Nassau County, NY- David Martins, a college student who has been hanging protest signs for several months, was arrested last Friday after arguing with police for his right to peaceful protest.
The video begins with the officer claiming that his hanging signs are a distraction. The officer said in the video that someone looking at them could cause another driver to get rear-ended. Martins replied he’s done this for months with no accidents.
“It’s called reckless endangerment,” said the officer.
“I understand what you’re doing but I just have every right as everyone else, and I’ve done this for weeks,” said Martins.
“You don’t have a right to cause somebody else to either die or get seriously injured,” the officer responded.
Martins told the officers that he’d be willing to take down the signs, which looked to be hanging off of the sidewalk of an overpass, and hold them himself. The officers maintained that the signs would cause an accident and that they’d received “several calls” about his signs. Martins said that he’d been contacted by police for the signs before. “When they were last here they told me ‘oh this is not a crime but we’ll write you a summons’,” Martins said.
“I’m not committing a crime,” Martins told the officers after he mentioned that he had been removed from the area before for his signs.
“Well, I believe that you are, but I’m gonna double check with my supervisor. I don’t want to wait until a family dies because someone stopped to read your signs and they got rear-ended,” the officer countered.
“You swore an oath to the Constitution, correct?” asked Martins. The officer retorted:
“Um, I don’t, I’ve sworn a lot of things. A lot of oaths, a lot of Constitutions.”
Martins and the officer continued to argue over the safety of the area where Martins was protesting. Martins insisted that his chosen location was safe for him and others. Martins went on to tell the officer that other police personnel have been more obliging toward him while demonstrating. The officer then compared Martins’ protesting to drunk driving: “You know what, I know guys who drink and drive, right? They’re like ‘oh, I drink and drive all the time, I’ve never crashed or killed anybody.’ Until they do.”
The conversation seemed to take a lighter turn, but the video shows the officer, who had been arguing with Martins for most of the recording, returning with three more officers to arrest Martins on a disorderly conduct charge.