Motorcyclist says Dallas crackdown went too far

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 21 at 1:19 AM

Poll:
Was the deputy's action justified?

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS — It was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, and Chris Moore — riding southbound on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas in a pack of 50 to 100 sport bikes — was pulled over while traveling below the speed limit.

"I didn't expect that at all," Moore said.

Officers were out in force that weekend, working to prevent another shutdown of a Dallas freeway like the one on Memorial Day weekend 2011 that ultimately led to three arrests.

So why was Moore pulled over?

Dallas Deputy Sheriff James Westbrook said he wanted to see what was on Moore's camera.

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 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."

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

Moore's lawyer, Hunter Biederman, reviewed the recording.

"Here this officer decided to just go rogue and pull over the first guy he saw with a helmet camera on," he said.

The way Moore sees it, it's not illegal to have a video camera. But when the Deputy returned, he arrested Moore for having a concealed license plate.

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."

As Moore continued to protest, the deputy lost his patience.

MOORE: "Why'd you pull me over in the first place?"

WESTBROOK: "Have a seat, okay?"

MOORE: "Sir. Sir. What you did to me was not right. You know it."

WESTBROOK: "I'm going to ask you one more time to have a seat."

MOORE: "That's f'ed up. Where's my bike going?"

WESTBROOK: "Sit down.I'm telling you to chill out."

Westbrook is then seen on the video shoving Moore into his squad car and slamming the door forcefully.

In a written statement, the Sheriff's Office said Moore was stopped because of a concealed plate. The video was confiscated and turned over to the gang unit as evidence.

Moore's bike was impounded; then he spent eight hours in jail — all of it, he says, on a charge that was made up after the fact.

"Completely shocked at their behavior," he said.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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