We have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue. Usually police claim that it is a crime to film them. San Diego police have been videotaped with a new and even more disturbing angle on these cases. Police officers were videotaped telling Adam Pringle that his cellphone was a weapon and then arresting him.
Pringle was being given a ticket when he began to record their conversation. Officers proceeded to warn him that his cellphone was considered a weapon. Pringle responds by making the obvious statement that “There is no way this could be a weapon…. I am videotaping – I will not turn this off.
The officers proceed to arrest him after he refused to put away his “weapon.” Pringle is heard saying “You may not touch my cell phone. No you will not… no, no.” Pringle spent all night in jail and was booked for resisting arrest and obstructing an officer. It was clearly an abusive arrest.
Unfortunately, such arrests rarely result in discipline for the officers even after the charges are thrown out. This video however has received a great deal of attention on the Internet and it will be interesting to follow the response from the SDPD.