Animal Control Officer Calls Cops on Man Recording her; Cops Show up, Tackle him
Dolores Luberto probably was a cop at one point in her life. If not, then she missed her calling because the animal control officer has extreme control issues believing she has the authority to stop people from recording her in public.
Not even the cops have that right but that didn't stop Bisbee police from responding to Luberto's whine for help about a man "interfering" with her work by recording her from at least 15 feet away. Three of them showed up and tackled the videographer without even assessing the situation.
Like many control freaks with badges, Luberto began by "asking" the man to stop recording her even though it is implied as a demand with consequences if the request is not honored.
Luberto even came charging towards him, bitching about how he needs to remain at least six feet away from her, confusing social distancing guidelines for whatever law she believes entitles her to an expectation of privacy in public.
But now Luberto has been suspended with pay so hopefully her understanding of the First Amendment is a little clearer.
The man with the camera has been identified as "Owen" by the Herald-Tribune. He posted the video to the Bisbee News Network YouTube channel.
The incident took place Wednesday when a woman called animal control about a skunk in the area. When Luberto responded, Owen began recording from a very respectable distance. But Luberto proved to be unable to do her job.
According to the Herald-Review:
Two videos — one taken by Bisbee News Network and another shot by the woman who called animal control about the critter — show Bisbee Animal Control Officer Dolores Luberto ordering the videographer to leave the area, even though he is filming in a public place. Luberto then begins advancing toward the videographer in an attempt to get him to leave, the video shows.
Luberto then turns to her shoulder radio and calls for backup, saying that she has an individual who is "interfering with my investigation...".
Minutes later a Bisbee Police Department sport utility vehicle with its siren and lights activated appears in the video and two officers jump out and run toward the videographer. They take him down and handcuff him. All told, three policemen surround the man as he sits on the ground, the video shows.
Bisbee Mayor David Smith, a former Tucson police officer, said he was dismayed by videos of the ordeal.
"The animal control officer is on paid administrative leave," Smith told the Herald/Review on Friday. "The whole incident is being investigated."
"I can't defend any of what I saw," Smith added, referring to the videos of Luberto and the three Bisbee officers. "Any time there's an incident that reflects poorly on the police, is a sad state of affairs, whether it's provoked or not."
Smith indicated that when Luberto called for backup, she did not answer her radio when officers called her to determine what was going on at Vista Park.
It should have been evident when the cops arrived that Luberto was safe from the man who was just standing there recording, but that did not stop the from rushing and tackling him.
But the cops have not been disciplined.
(City Manager Theresa) Coleman confirmed that Luberto is on paid administrative leave, but said the three officers involved in the videographer's arrest are still on the job and are not being investigated.
When asked why the policemen's actions are not under investigation, Coleman paused before responding.
"Well that's an interesting question," she said. "I don't know why they're not under investigation. I'll have to ask Chief Long on Monday."
The answer to the above question is very simple. The cops have Blue Privilege. The animal control worker only imagined she has Blue Privilege.
The woman who called about the skunk began recording the cops arresting Owen which prompted Luberto to order her to stop recording. She even started walking towards the woman but one of the cops held her back, probably the smartest thing anybody with a badge did that day.
Owen told the Herald-Review that he was taken to the station and released two hours later with no charges.