After a call for help about a 19-year-old woman who reportedly threatened her family with a gun, San Jose police found the girl armed with only a cordless drill.
According to the San Jose Mercury News:
Police and witnesses — some of whom captured the incident on cellphone video — said when [she] got within about 15 feet of [Officer] Okuma, the officer opened fire.
According to Andrew Payne, a witness to the event, the police began confiscating cell phones from bystanders after the shooting.
“There were 20 people there with cellphones, and they harassed me when I didn’t cooperate,” he said.
But unlike some of the other people, Payne said he refused to hand over his phone for officers to search or give them his personal information. He said he was approached a few minutes later by Sgt. Teresa Jeglum, who is the sole officer named in his complaint. Payne said Jeglum asked him if he was taking pictures, and when he answered affirmatively, told him to clear them from his phone.
“She told me, ‘You either need to delete those photos or I’m confiscating your cellphone.’ I told her she couldn’t do that, and then she reached to grab my phone.”
He said he later relented to officers’ requests for his personal information after they asked him if he wanted to go to police headquarters. “They threatened to detain me if I didn’t give them my info,” Payne said.
On August 21, Payne filed an internal affairs complaint, a tactic which has proven to be nearly meaningless in recent weeks at various police stations nationwide. As for the San Jose police, their issues may go beyond the casual abuse or ignorance that Photography Is Not A Crime.
The question is, were the officers trying to get video evidence in order to exonerate themselves or because they wanted to bury any damning videos? According to Andrew Payne, San Jose police didn’t want to obtain his cell phone video – they wanted to delete it.
“She told me, ‘You either need to delete those photos or I’m confiscating your cellphone.'”
If Payne is telling the truth, then one has to wonder just how damning the recording from a witness’ cell phone could be, and why police would want so badly to erase it.
One final note – Payne, the man demanding an internal investigation of the San Jose police, is the son of a lieutenant with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office who said, “I’m totally for police officers, but I’m also for civil rights.”