Huffington Post | By David Moye
A Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy is the target of an Internal Affairs investigation after accusations that he arrested a motorcyclist in order to get his helmet cam.
The incident happened Memorial Day when a group of nearly 100 bikers were riding en masse near the Stemmons Freeway. Some were reportedly being reckless in front of police cars, doing wheelies, taunting the cops and repeatedly pressing the brakes, according to Carmen Castro, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
“It wasn’t all fun and games, and people weren’t just riding down the road peacefully. You see a motorcyclist halting his brakes suddenly in front [of a patrol car]“ she told WFAA-TV.
About 15 minutes after this initial incident, biker Chris Moore thinks he was wrongly pulled over by deputy James Westbrook.
“[I was pulled over for] other people’s activities,” Moore told WFAA-TV. “Primarily, I felt like, because I had the camera.”
That camera was running during the stop and, according to the footage, when Moore asked why he was pulled over, Westbrook told him, “The reason you‘re being pulled over is because I’m gonna take your camera and we’re gonna use it as evidence of the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.”
Moore told Westbrook that he had no right to take his personal property, but was eventually arrested for an allegedly obstructed license plate, according to UltimateMotorcycling.com.
“Based on Texas statutes, his license wasn’t obstructed,” Moore’s lawyer, Hunter Biederman argued to RightThisMinute.
Moore was taken into custody for eight hours and, to add injury to the arrest, the helmet cam shows Westbrook slamming the door on his foot when he is put in the police car.
Toby Shook, a former Dallas County Prosecutor, said the deputy wasn’t permitted to seize the camera.
“Well, I think in this particular case, you did need a warrant to get that piece of evidence,” Shook told WFAA-TV.
Now that Westbrook is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, he will have to explain his actions to department officials.
Although the Dallas Sheriffs Department has released a dash cam video of the bikers being reckless, officials claim no such video of Westbrook’s incident exists, which means it can’t be used in the internal affairs investigation.