” Adam Pringle was cited by a San Diego police officer over the weekend for smoking on the sidewalk — an actual violation of the law in the area he was in — but it wasn’t so much this violation that he finds upsetting. Pringle was filming his citation with his smartphone and after he refused to stop when asked by police, he claims the officer attacked him.
According to Photography is Not a Crime – a weblog frequently covering the right to photograph and film law enforcement activities in public — Pringle was walking on Mission Beach boardwalk on Saturday when two police on bicycles approached him and his friends for the violation.
In the video that was posted on YouTube of the encounter, you can see an officer writing up the ticket as Pringle says offscreen that he was getting a citation for smoking on the sidewalk. From there, when the officer is about to explain to Pringle the citation, he asks that Pringle put his phone away. Pringle refused, which led to what appears to be a struggle before the screen goes dark.”
” A separate video filmed by one of Pringle’s friends identifies one of the officers as M. Reinhold.
In this video, Reinhold said “[the other officer said] just give him the phone. Isn’t that a reasonable thing to do?”
The friend asks how the phone is a weapon and Reinhold said he didn’t know for sure at the time that Pringle’s device wasn’t.
“If you look it up online, cellphones can be converted into firearms and Tasers. Look it up online. There’s video of how to do it,” Reinhold said.
Reinhold later goes on to explain that officers have training on how cellphones can be converted into such weapons.
“So, if someone wants to stand within a couple feet of me, I’m gonna need to look at that cellphone and make sure it’s not a weapon,” he said.”
” UPDATE II: Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, sent the following email to the mayor:
As the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) I have been in contact with you police department in an ongoing attempt to help improve police relations and avoid the type of incident that occurred yesterday. See: http://www.photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/04/09/san-diego-police-attack-and-arrest-man-video-recording-them-claiming-phone-could-be-a-weapon/
I spoke at the annual meeting of the IACP held in your city last September regarding the First Amendment rights of the press and public to photograph and record. Apparently more is needed. As I have done training with other police departments around the country I renew my offer to help yours.
Please feel free to contact me.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Very truly yours,
Mickey H. Osterreicher
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)”