Marine Vet Films Traffic Stop From His Porch; California Cop Gives Him a Concussion

Adrian Burrell was well within his rights to record the officer.


A California cop gave a Marine veteran a concussion for nothing more than filming a traffic stop.

On January 22, Adrian Burrell was at his home in Vallejo, California, when he saw his cousin outside with his hands in the air. The cousin, Michael Walton, was standing next to his motorcycle with his back to a police officer. "He can't hear you. He has his helmet on," Burrell told the officer, according to the account he later gave to KGO. At that point, he says, the cop told him to go back in his house.

Instead, Burrell, who is a filmmaker, opted to record the incident. Even if he hadn't been standing on his own private property, this would be within his rights. In California, citizens can film on-duty police officers as long as they aren't interfering in their work. In this case, Burrell tells The San Francisco Chronicle, he was on his porch—more than 20 feet away from what was going on.

Video taken by Burrell and posted to Facebook yesterday shows what happened next:

"Get back," the officer tells Burrell. "No," he replies. (Burrell notes to the Chronicle that his back was already up against the side of his home.) The officer then walks toward Burrell, holstering his weapon as he does so. "You're interfering with me, my man?" he asks. "You're interfering, you're going to get one from the back of the car."

"That's fine," Burrell responds. The officer starts handcuffing Burrell, and tells him to "stop resisting."

"I'm not resisting you," Burrell says, as the officer threatens to take him down. "Stop fighting or you're going to go on the ground," the cop says.

It's hard to see what happens next, and the camera eventually goes dark. "He handcuffed me and threw me into this wall here," Burrell tells KGO. "Swung my body into that pole there, where I knocked my head. He took me to the car and detained me and told me I was going to jail." Burrell wrote on Facebook that he sufferred a concussion as a result of the officer's actions.

Several seconds later in the video, the officer can indeed be heard saying: "That wasn't very smart, man. Now you get to go to jail."

But Burrell did not end up in jail. Burrell tells the Bay City News he asked the officer to cuff his hands in front of his body, rather behind, due to injuries sustained as a result of his time in the military. "Oh you're a vet? You sure weren't acting like one," Burrell recalls the officer saying, according to the Bay City News.

But he did end up letting Burrell go. Walton, meanwhile, tells the Bay Area News Group that he was given a speeding ticket and also allowed to go on his way.

According to a statement to media outlets from the Vallejo Police Department, Chief Andrew Bidou has "ordered an internal affairs investigation of the incident." In addition to Burrell's video, there is body camera footage of what happened, though it has not been released to the public.

Police have not identified the officer involved, but his nameplate in the video reads "D. McLaughlin." The Chronicle reports that a David McLaughlin was hired by the police department in 2014. That same year, according to the Bay City News, McLaughlin was accused in a civil suit of searching a man's car without cause, then falsifying a police report when nothing illegal was found. The plaintiff eventually died, and the case was dismissed.

Burrell, who is black, suspects his race was a factor in the incident. "I'm not a lawyer," tells the Bay Area News Group. "I'm not a detective. I'm just somebody who went with something and am trying to figure it out, and understand that historically these things happen to people who look like me and in communities like this."

Being able to film police officers is an important part of keeping them accountable. Unfortunately, as Reason has documented on several different occasions, many cops don't feel the same way.

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  1. But he did end up letting Burrell go.

    I’m sure there was a time this would be enough to get the matter dropped. We might still be in that time.

    1. Are you kidding me? Dr. Facebook clearly says the man has a concussion.

      Seriously, damaged phone, torn clothes, diagnosed concussion, remuneration should come from the union’s pocket first, officers second.

    2. >>>We might still be in that time.

      like the Marine would be “no harm no foul” yeah that would be lovely.

      1. Exactly a Marine that volunteered to defend our nation and our freedoms had his trampled. This is not a time to just let it drop.

  2. This is why qualified immunity should go away. The city tax payers are not responsible the Cop is. He should be bankrupted.

    1. No, he should be charged with trespass, assault, kidnapping, and whatever else a civilian would be charged with had the two positions been reversed.

      1. Yep, criminally as well as civilly liable.

      2. Absolutely. But if the two positions had been reversed, Burrell would be dead.

    2. Unfortunately, IMO, bankrupting the cop isn’t going to make qualified immunity go away and is actually going to further entrench the practice. Bankrupt the union. Pressure good cops to be financially culpable for bad cops through their union dues or to opt out.

      *Then* assault qualified immunity.

    3. This is why qualified immunity should go away.

      Qualified immunity does not protect this piece of shit. The problem is the players in the system who are unwilling to hold him accountable. Noted libertarian jurist Antonin Scalia said Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.

      I think officer Tuff Guy nails the two-fer of plainly incompetent and knowingly violating the law. As alphabet dude says above, he should be charged with trespass, assault, kidnapping, that whole umbrella of civil rights violations.

      1. I’m pretty sure that laws against warantless trespass, battery and kidnapping are well established.

        1. Laws don’t apply to cops in America. The union will stand behind him 100% in any action or hearing and make the plaintiff’s life a living hell from here on out. He won’t be able to step out to the sidewalk without having a cop harass him if he tries to bring a suit against the union.

          1. He should move to the next county before he files…… or maybe even Nevada or Oregon.

            Out of reach… Vellajo is a small enough town the dirty coppers working there (and they are many) could easily harrass him and get off with it.

      2. “…or those who knowingly violate the law.”

        “Knowingly” does not sound very libertarian to me.

      3. “The problem is the players in the system who are unwilling to hold him accountable.”

        Prosecutors don’t like to go after cops because they rely on cops for the vast majority of the cases they prosecute, and they want to protect that future relationship with all the OTHER cops. Even if they DO proceed, a lot of the time the grand jury won’t indict. If they do, a lot of times the petit jury won’t convict. So the prosecutor doesn’t want to burn their relationship with the cops just to not get a conviction, or maybe not even an indictment.

        The reason the cops get this kind of deference is that most people don’t want to deal with criminals or mentally ill or homeless, but the cops do it.

    4. Totally agree. Sovereign or qualified immunity has been a shield for entirely too many acts of incompetence and assault by police officers. If anyone questions this, youtube has many videos of such improper action.

      The man should be able to sue the crap out of this power happy cop, who feels he has the right to assault people at his leisure.

  3. He also unlawfully detained the guy he was writing the ticket for, by unnecessarily prolonging the traffic stop. I wonder if he’ll be disciplined. Lol, I don’t really wonder.

    1. “Now you get to go to jail.”

      Except he did not. See, he cut the guy a break.

  4. In California, citizens can film on-duty police officers as long as they aren’t interfering in their work. In this case, Burrell tells The San Francisco Chronicle, he was on his porch?more than 20 feet away from what was going on.

    There’s nothing in the California statute that says you’re guaranteed to remain free of concussions and bodily injury. It just says that it’s “legal” and therefore you won’t be convicted of any crimes. Was Burrell convicted of a crime? Was he even arrested and processed? No.

    Sounds like the cop acted with remarkable restraint here.

    1. I’m pretty sure the whole “not being beaten up by cops” thing is implied, but then it is California so its hard to say

    2. the California statute that says you’re guaranteed to remain free of concussions and bodily injury.
      California Penal Code 242 does make the “willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another,” a crime punishable by up to a year in prison.
      California Penal Code 207 makes ” forcibly detain[ing] or arrest[ing] any person” and taking them to another location a crime punishable by up to eight years in prison.
      California Penal Code 149 makes it a crime, punishable by up to a year in prison, to “under color of authority, without lawful necessity, assault or beat any person.
      TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 also makes it illegal, punishable by up to 1 years in prison, to “under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subject any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
      If the acts committed in violation of TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 result in bodily injury, the punishment increases to no more than 10 years in a federal penitentiary.

      1. To be fair, I dont think the cop in this case has read any of those laws, so really its like they dont exist.

        Thats how it works, right?

        1. If cops knew the law they would have to obey the law, and nothing good came come from that for them.

        2. “To be fair, I dont think the cop in this case has read any of those laws, so really its like they dont exist.”

          No, but the department has somebody who has, who writes policy manuals and procedure training to the officers.

  5. This cop should be fired for multiple reasons:
    (1) drawing your weapon on someone should mean that there is a threat and reholstering it to arrest someone filming you clearly illustrates the guy on the motorcycle was not a threat.
    (2) It is unconstitutional to arrest people for filming cops.
    (3) You are lying piece of shit cop if you try and act like someone is resisting you when they are not and its caught on video.

    I hope this garners millions in damages from a lawsuit.

    1. The cop should be charged criminally exactly as Burrell would have been charged had their positions been reversed, with Burrell trespassing, assaulting, and kidnapping the cop on the cop’s private property.

    2. This cop should’ve been SHOT for multiple reasons.


  6. Be smart. Don’t hold your camera up in front of your face like a dumbass. Record on the sly.
    But most of all for gods sake, hold the fucking thing in a horizontal position, not vertically.

    1. I kept hoping to hear the cop’s main beef was vertical video.

  7. So this is where the corruption is, in police unions that protect these people, and give them immunity.

    I work at a financial institution, and it says in the regs that if we violate certain regulations, we can be held professionally *AND* personally responsible.

    Why is it that our public sector betters get the special treatment. Oh, right….

    1. When I was a residential mortgage loan officer we were required to carry a bond and errors and omissions insurance. Cops should too. Then they become unemployable after they do things like this

    2. “I work at a financial institution,…”

      See there. You work with money and cops only work with people and their money which is not FDIC insured.

  8. 99% of cops give the other 1% a bad name.

    1. No, the 99% of the cops who let the 1% get away with this crap 100% of the time are giving cops a bad name.

      1. Actually both the 50% of cops who witness misconduct by other officers and say nothing and the 50% of cops that commit those acts give cops a bad name.

        1. I was taking some literary license so I accept your numbers as being more accurate. I’ve had enough experience as a victim to know they are probably even higher. I would say, based on my experience, that it’s much closer to 100% of cops are acting in a way that give cops a bad name at some point. They just take turns being the bad-acting cops and being the say-nothing cops.

  9. The cops do that “stop resisting” narrative on purpose. Just like they have one cop yell “hands up!” and another one yell “don’t move!” at the same time. One of the reasons they don’t want body cams on all the time is it messes up the conversation in the car where they decide who gets to be the “don’t move!” guy and who gets to be the “hands up!” guy.

    1. It’s possible that “stop resisting” would count as an excited utterance, and be usable as evidence to show the guy was, in fact, resisting.

      1. If “stop resisting” wasn’t part of the script cops say when arresting someone you might have a point.
        It’s far more likely that “I’m not resisting” would count as an excited utterance, and be usable as evidence to show the guy was, in fact, not resisting.

        However, since detaining the taxpayer was illegal to begin with, none of that actually matters.

      2. “It’s possible that “stop resisting” would count as an excited utterance”

        Which is precisely useless. There’s no need for hearsay evidence in this case.

    2. And the “Are you interfering with me?”, trying to establish an alibi to exploit the loopholes to abuse authority.

    3. Yeah, I have noticed how cops love to throw out “stop resisting” when its shown on video that they were clearly NOT RESISTING. In such cases the police officer is essentially lying and should be fired for such conduct.

  10. “Oh you’re a vet? You sure weren’t acting like one,”

    Oh for fucks sake.

    I keep trying to type an clever reposte but it makes me so made I just ^$*(^!@)*$&)#*%

    1. I don’t think the cop really wants a guy with PTSD and nothing left to lose to act like one.

      1. I’m a vet — UDT (SEAL) in the early ’60s. I guarantee he really didn’t want me to act like my training!

    2. There’s no clever reposte but a right answer could have been something like
      “I swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Seems to me that a bad cop conducting an unconstitutional stop is pretty much the definition of a domestic enemy. And collecting video evidence of the bad cop’s behavior is exactly what my oath requires.
      If, on the other hand, you think that being a veteran means blind obedience to authority, then you clearly never served.”

      1. So much this. The veterans that I know are WAY more likely to film police than regular civilians are.

        1. Us vets are usually not scared of police like most people are.

      2. “Seems to me that a bad cop conducting an unconstitutional stop is pretty much the definition of a domestic enemy.”

        “Bad cop” seems well-established now, but it wasn’t at the time, and “unconstitutional stop” is definitely not.

  11. So who’ll be surprised if innocent Vallejo cops suddenly turn up dead, as has occurred in other places after similar displays led to generalizations?

    1. Oh, dear God in heaven, where is such a place? I want to move there!

    2. Well it isn’t a third trimester baby, so Hank isn’t going to be too gleeful about it.

    3. Assumes facts not in evidence. Show me proof there are innocent cops.

  12. “The plaintiff eventually died, and the case was dismissed.”

    Died of what, exactly? That seems relevant…

    1. An unexplained series of concussions.

  13. Being able to film police officers is an important part of keeping them accountable. Unfortunately, as Reason has documented on several different occasions, many cops don’t feel the same way.

    Oh no, they feel that way too. They simply don’t want to be kept accountable.

  14. This is where we as citizens should be in our rights to hit that Thug Pig cock sucker in the head with a bat to stop this assault by the Thug Pig
    cheer when cops are shot in the face

    1. The cop was armed with a firearm, plus a blow to the head (of the victim) is potentially deadly or permanently injurious.. Deadly force is authorized. A .308 would go right through its vest, and it.

  15. The only thing that will protect us from corruption is to have the legal human right to record our memories everywhere we are.

    The corrupt don’t want us to have this right. I know as I’m writing this many of you are corrupt and will reply with some rhetorical bullshit in opposition..

    For the rest of us. Know that the corrupt have a vested interest in preventing us from protecting ourselves. We have to be more vocal and persistent than they are.

    1. “I know as I’m writing this many of you are corrupt”

      LOL. This fucking guy.

    2. WTF are you even talking about?

    3. We are corrupt? Did you fuck up your pronouns again?

    4. Rhetorical bullshit.

      Could you be any more predictable? Thanks.

      What, are you going to vouch for the virtue of every commenter?

  16. I am, possibly mistakenly, somewhat cheered by an apparent drop in the number of incidents of this type where the Department spokesman intones “all relevant policies were followed” (or something similar). It always annoys me when a cop does something formidably stupid, and “all relevant policies were followed”. To my mind all that means is that both the cop and the fool who wrote the policies in question should be fired.


    As for the police unions; the vermin running them should be given five days to get out of the country, and if caught within the National borders, should decorate lampposts.

    1. “…should decorate lampposts.”

      There are probably some health and safety concerns with that approach despite the enticing deterrence factor. Suitable as scarecrows though or would it contaminate the fields?

      1. Soylent green is fertilized by people,insomuch as we’ll refer to cops as people.

  17. Willful deprivation of Civil Rights.
    Will this suit put Vallejo back into bankruptcy….again?
    Is there a Pattern & Practice involved within the VPD?
    Should Vallejo “pull a Compton” and disband the PD, contracting with the County for LE?
    Can Chief Bidou answer (without a smirk) why this officer made it out of his Probationary Period in ’14-’15?

  18. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like these are white caucasian males, not one of the protected classes in California.

    1. Isn’t it ironic that BLM, who rails against this sort of thing, largely supports the de ocrats who prop up and protect the police unions that protect cops like this?

      1. I haven’t heard that argues with them directly. I would be interested in their response, if anyone has seen any such thing.

      2. the problem is the BLM bowel movement only advocates for orcs when the rest of us know this nonsense happens across the board no matter what the skin color.

  19. From what appeared in front of me, printed statements that may of may not be substianted, it reads like the officer and the department that employed him should have some serious questions to answer, in court.

  20. I love this”

    “Oh you’re a vet? You sure weren’t acting like one,” Burrell recalls the officer saying, according to the Bay City News.”

    And you think you were acting like a cop? Or a thug?

    To quote someone above: This fucking guy.

  21. Too local

  22. Why is everyone upset? This was obviously a FYTW exception to the law.

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    1. Your grammar is getting better.

  24. Once again, the anti-police agenda of Reason takes precedence over actual reason.

    His back was already to the wall?

    Then how was he able to cast a full-body shadow, as evidenced by the video?

    He can’t hear you, because he has a helmet on?

    Then why does he have his hands in the air?

    Two outright lies accepted as true because they paint LEO in a negative light, and so we’re supposed to believe he suffered a concussion?

    Lemme guess, the cop was fresh out of high school and still had a MAGA hat on. Therefore, any video is proof… even if it lacks context.

    1. That’s the libertarian way. NEVER TRUST AUTHORITY! Especially those who have a monopoly on violence.

      Not to mention he was on his porch, “as evidenced by the video”. Now you want to justify the unlawful, unconstitutional action of this cop some more?

  25. What does the cop’s recording reveal? Did he even have it on, or did he go full Knoxville Police Department on this one?

  26. Seems to me that if the police stop someone in front of a house that has cameras pointed at them they should barge in to the house and beat up whoever is in there until they cut it out.

  27. Limited immunity is wrong. Public officials must be held to a higher standard than my neighbors not a lower one.

    1. When the cop starts working at home with Google, those wages should be used to satisfy the judgement too.

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    1. Can we suggest to Officer McLaughlin that jerrfson is probably filming him, and let nature take its course?

  29. Is there a class at police academy that teaches them to be the least pleasant people you’d ever want to be around, or does the profession just attract the type?

    1. Some of both of these, plus the fact that nobody remembers dealing with a cop who was polite and professional, but they do remember it when they aren’t.

  30. That’s one pig that should be in court facing assault and battery charges, as well as false arrest, and should absolutely be fired and banned from any positions of authority.

  31. and my friend wonder why I long ago stopped “backing the badge”.

    They’re nothing more than a legal street gang.

  32. and my friend wonder why I long ago stopped “backing the badge”.

    They’re nothing more than a legal street gang.

  33. We live in a police state. If u don’t agree watch Live PD a few times then tell me the populace isn’t harassed. Explain to me why 90% of the time cops stop folks for petty crap claim to smell something then extensively search vehicles

  34. Cops in wealthy suburbs are bored and look to start shit at every opportunity. In cities, they see it as their duty to act like assholes in order to protect the wealthy, mostly white, elites. Even the proggiest of progtards will get annoyed if they think the cops aren’t doing enough to keep the riff raff from hanging around their favorite coffee bar or yoga studio. Then you have the problem that being a police officer is no longer considered a noble profession, so who does it attract? Guys with serious attitude problems who probably don’t have many other opportunities.

  35. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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  36. Cops need to have their nightstcks and guns taken away. The British police seem to do well without tthem, while our police kill innocent people and get away with it.

  37. And can the “most cops are not…: bullshit. This cop (creep) did what he did will the full, and probably true, belief that he would not be taken to task for his illegal and wicked action. I say put this piece of shit in prison NOW and tell him take care when bending over.

    1. In a perfect world POTUS and Congress would crush the police unions like a Sicilian stomps grapes.

  38. Start working at home with Google. It’s the most-financially rewarding I’ve ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $8699 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $96, per-hour. visit this site right here…….2citypays.com

  39. California cops are Stasi. If I don’t know one personally I will assume they are out to get me. A few years ago I was stopped by a highway patrol officer for a burnt-out tail-light. The officer threatened to arrest me for failing to carry ID (I was near my vacation home in Yucca Valley, and I’m a Minnesotan, not a Californian.) This is just one example of CA cop assholery, as many Californians will attest. Often, and obviously not in all cases, this sort of job is attractive to someone of lesser intellect and greater desire to oppress and control others, like politicians.

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  41. The relevant law to quote regarding filming police in CA is SB411, the “Right to Record Act,” signed by Gov. Brown in 2015.

    [The cited lawyer web page in the article makes no mention of 3-year-old SB411, and manages to get expectation of privacy backwards.]

    SB 411 clarified individuals’ First Amendment right to record police officers by stating that a civilian recording while an officer is in a public place, or the person recording is in a place he or she has the right to be, is not violating the law. Additionally, it makes clear that recording does not constitute reasonable suspicion to detain a person or probable cause to arrest. This bill also protects police by ensuring that these provisions do not allow a civilian to physically obstruct an officer.

    “This law makes it crystal clear that a person who photographs or video records a public officer or police officer, in a public place, and does not physically interfere with that officer, is not committing a crime and is not subject to detention or arrest. It is the embodiment of protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” ~Susan Israel, California Public Defenders Association Legislative Committee Member

    Any cop in California who is “unaware” that SB411 was signed into law three years ago, pretty much has to be willfully “unaware” of it.

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