The LAPD cop who arrested a photographer for “interfering” because he ran up the street to document police activity.
But to help remind the Los Angeles Police Department that I have a right to stand in public space and document police activity without the threat of arrest, or any other kind of interference, I’m finally publishing last year’s videos of their officers doing the following to me:
THREATENING ME WITH ARREST
TARGETING ME BECAUSE OF A CAMERA
INTENTIONALLY USING THEIR HANDS TO BLOCK MY CAMERA
INTENTIONALLY USING A FLASHLIGHT TO BLIND MY CAMERA
After watching the following videos, please use twitter to let LAPD know how you feel about their actions.
LAPD officer gestures and mumbles not to take pictures:
LAPD officer Kevin Palmer #2204 walks by me, turns around, and stands behind me:
LAPD officers harass and threaten me with arrest while other people without cameras are allowed to move freely. Sergeant Martin #33768 arrives to defend status quo:
LAPD officers intentionally use their hands to block my camera, violating my rights as well as LAPD’s internal policies. Two of the officers claim they didn’t violate anything:
A couple of LAPD “heroes” power-trip because I wasn’t standing where they wanted me to stand while waiting to cross the street. One of them actually says, “Did you just cross my yellow tape?” Last time I checked, the tape belongs to myself and taxpayers. The mindset of today’s cop (sigh):
LAPD officer #18908 tells me not to take pictures and intentionally uses his flashlight to blind my camera multiple times. Meanwhile, an undercover cop cheap shots me from behind by slamming his body into me. Like a coward, he quietly slithers back into the crowd as though he never committed the crime of battery against me:
Historically speaking, my videos clearly show that LAPD officers weren’t recognizing my rights to freely observe and document police activity. One officer (whom I feel is the most professional officer in Hollywood) admits that “new officers” just don’t know.
So is LAPD’s tendency to violate my rights a training issue? An officer issue? Or a cultural issue?
Here’s one more from 2012 (which is not the only video from that year showing LAPD harassing me for taking pictures):
Despite having a federal lawsuit against the The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, photographer Shawn Nee, was detained yet again and had his bag searched without his consent, violating his 1st and 4th Amendment rights.
While waiting for OccupyLA members to arrive at the Wilshire/Normandie Metro station in Los Angeles, CA, an LA County Sheriff told two photographers not to photograph them.
At that point, a video camera was turned on to document the encounter, as the photographer defended his constitutional rights to take pictures in public.
The irony of the video is the fact, that at the beginning of the footage, the Sheriffs tell the photographers that photography is not allowed on the Metro (which is quickly rebuked by the photographer). However, five minutes into the video, the sheriff backtracks, and starts saying the opposite—so suddenly photography is allowed on the Metro?
And it is, in this case, for now, simply because the photographer knew his my rights and Metro policy and stood up to these Sheriffs.
This kind of behavior from police officers needs to stop. We can no longer allow them to continue harassing photographers exercising their constitutional rights while using the Metro.
To voice your concerns regarding this officer’s behavior, contact the LA County Sheriffs via this complaint form.
Despite this nice military policeman stationed outside Fort Leavenworth being all for First Amendment rights, his job apparently includes asking to see the photos protestors have taken of the post’s gates.
On the other hand, this video also shows that if you don’t kowtow to an officer’s unlawful demands and stand up for your rights some of them (like this officer) will back down because they most likely know what they’re saying to you is baseless nonsense.
Having a bunch of other people with cameras around you documenting the encounter also helps, so I wonder what the outcome would’ve been if the photographer was alone.
My guess is we would’ve seen a blog post describing how military personnel unlawfully arrested another person because they were practicing their First Amendment rights.
In a recent article on the Newark Star-Ledger site, George Berkin, a contributor to something called “NJ Voices,” writes on the case of Newark teen Khaliah Fitchette who was unlawfully detained in March 2010 for taping a medical emergency on a city bus with her cell phone. During the incident, Fitchette was handcuffed, her cell phone was seized and the video was deleted, and the police tried to charge her with obstruction of justice. Last week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court on her behalf.
Berkin is a big fan of the bible and Sarah Palin but not of abortion and evolution. So if you want to take a wild guess on where he’ll come down on the issue, go ahead. If you’re stumped, for Berkin, it all comes down to being thoughtful.
A thoughtful person would have realized, “Now I understand why the police, angered by my defiance expressed by my refusal to stop taping, would have handcuffed me. I certainly did not enjoy being handcuffed and being held in custody for several hours. But,” a thoughtful person would have concluded, “I certainly brought that unpleasantness upon myself.”
Fitchette wasn’t being thoughtful when her rights were violated, and she should just learn some thoughtfulness and not attempt to tape anything in public because it might hurt someone’s feelings, and if she is unlawfully detained and her constitutional rights are violated because of her thoughtless behavior, she should accept that and not participate in the ACLU’s vendetta against the Newark police department. (A police department, mind you, that has a well-earned reputation as one of the most corrupt in the nation.)
Here’s an interesting twist for Berkin, who hates government spending: Lawsuits like these cost taxpayers A LOT of money. And they are entirely avoidable.
Source: Newark Star-Ledger