County deputies in Mt. Clemens, Michigan got a sweet taste of their own sour medicine. They had spent nearly two hours and over ten man-hours investigating two men who had been seen taking pictures of the exterior of the Macomb County Jail (where just weeks later, a man died from neglect due to a heroin withdrawal). They manufactured an excuse to stop these men once they had driven away in their vehicle. The deputies didn’t count on the fact that one of the men was a retired deputy who wanted to catch them in the lie.
It is a common form of liberty activism: the First Amendment Audit. The people’s human rights to speak their mind and document their government overlords’ activities is innate to each human on the planet, and is theoretically protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many law enforcement officers, even good-intentioned ones, are largely brainwashed to treat the citizenry with the utmost suspicion and aggress. Some human rights activists choose to make sure that their local law enforcement respects their rights, including their rights to peacefully and unobtrusively photograph government buildings. Such an activity harms no one, of course. As well, to say that photography is somehow threatening to security raises an interesting question: why would a potential terrorist or evil doer simply not use the superior aerial and terrestrial imagery on Google Maps?
Nevertheless, a single deputy approached two unarmed men who were photographing the Macomb County Jail in Mt. Clemens, MI. He simply asked if there was anything he could help them men with, to which the men continued photographing. All seemed well when that deputy quickly gave up and walked away, as he should regarding two law-abiding, peaceful citizens. What happens next is nearly astounding.
A flood of deputies surround the men a few minutes later, but they do not physically stop the still-silent men from walking away. A Deputy Derrick Reed childishly pulled out a camera of is own and started clicking it the men’s faces as they walked away (a camera he would later admit to a bystander did not work).
Reed was joined by Deputies Kato and Jankowski, as well as a lieutenant who remained in an unmarked vehicle. They followed these two men on foot for an additional two hours. The men misled them to several nearby parked vehicles, to which the deputies hastily read and radioed the license plates in hopes of identifying the men.
We identified one of them as Rekab Semaj, 23, of neighboring Oakland County. “They went so far as to sit next to us on a park bench, attempting to make small talk about their fattening Olive Garden dinners last night,” Semaj said. “We really could not believe that there was so little crime in this Detroit suburb that they could spare up to seven deputies to harass us. They didn’t have any way to make their efforts worth it for the taxpayers, but they had their fun anyways.” Semaj, as an activist with LibertyIsForEveryone.com, indicated to us that the full sixteen-minute video of the harassment can be seen a here.
Semaj and the other man continued to be followed by Reed, Kato, and Jankowski to their vehicle. Almost immediately, after the two men had departed and made a legal, signaled u-turn on an adjacent street, Kato initiated a traffic stop seen in the video below:
Deputy Kato insisted that there was a sign indicating that left turns were not allowed where that u-turn was made. Of course, this was not the case. The unidentified activist (the driver of the vehicle) revealed to the camera and to Kato that he was law enforcement. Of course, Kato did not write the man a ticket, and they never identified Semaj.
It is important that the corruption that this activism exposed is not forgotten; please call Macomb County Sheriff’s Office at (586) 469-5151 and tell them that deputies Kato, Reed, and Jankowski probably have better things to do than harass innocent photographer activists. The unidentified LEO activist took a great risk in exposing this corruption, which he knew existed. It is rare to see cops using such hardcore activism tactics to show what a dilapidated state our so-called “freedom” is in.