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Man wants Suffolk cops to drop charges over his videotaping friend's arrest

Thomas Demint, right, said he was arrested May

Thomas Demint, right, said he was arrested May 21, 2014, for obstruction of justice and resisting arrest after recording the arrests of his friends a year ago by Suffolk County police in Center Moriches, shown above in a video frame grab. Credit: Attorney for Thomas Demint; Ed Betz

A Center Moriches man who says he was falsely arrested after he videotaped the arrests of two friends a year ago wants the charges dropped.

Thomas Demint, 20, a student at Suffolk County Community College, said he was arrested May 21, 2014, and charged with obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest after he videotaped Suffolk police officers arrest two friends.

Demint's attorney, Kenneth Mollins of Hauppauge, said his client's problems began when Demint offered a ride to friend whose mother reported him as suicidal to 911.

According to police, the friend's family and Demint intervened when they attempted to administer him aid.

"While police were attempting to calm down those involved, Thomas Demint interfered with officers by shouting obscenities toward police officers and paramedics as well as entering the scene several times after he was told not to. Mr. Demint's actions diverted officers' attention away from the suicidal man and Mr. Demint had to be physically escorted away from the scene," Suffolk police spokesman and Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon said in a statement Wednesday.

"My client was not aggressive," Mollins said. Mollins, at a news conference, provided a six-minute video clip shot on Demint's phone the day of the incident.

"My client was standing there videotaping and on the tape itself you can hear my client telling police, 'I'm just videotaping.' When he [the officer] told him to step back, he did."

Shortly after he stopped recording, Demint said police tackled him to the ground, arrested him, took his cellphone and attempted to delete the video he had recorded. They ended up erasing the wrong video, Mollins said.

Suffolk police said officials will investigate Demint's claim.

"The Suffolk County Police Department has not received a complaint from Mr. Demint nor have we received a copy of the video," Fallon said in the statement.

Demint said it has taken him more than a year to release the video because he said he had received veiled threats from patrol officers during traffic stops. He said he was afraid police would retaliate against him.

He is due back in District Court in Central Islip on Sept. 15.

Suffolk police in their statement said they respect the civil rights of all members of the public.


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