Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies cited a man for jaywalking Wednesday after he crossed a street to record them handcuffing and frisking a man.
But only after he asked for a deputy’s business card in order to file a complaint.
Christopher Vannote, who goes by Dippydoo Dangle on Youtube, was standing on a sidewalk across the street in the municipality of Hawaiian Gardens, but then crossed to get a better angle with better lighting of the situation that had at least five patrol cars.
Once he was across the street, the deputies confronted him, one of them saying, “I don’t want you standing behind here, we got guns .”
The deputy then accused him of “walking up behind us” as if he was being sneaky about it when he couldn’t have been more obvious.
After a few minutes of back-and-forth banter, the deputies left him alone and eventually released the man they had detained, whom they said was suspected of carrying a gun.
Vannote then told the deputies he wanted the name of a deputy who was driving away in order to file a complaint against him. When the request went ignored, the man asked the deputy nearest him for a business card.
Deputy Mike McCarty, whose Facebook cover shot includes a boat named “Knucklehead,” walked up to him and handed him his business card, but then ordered him to sit on the curb so he could cite him for jaywalking more than five minutes earlier.
At one point, McCarty told him to put his camera down, which is when the video turns off, but a second video shows he turned the camera back on. Both videos are below.
According to California traffic law, a person is guilty of jaywalking when they cross a street near an intersection that is “both controlled by traffic control signal devices.”
The video shows Vannote crossing at an intersection that was controlled by a stop sign, which provides him with a legal argument in court that he was not jaywalking.
Stop Signs: What if one or both adjacent intersections is controlled by a stop sign? Case law dating back to 1940 [See Quinn v. Rosenfeld (1940) 15 Cal. 2d 486 “…’stop’ signs at the intersections…no[t] a ‘traffic control signal device’…”] dictates that stop signs are not traffic “signal” control devices. Stop signs are, however, “official traffic control devices” [See Vehicle Code §440 and §21400], but probablynot a traffic control “signal” device. Thus, in such case, you can, arguably, in most cases, cross anywhere on the road. However, be warned that it is reported that many police officers consider stop signs to be a “traffic control signal devices”; therefore, you may receive a ticket for jaywalking. If so, you will have to make legal argument (or hire an attorney to do so) and seek to convince a judge that a stop sign is not a “traffic control signal device”.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has a policy, which you can read here, that requires deputies to provide business cards when asked by citizens.
Unfortunately, they don’t have a policy against contempt-of-cop citations, which was clearly the case here.