“Are you fucking kidding me?” Susan Greene responds. “Act like a lady?”
“There you go,” the police officer says. “Now you can go to jail.”
Video released today from Denver Police body cameras shows two officers telling The Colorado Independent editor Susan Greene to “act like a lady” while they handcuff and detain her. The incident happened in July, and Greene was singled out for trying to photograph the cops while they responded to a call on a public sidewalk involving a black man.
The officers will not be charged.
Greene was driving along East Colfax Avenue near the Colorado State Capitol building on the afternoon of July 5 when, by her account, she noticed Denver police surrounding a nearly naked African American man sitting handcuffed on the sidewalk, and stopped to see what was happening. (The man was later taken to the hospital and then released that night, the city has said.)
Greene is an veteran investigative reporter who has written extensively about police brutality and incidents in which African-American men have been killed by law enforcement while in custody.
As Greene detailed in a post the next day, and as the body-cam footage confirms, she approached the scene and was immediately blocked by Officer James Brooks.
He continues to block her as she tries to keep shooting, at one point raising the camera high above Brooks’s head.
Brooks is quickly joined by Officer Adam Paulsen, and the two advise her that she can not take photographs because doing so violates the HIPAA rights of the nearly naked man they have cuffed. HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act outlines an individual’s rights to medical privacy.
“There’s also a First Amendment,” Greene responds. “Have you heard of it?”
“That doesn’t supersede HIPAA,” Paulsen says.
Brooks repeats Paulsen’s line, and adds, “Step away, or you’ll be arrested for interference.”
The footage shows Greene then directed her iPhone camera at Brooks’s badge, at which point Brook’s swats the phone away and repeats himself: “Step away, or you’ll be arrested for interference.”
Not a second after his warning, the footage shows, the officers handcuff Greene, who shouts, “Ow!”
“Stand up straight,” Paulsen tells Greene. “Act like a lady.”
“Stand up and act like a lady,” Brooks says.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Greene responds. “Act like a lady?”
“There you go,” Brooks says. “Now you can go to jail.”
After the officers handcuff her, the body-cam footage shows, Greene complains the officers are hurting her as Brooks and Paulsen lead her to the back of a squad car. The officers can be heard telling her that the pain is a result of how she is walking, and that she should “stop resisting.”
“Stop hurting me,” shouts Greene, who also shouts to people on the street witnessing the incident to photograph it.
“You are hurting me,” she says.
“No we’re not,” Paulsen responds. “Walk normal. Stop resisting.”
Greene was held in a police car at the scene for about 12 minutes before being released.
Footage shows that once Greene is released from the police car, she and the officers had a brief exchange in which she asks for their badge numbers and they ask her for her press badge.
Image: The Colorado Independent's editor, Susan Greene, was handcuffed and detained by Denver police officers on Colfax Avenue on July 5. (Screenshot via body-cam footage provided by city of Denver)