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):
As a concerned citizen worried about the direction that law enforcement is heading in nowadays, the next time you contact the Los Angeles Police Department with your complaints, you might want to take the response you receive with a grain of salt.
If the Los Angeles Police Department was potentially accessing your private information via a government database like the DMV, you would think that the subject of those searches would have a right to know if the information was accessed, when it was accessed, and why it was accessed. That way, the person could determine if the searches were done legally, or illegally. And whether or not, at the very least, find out if the searches violated LAPD policy.
Well, having carte blanche to this information may be true in states like Florida where there are very strong public records laws that keep government open and protect the public’s right to know. But what holds true in the Sunshine State, does not in The Golden State.
After reading Carlos Miller’s article yesterday regarding cops warning cops about citizens with cameras, it seemed relative to share a similar email from one of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commanding Officers. But in order to get to that part of the timeline, I first need to clarify some things.
In June 2013, I was unlawfully arrested for photographing LAPD officers from a public street. The video was made public in August by Reason.com. LAPD was contacted by various media outlets and started commenting on what happened to me (such as here). After reading what Lt. Andy Neiman was saying, I figured that the cogs were turning internally at LAPD—that the department was trying to get all their ducks in a row in order to justify handcuffing me to a bench for taking pictures in public. So instead of sitting back and doing nothing, I began making public records requests for email communications regarding “Shawn Nee”.
I received a good amount of email communication, including Lt. Andy Neiman’s redacted email (he’s the guy who did the media interviews regarding my arrest). And from my experience, a redacted email generally means it’s inculpatory. I mean, cops always say…if you have nothing to hide…
So why redact or hide an email? What is it that you don’t want the public to see?
Besides receiving Neiman’s communications, emails between Bea Girmala and Cory Palka were also turned over. For clarification purposes, Ms. Girmala is no longer the Captain III of Hollywood Division. I was told that she was demoted/moved/given a new position/title because of all the problems that had occurred in Hollywood during 2013.
Anyhow, here is one of Ms. Girmala’s emails that caught my attention:
As you can see, someone named Mike emailed Girmala to express his concerns about my arrest and his feelings regarding abusive police behavior. Girmala’s response to this man was not included in my public records request, so I’m not sure if she ever contacted Mike. But what I found interesting, was her response to Cory Palka. Which said the following:
“Hi- plz ensure that officers are aware someone may try this again…thanks”
What did she mean by this: “…someone may try this again”
Try what again? Take pictures in public space? Photograph police? Videotape police making an illegal arrest?
I don’t know, but Girmala’s email makes it seem like that I went out on June 2 to intentionally target police that day in order to capture their unlawful behavior on video. And that other people will now try to do what I supposedly did? I can’t speak for other people’s future actions, but LAPD’s theory on what I was doing the day I was arrested is so far from reality (a fact that is based on other things besides Girmala’s email).
I also can’t say what Ms. Girmala meant in her email, but to me, her email makes it seem like that she’s more concerned about officers being caught on camera violating people’s rights and making unlawful arrests than she is with officers obeying the law and understanding constitutional rights. If I’m wrong, Ms. Girmala can contact me at any time and explain what she meant in her email. I’m sure the public would like clarification.
More importantly, and just as upsetting, is the fact that despite receiving numerous LAPD emails through my public records requests, not one single person within those emails spoke up and said,
“This is wrong. What our officers did to Mr. Nee is unlawful and we need to handle this appropriately.”
There was nothing like that — at all.
You know, instead of reading an email like the one Girmala wrote, I should’ve seen something like this:
Hi- plz ensure that officers are educated about First Amendment rights and receive proper training regarding people photographing officers performing their duties. We can’t have something like this happen again. When our officers are caught behaving unlawfully, we lose credibility and the public’s trust. The same laws we enforce on members of the public, also apply to us.
Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing various emails that I’ve obtained through my public records requests. Some of them are interesting and reveal a few things that the public doesn’t know about. So I’m glad to share them with the public.
I will also finally release my Halloween videos, which include LAPD threatening me with arrest, violating their own policies numerous times, and an undercover officer intentionally committing battery on me. Actually, it was a cheap shot; the cop came up from behind and threw his shoulder into my back while I was taking pictures and not looking at him. One of the undercover officers there that night, was in the booking hallway when I was arrested (another officer called her Palmer; I’m guessing that’s her last name). She is not the cop who hit my body though.
Besides all of that, I’ m gonna attempt to trace all of ISP addresses that visited my website since August. Any thing that I find out of the ordinary will be made public.
So stay tuned, and I appreciate the support.
As most of you already know, I was unlawfully arrested in June by the Los Angeles Police Department for taking pictures from a public sidewalk. Sergeant Rudy Vidal, who is included in the Christopher Commission’s ‘LAPD 44‘, ordered my arrest for interference. Last week I received an email from someone describing their recent encounter with Vidal.
Apparently, “crossing on a red signal” is grounds for a trip to the police station and being chained to a bench.
On June 2, 2013, while standing on a public sidewalk and approximately 90 ft. away, Shawn Nee was arrested for photographing officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. The officers claimed he interfered with their police investigation. Shawn was transported to the Hollywood police station, handcuffed to a bench, and escorted into an interrogation room where he was questioned by a detective. The arrest lasted approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Shawn was eventually released without charge.