BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — Questions are being raised about whether law enforcement in Beverly Hills are playing music while being filmed by activists in a purported effort to activate copyright filters on social media sites when those videos are shared online.
Activist Sennett Devermont shares videos on Instagram each time he has an encounter with officers and his most recent encounter with Beverly Hills police officers, which ended in a sergeant turning on music, caused free speech concerns about if that is a tactic to stop people from filming police encounters.
Instagram is one of such platforms that has a piracy rule in place, preventing certain videos from being shared on the site.
“This is a form of assaulting free speech. He’s playing copyrighted music,” Devermont said.
The police officer was heard saying, “I can’t hear you,” while Devermont asked him to turn down the music. The officer also requested if the two could speak without Devermont’s cellphone.
Devermont records the police frequently and shares videos on his Instagram account, which has more than 300,000 followers.
“To me, it’s not anti-cop. It’s anti-bad-cop,” Devermont said.
According to one of Devermont’s social media pages, he was at the police station trying to get a Freedom of Information Act request form and “wanted to ask if [he] needed a new form for each event with the same officer.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department did not have an answer about why the officer was playing music during the interaction with Devermont but said they are investigating.
BHPD told CBS2/KCAL9 that it is looking into these incidents and that they do not condone any of their officers playing music on their phones while talking with the public or taking police reports.
“I’m thankful for any time a department’s willing to look into their officers. I’m always skeptical,” Devermont said.