A California woman claims she was “terrified” when a U.S. Marshal smashed her cell phone to pieces while she filmed a recent raid.
Beatrice Paez’s encounter with the officer is shown in a video uploaded this week to YouTube, which shows an officer brandishing an AR-15 while swiping the device out of the her hand and appearing to either kick or stomp it on the footpath.
“He threw everything on the ground. He stomped on my phone with his boots several times, violently, and then he kicked my phone,” Paez told KABC. “When he came toward me, I was terrified. I thought he was going to beat me up.
“I feared for my life.”
The U.S. Marshal Service confirmed to KNBC that the incident occurred while they were arresting six members of a local biker gang.
Paez has hired a lawyer and is suing the feds for violating her civil rights.
“Everyone has the right to videotape and document police activity in public,” attorney Colleen Flynn told KABC.
Multiple court rulings in the past few years have affirmed the right of civilians to film officers.
Many of those videos have led to law enforcement personnel facing criminal charges for killing or beating suspects without cause.
Paez, a school teacher, claimed to KABC that recent events motivated her to film the incident when she saw several young men lying face down at gunpoint.
Both the Marshal’s Service and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office told KNBC they are reviewing the video.
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