Date of Incident: December 31, 2016(New Year’s Eve)
Department Involved: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office
Department Address: Compton Station, 301 S. Willowbrook Ave. Compton, CA 90220
Department Phone No.: (310) 605-6500
Howdy folks. Hows everyone doing? I hope that all of you had a Happy New Year. I spent final hours of 2016 doing some Cop Blocking and conducting First Amendment Audits with fellow Cop Blockers/Auditors High Desert Community Watch and Teen For Justice. What a better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to film public officials in the commission of duties and to hold them accountable for their actions.
I met up with High Desert Community Watch and Teen For Justice on the morning of December 31st and together we spent the day traveling around the greater Los Angeles area and filming. Things had been going pretty peacefully until later in the evening when we decided to audit the Compton Sheriff’s Station.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been providing law enforcement services for the city of Compton ever since September of 2000. The Compton Police Department is said to have been disbanded for fiscal issues. But the reality is that when a gun used to murder a Long Beach police officer was found in possession of the Compton Police, it opened the doors to an Internal Affairs investigation that involved missing drugs and a level of corruption that forced the city to disband its own police force. But having LA County sheriff’s deputies patrolling the city is not much of an improvement.
Together the three of us walked over to the gate where official police vehicles come in and out of the station. One thing that I found peculiar about the Compton Sheriff’s station is that there is this very high wall that surrounds the lot. At many police stations that I have filmed there was a fence that you could easily see through, or if there was a wall, it wasn’t very high. But it was obvious that sheriff’s officials in Compton didn’t want the public to be able to see beyond those walls. But my question is “why”? What are they doing back there that they don’t want us tax paying citizens to know about? Torturing prisoners? Dealing drugs? Practicing witchcraft?
So, I decided to have a look for myself. Attaching my camera to an extension pole and raising it high above, not over, the wall I was able to get some nice shots of the parking lot. It didn’t take long before this caught the attention of a passerby whom did a quick u-turn in the middle of the street and then parked their vehicle with the headlights facing us. It became pretty obvious that this individual, whoever they were, had reported on my filming above the wall for within’ no time at all the three of us were swarmed by LA County sheriff’s deputies whom were a bit upset to say the least. I counted ten in total.
One of the deputies, whom looked, talked, and acted like a Cholo, walked up on me and in his best intimidating sounding voice informed me that if I record over the “fence” I’ll go to jail. It’s a WALL not a fence idiot. But his point was clear. He didn’t like the fact that I was filming above the wall.
Now let me point out a few things. First of all, I was not filming “over” the wall. I was filming ABOVE the wall. Second, the whole time I was standing in a public area and filming from public view, which is perfectly legal under the law. The eyes cannot trespass, nor can a camera lens.
So with this being the case, what alleged crimes had been committed that would justify a gang of sheriff’s deputies coming out of the station only to intimidate us and threaten me with arrest? The answer is simple. No crimes had been committed. What we were doing at that very moment in the final hours of 2016 was exercising our constitutionally protected right to film in public. A right that has been upheld by several courts. I can’t help it if some thuggish cops got butt hurt over it.
As we enter 2017, maybe these deputies in Compton should make a New Year’s resolution to start honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution instead of attempting to violate the rights of private citizens. Either way, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
– Nasty Nathanial