Bakersfield Californian 2013/05/21: Civil rights questions raised in phone seizure

Discussion in 'Media Coverage & Other Related Materials' started by M, May 22, 2013.

  1. M

    M Muckraker Staff Member

    Great article in the California. Deputy Dog Sheriff Donny Youngblood is really out to lunch and out of touch with reality in today's America.

    Bakersfield Californian (5/21/2013): Civil rights questions raised in phone seizure

    The seizure of cell phone video of the incident when a man died in sheriff deputies' custody is raising legal questions. Some attorneys argue a number of civil rights were violated when officers insisted that witnesses turn over the phones.


    Within a few hours, the witnesses say officers were at their home. "When they went out to the house of this family and demand the cell phones, they were absolutely wrong," attorney Daniel Rodriguez said. He's representing the man and woman who had the phones.​

    Rodriguez says the witnesses' right to freedom of speech was violated. "We wouldn't be in this predicament if this had been allowed to be posted on YouTube or Facebook," the attorney said. "It's her private property, she could do whatever she wants with it." He said officers ordered the family not to post the videos to the Internet.

    "Technically, maybe they could tell them not to because they were saying that's evidence of a crime that somehow I'm going to seize," defense attorney Kyle Humphrey said. "But, I've looked at the law, and I can't see any basis in which the police could make that a lawful order."​

    Humphrey is not a part of this case, but worries it raises a series of questions over civil rights. "Freedom of expression, your property rights in what you filmed or saw, you have privacy rights in being left alone," Humphrey lists. He also questions whether protections against illegal search and seizure were violated.

    The witnesses have told Eyewitness News the officers stayed at their home for hours waiting for a search warrant to allow seizure of the phones. The family said they weren't allowed to come or go.

    Attorneys question whether the officers could "freeze the scene" like that. "This was not the crime scene, the crime scene was over at the hospital," Rodriguez asserts.​

    Last week, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said the seizure of the phones may lead to judicial review. "The courts ultimately will make that decision whether we did something right, wrong or indifferent from a legal standpoint," he predicted.​

    [Your rogue officers sure seem to get a lot of judicial review, Donny, not to mention multi-million dollar judgments, and a couple more of those are coming down the pike, one for beating David Sal Silva to death and likely another for entering a woman's home without a warrant and sexually assaulting her. Then there's the "petty stuff" only costing a few 100K$ a pop, like holding people hostage in their homes and stealing their cameras. When are you going to clean things up? Your department is a disgrace.]


    Rodriguez says the officers had no right to take the cell phones and the video. "There is a right way to gather evidence and there is a wrong way to gather evidence," he said. "When they went out to the house of this family and demanded the cell phones -- they were absolutely wrong."

    The attorney says they'll file a lawsuit with the goal of holding authorities accountable.

    [+1 lawsuit -- Deputy Dog Sheriff Donny Youngblood's rogues will be costing local taxpayers another chunk of change.]

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