this has been all over local FB postings the last couple of days. Nice to have local law enforcement seemingly on our side for once.
I hate to say this. The man is definitely an idiot (being polite) but our free speech protections extend to idiots too.
IMO the police acted wrongfully, and should have referred to the DA to see if there was anything prosecutable, but not arrested on a bogus charge.
I don't see evidence of "reckless endangerment" and expect the charges to be dismissed.
Calhoun County Sheriff's Office While we knew this would be controversial. We have the duty to investigate all complaints brought to us. Knowing the nature of this case we presented it to the District Attorney's Office for review. Which resulted in the issuance of a warrant. [emphasis mine] It's a tough job that has to be done."
There's nothing here that comes anywhere near the threshold of incitement, and certainly no reckless endangerment (might have been if the video actually caught a close and dangerous pass). This is PC at it's worst, and meets the standards for false arrest in most states.
He made it pretty clear that he wanted to hurt a cyclist with his automobile and made it clear that it was only a matter of time before he actually did what he said he would do. You have intent and you have actions taken to help further that intent (he videotaped himself getting ready to do the action and posted his ideas all over the internet). A jury will decide whether this is evidence of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Nonetheless the first amendment is not a defense to saying you are going to do a crime and then taking some steps to further it.
From US legal definitions, http://definitions.uslegal.com/r/rec...endangerment/:
"Reckless endangerment is a crime consisting of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. The accused person isn't required to intend the resulting or potential harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions. The charge may occur in various contexts, such as, among others, domestic cases, car accidents, construction site accidents, testing sites, domestic/child abuse situations, and hospital abuse. State laws and penalties vary, so local laws should be consulted."
Well I couldn't watch the whole video because my PC stopped it saying there was some melware happening on that site but it sure seemed to me that he was telling people that it was OK to run cyclists off the road... Would it be OK to make a video basically saying lets get rid of the president? And not meaning voting him out...? That's "free speech" too... :innocent:
It was vetted; if the DA is willing to go after him, there must be something to it. There may be more to the videos too. There are other potential considerations than just what he says on the video; distracted driving (if unlawful there), passing on double solid (may not be exceptions in AL?). Reckless endangerment is not a free speech issue; it may have multiple definitions, but one is "a crime consisting of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person." I don't see how video commentary can possibly meet this threshold, so they must be pursuing it for other reasons.
The portion of the video where he intentionally speeds up as he is passing the two cyclist, has been edited to show only a very narrow view. There is very likely video evidence (not included in the link) that shows him making an unsafe pass.
The man in this video hates cyclists, which is his right. He's saying he'd like to run them off the road, but passed up that opportunity 3 times, so it's more of a wish than a statement of intent. He's sort of wishing someone else would do what he's clearly afraid to do, but if every time some died because someone wished them dead, the mother-in-law population of the USA would be decimated.
It might be different if the person were a passenger and was egging a driver on, "come on, there's no one around...let's get this guy here..." but that's not what's happening here.
Free spech is a meaningless concept it it only protects popular, PC speech, but not stuff like this.
Without seeing the entire video, it is impossible to say one way or the other if charges were warranted. IF the video shows him aggressively passing after the the other encounters, he is intentionally escalating his hostility toward the cyclist. How far does it have to go before action is warranted? In the times we live in, does the shooting have to start before someone intervenes?
Well, we can't predict the future so, unfortunately, a crime has to be committed prior to someone being convicted of it.
The video is clearly expressing a wish -- or it could just be redneck boasting -- but it doesn't show any evidence of intent to fulfill the wish anytime in the near future.
BTW- talk about PC, I can't believe that the auto censor blocks the word for a deer hunting weapon.
I'm sure the DA knows the law and the odds of conviction, so this is either harassment based on political pressure (not unheard of) or the DA is holding some hole cards we don't know about.
BTW- it seems that the concept of free speech is under assault, an more people than ever believe that free speech protection should only apply to speech that doesn't offend. IMO- that's pointless, since non-offensive speech doesn't need protection. Given the number of examples of people being pilloried for utterances secretly recorded then broadcast, I think we need to remind people that we can't protect any speech unless we protect all speech. (yes, there are exceptions, so all doesn't mean all).