Friday, September 7, 2007

Local TV Coverage of Incident Involving CopWatch Member

(awkwardly written story; it should be "Leclair" not "LeClair')

CopWatch Keeps Eye On Local Police

POSTED: 6:44 pm EDT September 6, 2007
UPDATED: 7:22 pm EDT September 6, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Volunteers are patrolling local streets to keep a close eye on the area's police force.

A man wrestled to the ground in a recent [Orlando] CopWatch video is actually a[n Orlando] CopWatch volunteer. (The media needs to get the name of our organization right.)

Josh LeClair was never arrested, but officers took issue with him because they said he was far too close -- 10 feet -- while they worked to arrest a DUI suspect.

"I think it's scary that a guy is taken to the ground and handcuffed and detained," LeClair said.

CopWatch patrols with video cameras.

The National Latino Officers Association has taken up the fight for [Orlando] CopWatch, saying LeClair was the victim of excessive force and unlawful detainment.

LeClair said he was 40 feet away.

(garbled partial quote) "Work hard to do the right thing," Sgt. Barb Jones said.

The Orlando Police Department said it has received an official complaint, it has seen the video, and it will look into it.

"Whether the actions of the officers were justified or not will be part of the investigation. It'll be up to internal affairs," Jones said.

To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Dave McDaniel.

Copyright 2007 by WESH.COM.


Cell Phone Video Shows Officer Throwing Down Bystander Videotaping Traffic Stop
29-Year-Old Handcuffed, Then Allowed To Leave

POSTED: 4:54 pm EDT September 6, 2007
UPDATED: 5:19 pm EDT September 6, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cell phone video of an Orlando officer throwing a bystander to the ground after the man was noticed videotaping a traffic stop has prompted accusations of police brutality.

IMAGES: Cell Phone Video Orlando police are investigating why Josh Leclair, 29, was handcuffed and forced to the ground by an officer this week, Local 6 has learned.

Leclair said he was on his way to a friend's house at about 1 a.m. when he noticed a police officer arresting a suspected drunken driver with his weapon drawn.

Leclair said he had a camera and began videotaping the incident until the officer until the officer noticed him.

Leclair's friend Rick Weedamen's cell phone camera videotaped the officer running over to Leclair and then forcing him to the ground and handcuffing him.

Police eventually removed the handcuffs and Leclair was allowed to leave.

Leclair, who is a member of the Cop Watch group, said police initially appeared to be acting lawfully during the traffic stop until they turned their attention to him.

"My video could have been used as an asset to their actual investigation until I was detained," Leclair said during a news conference Thursday.

The [Orlando] Cop Watch group has watched the video and claims the incident may be indicative of a bigger problem with police behavior.

"Where there have been threats made against [Orlando] Cop Watch when [Orlando] Cop Watch was out doing what they have every Constitutional right to do -- simply videotape law enforcement in action," [Orlando] Cop Watch representative George Crossley said.

Leclair has filed an official complaint with the Orlando Police Department and he said another complaint will likely be filed with the U.S. Justice Department over a civil rights violation.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

Copyright 2007 by Internet Broadcasting Systems and


Police Investigate After Controversial 'Copwatch' Video Surfaces

POSTED: 12:01 pm EDT September 6, 2007
UPDATED: 5:45 pm EDT September 6, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A group that uses video cameras to try to catch cops crossing the line said an officer went after one if its own members and they videotaped the whole thing.

In his own report, one of the officers said the amateur cameraman was interfering with his investigation, but the Orlando Police Department is doing an investigation of its own to see if the officers recorded on the [Orlando] 'Copwatch' DVD truly went too far.

RAW VIDEO: Copwatch Raw DVD video

Before an officer took him down, [Orlando] "Copwatch" cameraman Joshua LeClair [Leclair] said he didn't have a problem with how Orlando police handled this arrest of a DUI suspect early Sunday morning. He said trouble started when officers turned their attention to the camera.

"There was a second person out here who pulled out a cell phone with a video camera in it and kept rolling," said LeClair of the DVD police were investigating.

Sgt. Barbara Jones of the Orlando Police Department said the police had seen the video and will conduct an internal affairs investigation. But Jones would not criticize the officer's actions.

"We don't have a problem being videotaped. The question is, am I being distracted while affecting [effecting] an arrest," Jones said of the 'Copwatch' videotaping.

At a news conference, organizers of the group 'Copwatch' said they plan to file a federal civil rights complaint. Despite an officer's claim that LeClair got in the way, he said he wasn't picking a fight.

'Copwatch' said it will be out again in Orlando Thursday night. Orlando police said its investigation could take up to two months.

Copyright 2007 by

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