The Conway Police Department opened an administrative inquiry and is working on additional training for their officers after a man was handcuffed because he refused to identify himself at the post office at 1060 Hogan Lane.
Lacey Kanipe, public information officer for the Conway Police Department, said a supervisor at the post office called CPD on Justin MacHenry for filming in the post office lobby and refusing to leave Feb. 14.
MacHenry is a 37-year-old construction project manager and Conway resident.
Officers Chris McGary and Colton Antone responded to the call and Antone, 21, placed MacHenry in handcuffs after MacHenry refused to hand over his ID.
The officers eventually let him go without arresting him, but MacHenry said they violated his constitutional rights.
“He [McGary] didn't seem to understand that they need to articulate a crime that they suspect me of committing for them to get my ID legally,” MacHenry said.
MacHenry was at the post office to perform a First Amendment audit, where a person tests their right to photograph or record video in a public area, such as a government building or police station.
In the incident report, McGary said, “Justin advised me that he was there conducting what he called a First Amendment audit. I wasn’t really familiar with what a First Amendment audit was so I asked Justin to tell me about it. Justin advised me that he was there at the post office to video record inside the post office to see if anyone would violate his rights.”
“How many people know their rights?” MacHenry said. “Most don’t. And if you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any rights.”
The phenomenon has been gaining popularity on YouTube in recent years, where videos of audits from all over the United States get millions of views.
MacHenry said YouTube videos of people doing first amendment audits inspired him.
“I’ve watched a lot of these videos online,” MacHenry said. “It’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time.”
Considered controversial by some, auditors argue that it’s a form of government accountability.
“It’s journalism,” MacHenry said. “I feel like auditing plays a part in that.”
MacHenry uploaded his footage of the incident, as well as the bodycam footage to his YouTube channel, “The Random Patriot.” As of March 13, MacHenry’s YouTube channel has 178,740 total views.
A TikTok account with the username @copsktll reuploaded a clip from MacHenry’s video, where it has 2.9 million views.
The Conway Police Department initiated an administrative inquiry after the incident.
“We are aware of this incident. Once we became aware, we initiated our own administrative inquiry which has not been concluded at this time, so we cannot comment on that,” Kanipe said.
Kanipe also said officers would receive more information about identification.
“Our training division is working on additional information to disseminate to our officers about when identification is required as it relates to criminal conduct,” Kanipe said.
MacHenry said the response from the Conway Police Department made him “feel proud.”
“I feel like it’s a positive direction and it makes me want to keep living here,” MacHenry said.
MacHenry said he received a call from Sgt. Jeremy Holliman on March 13 about the status of the administrative inquiry.
“I just got a call from internal investigations saying they have found themselves in the wrong, they have disciplined their officers, and all officers should have went through additional training by the end of the month. He is supposed to send me an email stating all that soon,” MacHenry said.
MacHenry also received a letter from William Tapley, chief of police, about the inquiry.
“The results of the investigation have been reviewed, and the complaint has been classified as ‘Substantiated.’ This means that evidence to prove the complaint was identified,” Tapley said in the letter.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.