My Crazy Encounter With Boise Police: UPDATED

UPDATE 12/13: Boise police released this statement regarding my incident that read as follows. They also spoke about it in this interview.

A video was brought to the attention of the department of an officer contacting a man who was videotaping a traffic stop. The Boise Police Department pro-actively made local media aware of the video October 10th resulting in widespread coverage. The Chief issued a statement at that time recognizing professional standards of behavior from officers are essential to maintaining the public confidence and trust necessary for public and officer safety.   The Chief indicated an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident was underway.

This week, an internal investigation concluded the officer’s behavior did not live up to the policy and expectations of the department. The matter has been addressed consistent with internal disciplinary procedures.

“We are confident that other officers understand our department policy and training regarding the public lawfully videotaping police officers. With today’s technology, videotaping in public is commonplace. While officer and citizen safety is always a significant concern, this incident is a reminder to all of us about the expectations this department has for handling similar situations in the future.” said Chief Masterson.

I’m glad to see BPD responded and now appears to be aware of the law. I’m glad they did not blow this off as irrelevant. I’m also disappointed with the vagueness and lack of transparency. I suspect little discipline was actually given and must ask again. What would be the result had the roles been reversed? An honest public apology from the officer would go a long way in showing a lesson was learned. And since the officers behavor was public, I believe her discipline should be as well.

Regardless, I think this has been a good conversation. I’m happy to have helped start a town talking about liberty. People need to know what it means and understand the laws that our Constitution places on government. We need to teach Liberty to our children and hold it up front of us every single day — When the fry cook burns the chow over and over, you remove them and put someone in their place who will do the job right. It’s the responsibility of Boise locals and every other city to start demanding accountability from our employees.

I think this resonates a larger issue with our government — It’s why I’m running for US Congress. Incidents like this serve to remind us that we are a self governing Republic and that it is our DUTY to hold OUR government accountable. It is my hope that people will become more aware of what’s happening around them. Your liberty is more important than your football. The Constitution is alarm that the wall of liberty has been breached. That alarm is ringing and it’s time we put out the fires of tyranny.

I take a stand because it’s our duty to stand. We must question and challenge government all the time. Otherwise they will trample us, every time. It falls to us to maintain the republic. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”

Let liberty reign and Merry Christmas.

— Gav

folio-falls-dawn2
A new image I made in Idaho. Read about it here.

First i want to thank my my remarkable wife Sondra for her constant support. She’s a gem –  Now great many things have been assumed about me since I posted this video. I thought I would follow up and clear some things up. You can also see my full bio and learn about what I actually do for living here.

Some say I’m after 15 minutes of fame. But that’s not how I roll. I have a great reputation as a photographer and educator. My work wins awards, my films like EXposed are reasonably acclaimed, I host a long running podcast and I make tools that are used by photographers all over the world. Famous? Not really. But I’m too busy with serious projects to risk getting arrested in a hunt for YouTube views. Videos like this one are not my filmmaking focus. I’m standing up because I know what America was founded on and I detest tyranny.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” – Thomas Jefferson

“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so” – Thomas Jefferson

Looking Closer: I was in a the Boise ID Cabelas parking lot and saw Sperry stopping a vehicle which pulled into the Stinker Station. I stood near the curb about 60-70 feet away and observed quietly, filming the stop with my phone.

Time: Oct 8th at around 9:15 PM – Location: 43.604479,-116.283624

We’re on our Fall 2013 road trip now with the family. I had the above encounter with Boise ID police for the apparent crime of recording and refusing to give my papers. It caused a stir around Boise and beyond. Contrary to some opinions, I’m not running around the country looking to interact with police. The opposite in fact. I’m out looking for nature for my landscape images on our new film, PHOTOGRAPHICS. There are 7 of us on the road right now.

In the past week I’ve been called everything from a hero to a slime ball and even a liberal. A pansy because my voice cracked, a piece of crap because I did not cooperate. I’ve even been called a deadbeat, though last time I checked I was working awfully hard. In fact we even released this new pictorial from Idaho that I took a few days after.

It’s not nearly all negative however. I’ve also been called a patriot, a good man, intelligent and even well spoken. It’s all been interesting and at the bottom I’ll add a tidy list of news stories on the video. But more importantly is did what I hoped and that is start a conversation about liberty.

UNDERSTAND that the Gavin of ten years ago might have agreed that my actions were unnecessary. But he grew up – Ten years ago it seems we were OK with our rights being taken away in the name of a “War On Terror” – That was naive. I had not taken the time to really understand the Constitution and learn what liberty and freedom “from terror” really meant. Freedom from, sin, from tyranny, from injustice, from evil.

The Gavin of today is willing to stand his ground – He did not do so to get attention, to be cocky, to be tough, or because it was fun. He did it for liberty – I won’t lie. It was scary. It always is. This officer was a loose canon and anything could have happened. Had she simply ignored me this story never would have happened. But instead she approached me as a bully comes at someone on the school yard.

Some say that I was petty or looking for trouble. That I was shady or creepy. I was not – Some say I’m seeking attention and bored. The truth is I have a very busy business and I have far better ways to get attention. I was a passer by in a sweater holding his a phone and staying well out of the way. Some say the officer had no problem with me filming. That is not true. Notice that the officer did not say a word to my brother Nathan, who was standing a few feet to the right with no camera. This officers actions were the behavior of a bully and represent the tyranny that is rising in America and should not be tolerated for a moment.

Other Thoughts: The second officer is also worth nothing. While he was not a loose Canon, he did a terrible job of showing he understood what his job is supposed to be. He was perfectly fine with the idea that all he did was write tickets and arrest people. It begs the questions. Who is hiring and training these people? You can “Protect and Serve” or you can “Harass and Collect”. You cannot do both.

Official Complaint (download PDF): I filed an official complaint of the incident with the Boise PD. While I was confident they knew about it, I was asked by numerous Boise area residents who confirmed that Sperry and the Boise PD were out of hand and felt I needed to make it official. While the complaint does not change my stand against this kind of behavior, it does put it officially on record.

I DID NOT COMPLY because tyranny is a LIE. Giving up your liberty in the name of “safety” is a LIE. You don’t cower in the face of lies. You don’t bend to their will. You stand down a lie because it’s immoral and it’s wrong. Because that is how you protect “real safety” and bring real security” — True liberty is always forged with a bible in one hand and courage in the other.

Let me be clear – My liberty is far more important that what government feels, thinks, or wants –  YES! My freedom is more important than your freebies. I don’t care if my government does not like it. If they cannot serve WE THE PEOPLE and work within the the law WE THE PEOPLE laid upon them, they have no business being leaders – I’m not here to be nice to tyranny, or have a conversation with it. Those that represent that tyranny in any form should lookout – This is America and those who love freedom have had enough of your lies.

In the past it was my own lack of knowledge and my lack of awareness of tyranny that caused this. I FAILED to fully appreciate what the framers spilled their blood to purchase. I will not ignore that again and I hope others will open their eyes, read our history and learn what liberty means. The moral and just foundation that was America’s cornerstone is crumbling- What are you doing to repair it?

Gavin Seim

Below is a list of reporting on this issue if you want to follow up and so I can find them again.



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8 Comments

  1. James Michael
    November 27, 2013
    Reply

    Good on you…. Need way more people like us that have the eyes to see the lies and criminal thuggery… I appreciate you….

  2. bleak
    December 25, 2013
    Reply

    “True liberty is always forged with a bible in one hand and courage in the other.”

    What? I agree with everything you said and stand for except that. Without getting into what I believe, why is “true liberty” dependent on having a Bible in one hand? Might it not be God as I understand God? Although it would be more than a little unwieldily, might it not be the Mahabharata in one hand? Or what about the Nag Hammadi texts in one hand? Or what if an atheist gets tired of the bullshit?

    The reason I say this is because Christianity, despite what some disinformationist shills say, is NOT Americas’ official religion. The 1st Amendment clearly states that I have the freedom to choose my spiritual beliefs. Although most of the founding fathers were Christians, and many of the tenants of their writing were based on Christianity, it is not a requirement to be a believer in liberty and freedom. Thomas Jefferson himself disagreed with many things written in the Bible, and so took a knife to it, clipped out all that he objected to, and published his own version (“The Jefferson Bible”).

    But don’t get me wrong; I applaud you for your non-compliance to illegal demands and thank you for your efforts. I hope a lot more people hear about your story and follow suit. I know I will if presented with similar circumstances. The outcome is always a crap shoot, but nothing is more important to me than Freedom.

    • December 26, 2013
      Reply

      While I can’t speak for Gavin, I think it’s reasonable to mention the Bible as a primary source document for the western concept and philosophy of liberty, based on the original documents that we trace most of our understanding of liberty to. The idea that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, attributed to Lord Acton, is rooted in a philosophy that recognized the idea presented in the Biblical writings of original sin. Mankind is fallen. The greater the power and wealth of the person, the greater the potential for good — AND for evil consequences. Contrast this with the Quran which has no doctrine of original sin and thus, we find, rationally, that in Islamic governments there are not many checks and balances on those at the top who possess the greatest power. They speak for Allah and that word is final. The founders of our country, on the other hand, had seen similar problems with tyrannical leaders, even those who were members of the official Church, and thus they sought to create a document that would materially hold accountable all men and women in power; a document that anyone could read and understand and which restricted power absolutely and relinquished power very meagerly. Rather than a document that contained the nation/states, it would be a document that contained the government and limited it, in hopes it would not become an instrument of tyranny, as they had witnessed with the British monarchy. At least, that’s how I understand the Bible’s significant place in the history of our nation’s founding. Not everyone claimed to be a Christian, and those who did often disagreed on many issues of faith; however, nearly everyone thought the Bible was authoritative in their daily lives and that any government they agreed to share should be consistent with the several ideas that they did agree upon which were felt to be directly or indirectly gleaned from a proper understanding of Truth found in the Bible.

  3. Deborah
    December 29, 2013
    Reply

    Whatever your intention was (will we ever know?), you came across as silly and childish and desperate for attention. Next time, if you really have something to say or a reason for your actions, skip the passive-aggressive behavior and get down to the reason you’re there.

  4. Josh
    January 13, 2014
    Reply

    Wow, Gavin you were really a pest. You have no idea on the good that Police officers do. These people leave their families at homet o protect us. I applaud the police officer for the way she handled your obnoxious behavior. I can assure you that you we never ever win any seat in any office. Not with that childish behavior. I put money on it. The only votes you will ever get are those police haters, that are menaces to society…

    • Joe
      May 6, 2014
      Reply

      Gavin did nothing wrong in the whole video. He was none of the things these negative people said , who make it clear they must know this officer or have some connection to police in general. The video is crystal clear and the investigation and disciplinary action against the officer shows she was wrong. My father is a retired police officer and was nothing like these scumbags in these videos. She should be ashamed of herself, but with her attitude and without retraining she will continue to behave this way. She was the joke in the video. All she had to do was do her job and leave Gavin alone. She caused the problem. End of story.

    • ranesa
      May 24, 2014
      Reply

      You are an obnoxious, annoying, wanting attention jerk. Funny how every encounter you have, its with a law enforcement officer. You need to grow up and get a life.

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