Police try to prevent filming of man they pepper sprayed
August 30, 2011 9:10pm
Nearly a dozen officers and medics were surrounding a man who was lying on the street in handcuffs and appeared to be writhing in pain.
Officers poured water on the man's face and made comments suggesting police had pepper sprayed him earlier.
Officers asked us to step back, and we complied. However they then began to move us even further down the block, using up to four officers and their bicycles to obstruct our view of the person in custody. Officer Basile, told us that it was illegal for us to film the man on the ground. When we asked if he was ordering us to stop filming, Basile replied "yes".
An ambulance arrived and further obstructed our view, so we moved to the other side of the street. The four officers followed us, continuing to obstruct our view and attempt to intimidate us. At one point, officer T. Dziamba asked if we had media credentials and told us to stop filming if we didn't.
Although we were pushed to the end of the block, other civilians were allowed to walk through the scene.
As a result of a lawsuit brought by Copwatch, APD now has an official policy of not interfering with civilians recording police. A recent federal ruling reinforces that right. However as this report shows, police on the street are still determined to use intimidation, interference, and lies to prevent the public from seeing what they do.