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Video: Cop Confiscates Video from 'Citizen Journalist'

February 18, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Ore. Cop Seizes Citizen's Video

A woman who considers herself a "citizen journalist" told KATU she plans to sue, after a Gresham (Ore.) Police officer seized video she captured during an arrest.

Carrie Medina initialy refused to show the officer the video she recorded of an arrest, when the officer asked for it. On the video, the officer can be heard explaining to Medina that he needs to see the video to see if she captured evidence of a crime. Eventually, the officer grabs the video recorder from Medina.

A Gresham PD spokesman told KATU the officer was within his legal rights to secure "perishable evidence." Several legal expets said the issue isn't clear cut.

Tags: Gresham (Ore.) PD, Fourth Amendment, Search and Seizure


Comments (17)

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17

Jim A @ 2/19/2013 1:16 AM

This "citizen journalist" had the option of becoming a cooperative witness. She did not want to help. She obviously wanted to hinder. Hindering a law enforcement officer in their duties is a crime. Crybaby.

Ima Leprechaun @ 2/19/2013 1:47 AM

Illegal Search and Seizure and a major civil rights violation. This will cost this City some big money. This is why Police Officers need good training in Constitutional Law and Police Ethics. He knows he needs a warrant to seize anything he thinks is evidence but he violated this womans 1st Amendment Rights plain and simple. When you swear to upohold the U.S. Constitution you neeed to read it and follow all of it not just the parts you agree with.

RAL @ 2/19/2013 2:09 AM

Ima Leprechaun,
You don't need a warrant to seize something that is in plain view...the fact that the evidence could have been destroyed adds "exigent circumstances" to the equation, which further justifies seizure. The fact that the civilian "considers herself a "citizen journalist" suggests she has an agenda and does not alter the facts. It is a gray area but many departments hove policy dealing with this issue.

Adam @ 2/19/2013 3:03 AM

I like how the officer said it may have evidence of a crime. I don't see how since she was only filming the arrest. The fact she didn't cooperate was her right, but obviously the officer didn't want "evidence" of the arrest. I also don't see why she wants to sue, that video has already most likely been deleted. Law enforcement is a very hard job but they shouldn't have seize that cellphone.

Random @ 2/19/2013 4:32 AM

Oregon’s shield law, ORS 44.510 through ORS 44.540, provides broad protection for reporters and others against compelled testimony, production of evidence and searches.
http://www.open-oregon.com/media-guide/chapter-15-oregons-shield-law/
The Mortgage Specialists, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.
Internet news outlets should be treated like print media and receive the same legal privileges granted to traditional journalists

Mark @ 2/19/2013 7:43 AM

42 U.S.C. sec. 2000 (aa) prohibits an officer from seize any type of media (film, photos, notes, recordings etc.) or media equipment equipment in an effort to further a criminal investigation.

But, 42 U.S.C. § 2000aa(b)(3), the “destruction of evidence” exception, allows an officer to search for and seize material relating to the investigation of a criminal matter if “there is reason to believe that the giving of notice pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum would result in the destruction, alteration, or concealment of such materials.”

The courts addressed this in United States v. Kelly, 529 F.2d 1365, 1372 (8th Cir.1976) stating an officer’s search and seizure of reporter’s videotape satisfies the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement (“in the absence of exigent circumstances in which police must act immediately to preserve evidence of the crime, we deem the warrantless search of materials protected by the First Amendment to be unreasonable.”); see Roaden, 413 U.S. at 505, 93 S.Ct. 2796 (“Where there are exigent circumstances in which police action literally must be ‘now or never’ to preserve the evidence of the crime, it is reasonable to permit action without prior judicial evaluation.”).

Thank you, that will be all!

Rev. Lowrey @ 2/19/2013 8:50 AM

The cop broke the law and violated the woman's civil rights.
You don't have to be a journalist.
Anyone can record police.
There is a legal way to obtain those recordings but the cop chose an illegal one.
I support what I consider her "obligation" to sue and expect the city will pay and the officer will be re-educated.

marty @ 2/19/2013 9:29 AM

Anyone can record the police, true. But if what you recorded has value as evidence, a police officer can seize your camera, etc. I have done seized cameras several times, and the footage has been used as evidence. One case was a felony assault on an officer, that was recorded. The other was at a shooting scene, where video footage was taken of the suspect fleeing the scene on foot, but the camera operator refused to cooperate. I took the camera, and booked it into evidence.
This is something to keep in mind if you go around recording police at work.

tim @ 2/19/2013 10:21 AM

We've gotten to the point where police can't do anything without getting sued or written up. If someone tapes a possible crime then common sense would tell you that the police have the right to get the video. Or what they should do is take the sd card out of the phone and make a copy of the video and that way the person can keep their phone and get the sd card back after the video has been copied.

desert statey @ 2/19/2013 12:10 PM

WOW! "IMA LEPRECHAUN" needs to get a refund from the law school he/she went to.

colcbp @ 2/19/2013 3:31 PM

Agree on siezing of potential evidence of a crime. And this is apparently exactly what the officer has done; however, since the photography was only of actions of arrest for a previous crime, then the potential crime(s) being committed that may or may not have been photographed are (1) officer's arresting actions of the a criminal (2) or evidence of officers unlawful actions in seizing the camera. In either case, he appears to have probably sized evidence of his own unlawful activities. Interesting, if he hadn't taken the camera his potentially unlawful acts while arresting a subject may have shown up on a TV news segment; but now he may have provided evidence of an unlawful seizure. Attorney's will have fun with this one.

Foster @ 2/19/2013 7:40 PM

Lets face it the camera is the new gun. Although I don't like the idea of the police having cart blanch with seizing personal property, I think the officer was well within his rights to request to see the video to assess if it could be used as evidence. This maybe a policy procedure that law enforcement agencies want to implement. Perhaps even obtaining the citizens contact info and requesting the video to be emailed.

John @ 2/19/2013 10:28 PM

Ima Leprechan: you are once again cherry picking the U.S. Bill of Rights to suit your liberal beliefs. You claim your support for the First Admendment, yet consistently oppose the Second Admendment.

Random @ 2/20/2013 12:32 AM

Thank you Mark for your well thought out reply. The officer’s actions were reasonable as long as the evidence was properly processed.

Ima Leprechaun @ 2/20/2013 3:58 AM

The seizure was not a justified seizure so exigent circumstances do not apply here. It really doesn't matter what the civilian called herself the forceful removal of private property needs to be done with a legal writ, if that video was so critical then holding the person and the video camera and getting a warrant would have been the "justifiable" action. I would be willing to bet the only thing on the tape was an improper procedure the officer did not wish anyone to see. What does a civilian do when the officer intends to destroy the so called "evidence" of his crime. A court order in this circumstance would have properly protected both parties involved which is what the Constitution calls for. As for Constitutional rights (John) I uphold all of them not the interpreted version the NRA tells me to. Try reading the US Constitution and Bill of Rights sometime rather than goose stepping behind the NRA.

Fel @ 2/23/2013 12:14 PM

Ima Lepre...explain, please, using your advanced knowledge base and linguistic mastery: how this doesn't justify exigence?

Seems to me that laypersons (those whom never had the pleasure of putting their own life on the line for anyone else) want to point the conspiratorial finger at the officer (who puts his life on the line daily to protect your butt) without even considering that there is likely more to the story.

That's what is wrong with this country...just look at the Dorner protests in front of LAPD. Sweet insanity of the public mentality.

Digital evidence isn't like old school evidence, you can wipe it remotely. Er go the process of handling it is a bit different. Not something the high courts haven't already addressed. Food for thought.

I wasn't there to see what happened between Gresham PD and this woman (probably another one of those ACLU app using folks...PoliceTape...making the world a safer place...) so I won't say who was right, but I do know that an officer needs to protect the integrity of evidence. If this woman was out for a cause, she really should have been cooperative. Her actions alone tell me that she is one of those people who dislikes police because she has a long history of being arrested by them.

Court info:
"In analyzing the search of the phones the court concluded that exigent circumstances supported a search without a warrant. The court asserted: 'This Court finds that exigent circumstances existed because the evidence could be lost if not retrieved immediately without the benefit of a search warrant. As counsel noted, there is no specific law in the Fourth Circuit on the search of cell phones which are lawfully seized. United States v. Hunter, 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 27765, 1998 WL 887289 (4th Cir. 1998).

People are so dumb.

Ray @ 3/7/2014 9:40 PM

If the police are trying to claim exigent circumstances, they still need a warrant signed by a magistrate before they can view the video. The police can only seize and secure the camera to prevent the destruction of evidence. They can't make you show them what's on the video or view it themselves unless they obtain a warrant. Exigent circumstances only supports a warrantless seizure, not a search. Viewing what was on her phone without her consent was essentially an illegal search.

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