Videotape Captures Oakland Officer Spitting On Citizen Videotaping Him

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.16.27 AMThere is a controversy in Oakland where an officer was shown spitting at a citizen who was videotaping him while questioning a group of people at a gas station. Spitting is person is considered battery under California law (Penal Code 242).

What makes this video even more interesting is that we have previously seen officers charge people with battery or assault over air kisses, bubbles, hugs, pillow fights, errant french fries, and even flatulence, snowballs, and raspberries.

The officer first appears to take something out of his mouth and toss it at the citizen and then appears to spit on him.

The men who took the videotape say that the officer was questioning them about their cars and “harassing us” and “giving us trouble.” In the videotape the officer appears calm however. One man admitted that one of their friends called the officers “pigs.” After that, they said that the officer called for back-up and the two men were surrounded. The officer on the video was reportedly chewing sun flowers and the man said that was what he tossed from his mouth. The officer reportedly says “if I had another, I’d do it again.”

While the men said that they did not give consent, their cars were searched.

The incident is under investigation. Here is the video:

The most important aspect of this videotape is reaffirming not just the importance of the right of citizens to film police but the continued hostility and threats that citizens received from police in exercising that right. While the courts have consistently upheld this right, police continue to arrest or threaten citizens who film them in public. Yet, these videotapes have proven the single most important tool in fighting police abuse in our lifetime. Before the invention of cellphone cameras, this would be likely been dismissed as a rivaling account between an officer and a suspect. It obviously cannot be dismissed when there is a videotape record.

As for the officer, I have expressed concern of lowering standards for battery (including charges brought by police for trivial touchings discussed above). The imposition of criminal charges against the officer seems a bit extreme but, if charges are avoided, the same standard should apply to citizens in their contacts with officers.

What do you think?

Source: CBS

46 thoughts on “Videotape Captures Oakland Officer Spitting On Citizen Videotaping Him”

  1. “Are more police getting killed? A look at officer deaths”

    CHICAGO (AP) — The killing of a veteran police officer north of Chicago is the latest in a string of recent law enforcement deaths. Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz’ death on Tuesday triggered a manhunt for three suspects around the small Illinois community where the 52-year-old officer worked. A look at some of the latest slayings and data on other officer killings:



    Gliniewicz was the eighth law enforcement officer shot and killed in the U.S. in the last month and the fourth in 10 days, according to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks officers’ deaths so their names can be enshrined on a Washington, D.C., memorial. Steve Groeninger, a spokesman for the group, said four fatal shootings in recent days is a higher rate than usual.



    No. Shooting deaths of officers are actually down 13 percent compared with the same January-to-September period in 2014. There were 30 shootings last year and 26 this year. Those figures include state and local officers, as well as federal agents. The figures also include two accidental shootings, Groeninger said. Suicides are not included.

    Deaths have declined through the decades. The average number of officer shooting deaths for the first six months of each year — which is how the memorial fund gauges trends — was 62 through the 1970s.

    The worst half-year period over the past five decades was in 1973, when 84 officers were shot and killed in the first six months alone. Through the early 2000s, the six-month average fell to 29.

    More than 20,500 names are inscribed in marble on the memorial in Washington. They include officers killed in attacks and in accidents from 1791 through 2015.



    Darren Goforth was shot and killed Aug. 28 in suburban Houston as the Harris County deputy stopped to put gas in his patrol car. Henry Nelson, an officer in Sunset, Louisiana, was shot and killed Aug. 26 while responding to a domestic-violence call. Louisiana State trooper Steven J. Vincent died Aug. 14 after being shot in the head while assisting a motorist.



    Groeninger cautioned that it was too soon to say if officer deaths are trending up. “The data doesn’t say that yet,” he said. He also said there is no clearly identifiable pattern in the killings and no conclusions to draw for now, other than “there are people out there who intend to harm police officers for whatever reason.”



    During the last 12 months, six officers appear to have been targeted specifically because they worked in law enforcement, according to the memorial fund. That includes the Texas deputy, as well as two New York City officers who were shot and killed in December as they sat in their patrol car.

    Elsewhere, an officer for the Housing Authority of New Orleans was fatally shot in his patrol car on May 24. In California, a San Jose Police Department officer was killed March 24 responding to a call that a man was threatening to kill himself. A Pennsylvania State Police officer was shot and killed on Sept. 14, 2014, outside a police barracks by someone wielding a rifle.



    City police account for the largest number of officers killed in shootings. Out of the 26 officers killed nationwide so far this year, 17 were on city forces, four were with the county and three with the state. One federal agent and one tribal officer were also killed, according to the memorial fund. -Quad-City Times

    1. I doubt that any person here is not shocked at the wanton murder of any police officer, but I am shocked and disappointed that some like to use these events as cover for police misconduct. It is this cynical politicalization of such tragic deaths that makes for disunity rather than rallying the citizens around the good cops who do serve. The current sheriff of Harris County is one of those when he stated that it is the Black LIves Matter group that is responsible for the atmosphere that was the motive for this latest murder. It is factually a LIE since we have no idea about the motive the murderer had. The bad guy who did this is now under going a psychiatric evaluation, and he had been declared mentally incompetent and forced into treatment a couple of times before this crime.

      By using this murder to try and stifle criticism of police misconduct, it shows me that the sheriff is more concerned about killing such oversight than doing his job and making sure his police do their job legally. Instead of getting people to support the cops, this simply makes me wary of how the department is run and how they will disregard any complaints which may be justified. As anon has noted, killings of police are down since last year, so one can also infer that BLM could be responsible for that decrease as well as the lack of justification for accusing them of culpability in this latest outrage. Then we have the Obama haters who lie about Obama not saying anything in support of the police despite numerous such statements to the contrary. But as we have seen, the right wing lies constantly despite the facts. This is seen in some posters here lying about what happened with the cop spitting shells at the person taking the video. Facts are not relevant to them. Thus they are not even worthy of a reply since they operate beyond facts and reason. It makes as much sense to talk to furniture.

  2. Stay on point, please. Says, Jane.

    Oh, I’m very much on point, Jane.

    The search is mentioned in the article. The search was a part of the entire incident, but it would seem to suit Jane’s purposes to view the officer’s actions (as seen in the video) in a vacuum. Living with blind spots makes life so much easier for some. (And the cop does appear to spit towards the person taking the video. Again, no problem, from the vantage point of some.)

  3. BLM. When I saw those initials in comments above I was wondering what they meant. For anyone to utter that phrase is rather dumb. All lives matter. One does not need to make it into a statement. Dogs matter. ADM. All Dogs Matter!

  4. Re: “Jane is quibbling. His “behavior” apparently included a warrantless search. And yet, Jane said, “Leave him be.”

    Dear Anon, Look at the video again. His behavior in the video does NOT include searching a car. He is not even standing beside the car, but is on the sidelines. The article says the car was reportedly searched, but does not say by whom. Was it the officer standing on the sidelines who spit at the camera? We do not know. I do know that I was commenting ON THE VIDEO, which was the topic of the blog, hence my comment “Leave him be.” for flicking the seeds. Stay on point, please.

  5. Nick Spinelli @ 6:39 pm: “JT doesn’t report this stuff, just nitpicky stuff like this. Shameful.”

    Oh please.

    Legal blogs often focus on “nitpicky stuff”, as you say, due to the interesting legal questions raised.

    The beauty of WordPress is that anyone can create a blog, highlighting issues of his or her own choosing.

  6. The good man and police officer in Fox Lake, Joseph Gliniewicz was scheduled to retire last week. But, the Chief asked him to stay on until October to help out. This man, loved by all in the community, helped out the dept. and stayed on duty. JT doesn’t report this stuff, just nitpicky stuff like this. Shameful.

  7. It’s a lack of training and screening of those who apply to become officers. Some applicants are bullies and like pushing others around. Like this video. Officer throws sunflower seed and then a few seconds later spits at peaceful citizen. Yeah, he shouldn’t be an officer or at least he should be taken in for retraining.

  8. Jane
    1, September 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Anon- where in my post did you see that I felt a warrantless search of a car was okay? You didn’t.

    Quoting Jane: “ANYWAY, His behavior deserves… nothing. Leave him be. Looks like he is engaging in a friendly needling dialogue.” … “That this video got enough traction to be mentioned in this blog is surprising to me.”

    Jane is quibbling. His “behavior” apparently included a warrantless search. And yet, Jane said, “Leave him be.” (And it does appear that he may have spit towards the person who was filming the encounter. He tilts his head up, taking his head almost out of the range of the camera. And then he appears to spit.) But it’s the warrantless search that should trouble all of us.

  9. Lisa N
    “Why contribute to the Obama doctrine to harass and kill police officers. This is an example of that doctrine and stoking the hatred.”
    = = =

  10. Anon- where in my post did you see that I felt a warrantless search of a car was okay? You didn’t.

  11. The cop seems like a young rookie type. His testosterone and ego are probably at their highest at this time. He seems to be shooting the breeze with a bit of a smart ass bent. If he were to be notified by his superiors to fine tune his amiable self a little further away from the ‘you know who I am’ then he probably would make a great cop. He is not a zombie cop who has no human connection with the public. This is gleaned from the video. The cop’s searching of the cars and what lead up to this is another thing. We lived in the Oakland area for 14 years. There are some rough areas that rival any east coast city or Detroit.

    From the video this seems way too tame about which to make a significant point.

  12. The left wing links are plentiful today. The liberal people of Minneapolis were disgusted by the BLM march and chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry the bacon.” BLM is not a positive movement. Mainstream black people are embarrassed by it. BLM is a negative movement. It is anti-cop, not pro black.

  13. Having interviewed many thousands of people, this thread comports w/ what I learned decades ago. People can look @ the same incident and “see” it much differently. I know myself. I don’t love cops. I don’t hate cops. On the 1-10 scale, w/ 10 being the cop shooting the fleeing suspect in the back, this is a 2 @ most. Cop lovers say it’s a 0. Cop haters have it 7 and want him canned. But you see, cop haters have shooting the man in the back a 33. They don’t accept the 1-10 parameters. I understand this dynamic, it is what I do for a living.

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