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NBC Los Angeles has taken on an extremely copsucking approach to the case of Beatriz Paez, the 34-year-old woman who had her phone snatched from her by a U.S. Marshal Sunday, who then smashed it to the ground and kicked it away, destroying the phone before storming away with several other cops.
The news station persuaded Paez to allow them to recover the footage from her damaged phone, giving them the exclusive, but then the station accused Paez of “arguing with federal agents” and “refusing demands from the lawmen as she records law enforcement activity.”
They also insinuated that the agents were only trying to look out for her safety.
[author image=”http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/26223b1d5d1c6c23150ad4e1bb930f6b?s=60&d=&r=PG”]Editorial by Carlos Miller, Founder of PhotographyisNotaCrime.com[/author]
According to NBC Los Angeles:
“This is unsafe right now, you’re right in the line of the fire,” an officer tells her. “Go across the street and film all you want.”
“This is unsafe right now, you’re right in the line of the fire,” an officer later tells her. “Go across the street and film all you want.”
She repeatedly tells them she has a right to record the operation and that she is in a safe spot, then protests that two agents are standing too close to her. Just moments later, in a confrontation captured by another bystander, a U.S. Marshal grabbed the device from her hands and smashes it.
“I’m not in the way, I’m in a safe spot. I need to film and I have a right to film. I’m watching. Please don’t block my view,” Paez says after an agent told her she is getting in the way of their investigation.
But NBC fails to ask the most obvious question. If she was, indeed, in the line of fire, does anybody really believe the cops would be milling about as they were doing?
For an entity that frequently cites “officer safety” when ordering citizens to stop recording because, they claim, the camera could be a gun in disguise, there is no way they would purposely stand in the line of potential real gunfire.
Let’s get real here.
Furthermore, NBC continues to blur the faces of the cops who clearly violated her rights as to not blow their cover when the cops were standing in public with the word “police” across their bulletproof vests, so they had no expectation of privacy.
And this so-called “arguing” was her standing up for her rights. She didn’t start talking to them. They started talking to her by barking unlawful orders at her.
And they failed to point out there is a difference between “refusing demands” and “refusing a lawful order.” If the cops wanted to keep her from recording from the sidewalk, all they needed to do was set up a perimeter with crime tape. Television reporters, of all people, should understand that.
But instead of putting up a perimeter, one agent who has yet to be identified flew into a rage and violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights.
And NBC Los Angeles refuses to acknowledge that.
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