For seizing biker’s camera. The Dallas County Sheriff’s office issued a 38-day suspension today to Deputy James Westbrook after footage showed him seizing a camera from a motorcycle rider. The case received a large amount of media coverage in the days following the incident which took place over the Memorial Day weekend.
The majority of outspoken commentators freely acknowledge that they sympathize with the challenges that law enforcement personnel encounter; however, it was not justifiable for Westbrook to seize the camera that belonged to rider Chris Moore.
View slideshow: Dallas County deputy suspended without pay for seizing biker’s camera
The video has been viewed almost 500,000 times on YouTube at this link and Westbrook is on camera issuing this comment to Moore:
“The reason you’re being pulled over is because I’m gonna take your camera and we’re gonna use it as evidence of in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.”
Legal experts state that Westbrook’s reason does not constitute probable cause to make a traffic stop nor is it illegal to wear a camera on a helmet.
Westbrook ended up arresting Moore and then trying to slam the door of the patrol car on the leg of the biker before taking him to jail. Moore was finally released and issued a ticket for an obstructed license plate.
Moore’s attorney, Hunter Biederman, is prepared to take the case to court even though an obstructed license plate is a small matter, it is more to address the principle of the situation in how Westbrook opted to handle himself.
Of further note is that eight of the 38 days of suspension are due to Westbrook leaving a drunk driver at the jail without booking him before going out on the call relating to motorcyclists riding on I-35.
Westbrook does have the right to appeal his suspension.