A man who was video recording from a public sidewalk outside a California police station was confronted by a cop, who “asked” him to sit down on the sidewalk while grabbing his arm, threatening to arrest him for the crime of recording police cars, which is not a crime.
But the man with the camera, whose YouTube username is Robbie Estabrook, remained calm, refusing to sit while telling the cop to stop assaulting him.
Oxnard police officer Thomas Payn claimed he was not assaulting him while maintaining a firm grasp on his arm.
But the definition of assault is exactly what he was doing as specified by California Penal Code 240:
- The defendant did something that was likely to result in the use of force against someone else;
- The defendant did so willfully;
- The defendant was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that this act would directly and probably result in force being applied to the other person; and
- When the defendant acted, s/he had the ability to apply force to the other person.
Payn also gave the old “please get that out of my face” in regards to the camera, even though it was him who walked up to the man and got into his face.
More cops showed up, each of them trying their own method to get the man to provide his identification.
First, Oxnard police officer Brian Bishop strode up, trying the “nice” approach while trying to get him to sit.
“You’re being detained and I’m not sure why yet,” he said.
“This officer is giving you a lawful command and he is detaining you, so please ….” he said while motioning for the man to sit down.
“I’m asking you politely to please comply.”
“Why am I being forced to comply,” the man with the camera responded. “I’m on a public sidewalk.”
“Do you have any probable cause?”
Bishop then lost his temper and assaulted him, grabbing his arm in an attempt to force him down.
“Get that camera out of my face and sit down,” he said while getting in the man’s face.
“Stop assaulting me,” the man said, refusing to be forced down to sit.
Then a third cop stepped in, a Sergeant R. Vazquez, who told him it was “suspicious circumstances” for the man to be recording vehicles in a police parking lot from a public sidewalk, giving up on forcing him to sit down.
“All we want to know is what is going on here and what your purpose is,” the sergeant said. “And if you don’t want to sit down, you don’t have to sit down,” he added.
“My purpose is to photograph you,” the man with the camera said.
At this point, at least seven cops were surrounding him, who was with a couple of friends, but they had agreed to sit down from the beginning.
One plainclothes cop pulled out his phone to take a photo of the man while the sergeant then asked to see his identification.
But the man refused to provide that, so the sergeant walked away as the other cops stood around, wondering what to do next.
Eventually, another sergeant approaches, putting his face right in the man’s face, telling him to get the camera out of his face.
But only after he was sure to turn on his own body camera before approaching.
He did, however, say the man was free to go, bringing up the old “there’s a lot of terrorism in the country” excuse to justify detaining him against his wishes for video recording a police parking lot.
But usually terrorism involves guns, bombs and other lethal weapons. Not cameras.
Call the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7600 or leave a comment on its Facebook page.