Videotaped confrontation between LAPD officer, photographer prompts probe
Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into a confrontation between a photographer and a Hollywood Division officer after video of the incident was posted this week on YouTube, sources familiar with the case said.
The sources told The Times that the investigation is unrelated to another internal affairs probe launched this week in connection with a clash between four Hollywood officers and bicyclists, also caught on video. They said the department opened an investigation Wednesday after being informed about the video. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
The footage was taken Feb. 21 and posted Tuesday on YouTube. It lasts over five minutes.
It opens with two LAPD officers conducting a traffic stop. At first, the exchange is cordial. An officer asks if everything is OK. The officer also asks if the man shooting the video knows the woman being stopped. The photographer says he does not know the woman and continues to shoot video.
The officer tells the photographer that he is making him nervous and asks him to "move along." The photographer tells the officer that the sidewalk is open to the public and that it's not against the law to shoot video. When the photographer continues to say he can take video on a public street, the officer begins to get angry and tells him he can't take a picture of him.
"I am a citizen of this country," the officer says. "I was in the Marine Corps a few years getting shot for you, you can move along. ... Start moving." The photographer asks for the officer's badge number. The officer tells him to "go ahead, saying he spent "two years in the desert, and I have to hear from your fruitcake ass."
The officer tells the man he is making a legal stop and asks the photographer for his identification and that the grounds for the stop is "taking a picture of me." The officer then tells the photographer, who is being detained and appears to be seated on the sidewalk, that he has a record of parking violations, which the man says he had paid.
They continue to argue about the law, the officer telling the man that he does not have a right to take a picture and the man saying it's not against the law to take photographs. He asks for the officer's card, and a short time later, the video ends.
-- Andrew Blankstein