On today’s episode of “Hold My Beer and Watch This!”, a Kentucky man on his way home from work last week saw several police cars with lights flashing surround a vehicle in a McDonald’s parking lot. As he approached the scene, he parked his car about 50 feet away, pulled out his phone, and decided to film whatever happened next.
Joe Bennett told Spectrum News 1 in Louisville he immediately thought of videos he had seen this year from around the country in which police actions ended badly. In the Facebook livestream, which was also linked to Twitter, Bennett can be heard saying he was “doing [his] due diligence as a citizen” by documenting the arrest.
At least one of the suspects in the surrounded car was black.
“I just wanted to observe, so I tried to give them distance,” he said, adding at one point: This might be the most boring video ever.” “I’m trying to stay away so I don’t get involved,” he reiterated. “I ain’t trying to piss off the police, or nothin’, I’m just watchin’.
About two minutes after Bennett began filming, the video got “un-boring” in a hurry.
When the officers realized they were being filmed, two approached Bennett; posthaste, as it were. When one of the officers asked to see his ID, Bennett refused to provide it (bad idea). “You’re filming a crime scene investigation… and you’re involved,” the cop explained.
Joe Bennett stopped to film Jeffersontown Police as they surrounded a car. He said he was doing his “due diligence as a citizen.”
Then one of the officers walked across the parking lot and punched him. pic.twitter.com/xJTyJSkOd9
— Adam K. Raymond (@adamkraymond) November 27, 2020
When Bennett refused to present his ID a second time (not a good idea at all), the officer quickly tried to grab his phone. As he was attempting to force Bennett to the ground, the officer hit Bennett in the face. One of the two officers then grabbed Bennett’s phone.
Live stream over. Thanks for playing.
Bennett was issued a citation for “menacing and resisting arrest,” which described the hit as an “empty strike” – a claim Bennett refutes, saying he was hit with a “solid left hook” and had to be checked out by EMTs on the scene and by a doctor, a day later.
HotAir’s Jazz Shaw tweeted that while he supports the police, they “can’t go around punching people just because they’re filming you when you’re out on the public streets doing your job.”
Dear Police: You know I support you, but you can’t go around punching people just because they’re filming you when you’re out on the public streets doing your job.https://t.co/ZjsWrX2wzh
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) November 28, 2020
Fair enough. But “you” also can’t just go around refusing to present ID to a police officer, and you certainly can’t resist. If you believe you’re being treated unfairly, take that up with the authorities later — rather than choosing to first get your ass kicked.
According to TMZ, the citation reads:
Officers were investigating a case where fraudulent checks were being cashed at a local bank. Officers were informed that there was a gray Jeep involved. Officers were told that the gray Jeep was picking up offenders after they attempted to cash the fraudulent check. This officer was informed that the above subject [Joe Bennett] at which time was standing on the side of his vehicle was the driver of the gray Jeep.
Officer approached the subject and asked him for identification. Subject refused. Officer told the subject he was named in the investigation and the subject still refused to identify himself. Officer attempted to put handcuffs on the subject before things escalated. Subject tensed up and started to pull away. Officer delivered one empty strike to the subject and took the subject to the ground.
Lt. Col. Steve Schmidt of the Jeffersontown Police Department told Spectrum 1 that one of the detained suspects pointed Bennett out — while he leaned against his Jeep and filmed from across the parking lot — as the driver involved in the alleged crime. Schmidt later said Bennett was not a suspect in the alleged check fraud scheme.
When asked if the explanation made him feel better, Bennett said:
“No, it doesn’t. [Doing] proper police work, they should have approached me gently. I wasn’t going anywhere, I wasn’t in my vehicle, I wasn’t gonna flee. They certainly shouldn’t have hit me first and asked questions later.”
Was it a good idea for Bennett to stop and film the incident? Particularly from just 50 feet away? Probably not, but given that at least one of the suspects was black, let alone the craziness of 2020, I get it. Would I have done it? No.
Was it a good idea for Bennett to refuse to provide his ID when asked to do so? Was it a good idea to resist? Is it ever a good idea to refuse an order from a police officer? Is it ever a good idea to resist?
Should the cop have gotten physical with Bennett? Grab the phone, sure. But deliver the “solid left hook”?
This Twitter user, who claimed to be a civil rights attorney, not only said no; he’d like to take Bennett’s “easy money” case and buy a second home with his share of the award.
I’m a civil rights defense lawyer. Put me in touch with this guy. I need a second house. This is easy money. The guy on the right? I hope his house is titled properly.
— j. galt (@Astonvillausa) November 27, 2020
I’m not a civil rights attorney and I’ve never played one on TV, but from what I could see, the “solid left hook” was questionable — given that it actually happened. You?