Deputy's arrest of Dallas biker under review

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 10:19 PM

Poll:
Was the deputy's action justified?

DALLAS — As far as traffic stops go, biker Chris Moore says the reason a Dallas County deputy sheriff pulled him over was nowhere near routine.

It wasn't for speeding. Moore said Deputy James Westbrook wanted his helmet camera.

"[I was pulled over for] other people's activities," Moore said. "Primarily, I felt like, because I had the camera."

The video from Moore's helmet camera seems to support the claims in this exchange recorded on Memorial Day weekend:

MOORE: "Was I doing something wrong? What am I being pulled over for?"

WESTBROOK: "The whole group of you guys."

MOORE: "No. I was not, individually. How can you pull me over?"

WESTBROOK: "The reason you're being pulled over is because I'm gonna take your camera, and we're gonna use it as evidence of... in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers."

MOORE: "I have not committed any crimes and you cannot take my personal property from me, sir."

WESTBROOK: "That's fine. Need to see your license and registration."

But after a few minutes inside his squad car, Deputy Westbrook returns with what appears to be a new concern -- an obstructed license plate on Moore's bike.

WESTBROOK: "You're under arrest for your license plate being obstructed. Place your hands..."

MOORE: "Are you kidding me, dude?"

WESTBROOK: "Place your hands behind your back."

News 8 asked if the Dallas County Sheriff's Department was concerned about Westbrook's actions that day.

"We are looking into the conduct," said department spokeswoman Carmen Castro. "There has been no official investigation brought forward, but we are looking to determine if his conduct was appropriate for the situation at hand."

"Of course it's over a hundred bikers. Who are you going to pick?" Castro asked. "The ones that are going to help you a little bit more or had the video camera that would've assisted more."

When asked whether a warrant is required for the kind of traffic stop made by Deputy Westbrook, Castro offered no response.

The department released its own dashcam video Wednesday as proof that a group of bikers posed a public safety threat. However, the video did not come from the deputy who made the arrest, and at this point, it does not prove that the biker who was arrested was in any way involved with that group.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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