The police chief of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., has announced a formal investigation into an incident where a officer violated a policy allowing citizens to freely video record police activity.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she was “shocked” when she saw how the officer responded to a man recording an arrest. Further, she said there is “no excuse fro an officer to be unaware” of the department’s policy on the public’s right to film officers.
Andrew Heining recently posted video of police physically restraining a man outside of a public library earlier this month. His video doesn’t capture what sparked the incident, but he decided to record the actual arrest occurring from a distance.
As previously reported by TheBlaze, Heining claimed that Officer C.C. Reynolds “tried to intimidate” him and force him to leave the scene.
In the video, Reynolds is seen approaching Reynolds and telling him, “I would suggest you pack up and go.”
“I’m just standing on the sidewalk, sir,” Heining replies.
“This is not public,” the officer shoots back. “You are videotaping an investigation.”
Officer Reynolds later asks for the man’s ID because “if you are going to sit here and videotape, that makes you part of the investigation, sir.”
Watch the rest of the confrontation below:
Heining later filed a citizen complaint against the officer and the department.
Chief Lanier provided the following statement to WNEW:
We have an extremely clear policy that addresses the Metropolitan Police Department’s recognition of the First Amendment rights enjoyed by – not only members of the media, but the general public as well – to video record, photograph and or audio record MPD members conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity.
We spent an extensive amount of time to ensure that members were aware of the policy (developed in 2011).
The video speaks for itself. I was shocked when I saw it. There is no excuse for an officer to be unaware of the policy.
This matter is under investigation.
Cathy L. Lanier Chief of Police