After receiving complaints that people were being harassed in South Central Los Angeles by LAPD officers, photo activist and new PINAC correspondant Daniel Saulmon went out with his quadcopter camera drone and fellow photo activist Ricky Munday to do a little cop watching.
Riding on bicycles, Saulmon and Munday rode by two LAPD squad cars and had to swerve into traffic to avoid a Los Angeles County Sherff’s Department vehicle parked next to a red-painted curb. An LAPD squad car then drove close enough to the riders to prompt Munday to tell the officer to slow down.
The officer parked his car in the street, stepped out and forced Saulmon and Munday to stop riding.
“I said slow down I’m talking to you,” ordered Sergeant Wank (yes, that is his real name), who took an aggressive stance less than foot from Munday. “Are you out of your mind?”
The officer then started pushing and shoving Munday, ordering him to move to the sidewalk. Munday was seated on his bicycle and the officer’s assault could easily have knocked him on to the street.
“Are you recording this?” Munday asked Saulmon.
The officer, realizing that he was on camera, immediately changed his aggressive stance into a passive one and began acting out his impression of a reasonable cop.
“You guys yelled at me, I got out of the car to make sure you’re alright,” said Sergeant Wank.
And then Daniel Saulmon spoke words that some in the PINAC community would pay to witness.
“You yelled at us, and your name couldn’t be more appropriate Sergeant Wank.”
But the highlight of the video was when they pointed out that the camera Wank was wearing on his belt had not been recording when he initially stormed out of the car.
“Pay attention and listen to me,” Sergeant Wank said. “Everything we do is recorded. It’s not about whether we are.”
“It wasn’t recording when you got out of the vehicle,” Munday pointed out.
“Of course, it is, the light is green,” Wank responded.
“You still have an on and off switch,” Saulmon said.
“You can’t turn it off from here, no,” Wank insisted “You can push all you want, but you can’t turn it off, there is no on and off switch.”
But at 2:25 in the video, you can clearly see him turning the camera on because the light goes from dark to green.
Anticipating a civilian complaint after committing assault and battery and wanting witnesses to confirm his side of the story, Sergeant Wank gathered contact information from two sheriff’s department officers who arrived on the scene. Should Saulmon file a complaint, Wank might learn the same lesson as the recently arrested and fired Sergeant Glans – police witnesses can’t save your job because the camera never lies.