Self-described First Amendment auditor hit by TASER by Cape Coral police outside fire station

·3 min read

A Nebraska man who said he was only trying to perform his constitutional rights was arrested by Cape Coral police outside a fire station after they used a TASER on him.

A cell phone recording of the Wednesday incident that was posted to YouTube shows Floyd L. Wallace Jr., 26, of Omaha, Nebraska, walking in front of fire station #11 on Burnt Store Road carrying a black, zippered case. Wallace recorded the incident on his cell phone.

About 18 minutes into the nearly 24-minute video Cape Coral police units arrive, order Wallace to drop his case and turn around and eventually one officer shoots him with a TASER.

A Cape Coral police representative confirmed there was an active investigation into the incident and said it involved use of force.

A cell phone recording posted on YouTube shows Cape Coral police using a TASER on a man walking along a Cape Coral street and carrying what he described as a tri-pod case.
A cell phone recording posted on YouTube shows Cape Coral police using a TASER on a man walking along a Cape Coral street and carrying what he described as a tri-pod case.

A request for the arrest report was fulfilled. Copies of the officers' bodycam footage was being processed, police said.

Wallace has been arrested a number of times in similar situations in multiple jurisdictions. On a Facebook page, Omaha Copwatch YouTube, similar videos show Wallace's activities.

"I exercise my constitutional rights," he said Thursday.

Although he declined to talk about previous incidents, Wallace said he has never been convicted and had been doing this kind of activity for a couple of years. However, coverage of Wallace's activities did include a 210-day jail sentence he served in March 2016 for a similar occurrence in Douglas County, Nebraska.

"I was taking pictures and they came out with guns drawn," he said of the Wednesday afternoon Cape Coral incident.

In his video, Wallace does drop the case as ordered but instead of turning around can be clearly heard asking if he was being detained and why.

One officer can be heard saying he was a robbery suspect. Wallace expressed surprise, counters that he is unarmed, that he's dropped the case and that he wasn't doing anything.

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As officers approach him with guns and TASERs drawn and order him to turn around, Wallace declines and asks to be told why he is being stopped. An officer shoots him with his TASER him and the video captures Wallace's painful reaction to the electrical charge.

In the aftermath an officer can be heard telling Wallace he had "unnerved people" and calls the item he was carrying a rifle case.

Floyd L. Wallace Jr.
Floyd L. Wallace Jr.

An officer on Wallace's video can also be heard saying Wallace was a First Amendment auditor. Such auditors are known to film on public property and at law enforcement locations such as police stations to test rights to film in a public space.

Wallace was booked Wednesday evening on a resisting arrest without violence misdemeanor charge and released Thursday morning shortly after 1:30. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 25.

The official Cape Coral police report, redacted in part, said officers were dispatched to a disturbance with weapons at 1038 Burnt Store Road North.

"The callers, ... stated they observed a Black male in a red sweatshirt with a rifle case, concealing himself by a tree," the report said.

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The report also said police described what Wallace was carrying as a soft material rifle case and a soft material handgun holster and matched his description to the suspect in a Tuesday armed robbery at a Cape Coral convenience store.

"I just got here," Wallace said Thursday. "I have the plane tickets to prove it. I showed the detectives the plane ticket. I was Black. That's what happened."

The police report said officers approached Wallace with guns drawn with one officer switching his service weapon out for a TASER.

Wallace, who requested and received an examination on-scene by a Cape Coral EMS unit, said he has not yet decided what to do.

"I believe this will be dismissed," he said

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook), @MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Nebraska man carrying black case arrested by Cape Coral police