California Police Accused Of Abusive Arrest And Then Seizing Cellphones Of Witnesses Or Demanding That They Delete Photos

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.02.33 AMThere is another disturbing story involving the police seizure of cameras of a scene of alleged police abuse. The arrest of a homeless man was caught on camera in Antioch, California. The arrest turned violent and some accused the police of abuse on the man who appeared mentally disturbed. Regardless of the merits of those allegations, police then added to the controversy by demanding that witnesses turn over their cameras.

Witnesses said that police officers insisted that all cameras be turned over from those videotaping their conduct. One witness said that he was ordered to erase his video.

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.

Often the violation of the constitutional rights of witnesses are established but there is no meaningful discipline meted out against officers. The most we have seen in many cases is “re-training” or a letter explaining that citizens have such constitutional rights. The lack of discipline reinforces the sense of protection for officers. In the vast majority of cases, citizens are likely not to take the trouble of raising the issue with outside lawyers or civil liberties groups.

The police have not commented on this incident.

Source: ABC7

Kudos: Michael Blott

41 thoughts on “California Police Accused Of Abusive Arrest And Then Seizing Cellphones Of Witnesses Or Demanding That They Delete Photos”

  1. At a minimum, a plaintiff in a civil action should be entitled to an instruction that the jury can presume a recording erased upon the order of an officer (or “lost” after it has been taken) would contain evidence adverse to the officer and the employing agency.

  2. “I am not sure the more law abiding people will come to their aid.”

    Most of the law abiding citizens will bunker down and hope the violence doesn’t spread to the “safe” areas of town. Violence against police would quickly spread to violence against other classes viewed as historical oppressors.

  3. @paul

    One of these days the repressed rage of the citizenry is going to explode at the cops. It will start in one city and spread to another. I am not sure the more law abiding people will come to their aid.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Colorado nurse sues after being a ‘hostage’ in armed gunman drill

    By Keith Coffman

    DENVER Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:51pm EDT

    “A Colorado woman is suing the nursing home where she worked and local police for allegedly not telling her that a gunman who held her hostage was a police officer conducting a safety drill, court documents show.

    Michelle Meeker claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver that she was terrorized when an armed man confronted her last October at the Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Colorado.

    The attorney representing the police department, Thomas Rice, said Heritage approached them to help with the drill, and police told the facility to inform workers of the upcoming scenario.”

    I wonder how many elderly residents were equally terrified.

  5. Squeeky, my thoughts exactly, We already provide bullets for them to shoot us with.

  6. “Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Paramilitary Policing From WTO to Occupy Wall Street”

    “There are many compassionate, decent, competent police officers who do a terrific job day in and day out. There are others who are, quote, ‘bad apples.’ What both of them have in common is that they ‘occupy,’ as it were, a system, a structure that itself is rotten. And I am talking about the paramilitary bureaucracy.”

  7. DOJ: Newark Cops Have Pattern of ‘Unconstitutional Policing’

    Laura Stampler @LauraStampler

    July 22, 2014

    NJ, CA, and just about everywhere. Well, okay. Everywhere.

    (And what Justice Holmes and Steve Fleischer said.)

    Start locking them up, take away their pensions…

  8. Justice Holmes

    Good point.

    Cops will continue to break the laws as long as they feel safe doing so.

    We have to raise the cost of police law breaking.

  9. The authorities push surveillance on citizens at every opportunity. Evidently they think it is a good idea. So why does it stop being a good idea where the police are concerned. Shouldn’t they be promoting the values of surveillance? After all as they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

  10. The reporters at ABC7 certainly weren’t helping much. From the article:

    This brings up some interesting questions about the rights of people and their video versus the rights of the police and whether or not they can take away that video.

    Except, not only have these “interesting questions” already been settled (so much so that officers have been held to not have a “good faith” defense ), but ABC7, as a media organization self-concerned with the issue, knows this is settled law. Yet, for the benefit of its readers and viewers the police, ABC7 pretends there is still some sort of issue here.

  11. Police are not ignorant of the fact that video taping of their activities is constitutionally protectd. They just don’t care because they know they will get away with it and they will make it clear to everyone who is in charge.

  12. Ironically, we have a post this morning about the obsessive crime law writing of the government. Yet, here is a real problem that has not gotten any attention from the controlling govt. They write laws to control every aspect of our lives yet there is a problem SCREAMING for laws, and there is no response from the duopoly. Like all control freaks, the duopoly does the controlling and they will not be controlled.

    “I’m in charge here, at the White House.” Al Haig

  13. Whenever these stories come out I have two questions:
    -at what point will the courts start to question if there is willful ignorance of the law in some police agencies, and reconsider the immunity granted officers when they act in defiance of clearly defined law and policies?
    – What failure is going on in training academies and departments where officers feel they can seize cellphones begin with? Are police being taught to act only when the law says they can, or to act first and find legal basis later? When crowd control tactics have more in common with the movie 300 than common sense, something terrible is going on.

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