California Man Arrested For Filming Police In Public

We have been discussing the continued effort of prosecutors and police to jail citizens who photograph or videotape police in public. For a prior column, click here. Now, in California, another such arrest has been videotaped in California as Daniel J. Saulmon was charged with resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer when the video shows him standing at a distance and not interfering in any way with the arrest.

The officer immediately demanded to know what Saulmon is doing when it is obvious, as Saulmon indicates, that he is filming the scene. Saulmon states that he does not want to speak to the officer when asked for his identification and the officer immediately puts him under arrest. Ironically, the officer then tells him that he doesn’t need any identification since that will be handled at the booking.

The piling up of charges is an all-too-common response to these cases. Police and prosecutors hammer citizens to try to get them to reach a plea agreement. It is particularly distressing to see prosecutors like Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez going along with these arrests and trying to convict citizens.

Saulmon reportedly spent days in jail. Such jailings serve as a deterrent for abusive police officers since few citizens want to face such incarceration as well as the cost of defending against criminal charges. Even when later thrown out (which often happen to such charges), the message is sent and the officers are rarely disciplined. I have little doubt that this case will be thrown out. The question is whether people in California will demand action to discipline the officer, who swore to charges that are clearly invalid and abusive.

57 thoughts on “California Man Arrested For Filming Police In Public”

  1. MikeS, My sister travelled through the USSR back in the 70’s/80’s. They would not allow photos taken virtually anywhere in public. In the US if you are in public you are free to be videotaped, whether your a police man, beggar man doctor or thief. I made my living doing it and although the opposing counsel would whine and cry, if the video was in public[that’s ALL I shot], then it was admissable. This horseshit by the police will continue until they are made to stop. They have their little fiefdom and won’t give up this until they have to.

  2. As someone who lived through the “Cold War” and how our media battered the USSR for tactics of police repression, with the inference that “We” weren’t like that, the irony is bitter. We are like that and sadly have always been that way on a local level, though there weren’t camera phones back when.

  3. Our tax dollars at work! What a waste of time and money. False imprisonment, lying on a report. Worthless.

  4. It is the job of the local prosecutor to file charges. However, there are avenues through the civil courts. See the false arrest story in Detroit where the city was hammered with a $1.1 million judgement.

  5. My question is that the police have probably lied in their reports which is a felony from my understanding. so why not charge these cops with a felony? I think that being convicted of a felony will be a lot better deterent than any suit. If the DA refuses to charge them, can a private person file criminal charges?

  6. QUOTE “It would be nice to add the 9th Circuit to the appeals courts that have ruled against police who do this.”

    This court appears to be one of the worst in the country! Better look at some of the outrageous decisions these idiots have made….

  7. Once again the police fail to uphold and defend the US Constitution which they obviously have failed to read and understand. The storm tooper who approaches abd arrests a citizen for filming the police does not belong on an American police force but would do very well in Nazi Germany or Syria.

  8. The officer and his supervisors who allowed this egregious action need to be removed from the force and police throughout the land need to understand that if it is constitutional for them to film citizens everywhere, it is lawful for citizens to safely film the police.

  9. The “us against them” attitude that now begins in the academy may soon turn against the police as their confidence turns to transparency.

  10. “The question is whether people in California will demand action to discipline the officer, who swore to charges that are clearly invalid and abusive.”

    I doubt it, sadly.

  11. It appears that the camera operator was expecting to be arrested. Not that it matters.

    Can somebody speak to the possibility of a civil suit? A couple of gratuitous awards might be the most effective deterrent for behavior like this.

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