Sounds like the police in El Paso are resorting to good old fashioned bully tactics when it comes to photography and video. Dan Wild told the local NBC affiliate KTSM that police took his camera and deleted all the photos on it after he recorded a raid on a suspect’s house in his neighborhood two years ago. The officer told Wild it was a felony to film a police raid. (I feel like I’ve heard that one before….)
Wild came forward after KTSM aired a report last week on a taxicab inspector named Jesus Lopez-Ledesma who was bullied by El Paso police for recording a confrontational traffic stop with his cell phone. In that incident, officers threatened Lopez-Ledesma’s job and told him that they would give the driver they pulled over his driver’s license information so she could sue him for violating her privacy. (See the video here.) The El Paso police spokesman claimed the officers didn’t do anything wrong and weren’t using intimidation tactics. (That, despite one officer saying, “I’m sure your licensing, your job, depends on your cooperation with the El Paso Police Department.”)
“If we allow police to pick and choose who can film or photograph and who can’t then we might as well call the quits on democracy,” [First Amendment rights expert] David Cuillier said.
Let’s not do that. That seems lame.
Source: KTSM News Channel 9