This really happened, recently. Brandy Burning, a single mom, was unlawfully driving in the HOV lane. That caused Broward County, Florida sheriff Lt. William O’Brien to pull her over. After some brief conversation, Burning then said the following to the deputy, “Oh, I forgot to tell you I was recording our conversation.” O’Brien then informs her that she has committed a felony and demands the cellphone. Burning refuses. O’Brien then climbs into the car from the passenger side and attempts to forcefully take her phone. Burning was arrested for the traffic infraction and resisting arrest. She wasn’t charged with any crimes related to the recording. Ultimately, prosecutors dropped all charges. Now, Burning plans on filing a law suit, alleging battery, false arrest and false imprisonment. She calls her experience “traumatic,” after spending a night in jail and sustaining bruises and scrapes during the incident.
This case raises two important issues. First, was the recording of her police encounter unlawful? Second, will she win her false arrest/civil lawsuit?