Interesting arrest-of-man-video’ing-police case
Case: MAM v. CITY OF FULLERTON, Case No. 8:11-cv-1242-JST (MLGx) (C.D. California, March 12, 2013)
What happened: Man videotaped police making a violent arrest outside a bar at 2 am. One of the policeman pulled the videographer (that is, the plaintiff here) out of a small crowd and arrested him for obstruction after taking him to the ground with a leg sweep. Another person in the small crowd picked up the camera and kept taping while police were arresting plaintiff.
Decision: (i) there was probable cause for obstruction because videographer would not move back; (ii) there may be a good “First Amendment retaliation” claim because none of the crowd moved back, but only the guy wih the camera was arrested; and (iii) the leg sweep may have been excessive force.
Comment: I wonder how the police would have acted without the camera there. I believe this is the same police force that beat Kelly Thomas to death.