Note: The video and description included within this post were shared with Nevada Cop Block via an anonymous reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.
As is mentioned in the description, this video shows what is known as a “First Amendment Audit.” That consists of going out and filming government buildings and other public property. Oftentimes, the police, security guards, government employees, and even members of the public don’t understand that the First Amendment protects a citizen’s right to take photos and/or record video of anything that is within view of a public place.
Obviously, this video is very much an example of that (commonly referred to as an “audit fail” among those who do them). After initially confronting them and asking for ID, Sgt. Toledano (along with two other unidentified officers) handcuffed the two men who go by the pseudonyms “California Guardian” and “High Desert Community Watch” publicly.
Both of them were then forced to sit in the back of a police vehicle and threatened with trespassing citations, although they never at any time entered private property. According to what Sgt. Toledago states on the video, this illegal detention was at ordered by the FBI. Eventually, they were both released without any charges.
As already stated, you obviously can legally film in public. Also, you are not required to identify yourself unless a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed, are in the process of committing, or are about to commit a crime (the requirement to be legally detained). And legally they can’t seize your camera (or any other personal property) unless they have actually arrested you or obtained a warrant or subpoena for specific content on it.
One of the main reasons for doing First Amendment Audits is to test whether the police or security officers understand the law regarding filming in public spaces. Also, part of that reasoning is making them understand that it is legal and thereby deter them from harassing people filming in the future.
Date of Incident: April 11, 2017
Officer Involved: Sgt. John Toledano
Department Involved: Imperial County (CA) Sheriff’s Office
Facebook Page: Imperial County Sheriff’s Office
Twitter Account: @ImpCoSheriff
Instagram Account: Imperial County Sheriff
Department Phone No.: (442) 265-2005
Department Email: Sheriff Raymond Loera
Adam (California Guardian) and Phillip (High Desert Community Watch) were down in Imperial County video recording when a Deputy Sheriff, Sgt Toledano, stopped them and unlawfully detained them on behalf of the FBI for the sole intent of identifying them with no suspicion that they had violated any crime.
Adam and Phillip were cuffed, placed in the back of a patrol vehicle and driven down around the corner to await the arrival of the FBI. Adam and Phillip never provided identification and were released after being given detention slips in the name of John Doe.
Both detention slips used Calif. Penal Code 647 (h) – “prowling” – as an excuse. Adam and Philip never entered any private property and remained on the public right of way (sidewalk) during their recording.
The men in the video frequently post First Amendment Audits and other videos to their Youtube channels: “California Guardian” and “High Desert Community Watch.” You can support them by making donations via GoFundMe: California Guardian and High Desert Community Watch News Network. Although they sometimes travel to other areas, as the psuedonyms they use indicate, these two auditors live in Southern California.
Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:
- First Amendment Audit: Military Police Officer Harasses Woman Legally Taking Pictures at Randolph Air Force Base, TX
- First Amendment Audit: Cop Blocker Nasty Nathanial Threatened with Arrest for Filming LA Police Station on New Year’s Eve
- First Amendment Audit: The Battousai is Harassed, Assaulted, and Illegally Detained by Austin Police Officers for Filming
- First Amendment Audit: U.S. Marshals Schooled on the First Amendment Right to Film Federal Property in Public
- First Amenment Audit: US Marshals Assault Man Holding Sign and Filming on Public Sidewalk at Federal Courthouse
- Florida Officer with Violent History Interferes with Copwatcher Filming Police Brutality in Public
- Man Arrested By Syracuse NY Cops In Retaliation For Legally Filming The Police
- Boston Cop Claims It’s Illegal to Film Him Without Informing Him First
- Man Illegally Detained and Assaulted For Filming by Nassau County Policeman
- Citizens Filming The Police Are Making It Easier For Review Boards To Get Rid of Bad Apples
- “Shoot Cops” – Las Vegas Company Uses Shock Value to Promote Filming the Police
- Security Guard With a Criminal Justice Degree; Knows Pretty Much Nothing About the Law
- Andrew Henderson Meets with Minn. Chief Over Previous Police Intimidation For Filming
- Security on Fremont St. Beat Man Then Obstruct, Assault, and Threaten Witness Trying to Film
- After $200K Settlement, Indianapolis Cops Instructed Not To Interfere With Citizens Filming Police Activity
- Update: Las Vegas Police Officer Previously Caught Committing Perjury Promoted (Again) to Captain
- Update: Racial Profiling Case by LVMPD Saturation Team Body Cam Videos Show No Original Cause for Stop
- Las Vegas Police Make It Very Clear They Don’t Understand the First Amendment at Chalk Protest
- Submit Your Own Story of Police Abuse/Corruption
- Help Wanted! How You Can Become Involved With NVCopBlock
- #FTP – How and Why You Should Always Film The Police
- Press Passes for Independent Media and Freelance Journalists
- How to File a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Request
- “Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights
- Know Your Rights Seminar Video by Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs
- Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!
- “What Happened in Vegas” Didn’t Stay in Las Vegas; Police Brutality Documentary Premiers at Cinequest
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation
- A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Area Police Brutality
- Donate to the Cause – Help Us Help You Fight The Power
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.