Sheriff launches internal affairs investigation in response to biker arrest

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 7:09 PM

DALLAS - The Dallas Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal affairs investigation into the conduct of a deputy who made a questionable arrest of a sport biker, following reports from News 8.

The arrest happened on Memorial Day weekend, as law enforcement was on heightened alert to crack down on reckless bikers.

But was that reason enough for Deputy James Westbrook to pull over biker Chris Moore in an effort to seize a camera mounted on his helmet?

Not according to Toby Shook, a former Dallas County Prosecutor.

"Well, I think in this particular case, you did need a warrant to get that piece of evidence,” Shook said.

And now, with an internal affairs investigation underway, Westbrook will have to explain his actions.

In response to this case, the sheriff’s office also released a dash cam video showing how stunt bikers taunted and antagonized officers by slamming on their brakes and blocking the squad car’s path.

Then, when a truck traveling with the pack of bikes gets pulled over by officers, a female passenger is seen handing something off to a rider. Moments later, that same woman hops on the back of a different bike and rides away, all while other bikers drive the wrong way on Stemmons Freeway.

How frustrating is that? Not enough to violate the constitution, Shook said.

"The Constitution wins out over frustration every time,” he said.

Though none of that happened to Deputy Westbrook, Shook said the deputy likely felt that afternoon's frustration when he pulled over Moore in order to seize Moore's helmet camera.

Here’s what Westbrook says as Moore helmet camera is rolling:

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 going to take your camera, and we're going to use it as evidence of in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers."

Westbrook later arrested Moore for a concealed license plate, a charge Moore alleges was trumped up to get his camera.

News 8 asked to see Westbrook's dash cam video. We were told no video exists and therefore cannot be used in the internal affairs investigation that is now open.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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