LA County Sheriffs Harass Student Reporters

In November, three student reporters from the Art Institute of California went to the LA County Board of Supervisors to film a story on foster care fraud, and the moment they arrived at the building for a scheduled interview inside, security guards and the LA County Sheriffs pounced. The security guards asked for their IDs and told them it was illegal to film without a permit or press credentials. Then, after the reporters gave over their IDs and were walking away from the building, seven sheriffs approached and surrounded them, for no apparent reason.

Slow day at the county supervisor, I guess.

Two things though: One of the reporters, Cody Garcia, on the tape says not everyone can afford the huge expense of the permits required to film in LA. Wrong. Those permits are for commercial productions, not for news gathering, or any individual with a camera on public property for that matter. And Jesse Garcia says he understands why the police harass people because they are sussing out potential threats. Wrong again. We shouldn’t operate on the assumption that people with cameras pose a threat since all claims to that effect are unsubstantiated. (That is, unless the FBI gets involved.)

But you have to hand it to the guys, who didn’t take the harassment quietly — as you can hear the one reporter repeatedly protesting and calling out the armed officers’ intimidation tactics: “How can I provoke a confrontation when I’m walking away — from seven armed officers!”

Despite repeated attempts to get a comment from LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky about the matter, the reporters have yet to receive a response.

3 Responses to “LA County Sheriffs Harass Student Reporters”

  1. 1 Phil December 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    To bad these fellows didn’t know the law. No permit or press pass is required to video or photograph from public property.

    • 2 discarted December 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      That’s right.

      Handing over you ID is not a requirement either. In fact, in California you’re not required to carry ID. If detained though, you are required to provide your real name. Other than that information, you do not have to say anything else or answer any of the officer’s questions.

  1. 1 Police state America: Cameras, rampant frisking | eats shoots 'n leaves Trackback on December 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm

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