark night with her close proximity for the officer to ask her to go back inside.

    Even after her arrest, they were allowed to continue to video tape. If video taping was the issue, don’t you think they would have asked them at least once to stop? Don’t you think they would have taken the video camera with them if not to stop the recording?

    Now people are threatening an officer AND HIS FAMILY. That is brutal and disgusting. Ms. Good was just looking for trouble and she forced the issue. I would challenge any one of you to take a criminal justice course and go for a ride-along and see if you don’t back the officer’s actions in this case.

    I would also argue that the DA who dismissed the charges did so hoping the case would go away more than per a lack of evidence. I don’t think they took into account how much worse it would be for the officer when they dropped the charge.

    • Brett WilkinsJuly 1, 2011 at 9:23 amReplyAuthor

      If Ms. Good, who is, after all, an activist, was “looking for trouble” as you assert, it was only to demonstrate a point about our society’s relationship with law enforcement officials. For too many Americans, the first emotions felt when encountering police are fear and distrust. How did things get this way? Police are supposed to be public servants, answerable to the people. The old “I pay your salary” argument may be cliche, but it is true. We have forgotten that in this country. Ms. Good’s actions were entirely lawful and it seems clear to me that at a certain point during her confrontation with the officer, a certain “I’m a cop, I can screw you over if you don’t do what I say” attitude took over, sort of like a parent dealing with a petulant child by pulling the authority card. It was unprofessional and probably not lawful, as the charges against Ms. Good have been dropped.

    • Ack!July 2, 2011 at 4:19 amReply

      Take a look at the comments on this by actual cops at policeone.com. I applaud the real cops that admit this was a trampling of someone’s rights. I’m also scared by some of the comments. The guy they pulled over and handcuffed was released but, still referred to as a “scumbag” by one officer. They really need to do better screening of these people. Sometimes the “scumbags” have a gun and a badge.

  12. Not a copJuly 6, 2011 at 5:37 amReply

    How did the traffic stop officers know she wasnt somehow related to those being detained and was going to pull a weapon? Officers are trained to be aware of their surroundings-he shouldnt have been expected to conduct a fair traffic stop while being distracted. She did the exact opposite of what she was trying to accomplish. She shouldve gone back inside and finished her bong.

  13. ScottJuly 8, 2011 at 11:28 pmReply

    It is very sad that police feel like they have the ability to limit peoples video recordings of public actions.

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