Officer Scrutinized For Arresting Videographer Of Investigation Scene
COVINA (CBSLA.com) — A Covina police officer is under investigation after arresting a man capturing a cellphone video of the officer, who was performing a criminal investigation.
Resident William Robin approached the scene of the criminal investigation, and began recording the activity on his cellphone. After being asked a number of questions, Robin, who later posted the video to YouTube, was arrested.
Robin now claims he is a victim of police intimidation.
“Basically, I pull up, and just whip out my phone,” Robin said. “Then I just found myself in handcuffs, and next thing you know, I’m at the jail.”
In the video, the officer requests Robin’s identification, which Robin said he did not have. The officer then tells Robin that he is interfering with his investigation and threatens to detain him.
“I’m conducting a criminal investigation. I have lawful authority to detain you,” the officer said. “I am conducting a criminal investigation, and you are taping cars that are involved in that investigation, and I need to know who you are because someone that I’m still looking for is outstanding.”
Robin, meanwhile, argues the arrest was a violation of his rights.
“I definitely have a right to be in a public access way with my video camera, and he thought otherwise,” Robin said.
However, a clip of the video, in which Robin is approaching the scene, puts his disposition and his intentions in question.
At the beginning of the clip, Robin can be heard saying: “(Expletive) police,” before asking the officer, “How’s it going, bud?”
Robin, who was locked up for six hours, tells CBS2/KCAL9’s Tom Wait that he was not looking for any confrontation and suggests that force was used against him.
“I was nonviolent, and he used force against me, he actually slammed me up against the cop car,” Robin said. “So, I’d say I handled it well.”
While Covina police have not commented on the specifics of the investigation, they have said that the officer remains on the job and that the department trains officers to understand the rights of citizens to videotape in public places.