LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says she was shocked upon seeing a YouTube video that shows a District officer violating a policy that allows the public to video record police activity.
YouTube user Andrew Heining posted the video Sept. 7.
In the video description, he writes: “I pulled out my phone and began recording when I came upon a man being physically restrained by 7 D.C. police officers outside the downtown branch of the D.C. Public Library September 7, 2014, at 6:24 p.m. The video came out blurry, but 48 seconds in, Officer C.C. Reynolds (badge 3983) didn’t like that I was recording the proceedings, and tried to intimidate me into leaving the scene.”
Heining also wrote that he didn’t see what lead up to the man’s arrest, but decided to record the aftermath “in light of the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island, N.Y., and elsewhere” involving the use of deadly force by police officers.
“I know that I have a right to occupy a public place, and that recording the police isn’t cause for suspicion or accusation of wrongdoing,” the video description says.
In a written statement to WNEW, Lanier said the following:
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.
We spent an extensive amount of time to ensure that members were aware of the policy (developed in 2011).
The video speaks for itself. I was shocked when I saw it. There is no excuse for an officer to be unaware of the policy.
This matter is under investigation.
Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police
The Metropolitan Police Department is actually considering the use of on-body cameras for its officers.