Simi Valley Police Officer Refuses To Take Report From Citizen in Accident Due To His Videotaping Their Conversation

185px-CA_-_Simi_Valley_Policevideo cameraThere is a controversy in Simi Valley, California where a police officer refused to take the statement on a car accident of a man who wanted to videotape their conversation. While the officer in the video below acknowledges the right of the citizen to videotape, Simi Valley police officer Corey Baker states that he is not going to allow the man to effectively portray him as causing some violation by filming him. While the officer cannot refuse to take a statement on this basis, the man in the video (identified as Jeff Knapp) struck me as highly rude in his encounter with both the other driver and the officer.

Knapp is shown on the videotape videotaping the other driver while yelling objections to what he is telling the police on the line. I thought Knapp was way out of line in his interruptions and taunts. He then proceeded to videotape the officer in their conversation. I can understand why the officer found this off-putting. It is difficult to speak with someone who has a camera pointed in your face. However, refusing to take his account of the accident is to punish him for videotaping — protected right.

This is the type of poor behavior that could undermine the recently recognized right of citizens to videotape. This video could be used to show that videotaping presents an impediment to police trying to do their job because Knapp did not have the simply decency to lower the camera. Officers could claim that such filming denies them the ability to fully evaluate the condition and sobriety of individuals involved in accidents. Knapp could have still audiotaped the conversation without sticking a camera in the face of the officer who is trying to speak with him.

I believe Baker was wrong, but I also believe that Knapp and other needs to use these rights in a civil and mature way. Now, the incident has caused Baker more heat after it was learned that he made more in overtime than he did in base salary in 2012 — leading some to claim that he is “milking” the system.

Kudos: Michael Blott

37 thoughts on “Simi Valley Police Officer Refuses To Take Report From Citizen in Accident Due To His Videotaping Their Conversation”

  1. I’ve dealt with both of these officers before, the other being Officer Colotto i believe. These two officers and another Officer Heller are the calmest most down to earth cops ive ever been in contact with. And i was the one on the one causing the problem the day i met them. Point being treat with respect and respect will be givin right back to you. Simi pd does an awesome job of keeping this town safe and treating our citizens right!

  2. @Schulte – My husband does, too, and he still gets dings. Which cracks me up every time! We’re in Southern California, people need to learn to roll with it.

    1. JMW – if you really want to unnerve people like that leave a note on their windshield saying you are sorry you scratched their car. But don’t sign it and don’t say where the scratch is. They go nuts looking for it. Far better than actually ‘keying’ the car. 🙂

  3. shakingmyhead,
    There are four or five “magic words” that trigger the filter. You used at least one of them in your comments that went to the filter. If you can rewrite without using the word (slang term for anus), your comment should go through. With regard to cussing, I once read an amusing book about profanity and its history. The book included an anecdote that makes the point that naughty language is unnecessary to express extreme displeasure.

    Seems one of the local church pastors was an avid golfer, but was really bad at it. After another of his shots went into the water hazard, his golfing buddy had a burning question. “Preacher, you keep hitting bad shots and losing balls. How come you never cuss.”

    The minister replied, “Have you noticed that after I make a shot like that, I always spit on the ground? Grass will never again grow on that spot.”

  4. You can say the citizen is making a mountain out of a molehill, but there is also reason and restraint on his part.

  5. wow so now im in moderation for EXPRESSING MY PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW.. ok on that note just delete the post and ill delete my account and do as many other of the smart ones have done and go play where the grown ups are

  6. Wow. My takeaway from this incident is that people cause their own problems. If Nervous Videotaper had just simply profusely apologized to 911 Caller and his pissed off girlfriend, maybe they all could’ve just gone home after the door ding incident.

    Instead, all three chose to get emotional about a simple “oops” and now they’re all standing there wasting time and energy over nothing.

    On several occasions, I’ve been in my car when someone next to me has opened their door carelessly and hit my car – without any apology. Big deal. It could’ve just as easily happened without me there and the result is the same. Yes, I have a nice new-ish car, it simply doesn’t matter.

    Life’s short. When the big earthquake happens, let’s see how upset everyone will be when they’ve got dings galore on their cars, houses, and heads. Get on with living!

    1. JMW – My wife parks her newish car where no one can park near her and ding it.

  7. The first ( and only commandment ) is “Let thy neighbor alone” In all cases , no one should bait a policeman ( even if the policeman is being an authoritarian jerk ). Being polite is hard … but it is the best approach. Being polite does not mean giving up your rights …. just don’t jam them down someone’s throat.

  8. I have a slightly different view. Party A calls 911. Party B is filming. Cop shows up. Cop refuses to talk to Party B. Cop talks to Party A. Party B stops filming. There is no video of any conversation with Party B after Cop talked to Party A.

    Point 1: Seems to me that standard police protocol would be to talk FIRST to the Party that called 911. If I ever call 911, I hope the cop comes straight to me, not to others hanging around. If the cop doesn’t know exactly who called, once he finds out it was me, he should get my side of the story first.

    Point 2: Consider this. Party A is with his girlfriend, some guy dings the door and reacts poorly to Party A’s comment. Words are exchanged, perhaps in anger or aggression. Party A calls 911 and says that Party B is threatening him. This may be less about a “door ding” as it is Party A’s concern for his safety and that of his girlfriend. So all this talk about cops not responding to a private property “door ding” simply assumes that’s what the call to 911 is about. What if the conversation between Party A and B escalates and violence erupts? LA Times headline: “Cops Ignore Call for Help in Parking Lot; Two Dead”.

    Point 3. Every a-hole has a temper, and when it goes off you must either run away or get help.

    But that’s just how I saw it.

    1. Steve H – just for a slightly different perspective. Party A and gf appear to be able to get in their car and escape. Party B has his wallet out to give his insurance information. He still has it out when the officers arrive. This sound more like Party A and gf trying to cash in then Party B create an incident.

  9. This was a non-reportable accident from the beginning. (Non-hit-and-run, low damage threshold, and not on a public roadway). As such for the officer was not required to make an accident report so the taking of his statement was not necessary.

    On another note the officer should have just kept quiet about his objection over the filming and what he did wouldn’t have been an issue.

    As for the overtime issue, I don’t consider it a problem if the overtime is available and he simply signs up for it. Someone else could have did the same. If there is a problem with the amount of overtime slots handed out that is a problem of the administration. Secondly, not all overtime shifts are simply patrol. Often times it is at sporting events and traffic control at construction sites and the city bills these entities for the overtime.

  10. This scenario will become much more common as people who use Google Glass (a/k/a Gl*ssh*les) demand to film everything and everyone. All you people demanding that police officers just accept it should think about the next step — when it happens to you, over and over again.

  11. It’s difficult to assess what happened prior to filming… The man with the camera appeared to be hypersensitive to the situation as a whole, thus his need to film. His behavior is indicative of his nervousness and thus comes across belligerent to all parties. That being said, however, the officer acknowledged the man’s Right to film officers and immediately dismissed the man’s desire to make a statement.

    I guess if police decide to ignore a party to a disagreement, they can?

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