California Cop Watcher Jailed Twice in Three Days;

Carlos Miller

California Cop Watcher Jailed Twice in Three Days; One for "Endangering" Lives of Officers with Cameras

Daniel Saulmon had just spent two nights in jail for video recording a pair of Hawthorne cops making a traffic stop in which a cop accused him of “endangering” their lives with his cameras when he came across another traffic stop involving Torrance police.

He started video recording and quickly found himself back in jail, less than eight hours after having been released.

The 41-year-old man was still wearing the jail-issued bracelet like a hungover nightclub patron.

“I was arrested on a bogus warrant,” Saulmon said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime Thursday afternoon, having gone a remarkable 24 hours without an arrest.

Tuesday’s arrest marks the sixth time he has been arrested for video recording cops, not that they ever charge him with that because there is no law in the books forbidding this.

They usually charge him with Penal Code Section 148, resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer, which is California’s go-to contempt of cop charge.

But after verbally verifying Saulmon’s name, the Torrance cop discovered he had a bench warrant stemming from a 2011 incident in which he was cited for driving his car too far past a “limit line,” while he was video recording them from his car.

He apparently failed to appear in court for that case. Saulmon said he may have been in jail over another contempt of cop incident at the time. He doesn’t exactly remember.

He said he has no regrets about stopping his bicycle and recording the Torrance stop because they were pulling the shoes and socks off a handcuffed suspect sitting on the side of the road, what he calls an “unacceptable strip search.”

He also has a pending lawsuit against the Hawthorne police department from a November 2012 arrest in which he spent four days in jail for recording cops on a traffic stop. And he already won a $25,000 settlement from the Hawthorne Police Department from a previous arrest for recording cops.

So Sunday’s arrest, which involved two of the cops from his 2012 arrest, proves they really don’t care how often he sues them.

And that shouldn’t be surprising considering how Hawthorne police shamelessly retaliated against Leon Rosby this month after killing his dog in a video that went viral.

Despite the constant arrests, Saulmon has no intention of stopping his activism as he rides his bike all over town with at least two cameras; one strapped to the bike, the other in his backpack ready to pull out.

“I don’t care how many times they arrest me, I’m not going away,” he said. “I’m going to get as close as I can to see what’s going on so they will stop violating people’s rights.

“They’re going to have to shoot me to get me to stop.”

Saulmon recently launched a site, Mistaken Bacon, where he is accepting donations for his activism. Youtube recently terminated one of his accounts with no explanation, he said, forcing him to create a new one under the name, Tom Zebra,


War on Photography