This is what happens when you try to take photos from the street of L.A. County Jail. The six deputies let me go only after I was searched and run through their computer system. Was told by the deputies that the jail area is private property, and there were national security concerns. For the most part, they were professional and somewhat polite during the stop. Still it seemed highly unnecessary for 6 deputies to stop me for taking images from the sidewalk. The images of the jailhouse building are for use in an upcoming story for the L.A. Weekly.
There’s not much to see in this video showing Los Angeles County Sheriffs unlawfully detaining photojournalist Ted Soqui for taking pictures from a public sidewalk of the L.A. County Jail (a constitutionally protected activity) since the cops prevented him from recording the encounter—actions that should raise serious credibility issues on the part of the officers because if the cops were acting in a legal manner then they shouldn’t be concerned about being videotaped. Like cops say, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. So I’m curious to know why these officers moved Ted’s camera as far away as possible and prevented their conversation from being recorded.
Is it because Ted’s detainment was unlawful and the cops had no legal grounds for stopping him? Is it because the officers didn’t want their questionable or illegal behavior documented? Or is it because they didn’t want themselves on YouTube in another video that shows LA County Sheriffs unlawfully detaining another photographer for performing a constitutionally protected act? We’ll never know.
But there are a few things to remember.