An incident allegedly took place last month in the lobby of the Victorville Patrol Station of the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department that appears to be somewhat disturbing.
According to the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, 34-year-old Duncan Hicks says he arrived at the station to file a domestic incident report having to do with an alleged violation of a court ordered custody agreement. Hicks told the paper he felt he was treated poorly and disrespectfully by the deputies, so he returned a short while later with a video camera and then began recording the incident.
In the video, Hicks can be heard expressing some displeasure that he did not feel the deputy was properly filing out the incident report and he seemed worried that might impact the outcome of his child custody battle. Hicks then explains he does not feel the report properly explains the incident and this remark is what seemingly triggered an astounding response from a uniformed deputy. The confrontation can be seen about 50 seconds into the video posted above.
The unidentified deputy says, “You know, Duncan, man, I am about getting tired of you and you’re about to go to jail, just so you know.”
Hicks asks what he is going to jail for and the deputy actually appears to respond, “I’ll create something, you understand. You’ll go to jail. You understand that.” Hicks said he did not understand how the deputy could just be make something up to arrest him, so the deputy responded that he could arrest him for filming in the lobby.
According to the newspaper report, a sergeant he spoke with at the station (presumably off camera) told him the “deputy was probably having a bad day.”
LawNewz reached out to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s press information office and received a written response from San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon
“Since viewing the video, our employees’ response to the citizen is not consistent with my expectation of customer service. Additionally, the deputy’s responses are not consistent with the interpretation of the law. As a result, we are conducting an administrative investigation into this incident, and the four other previous contacts with the citizen to ensure all previous contacts were professionally handled. We will be re-contacting the citizen and addressing his concerns. Once we determine the outcome of our investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”
As for the deputy stating it was a crime to videotape an officer in a public space? Well, a spokesperson for the Victorville Patrol Station confirmed to the paper there are no signs in the lobby stating anything about the prohibition of video and there is no rule against it either.
Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union takes the position that taking “photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes police and other government officials carrying out their duties.” However, they do acknowledge police officers are known to threaten people with arrest for filming them.
[image via screengrab]