November 26, 2012

WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: California Man Jailed Four Days for Recording Cops. But wait, it gets worse:

A California man was jailed for four days for attempting to record police officers on a public street.

Daniel J. Saulmon was charged with resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer but the video shows he was standing well out the way of a traffic stop and was only arrested when he failed to produce identification to an approaching officer.

And there is no law in California that requires citizens to produce identification. And even if there was, it would require the officer to have a reasonable suspicion that he was committing a crime.

But prosecutors have already dropped the charge against Saulmon as well as a few other minor citations relating to his bicycle such as not have proper reflectors on the pedals.

And they most likely knew who he was considering he won a $25,000 settlement from the same police department after they unlawfully arrested him on eavesdropping/wiretapping charges in 2005.

This time, it appears the Hawthorne Police Department will be dishing out much more, thanks to officer Gabriel Lira’s abuse of authority.

Of course, this means that taxpayers will be coughing up to cover Lira’s abuses, and the mis- or malfeasance of his superiors. He should be criminally charged for this arrest, and his supervisors should be sacked.

Meanwhile, check out Morgan Manning’s article on photographers’ rights, as well as A Due Process Right To Record The Police, which I coauthored with John Steakley.

I should note, BTW, that the latter article has been selected by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for its “Getting Scholarship Into Court Project,” which is designed to inform lawyers and judges of particularly timely and useful topics. Happy to have been included! Though if my work turns out to be useful to actual lawyers and courts, I may wind up being drummed out of the Constitutional Law Scholars’ Guild. . . .