Golden Beach Police Officer Robert
Ruggeiro proves eating too many doughnuts kills brain cells. A few
days ago, during a traffic stop of a dude who was using a cellphone
camera to video record him and another officer, Ruggeiro claimed it was a felony in Florida to film cops without their consent.
"If I ever
run into you in a traffic stop and you audio tape me or video tape me
and you don't have my consent, I promise you I will arrest you for a
felony," Ruggeiro asserted on camera. "And we'll battle it out in
The pudgy-faced afternoon shift supervisor didn't know the guy who filmed him is a researcher for a police watchdog group called Cop Block, which posted the clip on its website Sept. 13. The six-minute video begins with footage of Cop Block co-founder Adam Mueller aka "Ademo Freeman" on a cell-phone badgering Ruggeiro about the incident. (Mueller insists his researcher, who lives near Golden Beach, wants to remain anonymous).
Mueller: But the people who pay your salary don't have the right to videotape you?
Ruggeiro: I don't believe they can unless they are a third party.
But do you think that is okay? Do you personally have a problem with that?
I, I, I, ummm, I, I, I'm employed by the Town of Golden Beach Police and I am currently on duty and I can't speak to my personal beliefs.
Well, did you also say to him when he mentioned the first amendment which is the right to gather information on public officials, did you tell him you don't really want to argue that?
I don't know if I said that or not.
Did you ever take an oath to uphold the Constitution?
I did sir.
Why would you offer someone to...
Hold on a second sir ... Hello, sir I have a directive, a written directive, that I am not allowed to speak to the media regarding interviews, but I am going to give you the name and number to our public information officer.
After providing Mueller with contact information for Town spokesman Todd Templin, Ruggeiro told his interrogator that he did not grant his permission to be recorded. (Templin did not respond to New Times request for comment by a 9 a.m. deadline today).
"Well sir I understand that and hear what you are saying, but I am in a state [New Hampshire] that only requires one party consent," Mueller affirmed, leaving Ruggeiro at a loss for words. "Uh, okay," Ruggeiro meekly replied.
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We give Mueller props for turning the tables on a dick cop because there is no question Ruggeiro acted like a one in that traffic stop. And considering the Golden Beach Police Department is overrun with riff-raff cops, it's just desserts.
Cop Block is among dozens of citizen journalist groups using the Internet and social media to document police officers abusing their powers. In January, New Times chronicled a group of amateur filmmakers documenting their encounters with cops in Miami and Miami Beach for a DVD called Man Vs. Pig.
Mueller explains Cop Block was formed in February 2010. "All too often when individuals have complaints against those sworn to protect them it can be a burdensome ordeal," the group's 29-year-old co-founder said. "Fighting in the court of public opinion is much more effective than trying to file a complaint against an officer."