War on Cameras

U.S. Marshal Grabs, Breaks L.A.-Area Woman's Phone for Daring to Film Him

Officers of the law really seem to have a problem with having their actions on the record.


From the Los Angeles Times, another tale of law enforcement illegally making sure there is no evidence of their behavior over the weekend.

On Sunday Beatriz Paez, 34, recorded video of deputy marshals as they detained a group of people in her neighborhood. Someone else in turn was recording her, on the video that ended up on YouTube and sparked the U.S. Marshals Service investigation.

"The U.S. Marshals Service is aware of video footage of an incident that took place Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a Deputy U.S. Marshal. The agency is currently reviewing the incident," officials said in a statement….

In the video, Paez is shown standing on the sidewalk aiming a cellphone toward two men standing a short distance away, wearing black shirts with tactical vests reading "Police" across the back. As the men stand with their backs to the woman, she can be heard saying "You are making me feel unsafe, and I have a right to be here" and "You need to stay away from me, I don't feel safe with you closer to me," among other statements.

Paez said Tuesday that the men had noticed her recording moments earlier and began to back up toward her to block her view. About 27 seconds into the video, a third man, a deputy U.S. marshal wearing a tactical vest and carrying a rifle, walks across a front lawn toward the sidewalk where Paez is standing.

Paez appears to aim her phone toward the deputy as one of the other men motions toward her with his arm. The words spoken at this point in the recording are unintelligible.

At 32 seconds, Paez takes a couple of steps away from the men. The deputy marshal crossing the lawn then rushes toward her and grabs the device from her hand.

"Oh! No! Don't do that!" Paez is heard yelling as the man wrestles the device out of her hand and smashes it on the ground.

The phone's screen was shattered and the device stopped working, said Paez's attorney, Colleen Flynn. They plan to try to recover the video Paez was recording from the phone's chip, Flynn said.

Paez said she began recording when she saw the law enforcement presence, their military-style weapons and a line of people being detained. She said the officers started letting the people they detained go soon after she pulled out her phone and started recording.

"It's our responsibility to take care of each other," Paez said. "It's our constitutional right to film."

Radley Balko's Reason classic from 2010 on the police war on cameras.

Video of the incident, starting around 30 seconds in:

NEXT: John Stossel's Voting for Rand Paul Next Year

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Kind of shocked this doesn’t happen WAY MORE often….

    1. I’m sure it does. But how can a person with a smashed phone prove anything?

      1. It’s not like phones have little hard drives in them recording, it’s hard to destroy their memory just by throwing it on the ground.

    2. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…

  2. I’m sure this officer will be fired and charged with battery and….

    Aw, fuck it, I can’t get through that without wanting to bang my head against the wall.

  3. I love the title: US Marshall Goes HAM.

    I suppose this gives new meaning to the old expression “hamming it up”. Unfortunately, that would cast a bad light on “ham radio”.

    I used to think it was over-the-top to refer to cops as pigs. Now it seems so appropriate that I routinely use the pejorative myself. My wife still does not approve because cops have come to her aid on occasion.

  4. she can be heard saying “You are making me feel unsafe, and I have a right to be here” and “You need to stay away from me, I don’t feel safe with you closer to me,” among other statements.

    That’s pretty much the objective. Intimidation. Dominance.

  5. I really like her comment:

    “It’s our responsibility to take care of each other,” Paez said. “It’s our constitutional right to film.”

    Things like this move forward my distinction between short term pessimism and long term optimism.

    1. The better retort is “If you’re innocent you having nothing to hide.” The only way government shit will stop using that idiotic phrase is if they have it thrown right back at them enough times.

  6. Officers of the law really seem to have a problem with …

    … the law actually applying to THEM.

  7. I’m sure he’ll face charges for battery, robbery, and destruction of property, each with deadly weapon enhancements, right?

    1. We proles would be charged with assault with a dead weapon, of that I have absolutely no doubt.

    2. Also obstruction of justice.

  8. I downloaded http://bambuser.com/ Posts your video in real time to the Interwebz so even if the forces of law & order accidentally destroy your camera or accidentally delete your videos saved on your phone, no problem. They probably don’t realize your video is safe in the cloud.

    It’s also free and easy to use.
    Nutpunch to the cops.

    1. Damn. There goes my idea. I figured something like this was out there already.

  9. there is now a cell phone app that sends the video directly to the ACLU and there is ZERO that the cop can do about it

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.