Sharply condemning the deputy U.S. marshal who destroyed the cell phone of a woman taping a law enforcement action in South Gate, Congresswoman Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, is calling for a Justice Department investigation into the incident.

“As the Congresswoman who represents the residents of South Gate, I was alarmed and upset by the actions of the law enforcement officer captured on the video,” she said in a statement. “My constituent Beatriz Paez was exercising her constitutional rights when she filmed what she saw in her neighborhood,”

The deputy marshal was part of a task force also including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A neighbor filmed his attack on the offending cell phone, which he angrily threw to the ground. That YouTube video is reported to have has been viewed more than 760,000 times since Sunday, when the incident occurred.

“I condemn the actions of the U.S. marshal who violently and improperly responded by destroying Ms. Paez’s property, terrifying her and denying her rights” Hahn said.

Hahn called for an investigation by the Justice Department “so the public can have confidence that the marshals will be held accountable, and I want all law enforcement officers to receive training and instructions to respect the rights of citizens to film police activity.

“We must hold all who are sworn to protect and serve accountable and send a clear message that they are not beyond the law,” she said.

Paez plans to file a lawsuit against the agent who grabbed her phone, the two who stood by and watched, and potentially the agencies involved in the operation, her attorney, Colleen Flynn, told the Los Angeles Times.

—City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.