A woman’s First Amendment rights may have been violated last week when a U.S. Marshal allegedly destroyed her recording device while she was filming an arrest, the Huffington Post reports.
Officials are now looking into the April 19 incident, during which a woman recorded several officers in South Gate, California. The officers arrived to the area in response to a call about a biker gang meeting.
The woman who recorded the event can be seen speaking to the officers before one comes up and grabs her device; he then smashes it into the ground. A bystander filmed the confrontation and uploaded the footage to YouTube.
The U.S. Marshal Service confirmed the man involved is one of theirs, but it isn’t known if he has been punished for his actions.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is aware of video footage of an incident that took place Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a Deputy U.S. Marshal,” a spokesperson for the Marshals Central District of California office said.
It also unknown if the woman was connected to the arrest of six alleged bike gang members nearby.
Police Chief Randy Davis told reporters officers from the South Gate Police Department were present, but weren’t involved in the incident.
Under the First Amendment, it is legal to record and photograph officers. The importance of mobile journalism was demonstrated throughout the Ferguson protests, the death of Eric Garner by a NYPD police officer, and recently, the police shooting death of Walter Scott. Bystanders have been encouraged to record actions by police officers who demonstrate questionable tactics against civilians.
The U.S. Marshals Service are investigating the incident.
SOURCE: The Huffington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN