A self-recorded video of Charles Harrell’s arrest for jaywalking is capturing national attention. It begins with Harrell, morning coffee in one hand and smart phone in the other, recording an officer following him on bicycle.
In the video, Harrell says, “This is what we have to go through in Cincinnati—harassment.”
The officer, who Cincinnati.com identifies as Baron Osterman, peddles slowly behind Harrell and orders him to stop, accusing Harrell of jaywalking.
He tells Osterman, “Sir, you were scaring me. I don’t know why you were following me.”
They argue. But in the end, the officer arrests him, despite Harrell’s protests that his civil and human rights are being violated.
The officer charged him with jaywalking, obstruction, resisting arrest, and drug possession (less than 100 grams of marijuana). Harrell pleaded guilty only to the drug possession charge, according to ABC News.
Harrell, 29, posted his video of the Feb. 6 arrest to Facebook on March 1.
The video triggered a response from the city’s police department. On Friday, police officials announced that the incident is under an internal investigation, as well as a probe by the Citizens Complaint Authority.
ABC News reported Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac’s statement:
“We are committed to transparency and will provide further information once we have allowed both the criminal trial and the administrative investigations to run their course.”
But the city’s Fraternal Order of Police has already made up its mind. Sgt. Daniel Hils told ABC News the video clearly shows that Harrell jaywalked. Hils said the officer “smelled burned marijuana before” Harrell jaywalked, which caught his attention.
Meanwhile, Harrell faces a new charge: contempt of court. During his hearing on the jaywalking incident, Harrell allegedly snapped photos of two police officers in the courthouse hallway and posted them to Facebook, ABC News reports.
Photography is banned in some areas of the building.