War on Cameras

A Young Man Recorded a Cop Pointing His Gun Toward Children, So the Cop Arrested Him

An El Paso police officer pointed his gun at some children, then arrested the young man who caught it on camera.


A video posted to Facebook shows an unnamed El Paso police officer detaining a young boy. When surrounding children criticize the officer, he pulls out his gun and aims it at the crowd. Moments later, a second officer comes to help. The officer then pulls out his baton and begins shoving spectators away from the scene.

About a minute into the video, the gun-pointing officer sets his sights on the guy filming his behavior. The young cameraman says "I'm just recording" before the officer places him in handcuffs. The camera is handed off to someone else in the crowd to capture the second arrest.

The El Paso Police Department released a statement on Saturday, a day after the video was posted. According to the statement, the officers on video were initially responding to a criminal trespass call. The officer, who was identified only as a four-year veteran stationed at the Central Regional Command Center, was reassigned to desk duties while the department's Internal Affairs Unit investigates the events captured on video.

Assistant City Manager Dionne Mack told reporters at a press conference that one minor and one adult were taken into custody and "charged with interfering with a police investigation." Mack said the incident was being investigated based on a process that is "clearly defined in our policies and procedures."

According to USA Today, the department declined to provide specifics about the policies covering handgun and baton use.

Bonus link: Our cover story from January 2011, "The War on Cameras."