Liberty Warrior recently uncovered a stark video captured by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who shot and murdered two NYPD Officers before taking his own life in early December. The video, taken from Brinsley’s Facebook page shortly after the murders, shows two DEA agents as well as an apparent drug-sniffing dog canvasing a bus that Brinsley is riding on.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley records officers abusing their power
The video starts with Brinsley recording as one of the Officers guides the dog along the center isle of the bus. As they come towards Brinsley for the first time Brinsley points the camera towards the ground and it is hard to determine what is happening. However, you can hear the Officer clearly saying, “Check here.” When Brinsley points the camera back up it appears that both the dog and the Officer are headed to the back of the bus. Although, at this point something rather suspicious happens: the Officer physically picks the dog up and turns it back around towards Brinsley.
With the dog now pointed in Brinsley’s direction, the Officer places his hand on Brinsley’s bag and encourages the dog to sniff it by tapping his hand on the bag and pointing at it. The dog obeys and sniffs the bag for a couple of seconds and then looks away. The Officer then begins praising the dog as they proceed towards the back of the bus. Quite frankly, if at any time in this video the dog points or makes any indication that there are drugs in Brinsley’s bag, I can’t see it. Nonetheless, what happens next is only adds to the controversial nature of this interaction.
Manufacturing probable cause
With the dog handler out of sight another agent approaches and can be heard telling Brinsley “The dog’s smelling it.” When Brinsley questions him, “Smelling what?” the agent answers “Your bag.” I take issue with this. Of course the dog is smelling the bag, the other Officer practically forced the dog to smell it! When we think of a K9 search, I think most of us are under the assumption that a dog will be brought into an area and without being coaxed will bark or make some other clear indication that it smells drugs. Instead, what we see in this video is an Officer leading a dog to a specific object and then blatantly encouraging a dog to smell a specific object, and when the dog does smell that object, the Officer uses that as probable cause.
When the dog handling Officer returns he is determined to search the bag. He starts by telling Brinsley, “Alright Sir, the dog is indicating on your bag. So, that gives us probable cause to search the bag. Do you want to do it up here, or do you want to do it down there?” When Brinsley responds “it didn’t bark or anything…” the Officer becomes more aggressive and asks “Have you been to K9 training school?” Brinsley answers “No, but I’ve seen it.” The Officer becoming more perturbed says “If you haven’t been then you don’t know how my dog indicates.”
Brinsley continues to push back against the Officer’s aggressiveness and says “You brought the dog over here, twice. It left the first time after it sniffed the bag. You brought it back…” The Officer finally loses it and cuts Brinsley off saying “Listen, I’m asking you a simple question would you like to do it on the bus or outside!” Finally, Brinsley gives in.
Filming “a police investigation”
The last straw of unprofessionalism (and perhaps illegality) occurs when the Officer says “While I’m doing that (searching Brinsley’s bag) and conducting police business, you’re not going to film me. So you can turn your camera off.” The Officer then physically reaches over to Brinsley’s camera and attempts to shut it off. Brinsley makes one final plea saying “this is public,” to which the Officer responds “No sir, not while I’m conducting a police investigation.”
Understanding, not supporting
Before this article gets misconstrued as providing support for a murderer, as is bound to happen, I want to clarify that in no way shape or form do I think that this encounter justifies the evil actions carried out by Ishmael Brinsley on two innocent NYPD Officers. I will, however, say that the manufacturing of probable cause and the aggressive and unprofessional nature of the Officer underline the kind of abuse of power that has shrouded law enforcement nationwide in a blanket of controversy.
Perhaps it also gives us a look into the motives of the killer.