“You are videotaping this crime scene, right? … That makes you part of it. And your little camera phone could be used as evidence, you understand?”
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said she was “shocked” by a video that shows an officer confronting a citizen who was filming an arrest on a public sidewalk.
“We have an extremely clear policy that addresses the Metropolitan Police Department’s recognition of the First Amendment rights enjoyed by, not only members of the media, but the general public as well, to video record, photograph and or audio record MPD members conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity,” Lanier said in a statement. “We spent an extensive amount of time to ensure that members were aware of the policy, developed in 2011.”
Andrew Heining, a mobile engagement producer at the Washington Post, shot the video on September 7 outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Shortly after he begins filming, an officer, identified as C.C. Reynolds, approaches him and tells him to “pack up and go.”
Heining questioned the officer’s directive and remained on the sidewalk. “You are videotaping this crime scene, right? … That makes you part of it. And your little camera phone could be used as evidence, you understand?” Reynolds said.