California Cops Arrest, Harass Man for Videotaping Them on the Job
November 26, 2012 4:01 PM
comment(s) - last by
VideoTape All ..
Message sent is that citizens should not be able to monitor the public actions of officials they employ
"If you don't give me your ID, then you're going to jail."
That's what a California cop, Officer Gabriel "Gabe" Lira, tells a man who is videotaping a routine traffic stop. For Daniel J. Saulmon who lives in Hawethorne, a suburb of Los Angeles west of Compton, he was simply doing his citizens duty. After all, his taxes help fund the Hawethorne Police Department, so why shouldn't he be allowed to
record video of police in public
on the job, in order to ensure that they do not abuse their citizen-entrusted power?
I. Show Some ID, Bud
Unfortunately, the Hawethorne Police Department's police officers didn't feel they owed the taxpayer anything.
Instead they arrest him (as the tape clearly shows) for failing to produce ID. The only problem? There is no law in California banning recording of on-duty cops and there is no law that requires Californians to produce papers to cops. And in states where there
such laws, the requirement is that the individual be suspected of committing a crime.
Initially the HPD tried to charge the citizen with
resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer
-- an offense punishable for up to $1,000 USD in fines and a year in jail. They also cited him for
not having reflectors
on his bike pedals (punishable with a fine of up to $250 USD).
Ultimately both charges were dropped. Mr. Saulmon's video, ironically, offered vindication by showing the officer improperly demanded his identification. It also showed he was standing a good distance away from the investigation site, and hence was not obstructing.
The extra irony is that the HPD officers should definitely have known better than to pick on Mr. Saulmon. Keenly aware of his rights, he regularly records local arrests. In 2005 he was arrested in a similar situation for eavesdropping/wiretapping. The charges were eventually dropped, and the HPD paid him a settlement of $25,000 USD for the wrongful arrest.
Mr. Saulmon is likely to pursue a similar settlement from the department this time around.
He tells the blog
Photography is not a crime
, "They knew exactly who I was. They always address me as ‘Mr. Saulmon'."
II. Justice for Some, But Not All
While the incident ended in vindication for the accused, other similar encounters across the country
ended with little reprieve
for the arrested videotaper. That's because some jurisidictions have banned citizens from recording local cops. The fight to overturn these verdicts may have been given a helping hand by the U.S. Attorney General, who
penned a fiery response
arguing that such arrests were unconstitutional. U.S. Circuit Appeals courts
such taping to be well within a citizen's rights.
Some police organizations are still fighting to push back the current federal mandate and instead making taping cops a federal crime.
Jim Pasco, executive director of the
Fraternal Order of Police
, argues that officers should not have to be held accountable and should be free to arrest citizens who try to monitor their activity for wrongdoing.
The Frateneral Order of Police says citizens should not be allowed to hold cops accountable when on the job in public. [Image Source: ACLU]
He comments, "They [police officers] need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be. We feel that anything that's going to have a chilling effect on an officer moving — an apprehension that he's being videotaped and may be made to look bad — could cost him or some citizen their life or some serious bodily harm."
Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, agrees. He has stated in previous comments that his organization "absolutely supports" throwing those who tape police officers behind bars.
He complains that citizens monitoring police activities for wrongdoing might "affect how an officer does his job on the street."
Photography is Not a Crime
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Here's an idea
11/27/2012 10:34:58 AM
If the public isn't allowed the video tape the police, then we should make all officers wear mounted cameras that are recording at all times while on duty. The videos should be streams to a publicly accessible database and kept for a period of a week or so. That way if any incident should occur the public and lawyers has the right to go to this database and review whatever evidence they need.
Really if you're an officer of the law and abide by those laws you should be accountable for every action while on duty. Why should we not hold the people who ultimately can decide our fates to higher standards?
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
Police Efforts to Ban Citizen Taping Beaten Back by Department of Justice
May 17, 2012, 1:11 PM
First Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that Citizens Can Videotape Police
August 31, 2011, 1:33 PM
Law Enforcement: Tape Us, Go to Prison
May 16, 2011, 10:28 AM
Man Arrested for Photographing Police Officer Who Came Into His House
June 24, 2010, 2:46 PM
Moto 360 to go "Champagne Gold" for $299, According to Amazon Listing
October 30, 2014, 3:24 PM
Call-capable Samsung Gear S Smartwatch Launches Nov 7 in U.S.
October 30, 2014, 12:45 PM
Lenovo Completes $2.91B Acquisition of Motorola
October 30, 2014, 11:57 AM
Samsung Electronics Q3 Profit Falls by 60%, Mobile Division Sees 74% Profit Decline
October 30, 2014, 10:10 AM
Microsoft's $199 Fitness Band Packs in 10 Sensors, Works with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android
October 30, 2014, 8:58 AM
Google’s Project Ara Modular "LEGO" Smartphone Shown Booting Up on Video
October 29, 2014, 5:28 PM
Most Popular Articles
Amid Theater Boycott Netflix Defiantly Plans New Movies, Plus 3 TV Shows for 2015
October 24, 2014, 7:30 PM
AT&T Defeats Purpose of New Apple SIM, Locks iPad Air 2 SIMs to Its Network
October 24, 2014, 2:17 PM
CVS, Rite Aid Kill Unofficial Apple Pay Support, Burn Google Wallet Users in the Process
October 25, 2014, 5:26 PM
1 Million Credit Card Activated on Apple Pay Within 72 Hours, Walmart CEO Hopes Visa "Suffers"
October 28, 2014, 8:17 AM
Microsoft's Figures Show Desktop Users Flocking to Windows 10 Preview
October 27, 2014, 11:04 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information