A California man was harassed, interrogated and detained for taking photos of a Chevron refinery from a public street Monday, doing his best to stand up for his rights while several cops surrounded him in an obvious attempt at intimidation.
But Daniel Saulmon has a long history of standing up for his right to record police – including being jailed for four days last year for recording cops – so he didn’t back down to the group of El Segundo cops, not only refusing to provide his identification, but demanding the cop’s identification when asked for his.
Police acknowledged he was not breaking the law, but told him they were harassing him for safety reasons.
“I want to make sure you’re not a terrorist,” said the officer whose name tag revealed him to be T. Jones.
Another man who was with Saulmon and recording from a distance was also harassed. That man, who goes by Katoosha2006 on Youtube, has not uploaded his video yet.
And Saulmon says he has more video of the incident to upload, which he will get to tonight. But it won’t show anything different than what we’re seeing in the video above.
The two men got to know each other after I wrote about Katoosha2006 getting harassed earlier this year by Hawthorne Police Sgt Gabriel Lira, the same cop who had arrested Saulmon last year.
In a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Tuesday, Saulmon said they were both detained for about 30 minutes before police allowed them to leave.
For those of us who have found ourselves surrounded by a group of aggressive cops, it is refreshing he wasn’t beaten or arrested. Nor was he ever forced to provide his identification.
“I purposely didn’t have one with me,” said the 42-year-old man, who was traveling on a bicycle that day.
But for those of us who know our rights, it was a disgusting abuse of authority that would have melted most citizens.
UPDATE: Here is the video recorded by Katoosha2006.