Santa Ana Cops: Don’t Harsh My (Recorded) Buzz; Quash the Video Instead!




"I'm so tired from this raid that I just want to perk myself up with this candy -- HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!"

“I’m so tired from this raid that I just want to perk myself up with this candy — HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!”

We here at OJB love to salute the Register when they do their job right.  So … wait a moment while we look up the directions in this manual on how to salute, ok got it … here’s a big salute to the Orange Lady for this story!  (All emphasis to quoted material below added by OJB.)

Three Santa Ana police officers want to quash a surveillance video that shows officers making derogatory comments about a disabled woman and possibly snacking on pot edibles during a recent raid of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Oh!  Oh!  This is great!  They don’t want the SAPD internal affairs investigators to use the video in their investigation, in which they say the video could play a key role!  (You can click the link to the Register story to get access to the video.)

Matthew Pappas, a lawyer for Sky High, pointed to the irony of police seeking to shoot down the use of video as evidence in an investigation when they routinely use videos to investigate other crimes.  “It’s pretty pathetic for police to say if we don’t like something that it can’t be used as evidence,” Pappas said.

The attorney for the police officers accuses Pappas of altering the video to put the police in a falsely negative light.  Pappas denies it and says that he gave the full video to both the Santa Ana police and to the Register.

The lawsuit argues that that the police, who had destroyed every video camera they could find upon entering the shop, had relaxed and removed their masks because they thought that they were off camera — and it notes that the dispensary did not obtain the consent of any officer to record them.

Pappas’ answer was:

“They knew they were on video. … Just because they missed [disabling] one camera doesn’t make [using it to record them] illegal.

To anyone familiar with police views on the use of evidence by people being recorded surreptitiously under conditions where they objectively don’t have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” — like, say, WHEN YOU ARE IN A PUBLIC SPACE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU HAVE TRIED TO DESTROY ALL CAMERAS THAT YOU SEE — this is high comedy.  (No pun intended.)  By all means, let the officers quash evidence obtained from surreptitious recording of their wrongful actions — just as soon as they extend that courtesy to everyone else!

That is to say: never.  Y’all broke the Fourth Amendment; now you have to pay for it.

UPDATE (unrelated to Santa Ana, but related to Fourth Amendment): I cannot believe this recent Supreme Court ruling on search and seizure that I had either missed … or suppressed.  It’s along the same lines as the complaint in this case: arguing that cops should LEGALLY be excused from meeting standards to which the rest of us are held.  It should offend you down to your bone marrow.  All five conservatives went along with it, as did two of the four nominal “liberals.”  Only Sotomayor dissented from the outcome.

UPDATE 2:  Voice of OC reports that the hearing into the tentative decision to grant an order preventing use of the video for the time being has been postponed until August 13.  Judge Ronald Bauer was <s>inclined</s> <u>asked</u> to grant it, but went on vacation, with the case then falling to Judge William Claster.  Claster was <s>more</s> doubtful about the cops’ request, but put off the question for Bauer to address when he returns next week.  (Strikeouts reflect a VOC correction.)  The details in the VOC story are worth reading.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)