A video posted Sunday on YouTube appears to show an armor-clad law enforcement officer with a long rifle confronting a woman as she films officers on the scene. In the above-embedded video, which includes adult language and was provided by the investigative journalism site Photography Is Not a Crime, the officer can be seen approaching the woman and grabbing what appears to be either a smartphone or a digital camera from her hands, then smashing it on the ground and kicking it out of range. The incident took place in South Gate, CA and was caught on video by another bystander, who was filming from across the street and out of view of the officer.
NBC Los Angeles is reporting that federal officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the incident. South Gate Police Chief Randy Davis told the NBC affiliate that the officer seen in the video works for the US Marshals Service. Chief Davis also specifically pointed out the fact that that the South Gate Police Department was not involved in the apparent camera-smashing incident, which he said took place on Sunday.
The woman was reportedly filming as police from a multi-agency task force responded to an incident involving a biker gang, during which there was an altercation between a biker and a police officer and six people were arrested. It is not yet known whether the woman in the video was just a bystander or associated with the individuals being arrested by officers on the scene.
A spokesperson for the US Marshals Service’s Central District of California told The Huffington Post, “The US Marshals Service is aware of video footage of an incident that took place Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a Deputy US Marshal. The agency is currently reviewing the incident.”