A man who was taking photos in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant ended up detained by cops demanding his identification, telling him they were investigating burglaries in the area.
It is not clear how they took the leap from questioning a man for taking photos in public to investigating burglaries, but “burglaries in the area” is an old standby excuse frequently used by police to detain and harass innocent people, even if there have not been a rash of burglaries.
The man who goes by Dat Man on YouTube chatted with them for a few minutes while recording, even handing one of them his business cards, but he says he walked away without providing identification.
The original video lasts almost four minutes before it cuts out while they are still detaining him. But then he posted a follow up video explaining that the camera turned off on him, but that he walked away shortly after it turned off.
And in response to being criticized by commenters in his initial video for talking too much, he said he is just learning how to handle cops in these situations.
But for a novice, he did very well, remaining calm and assertive, even citing the landmark case, Terry v. Ohio, as to why he did not have to provide identification if they were unable to articulate a reasonable suspicion that he was committing a crime.
Dat Man explained to the cops that he works for a remodeling company and was merely photographing a co-worker who was parked in a Carl’s Jr. parking lot while he was supposed to be working.
But a woman saw him taking photos and became suspicious, so she called police.
Instead of informing the woman that photography is not a crime, police responded as if an actual crime was being committed.
He said five patrol cars showed up, each of them containing two deputies, but only three deputies are evident in the video.
Back in September, he posted the “first of many to come” First Amendment audits where he stood in front of a Los Angeles sheriff’s facility and was harassed by a deputy who at first told him it was not a First Amendment right to record the facility.
But the deputy did not push the matter anymore once Dat Man asserted his rights as you can see in the third video below.
Now if he can only learn to turn his phone sideways.