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Harbor City

Teen Volunteer Arrested While Filming at LAPD-Sponsored Movie Night In Harbor City

12:26 PM PDT on September 6, 2022

Well, they tried.

The LAPD co-hosted a community movie night with Harbor City's City Council this weekend, likely intended to boost relations between neighborhood residents and the police.

Unfortunately, many attendees (and a larger social media audience and at least one legendary actor from The Wire) were left with the lasting image of a group of uniformed law enforcement professionals pointing a taser at and handcuffing a teenage volunteer for filming the arrest of a friend.

The first disheartening video first appeared on Film The Police's Twitter account, showing a 19-year-old man named Robert, who was supposedly helping out at the event, approaching a couple of officers with a camera while they were arresting two young men, one who is said to be Robert's best friend.

"What is he being detained for?" Robert asks, which is usually the first thing you want to know when your friend is about to get taken into custody.

As Robert gets within reach of one of the cops, an officer identified later as Victor Quezada turns and backs him up to the immediate cries of someone from the crowd, who clearly fears for the young man's safety as the situation escalates.

Robert appears to have done nothing more than get close to the arrest with a camera, but soon has his arms pinned behind his back. A few seconds later and he's thrown to the asphalt, shattering his phone and landing on top of the cop, who shortly thereafter gets the upper hand and begins restraining him.

The shouts from the crowd increase, some directing curses and challenges at the officers, as the woman whose voice is heard most prominently makes it clear that this is all being filmed.

Robert himself shouts loudly and repeatedly, "What am I being detained for?!"

Suddenly, the cop at the center of things is pointing a green taser at the crowd and vocally threatening people with it.

Are we improving "community relations" yet?

Film the Police goes on to say he heard from Robert's mother, who makes plain her son is not a troublemaker and has never been in trouble with the law before.

The act of filming the police has been established by the Supreme Court as part of a person's First Amendment Rights in the U.S.It is not illegal. Nonetheless, Robert was apparently arrested, with his bail set at $25,000, requiring his mom to pay $2,500 out of pocket to get him out of jail.

As LAPD has killed 13 people this year, including a man who was walking around with a 100% legal auto-part in July, it makes sense why a concerned friend may pull out his camera and film amid the arrest of a friend to establish a record of that arrest and its potential escalation, particularly when the arrestee is a person-of-color.

Wendall Pierce, the talented New Orleans-raised actor known best for playing Detective Bunk Moreland in "The Wire," tweeted out Film The Police's thread this weekend, sending the footage into further virality, writing, "WATCH THIS THREAD: For the millions of police encounters, there are the thousands of violent escalations that sour the public trust. The paradox is this was an event to nurture community trust and outreach. The police unnecessarily escalated this situation."

The subsequent video shows the arrest taken from Robert's perspective, shot on his phone, in which you can view and hear the exchange between him and the arresting officer. Here is it below.


Robert sent me video of his OWN ARREST.

— Film The Police LA (@FilmThePoliceLA) September 5, 2022

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