In a sudden wave of incidents, several Tucson law enforcement officers have broken or failed to uphold the law surrounding video recording.
At a Tucson traffic stop, officers demanded ID from several people who were standing at a distance and recording the police. When the cop watchers refused to produce ID, officers arrested and handcuffed them, and sat them in the back of a police car. Of course, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before they can detain someone and demand ID, and so the officers changed their minds (or realized their mistake) after 30 minutes and released the cop watchers.
Another Tucson cop watcher was detained, this time by a Tucson SWAT officer, for recording an incident in public. Somehow the officer found reasonable suspicion to detain a videographer carrying a camera and tripod while displaying media credentials on his chest. The man detained by Tucson SWAT was Raymond Rodden III, who has previously had his camera snatched by police for recording an officer jaywalking and been sent to jail for photographing a courthouse.
Rodden was also assaulted recently while recording the aftermath of an incident outside a Tucson bar. The bar manager repeatedly tried to grab Rodden’s camera, while Tucson police officers stood by witnessing the assault. Tucson police refused to press charges against the bar manager, and Rodden is now conducting his own investigation – he is requesting a copy of the dash cam video from one of the patrol cars, and will be filing a complaint with Internal Affairs.
Rodden was also featured on PINAC in May when he had an exchange with Tucson Police Sergeant Jeffrey Dillinger who respected his right to record, which was so mind blowing to us that many of us congratulated him for being one of the good cops. Some readers even called the Tucson Police Department to commend Dillinger.
But it was only a week later that Dillinger detained Rodden for recording a police radar van parked on the side of the road.
For anyone that would like to call or write about Tucson PD:
Professional Standards Unit
Arizona Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 6638
Phoenix, Arizona 85005
Available 24 hours a day.
Call 602-223-2000 and request to speak to a supervisor in the area of the incident. This service is also available 24 hours a day, year round (this will be a good number to keep to call when on site)