At 6:24 p.m. on Sunday evening, Andrew Heining was riding his bike past a Washington, D.C., public library when he saw seven police officers arresting a man outside, and he decided to stop and record it on his cellphone.
In the video, as the officers seem to have the man under control, one of them, Officer C.C. Reynolds, approaches Heining and engages him in a conversation that apparently has sparked a citizen complaint against the officer and the department.
Image source: YouTube
Heining was standing approximately 30 feet from the group of officers and the suspect, according to the video. After saying that he was merely recording the event and not involved in what the police described as a report of "people fighting with sticks and weapons," the officer asked for identification. Heining gave his name and address, but said he was without an I.D. card.
Two more officers joined Reynolds and the trio formed a semicircle around him.
Image source: YouTube
The police informed Heining that his recording of the arrest could be considered "evidence" and they could confiscate it. Reynolds added, "If you're gonna sit here and videotape, that makes you part of the investigation, sir."
Reynolds eventually walked away from Heining to retrieve a roll of police tape from his SUV. The officer informed Heining that he was closing off the entire block and moved him to the very end of the street.
Heining, writing that the Reynolds tried to "intimidate" him, posted online that he filed a report. He said he was contacted afterward and told by a D.C. police captain that "the officers shown were clearly in the wrong." He also said he was told that "the officers in the video would be disciplined."
Heining's YouTube post also referenced a 2012 order from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department on the topic of citizens and bystanders recording police activity. The order states that this is a First Amendment right: "In areas open to the public, members shall allow bystanders the same access for photography as is given to members of the news media."
Watch the video:
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