Officials are investigating a shocking video that purports to show a U.S. marshal destroying the phone of a recording bystander.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on April 19 in South Gate, California, within Los Angeles County. In the clip, recorded from a building across the street, a bystander appears to be filming and talking to uniformed officials responding to a report of a biker gang meeting. A man wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a weapon then grabs her phone, slamming it to the ground before kicking it down the street.
The U.S. Marshals Service identified the man as a U.S. marshal, but his name has not been released.
“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,” a spokesperson for the Marshals Central District of California office told The Huffington Post in an emailed statement. “The agency is currently reviewing the incident.”
It’s unclear whether the individual recording was affiliated with six people arrested during the police response, according to NBC Los Angeles. But it’s perfectly legal to film officers in all 50 states as long as you don’t interfere with their work.
“There are First Amendment protections for people photographing and recording in public,” Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney with the National Press Photographers Association, told HuffPost after several journalists were arrested during last year’s Ferguson protests.
Intentionally blocking or ordering an individual to cease recording constitutes a First Amendment violation.