San Diego sheriff deputies detained two women for video recording a felony traffic stop last month, arresting at least one of them, claiming it was only for their “safety” because the “lights from their video recorders” made them easy targets.
It is not clear from the sheriff’s press release if they meant the light from the cameras made the deputies easy targets or the women easy targets, but it is clear from the video that the incident took place in broad daylight, so any possible light from a digital camera would make absolutely no difference.
But in Deputy Doublespeak, day is night and night is day.
The video posted on San Diego’s local ABC affiliate shows deputies with their guns drawn, pulling over a car for reasons not explained in the sheriff’s press release.
It shows the car’s occupants with their hands sticking out the window, then stepping out and walking towards the deputies with their hands raised. One woman was carrying a baby.
The incident ended peacefully, but then deputies walked over to the two women recording and accused them of interfering, using P.C. 148, California’s resisting arrest law, which is the law always used to arrest citizens with cameras.
According to the press release, posted below, one of the woman apologized for exercising her Constitutional right to record. The other woman, Cynthia Hartman, told the deputy “he would be sorry.”
Hartman told the news she was then placed in the back of a patrol car. It is not clear if the other woman was released after apologizing with only a citation.
Here is the press release:
During the course of a felony hot stop wherein five suspects were inside a vehicle, these two women decided to video-record the law enforcement action. There were several deputies on scene, with guns drawn. The two women were in a position where, if shots were fired, they could have been injured or killed — approximately 20-25 feet. One of the deputies had to take his eyes off the suspects’ vehicle to yell over to the women to move. He clearly stated he did not mind them video-taping, but for their safety, they needed to move to another location. They were in the line of fire. It was not clear if any or all of the suspects in the car had guns. There was no issue with them recording the action.
While the women did move their location, they returned shortly thereafter to continue their filming of the hot stop. After the suspects in the car were finally arrested, one of the deputies walked over to the two women to cite them for 148 pc. They were released from the scene shortly thereafter.
One of the women apologized to the deputy for ignoring his order — that she got caught up in the moment and was not thinking. She went on to say she could tell from the video that guns were pointed in their direction. She heard the deputy tell her it was okay for her to video record the scene.
The other woman told the deputy he would be sorry.
Additionally, there was no use of force involving the women.
This action was taken for the safety of the two women. An additional risk factor involved the lights from their video recorders, which made them easily seen, and a target.
The report was submitted to the DA’s office.
Just to clarify, a citizen is technically “arrested” once they are handcuffed, even if they are later released with a citation, which in this case, was dismissed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.