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Another photo radar protest, another Freedom's Phoenix videographer arrested (update-2)

UPDATED AT BOTTOM 
 
Well, I went to a photo radar protest tonight.  There were at least 30 people there, a very good attendance. Lots of spare signs...you should have come.  Capped off by Freedom Phoenix's freelance video reporter getting arrested again...but you don't want to hear about that.

From 4:45 p.m. until sunset thousands of cars were exposed to numerous signs from CameraFraud.com demonstrators at the intersection of Scottsdale and Shea Blvd.  No fingers flew...a first for me at a protest, but a lot, I mean a LOT of horns blowing in support.  Many thumbs up.  Pamphlets were passed to automobile occupants waiting at the lights. 

And little did we know our dangerous, criminal activities were being monitored and filmed by not one but at least two unmarked GMC police vans parked catercorner at the intersection.  [Also I suspect by a police photographer shooting stills.]

At dusk, one of the demonstrators noticed one of the vehicles and saw a man sitting inside operating a video camera.  He went up to it and began shooting video of the man shooting video.  Getting the license plate.  Having fun.  Others with cameras also saw what was going on and they too started to go over and film the van.  This did not make the van occupant happy.  Within a couple of minutes four vehicles and seven officers were there.  Well at least one "officer" was there from the Scottsdale Police Dept.  He was the one keeping us all back.  In the mean time they had singled out and pounced once again on Jason Shelton who was operating one of these cameras. 

Two of the "cops" were plain clothes.  Several "police" video cameras were in evidence and running surveillance on the growing crowd.  I put these things in quotes because other than informing us they were "arresting" Shelton for "theft" (of what you can ask tomorrow) unrelated to the demonstration the "officers" in and out of uniform would not give their name, their badge number, nor even identify whom they were working for or represented.  With the exception of the one Scottsdale "Police" officer -- and I am guessing he is not a cop, unless he is reserve, or some paid flunky hired to keep the press at bay while the goons do their work -- there were only four cops with black uniforms on and big white "POLICE" letters on their backs.  A marked Scottsdale squad car did show up, and uniformed officers of the Scottsdale Police Dept. did quickly take Shelton into custody and transported him to the Via Ventura holding facility.  Whom the initial "cops" work for, and why the public should extend them any courtesy as they go about accosting citizens was not in evidence nor forthcoming.  Indeed they were quite belligerent that their authority, wherever it may come from, was being questioned.  In the end they simply and literally piled into their unmarked cars and literally made an exit within about 40 seconds. Amazing.

Shelton was filming the demonstration again for Freedom's Phoenix, and his final footage was deliberately deleted by these "cops" before the camera was returned to us.  Frankly I do not know what they were trying to hide.  Of course as I pointed out to one of the guys with the DVD, the video is still there, an erasure only changes a letter in the first character of the file name to a question mark making the file name invisible and the space available to be rerecorded over.  Free recovery software can recover the file by changing the question mark back into a letter.

The fact that these cops wasted two hours surveilling our demonstration pleases me no end.  Being ignored sucks.  Being relevant, well that is interesting.  Either the City of Scottsdale is really, really stupidly arrogant with a lot of resources and time on their hands, or they have a real genuine fear that our activities may interfere with their photo radar program.  Interesting.

Clearly they mean to intimidate our demonstrations, which is why the AzCLU so deplores police departments filming lawful demonstrations where there clearly is no reason to believe unlawful activity will occur.  It stifles citizen's Right to protest by intimidating them away from such events because they wish not to be surveilled by the police.  Worse, the police suppress peaceful protests making this a nonviable peaceful option for venting anger over suppression, and indeed escalates that anger.  They also make lawful groups suspicious of their own members who may be suspected of being police infiltrators or agent provocateurs.

So Shelton is currently as I write (midnight) this scheduled to be transferred to 4th Ave. Co. lockup where he will supposedly see a judge and hopefully get released again OR or make bail.  I have someone standing by who will hopefully call no matter the hour when they need some money to get him out.  I will update this later this morning.

Powell
Senior Editor
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 Date:     9/18/2008 Time:     6:45 PM
Report #:     08-09093
Location:     10600 N. Scottsdale Road
Victim Info:     43 yr old male, Canadian resident
Suspect Data:     Jason William Shelton. DOB 9/11/1972. Scottsdale Resident

Details:     

On January 29, 2008, SPD was contacted by an Ebay buyer in Canada regarding an online vehicle purchase where the seller failed to make the vehicle available to the buyer.

The seller, a 43yr old male resident of Ontario, Canada, gave the following account:

On 11-18-2007 he was at his home in Canada looking on EBay for vehicles for sale. He saw a 1988 Pontiac Fiero Enterra for sale priced at US$10,299.99. The item location was listed in Scottsdale. He bid and won the item, agreeing to pay an additional US$2000 for shipping costs. He made contact with the seller, later determined to by Jason Shelton, and an agreement was made to wire the funds to Mr. Shelton’s bank account. The buyer wired the funds to Mr. Shelton’s bank account as instructed. Once the funds were received and verified, the agreement was that Shelton would make the vehicle available for pick-up within two weeks. On 11-19-2008, the buyer received confirmation that Shelton received the funds.

Over the next 9 weeks, the buyer reported numerous attempts to contact Mr. Shelton via phone and email. All attempts were unsuccessful and after 9 weeks, and the car was never delivered or made available to the buyer. He then contacted Scottsdale police to report the theft.

Detectives working this case were able to confirm through bank and computer records that Mr. Shelton received the US$12,300 as a result of the EBay transaction.

On 2-28-2008, the case detective located the 1988 Fiero parked at 4383 N. Parkway, in a parking space assigned to Jason Shelton, in unit #504. Attempts to contact Mr. Shelton were unsuccessful. The car was seized and impounded at SPD as evidence on this day.

On August 27, 2008 Mr. Shelton was arrested for an unrelated crime. Detectives attempted to question Shelton at the SPD jail, but he was not cooperative and they were unable to interview him. [This is a serious crime Shelton is being accused of as any libertarian knows. But this paragraph makes no sense...either they had the goods on Shelton or they did not.  They let him go.]

Since the August 27 contact, detectives in this case developed probable cause for Mr. Shelton’s arrest, however, had been unsuccessful in their attempts to contact/arrest Mr. Shelton.

On 9-18-2008, SPD learned [monitored] of a planned photo enforcement demonstration by a group that Mr. Shelton associated with. Detectives went to the publicized demonstration site (Scottsdale/Shea) to locate and arrest Shelton. Once there, Mr. Shelton was located and arrested without incident at 6:45 PM.

Shelton was booked on a single felony Theft/Fraud charge and held in custody.
 
[Note: This does not excuse the unprofessional and even dangerous conduct by police refusing to identify themselves, what agency they represent or what their lawful authority was in arresting Mr. Shelton.  A simple "Scottsdale PD" would have sufficed.] 
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update 2: