Video of a Feb. 21 tiff between a Los Angeles Police Department officer and someone taping him turned up on YouTube and prompted an internal LAPD investigation, a police commander confirmed Thursday.
The police department will look into the incident, which took place near Hollywood Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, said LAPD Cmdr. Richard Webb.
"Internal Affairs will conduct an exhaustive and impartial investigation into this matter," Webb said in a statement. "Constitutional policing is very important to Chief Beck, and we examine cases through that lens. We will keep the Inspector General informed of the progress of the investigation, which will ultimately be presented to the chief of police to determine if any discipline or retraining should take place."
Webb said the LAPD became aware of the video Wednesday morning.
The nearly five-minute video shows two officers making a traffic stop. An officer asks if the man shooting the video knows the woman being stopped, and the photographer says he does not and continues to record the scene.
The officer tells the cameraman that he is making him nervous and tells him to "move along."
The photographer replies that he is on public property and it's not illegal to record what happens in public view, but the officer tells the man he can't film him.
"I am a citizen of this country," the officer says. "I was in the Marine Corps a few years getting shot for you, you can move along ... Start moving."
When the man asks for the officer's badge number, the officer tells him to "go ahead," saying he spent "two years in the desert, and I have to hear from your fruitcake ass."
The officer tells the man he is making a legal stop and asks the photographer for his identification and that the grounds for the stop is "taking a picture of me."
The officer then tells the photographer, who is being detained and appears to be seated on the sidewalk, that he has a record of parking violations, which the man says he had paid.
They continue to argue about the law, with the officer telling the man that he does not have a right to take a picture and the man saying it's not against the law to take photographs.
He asks for the officer's card shortly before the video ends. The investigation is unrelated to another videotaped encounter in which officers scuffled with Critical Mass activists on bicycles Friday night at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Though the video doesn't show it, activists allege that officers tried to jam batons into the spokes of one rider's wheel and other officers put themselves in the paths of bikes and tried to tackle the riders. Four officers were reassigned from patrol duty pending the outcome of that investigation.