ACLU Involved With Topeka Teen's Viral Videos

By: Nick Viviani, Ariana Cohen
By: Nick Viviani, Ariana Cohen

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Topeka teenager's video of his arrest has not only gained attention on the internet, it's also caught the eye of the ACLU.

The Topeka Capitol Journal reports the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation is following what happens with recent videos posted online by 17-year-old Addison Mikkelson involving Topeka Police officers.

ACLU reps told the newspaper that the videos call into question whether Mikkelson's individual liberties were violated, particularly if law enforcement overstepped in demanding personal identification.

A Topeka teen's video of his arrest near a Kwik Shop on NW Topeka Boulevard Christmas night has gotten widespread attention on the internet.

17-year-old Addison Mikkelson’s Christmas night video went viral after it was picked up by a Miami, Florida based website PhotographyIsNotACrime.com.

Addison Mikkelson says he's been listening to a Topeka Police scanner for the past 2 weeks so he could go shoot video with his new camera.

"I just watch a lot of videos online. I wanted to be a police officer, but I changed my mind. I want to be a private investigator," says Mikkelson.

In Mikkelson's first video, he's walking across NW Morse Street Christmas night when a Topeka Police officer confronted him saying he had crossed while the light was red.

Monday, 13 News asked Mikkelson why he didn't just show his I.D. when police asked the first time.

"Cause I didn't know what law I broke. I didn't feel I needed to," said Mikkelson.

Mikkelson was arrested and charged with obstruction.

"The police officers took my camera and put it to the ground, but they didn't touch me until they arrested me," said Mikkelson.

Both officers were wearing video cameras, however Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor told 13 News the videos cannot be released because they are part of the ongoing investigation and Police Chief Ron Miller said he would not comment pending that investigation.

On Christmas Eve, Mikkelson recorded another video as he walked into the Topeka Police Department saying he wanted to film a documentary.

"Because I felt it is a public place and like why is the stuff there if you can't take pictures of it and see it," said Mikkelson.

The clerk told Mikkelson he could not walk into the station and start recording without first getting permission from Police Chief Miller.

Mikkelson told 13 News he plans to continue taking his camera to
incidents covered by Topeka Police.

A video reportedly shot right in Topeka is making waves across the country. Posted on YouTube on Christmas Day with the title "Wrongfully Arrested," it shows an encounter between Topeka Police Officers and a teen.

The recording was posted on a YouTube site under the name Addison Marshall. It caught the attention of the website Photography Is Not A Crime, which identified the photographer as 17 year-old Addison Mikkelson.

The video appears to show two officers approach the teen claiming he crossed the street against the light and asking for identification. After first asking why they wanted to see his ID, the teen says he's going to get it and asks an officer not to touch his camera.

That's when the officer seemed to put his hands on the 17 year-old, though the officer and teen are not visible in the camera frame. The teen's camera then falls to the ground. In the video clip the teen says the camera was kicked down, while the officer says he did not kick the camera. The video does not show either individual in frame at the time the camera falls.

"You don't just raise your foot, and kick a camera and say it was an accident, he obviously did it on purpose," the video's poster said in a caption.

He goes on to say that he was placed in cuffs, arrested, and placed in the back of a police cruiser.

Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the teen was arrested but not injured as he was taken into custody.

13 News has contacted the Topeka Police Dept. about the incident and are awaiting a response.


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