A Michigan activist known for filming police is facing a three month jail sentence after his video of his pulling over a Detroit cop for not wearing his seat belt went viral on youtube.
Steve McClain, who has made an avocation of exposing corruption among police and other government agents, is being charged with 'reckless driving'. After initially being appointed a public defender, McClain determined that his lawyer was not trustworthy and decided to represent himself. McClain noted that his former lawyer, after speaking with the prosecutor, had asked him "Steve, what the heck did you do, these guys want to hang you!" Incredibly, in an over-the-top effort to discredit the liberty activist, the prosecutor also wants to get McClain to have a psychiatric evaluation.
McClain was tired of seeing police checkpoints and sting operations where motorists were constantly being cited for not wearing seat-belts, while the police themselves flagrantly ignored the very same seat-belt laws on a routine basis. The police report, which can be found here, lists officer Robert Andrew Huckestein as the "victim". The offense is reckless driving, although the officer did not see fit to even attempt to pull over, cite or arrest McCalin at the time of the incident. Only after international media attention did the department seek prosecution. They mailed him a summons after the fact. Police have refused to give McClain a copy of the police dash cam and claimed that the video captured nothing, despite the officer's allegations that McClain was "cutting him off coming to a stop on the roadway". Unfortunately for police, McClain has an elaborate recording system set up in his vehicle which covers all angles. The reporting officer E.R. Garfat noted "I was advised by other officers Southgate PD and other local departments have had similar incidents involving a white male driving a burgandy van filming officers not wearing their seat belts. The individual was indentified as Steven McClain." This proves that McClain's prosecution is little more than a political vendetta intended to stifle free speech and chill those who seek government accountability.
"I have pled not guilty to a charge of reckless driving. This will now go to a jury trial, pre trial date 2-1-13 9.00 AM, Southgate Court. 10-17-12, 12 miles south of Detroit. I have absolutely have had it with our thug Government. I was about to make a right turn apx. 1 mile east of this altercation, when the light turned green this police vehicle took off at a very high rate of speed. No lights, no sirens ( you or I would possibly be charged with reckless driving ). This is a K-9 unit, I assume there is a dog in the rear of this vehicle and would be subject to possible injuries. That got my attention and I then thought I better follow him........ Last week close to this area there was a seat belt sting set up, signs were set up to warn drivers, and a cop hiding behind bushes. MI. law enforcement are not EXEMPT from MI. seat belt laws. Look it up, or call your police dept."
McClain told LibertyFight that "Most people believe Law Enforcement are exempt from seat belt laws. If you have time see my video, Seat Belt Laws, Mankinds Greatest Mystery Finally Answered, I got it right from the TOP!" He added "if there is any way to get Savemyrepublic noticed would be a big help. I would love to afford better cameras and spend more time to step up my program. Also as of now I am going to represent myself, as this court appointed attorney is a total disaster."
Dissecting the police report, McClain adds "Note, just to be sure you do not miss anything. 1. My cameras are on tri pods, white male not pointing anything. 2. I rarely use foul language, I did not say "Put your f*cking seat belt on" as reported. It's clear on the video I said, "put your DAMN seat belt on. 3. The report states I was "driving in a erratic manner". ME, as it is clear, I drove just fine. Detroit cop not only drove in a reckless manner, I believe he has committed animal endangerment! 4. "cutting him off", no, he slowed down as I figured he was finally going to pull over, I put on my turn single on and changed lanes when I was clear of this officer. 5. "coming to a stop on the roadway" - I guess he should of watched the video first!!! A stop, I tried to tell the court they have the wrong guy. 6. "the van then sped up" - this officer needs to be promoted to a higher position, maybe like Attorney General. His observation skills are beyond beliefs. 7. His dash cam was on, what I would give to see that. I have been told that the dash cam dose not show anything, WHAT? Its amazing how these videos somehow disappear. 8. Now this I like, "a man in his 40's", this almost gets him a pass. NOT, I am 60. 8. "Short Hair" - The two times my hair has been this short would be before two of these court appearances. I have not had short hair in 45 years. 9. "wearing a baseball hat" - I do not own or wear a baseball cap!! Never!! 10. Can you believe they are so STUPID, that they admit breaking Mi seat belt laws and department policy? Other than these few points I guess this would be a accurate Police Report. Thank you God for the video camera, or I would not have a chance. My attorney, that I fired, tells me they want to put me in jail for this, this is my third bout with local K-9 police. A government conspiracy to get me off the streets, yes, I believe I can prove it! Oh, one more thing, My now x attorney told me the prosecutor wants to use me as a example of what will happen to others that may try what I did."
On April 13, 2011, S. Peter Manning, Division Chief for the Michigan Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division responded to the inquiry and stated
"Attorney General Bill Schuette asked me to respond to your e-mail regarding an incident involving a videographer, whom you identify as "Steve" and an unnamed Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer. I regret the delay in responding to your inquiry. The Department receives hundreds of letters and e-mails each week, making some delays inevitable. Your complaint appears to fall in part within the jurisdiction of the Law Enforcement Division in the Department of Natural Resources. You have indicated that you did contact that department, and I have confirmed with the Law Enforcement Division Chief that the matter of the Conservation Officer's conduct has been addressed in a manner deemed appropriate.
You also suggest one or more instances of criminal conduct, including refusal by the local sheriff's department to make a report. Most law enforcement agencies in the state have internal procedures to investigate citizens' complaints. Generally, complaints against a law enforcement agency or its officers can be resolved by following those procedures. If resolution cannot be obtained, you may wish to contact the county prosecuting attorney who has jurisdiction over the police agency involved in your complaint. Furthermore, the prosecuting attorney of the county where the alleged criminal conduct occurred is the appropriate governmental official to whom any information and evidence that you believe may indicate criminal conduct should be provided. It is only in exceptional cases, such as where a statute expressly confers jurisdiction on the Attorney General, or a prosecuting attorney is disqualified, that the Attorney General undertakes the role of a prosecuting officer. On behalf of Attorney General Bill Schuette, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with our office."
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, Whittier Daily News, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Veterans Today, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, National Motorists Association, RomanCatholicReport.com, Republic Broadcasting Network, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com.
Catholic paleo-libertarian from California., promotes limited government and civil liberties