North Idaho

Man tased in courthouse brouhaha

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A 21-year-old man who refused to turn off his video camera in the Kootenai County courthouse ended up running afoul of court officers and was tased, cuffed and booked into the jail.

His original crime? Riding his bicycle at night without a light.

On Monday, Robert Peterson walked into the courthouse for a hearing with his video camera on, rolling as he went through security, walked to the courtroom and sat down.

In Idaho the law even requires the media to get permission before filming, something Patterson did not do when he showed up and started recording everything.

Man tased at Kootenai County courthouse

When a bailiff approached in the courtroom and told him no cameras were allowed in the courtroom, Patterson replied "yeah there is" and when he was told to put the camera way he quipped "No I don't. Under what authority?"

As Peterson sat in the courtroom, continuing to film, he claimed he didn't come to the courthouse to "raise a ruckus," even as he continued to defy repeated requests from a growing number of bailiffs trying to get him to shut the camera off.

As people cleared out of the courtroom, Peterson decided he wanted to get back inside to tell a prosecutor he didn't miss his court date.

A bailiff instructed him to "leave the camera with your mother outside" but Patterson again refused their commands.

As Peterson tried to walk through two court personnel blocking the entry to the courtroom, Patterson continued to refuse commands to leave the camera with his mother, and one of the court officers stepped back and tased him.

He was subsequently handcuffed and booked into the Kootenai County Jail.

"Definitely unwarranted. Like I said, if I had gone in there and slugged some guy in the face sure take me, but I'm never going to do that," he said Thursday morning.

Booked on three counts of battery and criminal contempt, Peterson said he is a free man, and his unique political beliefs mean that he's not subject to most laws.

"I have never consented to being held liable under any statue or anything for that matter," he explained adding that he's exempt from statues and regulations, unless he has hurt or wronged someone else.

"My personal opinion is that by tasing me, that guy is basically getting high on his power," he said.

Peterson will continue to assert his rights and thinks this case will be dismissed because of the video he shot of the incident.

He is being held on $50,000 bail and has a court hearing scheduled for next month.