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Video: Officer Lunges At Onlooker And Smashes Her Phone
Federal officials are now investigating a video that shows a law enforcement officer lunging toward a woman, ripping a phone from her hands and destroying it on a South Gate sidewalk.
A 53-second clip was uploaded on YouTube on Sunday by someone who recorded the bizarre incident from across the street. It shows a woman standing on the sidewalk holding what looks like a phone, and she appears to be recording or photographing the officers. She's a few feet behind officers wearing tactical vests with the word "POLICE" emblazoned across the back. At the 0:27-minute mark, an officer walks toward the woman, another officer points at her, and then the first officer lunges at her. It appears that he grabs the phone from her hands, smashes it on the ground and then kicks it.
The woman, distraught, yells out, "Oh no! Don't do that shit." And then the officer walks away from her.
South Gate Police Chief Randy Davis told NBC Los Angeles that the officers in the video aren't from their force, but rather from the U.S. Marshals. Other sources said that there were a number of law enforcement agencies in the area that day in response to a biker gang meeting at a local bar. There were six people arrested. It's not clear if the woman in the video is linked to any of those who were arrested.
A spokesperson for the Marshals Central District of California office told The Huffington Post, "The U.S. Marshals Service is aware of video footage of an incident that took place Sunday in Los Angeles County involving a Deputy U.S. Marshal. The agency is currently reviewing the incident."
Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney with the National Press Photographers Association, told the Huffington Post last August during the Ferguson protests that it's legal to record or film police officers in any U.S. state as long as you don't interfere with their work.