To the editor: Thank you for reaffirming the right of citizens to film law enforcement and recognizing its importance in driving the much-needed debate on policing in our country. ("Affirming the right of citizens to record police activity," editorial, April 23)
My constituent Beatriz Paez had every right to film what she saw in her neighborhood, as did another South Gate resident who captured and made public footage of the deputy U.S. marshal grabbing and smashing Paez's phone, terrifying her and violating her rights.
We must make it perfectly clear that Americans have a constitutional right to videotape law enforcement and should film whenever they want to, as long as they are not interfering in an arrest.
I am calling on incoming Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch to order a Justice Department investigation of the incident and to make sure that all law enforcement officers are trained to respect the right of citizens to videotape them.
Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro)
To the editor: Recently, there has developed a significant subculture of videographers and documentarians of police activity. To the extent that this subculture is composed of echelons, I believe that Paez resides on the lowest.
The name of the person who recorded the police shooting in South Carolina is not known to most people. This is because it wasn't about him. When he made the existence of his tape known, it was to the family of the victim.
In contrast, the focus of the videotape in the Paez incident is Paez, whose posture was aggressive, contemptuous and baiting. Add to that the fact that someone was focusing a camera on her.
Paez, in her role as victim, is not sympathetic.
Phil Rose, Culver City