Tag Archives: Southern California

U.S. Marshals Schooled on the First Amendment Right to Film Federal Property in Public

The following videos and description were shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a California based CopBlocker, who goes by the pseudonym of “California Guardian.” It was shared via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

On the video, California Guardian can be seen filming outside the Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, which is located in Santa Ana, CA. He is initially approached by a security guard. Soon after, two individuals who appear to be undercover police of some sort begin questioning him about what he is doing. Not long after that, a pair of U.S. Marshals arrive and also begin trying to demand his ID, while issuing threats about him getting arrested for filming on federal property.

California Guardian stands his ground, refuses to identify himself without them stating that is being detained (and providing a valid reason), and correctly informs them that the he has the right to film in public per the First Amendment and that this right has been upheld several times in court, including Federal Courts. Eventually, they are apparently informed that he is right and leave, walking back into the building.

The second video embedded below contains a follow up visit done by a group known as High Desert Community Watch, which shows that the guards now understand people are allowed to film in public. Instead of harassing the people filming, the security guard simply reports on his radio that there are some people who are “just filming.”

I know personally one of the questions I often get is some variation of why we “bother” the police by arguing with them over legal issues. These two videos present a great example of why that is and should be done. In the first video, someone not breaking any law or posing any threat is harassed and threatened by U.S. Marshals. In the second, someone is able to do so without that impediment to their rights. Also, in the first video (and oftentimes when members of NVCopBlock are out filming or doing actions) the people involved seem to genuinely not understand the law and appropriate constitutional rights. Making sure that they do in fact understand citizen’s rights and law enforcement’s responsibilities is something that not only eliminates future harassment, but potentially prevents something even worse from happening as a result of overzealous and uniformed public officials and/or security.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

Click the banner to submit content to CopBlock.org

On Oct 25, California Guardian, a CopBlocker and First Amendment auditor from Southern California, was recording outside the Reagan Federal Building in Santa Anna, CA. when U.S. Marshals, after being contacted by a guard working for Paragon Security, attempted to infringe on California Guardian’s First Amendment rights to film in public demanded his identification and threatened him with arrest. California Guardian stood his ground and continued recording, refused to be intimidated or to provide I.D. even after the marshals threatened to have him arrested by the Federal Protection Police. Ultimately the Marshals did the shameful Walk of Dishonor.

A couple of days later, High Desert Community Watch, accompanied by Teen4Justice and CaliGirl, returned to Santa Ana and video recorded in the same location at the Reagan Federal Building where Paragon and court officers did not bother them.

These two occurrences are proof that what Copblockers and First Amendment Auditors do to defend our rights does in fact make a difference. The security guards and the marshals at that location learned a lesson and have changed, for now, their dishonorable and shameful breaking of their oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.

– California Guardian

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Update: Woman Beaten by LVMPD Officer For Littering Has Filed Civil Rights Lawsuit

In January, I posted about former LVMPD Officer Richard Scavone, who was caught on camera assaulting a woman. The immediate reason for his violent actions that day was that she had thrown a cup of coffee on the ground while he was in the process of profiling and harassing her. In reality, it was a case of “contempt of cop” in which the woman didn’t properly bow and scrape to his authoritah and possibly a bit of showing off to the corrections officer he was giving a ride along to at the time.

Now the woman he attacked and then arrested on trumped up charges to justify that arrest has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against him. In that lawsuit, Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz names the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Scavone, and former Corrections Officer Travis Buechler who was with Scavone at the time of the incident. Cal Potter, a Las Vegas civil rights lawyer, is representing Vizcarrondo-Ortiz in the lawsuit.

Via the Associated Press:

A California woman who authorities say was illegally beaten by a police officer wearing a body camera has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages from Las Vegas police, the former patrol officer and his partner at the time.

Officials have called the case one of the first to use body-camera video against an officer wearing the device.

Amanda Vizcarrondo-Ortiz of Los Angeles said in her lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas that she suffered permanent face, neck and back injuries during her January 2015 arrest on littering and loitering for prostitution charges. The charges were later dropped.

Ortiz’s lawyer, Cal Potter, called her beating and arrest unjustified “street justice” for offending the arresting officer, Richard Thomas Scavone, by throwing a cup of coffee on the ground and refusing to put her hands behind her back to be handcuffed.
“He videotaped his own misconduct,” Potter said of Scavone. “It’s our belief that there was no basis for the stop or the arrest…”
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LVMPD Sued By Man Shown on Video Being Attacked by Police at Hard Rock Casino

Ian Tuuamalemalo, a man who was visiting Las Vegas from Southern California, has filed a police brutality lawsuit over an incident in which he was violently attacked by a group of officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Tuuamalemalo had been attending a reggae concert at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in January of 2014 when the assault occurred.

Although it was claimed in the police report that Tuuamalemalo was acting aggressively, he was actually walking away from the officers when he was grabbed from behind and then punched in the face by one of the (as yet unidentified) officers. The rest of the officers then jumped on him and he appears to have been knocked unconscious before being carried away. Charges against him were later dropped.

The beating of Tuuamalemalo is shown on a surveillance video (embedded below) from the casino. Cal Potter, a local civil rights attorney who is representing Tuuamalemalo, has described the altercation as “an organized riot on the part of the police.” In addition, Potter states that the LVMPD ruled that a “policy violation” had been committed, although no details of what exactly that violation was or by whom it was committed had been provided.

Via KLASTV – 8 News Now:

“They could have killed me,” he said.

The video shows him being tugged on his shirt, followed by what may be a punch. He is shown being taken to the ground by police, restrained and carried out. Tuuamalemalo appears to be passed out.

“I don’t like being helpless,” he said.

The incident occurred January 26, 2014. The 34-year-old man says he was visiting from California for a reggae show at the Hard Rock, when he had a run-in with Metro Police…

They claim this is excessive use of force by police. Since there is no audio, it is unclear how this started and what was said between police and Tuuamalemalo.

A Metro report describes him as aggressive and refers to his size. He says, at the time, he was nearly 380 pounds, and stands 6’1”.

He says he was walking away, when someone tugged his shirt.

“I just remembered I turned around. Right when I turned around, that’s when I seen the officer. He just had a, just a full swing, just takes one to my face,” he said.

“There is no excuse for that,” Potter added.

Potter says he’s concerned about the tactics used to restrain his client.

“In a perfect world, the United States Attorney’s Office would pick up this case, and prosecute it and indict the officers that were involved,” he said.

Tuuamalemalo was arrested for resisting a public officer and destroying property at the Hard Rock. The charges were later dropped.

He says he complained to Metro Police. He received letter (sic) in January 2015 – approximately a year after the incident – stating a policy violation was found to be sustained. It does not state, however, what that violation is and who may have been held accountable.

“There is a blue wall of silence that we are all aware that work in the police misconduct business and civil rights violations,” Potter said…

Potter says he believes the person who may have thrown a punch is a Metro Police sergeant, but 8 News NOW could not confirm that.

Obviously, we all know this isn’t a “perfect world,” where cops are actually held accountable for their actions. That is certainly not the case for Las Vegas area police departments, where cops are free to do pretty much anything they want without any realistic fear of repercussions. He’s quite right that they could have killed him (on video) and easily gotten away with it.

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