San Diego cop smashes phone & beats up suspect: "Phones can be converted to a weapon. Look it up online."

A San Diego cop beat up a man whom he was ticketing for illegal smoking, after the man refused to stop video-recording the experience. The cop told the man that he feared the phone might actually be a gun disguised as a phone, before smashing the phone and tackling the man and smashing his face into the boardwalk. He was taken away in an ambulance.

It all seemed pretty civil until the cop writing the citation told him to stop recording, which Pringle refused to do.

“Phones can be converted into weapons …. look it up online,” the cop told him.

Last month, a South Florida cop confiscated a man’s phone citing the same reason, so maybe this is a new trend.

When Pringle tried to talk sense into the cop, the cop slapped the phone out of his hand where it fell onto the boardwalk and broke apart.

The other cop then pounced on him, slamming him down on the boardwalk where he ended up with a laceration on his chin.

“Blood was everywhere,” Pringle said. “I was laying on my stomach and he had one knee on my back and the other knee on the side of my face.

“They kept telling me ‘to calm down,’ that ‘you’re making this worse for yourself,’ that ‘you have no right to record us.’”

He didn't get the cop's name, and the SDPD won't give it to him.

San Diego Police Attack and Arrest Man Video Recording Them, Claiming Phone Could be a Weapon (Updated) 294 (via Techdirt)


  1. So how long until the first of these incidents with someone wearing Google Glasses?

    On further consideration, I bet a looong time. Any cop would assume someone with enough money to be wearing them would have enough money for a lawyer. You know, unless they are a minority, in which case they will be confiscated as stolen.

    1. You’re assuming that the cop would know the difference between Google Glasses and a bomb. That’s a stretch.

    1.  Same here. I was detained in the back of an SDPD cruiser for randomly sitting in my car in the vicinity of break-in that I didn’t even know had occurred.  Dudes screamed obscenities in my face and threatened to kick my ass for an hour, demanding that I confess and let them search my car for no reason.  Luckily they finally gave up and then half-ass apologized, citing their stressful jobs as an excuse for their behavior. 

      1. Years ago at ComiCon on the way back to our hotel we watched a kid with a backpack run past us, booking it. 10 minutes later the SDPD came running up asking “where he’d go” and just randomly start grabbing anyone with backpack, which during ComiCon is a *lot* of dudes. We kept yelling at them “thats not him” and they eventually let the kids go and kept running. I imagine if there hadn’t been a crowd things would have gone very differently.

        1. The first thing that came to mind was also proximity in time to a national emergency that really bolstered the ‘image’ of law enforcement which I view as a very unfortunate side-effect of the situation on the other coast, given the shite state of affairs in the normal every day doings of a great many LEOs in the US. 
          However, having read the article I realize that this happened before Monday’s events and the ensuing heroism* and is therefore totally unrelated in any way. But it does seem that our Terror (with capital ‘T’) episode could indeed be a catalyst for a rise of incidents of police misconduct. Yet another reason to be righteous and brazen in the face of ‘duty’ because: ‘I’m a badged up hero; you outta recognize; dipshit!’ I can hear it now….

          Anyway, sorry to glom onto your statement in order to make mine when it is only tangentially related and highly speculative. The likelihood of it being true however I firmly stand behind.

          * I use that word with some reservations, the heroism tapers off fairly quick after the initial event and the further it moved from GZ.

          (metaedit: I’ve gotten in the habit of either composing in a stand alone text editor or copy/pasting what I write in this form box because every damn time diqsus will eat it. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.)

          1. DISQUS is a horrid, horrid commenting system. I do the same thing for anything beyond a few sentances.

      1. P.I.G.S. stands for Pride, Integrity, Guts, Strength, which is a motto of the police. It’s not an insult to call them such, it’s a compliment.

    2. Aye. Born and raised there. They’re LAPD Junior Cadets. Except in LA there’s way more serious crime to deal with. In SD they’re reactionary assholes because they were born reactionary assholes and they’re bored.

      I live in Baltimore now. Send ’em on over and make them do a couple of tours of duty here and then see if they still take people to the curb for no reason.

    3. Don’t worry, you’ll be the one laughing after they get shriveled testicles that have to be removed from cancer, and the corresponding bitch tits that happens after their balls get removed.

  2. We really need a federal law affirming the right of all Americans to record police and other authorities.  The Justice Department says it’s a first amendment right, and it is; but heck, with all the laws we have on the books that violate and try to abrogate constitutional rights, why not pass a few that affirm them?

    Also, if you’re going to do this, make sure your camera is sending its data to the web in real time.

    What’s sad and telling is that I’m afraid to even try it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    1. No, you are definitely not. I’ve always been told by cops I know that it’s more prudent in terms of saving my ass to cooperate (and hide behind my white skin, I suspect).

      We need a law that basically does the same thing as Miranda, for recording devices. Those rights exist anyway but it is way too easy for police to lie and conceal them. If there were a law requiring them to state this right up front… it should make it harder to deny it, anyway. I would hope.

      1. There should be a law that police record there own activities, with heavy damages awarded to anyone arrested while not being properly recorded.  It’s not like we don’t have the tech to put a camera in their front pockets.

        They are our servants, not the other way around.  Simply giving citizens the right to record the men we pay to protect us isn’t enough.  That surveillance should be required in all circumstances not involving undercover operations where it might endanger the officer.

        1. It doesn’t work. There is a law like that for dashboard cams, which are usually “broken” or “accidentally” switched off.

          1. This should result in a heavy fine against the department and some course against the officer, maybe a suspension without pay. If the case involves allegations of officer misconduct, presume the officer guilty. We vest great power in these men, this should be balanced against, and it should be balanced in favor of the public at large.

            We have the tech, we need legislation. It probably won’t happen, but maybe. I doubt cameras will become any less ubiquitous any time soon. This is, at least in theory, OUR state. If it is to be a surveillance state, that surveillance should benefit the people first and our servants second.

          2. Also, crimes committed by law enforcement officials should be prosecuted significantly more vigorously and punished equally more harshly than equivalent crimes committed by citizens.

            It’s time we stop allowing scum to use the power we give them against us. This video is a case of “stop hitting yourself” on a societal scale.

          3. Incredible.

            First off, the American justice system is based on the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE.  You want to start with the presumption of guilt?  UnAmerican is the least hostile thing I can say to that.

            “crimes committed by law enforcement officials should be prosecuted significantly more vigorously and punished equally more harshly than equivalent crimes committed by citizens.”

            First off, Law Enforcement Officers ARE citizens.  You don’t seem to be aware of that.  

            And prosecuting and punishing one group more harshly than others must surely violate the 14th Amendment.  This seems especially ironic, as your complaint is about the LEOs violating “citizens” (who are not LEOs) rights.

            You seem to want to make Law Enforcement Officers into 2nd class citizens, without the same rights and protections as other citizens.  I would not feel good about hiring people to protect my rights when they don’t have them themselves.

            You should write a book about what you want to do.  You could call it “My Struggle”.

            And after you get the LEOs, you can go after the Jews.

          4. In response to the gentleman who wrote:
             “First off, Law Enforcement Officers ARE citizens.  You don’t seem to be aware of that.  ”

            Not when they are acting in their official capacity as police they are mot.  They are civil servants and are already subject to different laws, many of which are harsher than those used on a regular citizen:

            If you as Joe Citizn peek in someone’s back window after sneaking onto their property and see them smoking crack, that’d be testimony that would stand up in court even if you trespassed to do so.  If a cop did it, the testimony would likely be thrown out since there’s a higher standard applied when an act is done illegally by an officer of the law..

            As a citizen you could hand out flyers for a politician, a cop on duty in uniform could not (I hope) do that legally.

            Sometimes it’s the other way around:
            Try walking around with a belt full of equipment the same as a cop carries and see how far you get.  or try to convince a judge someone should be punished because they failed to show you their papers when you demanded them to do so.

            With greater power comes greater responsibility so the police are held to a higher standard than regular citizens in many aspects of their job and this is as it should be.

            (I’m a retired Fed so don’t tell me I don’t know what I am talking about.)

          5.  Stop hitting yourself, citizen! Why are you cracking your skull on the pavement? This will all go a lot easier if you stop bleeding so profusely.

          6. @ Jim Penrose

            In response to the gentleman who wrote: “First off, Law Enforcement Officers ARE citizens.  You don’t seem to be aware of that.  “

            Not when they are acting in their official capacity as police they are mot. They are civil servants and are already subject to different laws, many of which are harsher than those used on a regular citizen:

            Acting in an official capacity does not remove someone from the society they are supposed to serve, nor do harsher penalties proportional to vested authority. That very mentality, to which you apparently subscribed as a former Fed, that police are separate from the public, is a large part of the problem. You may have been an exemplary federal officer, but the militarization of our law enforcement has done more to pervert their role rightful role than the also very real and problematic leniency in their being held to account for the abuse of that authority. You want to see cops close ranks faster than a fireteam in Helmand Province, just tell them IA is here to talk to Sergeant Smith, or the CIA needs to talk to Agent Johnson.

          7. Why do they have off switches at all? Also, my phone’s camera and my car’s back-up camera have *never* failed to turn on when they are supposed to.

            I know several good answers to those questions, but they need to be asked anyway.

          8. You could ask those questions until you’re blue in the face and it doesn’t help because the answers can’t be proven. Trying to make the police play nice by recording themselves will never be as reliable as letting others record them.

          9. @boingboing-e69219486d79f823e8048101bb844acf:disqus Well, it could work. A city could pass a law making it illegal to prosecute someone if the arrest wasn’t recorded.

            Although now that I hear they may designate the Boston bombing suspect as an enemy combatant and deny him some of his legal rights, I have something more urgent to be infuriated about.

          10. my roomate’s mom makes $61 hourly on the laptop. She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her income was $14452 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on  Jive8.c­om

    2.  In the UK, we have a law saying it’s NOT ok to film the bastards. Go go Magna Carta-Land! Woo!

      1. What would be hilarious is to setup the front camera to only record your face as they are beating you.  Then, show that video in court.   AS you sue them into the ground.

        1.  Our local force killed a girl with a speeding patrol car, no lights, no siren, girl’s family sued, and the car’s black-box data ‘disappeared’.

  3. Phones can be converted to a weapon.

    And a cop can be converted to an umbrella stand.  Look it up.

    1. I’d love to say something like, “A cop can be converted to an unemployed person.” I am not that brave.

    2.  Also, any hand can be converted to a weapon.  That frightens me for the future of having hands in the vicinity of cops.

  4. Cops suck for the most part.  Thuggish, clannish, and hatemongering.  The average cop is dull witted and paranoid, and that’s not a group of people you should give weapons to at the best of times.

    1. USA cops suck for the most part.  Thuggish, clannish, and hatemongering.  The average cop is dull witted and paranoid, and that’s not a group of people you should give weapons to at the best of times.

      There, fixed that for you.

      Some countries ( like my own ) have very low levels of corruption and brutality by the police force, whom are actually looked upon favourably and trusted by the general public. It also helps that we have a truly independent police complaints authority who investigates and prosecutes complaints where required.

      From what I constantly read, many US cops are brutal thugs who are almost never held accountable by their disturbing actions.

      Not all cops around the world are as corrupt as this.

      1. Cops in the US are more thuggish, threatening and violent compared to the police forces of Western Europe. I’m living in Germany, near the border to the Netherlands, Belgium and France and travel there more than once a year. Here (and in the countries mentioned above) the police shows a different, for the lack of words, attitude.

        The police is more friendly or  non-threatening if you will – you can ask questions or even argument. The tone is less commanding and more casual. In the US Police officers approach often with a hand on their gun, something that happens very rarely here (I’ve been to the US, admittedly before 9/11).
        I’m 35 and have never seen a german police officer with a gun drawn and was only twice in a situation were a police officer put his hand on his belt near his gun. Violence is not one of many possible options but the last. I think it’s quite telling that in 2011 German police officers used exactly 85 bullets – 49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed. Germany has a population of about 80 million (USA 300 million).

        An encounter (like a traffic stop) with the police in the US is highly ritualized. If you deviate from your role the police instantly shows a fear response. I’ve never been in an encounter with german police officers where I had the impression that a wrong move could endanger my life.

        It’s quite ironic that the police forces in the “Land of the Free” are more threatening and violent than in other western democracies. A democratic government is for the people, by the people. Police officers are representatives of the government. They shouldn’t behave like the thuggish enforcers of a dictatorial regime.

          1.  Makes no difference.
            The way racism is viewed here in Germany (i.e., you do NOT want anyone to think you are racist), police officers more aggressive towards ethnic minorities would be weeded out rapidly.

        1.  Living in Japan. Cops here have a brutal, thuggish streak, but on a daily basis they don’t pull this kind of crap on people. I once set off the burglar alarm at my office, and when the cops came, they surrounded me and demanded ID. I casually waved at them, too tired to really give a shit, and knowing full well that I had done nothing wrong. Reached into my pocket, got my wallet and phone, called my boss (still ignoring the cops), and, hey, funny thing? None of them tackled me or slapped my phone out of my hands or shot me (they did have guns, despite what many people think). Funny thing about it, though, is that in Japan, foreigners have few real rights, and barely any legal rights when facing the cops.

          Odd how Japan can basically deny me basic human rights, yet they treat me with dignity when I set off burglar alarms – yet cops in the “land of the free” can’t figure out how not to slap innocent, nonviolent people.

          1. I was also going to suggest Japan. I was arrested there for “stealing” a bike. (I took it out of the garbage.) Zero intimidation of any kind. Very polite and kind. I was not treated like a criminal. Nor like I might escape. Nor like I might become violent. Nor like I needed to be made afraid. It was like dealing with the concierge at a nice hotel. (As it turns out, property rights are maintained even when you throw something out. And short-stay foreigners who take working TVs, PCs, etc from the rubbish are embarrassing. I had to sign an apology to the people of Japan as a condition of release.

          2. That is actually a really great story. Was the apology pre-written or did they make you actually sit down and write a letter?

            Also, are you sure it was a signed apology to Japan, or was it a document confessing to your crime? Because forced, signed confessions are actually one of the thuggish, brutal things Japanese cops do to people.

      2.  Where are you from, just out of interest? The UK’s police can be nasty, not as alarmingly out of control as some US state’s cops seem to be, but there have been plenty of dodgy incidents over the years. Where I live, we’ve got one of the most bent forces in the bloody country…

      3. You read about the cops that do bad things like this because they are NEWS.

        They are news because they are exceptional.  No media reports the cop who wrote a ticket to someone who was doing 75 in a 45 zone and ran a stop sign, unless the COP does something wrong.  

        If you get your impression of any group from the news, it will be skewed.  The news only reports the exceptionally good or the exceptionally bad.

        My barber gave me an ordinary haircut today.  STOP THE PRESSES!!!!

        1.  Well, obvioously it does. This cop, and the other asshole cops in the news who are exceptionally bad, tend to get away with it most of the time as well. Which is the problem. And, as has been pointed out many a time, the ‘good’ cops aren’t that bothered about curbing the excesses of the bad…

          1. ‘good ‘ cops careers are over quickly if they do not comply. I have met them and sometimes they feel they were stupid and short sighted because they are out of the game.  Like maybe, in the long term it would have been better to stay quiet and have more influence.  Just like the real world, many are sheep, some are wolves, and others?

        2.  that’s just as stupid as the ck skers that say “the catholic church isn’t ALL bad”

          The fuck is wrong wth you?

          YES IT IS.  SO ARE COPS. I happen to know a lot of cops, they sell more drugs than anyone in this town.

          1. Which slur..? Was it removed? I can only see cock suckers and my fiancée does that,at least til we’re married anyway!

          2. It’s one of the Carlin Seven, buddy, I don’t think it’s your place to question it. I’m pretty sure it’s been grandfathered in. :) 

            Speaking as someone pretty far up the queer spectrum, I don’t think 90% of the people who use that “slur” are thinking about its (admittedly present) origins in men’s deranged fear of sexual submission. I think, as Carlin himself noted, they’re thinking about all those awesome, aggressive “K” sounds.

            I would be perfectly happy if the word disappeared from our language and were replaced with one that didn’t have an ugly kyriarchal history. But I also think calling it a “homophobic slur” in this particular context smells like a cheap rhetorical tactic, clearly intended to dismiss the commenter by staining them as homophobic.

            Speaking as someone with predominantly same-sex partners… I don’t much like you using someone else’s minority status as a distraction tactic in your political snit, Antinous.

        3. Yeah, 90% of the cops give the other 10% a bad name.

          Freakin’ submissive authoritarians.

    2. I think only about a third of cops are actually thugs. A third are just lazy SOBs who could give a shit about your problems, its just a paycheck. A third are actually good people who take pride in what they do.
      BUT, even the “good cop” will almost always cover for the lazy one who screwed up, or that asshole who likes to bully street girls into giving him head.

      1. As for the “good cops,” we know it’s wrong but you have to cut them a little slack. Cops are taught from day one that the number one “virtue” of a cop is to back up other cops. Not uphold the law, as it’s supposed to be, but that’s how it goes. I don’t know what you could do about it.

          1. Kind of easy for you to say. Reporting misconduct puts the good ones (and their families) at *serious* risk of retaliation at some pretty real and frightening levels. Ironically the police force operates not much unlike “no snitching” culture  does in the scariest of neighborhoods. There’s a real and justified fear of retaliation.



          2. I have nothing but sympathy and admiration for Adrian Schoolcraft, but if more cops tried to do what he did, maybe we’d have fewer problems. Obviously this doesn’t mean that major reform from above isn’t needed.

      2. “BUT, even the “good cop” will almost always cover for the lazy one who screwed up, or that *rapist* who likes to bully street girls into giving him head.”

        Fixed that for you. That’s far beyond ordinary assholery.

      3. It’s called “the fraternity”.  If any cop violates the rules of the fraternity, accidents can happen.

    1. And each other apple in the barrel that doesn’t speak up about the few bad ones becomes a bad one.

  5. That dude needs a phone with a better recorder, that’s for sure.  If you’re gonna take on a cop, make sure you’re evidence at least allows you to read the name. This looks like it has Vaseline smeared on the lens. Cop was a douche, but now he’s an anonymous douche.

      1. The officer’s name is on the ticket.  Usually along with his badge number.

        Remember, this started with the cop writing the guy a ticket?

  6. I took the cops advice and looked it up! And hey…the cop was RIGHT!!! Unfortunately…it appears for a ‘gun’ you need a much larger cell phone…likely one that doesn’t include a video camera. And…you have to hold it more like a gun, so, not like if your recording.. Hell, you can even get TAZER attachments for your phone! Which, again, means holding it more akin to a gun than recording…
    To the officer in the recording: I DID look it up…and you’re STILL an asshole.

    1. You have a point sir.

      The problem was the victim was not using his everyday phone, but was using his fucking phone. You can tell as the lens is covered in *something* causing the extremely poor picture quality. The smell and general dodgy looking nature of the phone probably did not help.

  7. “The cop told the man that he feared the phone might actually be a gun disguised as a phone”

    I didn’t hear “gun” in the conversation, and I doubt the cop was thinking the phone was a firearm.

    There are very few things that can’t be used as a weapon. A cop isn’t going to let you hold onto a baseball bat, a brick, or a handful of crushed red pepper while he’s writing a ticket. The cop _should_ be able to explain why he thought the phone posed a danger to him in that situation. He obviously didn’t think it was a danger as he stood there just a few feet from the guy while writing the ticket. He’ll think of something by the time he’s in court, though, and will get away with it.

  8. Awww….darn it, I missed my 2 Minute Cop Hate. Rats. Did someone at least get out their tar brush and get all cops? Oh – there it is good. Did someone call them pigs? Cool, got that too.

    1. Did someone seize on a bit of over-the-top rhetoric and use it to dismiss decades of abuse?  Good, we can check that box.

      1.  I dismissed decades of abuse?  Maybe, just maybe, I am tired of all the over the top rhetoric because it just isn’t helping. Maybe I am tired of this being the lefts answer to Muslim:terrorist::Cop:?. A lot of police did very fine work in West Texas, Boston, and many other places yesterday, stories told and untold, but naw, they are all bad apples and pigs.

        1. It’s not a “left vs right” issue. It’s a systemic one.

          Police officers, by virtue of their profession, are violent enforcers of political edicts, whether they are just or unjust. When their own morality conflicts with their job they “just follow orders” in order to receive a paycheck (which is ultimately threatened out of their purported customers), shifting the responsibility of their actions.

          They’re the programmable robotic army of power brokers (politicians). They are afforded ridiculous amounts of power under the notion of authority, and along with politicians, abuse it either themselves in self interest or by following commands for a paycheck.

          A lot of people do a lot of great things every day which go untold. They defend each other, help each other, and serve each other voluntarily without using coercion. Just because police might do something positive doesn’t make any of their systemic issues any better. It’s not like police in the Axis powers or in Soviet Russia didn’t help injured people in the event of a disaster. It doesn’t redeem them for institutionalized unjust actions though.

          The vast majority of people don’t go around trying to threaten people to obey them or silly political edicts in the name of security for the very people their salaries are extorted from. Police do, by definition.

          1.  I like how the call for nuance was replied to with a further call for nuance. This is why I read Boing Boing comments!

    2. Why don’t you post a video link of a bad cop doing something bad which has a good cop then restraining the bad cop?  I mean, we can find hundreds of videos of cops brutalizing people or performing overtly illegal acts, and they almost always have partners and other cops in the area.  Surely you can find a video where a bad cop does something and a “good” cop say to the bad cop “hey dude, stop that, he is right, you can’t do that, it is against the law and we too must follow laws”.

      One. Seriously.  Find one.

        1.  So basically a State Trooper pulls over a city cop and arrests him for unsafe driving and you think this is the divine moment of justice and proof that good cops are not unicorns?

          Yeah that makes up for having 3 ribs broken by two cops while 6 others stood by in shock and did nothing but mumble to one of the cops that he should “probably stop”, or the fact that one of the two cops intentionally flipped and twisted my cuffs with the jab “you are going to love this” to cut off circulation and cut into either wrist no matter how I held my arms leaving me with cut and bloodied wrists and nerve damage. Or the same cop telling the driver of the pd van to “make the ride fun for that fucking scum” whereby I was driven around the city for close to 40 minutes full throttle/full brake bouncing around with no way to brace myself. (by the way it is impossible to be more than 5 minutes from a precinct anywhere in SF)

          I will say this, once I got to the station the processing cops were horrified, and removed the cuffs instantly and upon recognizing I was by no means violent or a threat, but just a protester scooped up by their fellow neanderthals, allowed me to wait uncuffed. They only recuffed me after some robbery suspects were brought into the same holding area, and then used two sets of cuffs. Of course after talking with the senior officer, and to (I suspect) help cover up the beating I received, the police REFUSED to process me, or take me to the hospital.

          So two bad cops got in all their licks and 10 other “good” cops allowed it to happen, and made sure there would be no vehicle for accountability.

          So after posting that video Seraphim_72 you want an apology?

          Here it is, FUCK YOU.

          But hey on the bright side your pension benefits are guaranteed, and your union will make sure no matter what you do, including violently breaking the law, you still get paid.  So I guess the laugh is on the rest of us.

          1. “So after posting that video Seraphim_72 you want an apology?
            Here it is, FUCK YOU.”
            Of course, we can’t expect this debate to stay on such a high intellectual plain at all times.   8)
            Which means I am suggesting Mr. Hereford does his argument a disservice by the low manner in which he presents it.

        2. No.

          Maybe I wasn’t clear.

          I mean find a cop that is brutalizing a citizen or is doing something illegal with the citizen, and another cop stops them.  There are literally countless videos of cops brutalizing people or failing to understand the law.  How about one where this happens, and another cop steps in.  There actually does exist one video out there if you can find.

          I’m not implying cops don’t occasionally bust cops.  The much hated internal affairs departments occasionally nabs a few completely dirty cops.  In this case, you had a cop outside of his jurisdiction doing something that made no sense for a cop outside of his jurisdiction to do.  The arresting officer from a rival department states that she thought the car was stolen.  Good for her for actually arresting him.

          I’m not saying that cops are horrible.  They do a lot of stuff good.  For the most part, American cops are not going to try and get you to bribe them, and generally won’t take a bribe.  They will respond to overt dangers to public safety.  You can even find piles of videos where a citizen asserts their rights and the cop backs down quickly (and plenty where they don’t).  

          The problem with cops is that the blue wall of silence is very real.  If you are surrounded by cops and one of them does something illegal or uses unneeded brutality, if there is no video evidence of it, you can safely assume that every other cop is going to not report it, and if you bring it to court, they will have not seen it.  This is not an isolated problem.  It is systemic.  It isn’t  few bad apples.  

          Most cops might not be corrupt in that they are taking bribes and stealing, but if off camera a cop decides to sucker punch you while you are handcuffed and not resisting in front of some other cops, you are wasting your time making a complaint because no one will have seen anything.

  9. Geez, the hall monitors are not giving anyone a break in SD.

    Also, next time someone says “look it up online” as an argument, just take your weapon, I mean phone, and browse some cryptozoology sites.

  10. “He didn’t get the cop’s name, and the SDPD won’t give it to him.”

    They will however after a long protracted battle be giving him a large check and a membership in ticket of the week as the police will pay extra attention to him.

    1. If the attorney that represents him is any good, the attorney will make a special point to bring up such reprisals and to get penalties for reprisals included in the final settlement.  Since most traffic violations are civil, not criminal in how they’re enforced I would expect that a civil settlement between a jurisdiction and a citizen could include such conditions.

      1. As we have seen many officers get shielded for bad acts, until it effects them directly I have little faith in their ability to exercise self control or good decision making.

    1. If anything, a soon to be on paid vacation San Diego cop. They probably pull shit like this whenever they feel like getting time off.

  11. There’s an update to the article it seems that they found the Officer’s name after all:

    “Pringle’s friend continued video recording after he was led away and the cop, whose name is M. Reinhold, didn’t have a problem with that.”

    1. Awful.  Exxon wants to keep the media, and anyone else with a video camera out of there.  So they’ve brought in an army of rent-a-cops to thug for them.

      And how exactly does the FAA justify a no fly zone in this area?

  12. How ironic that a few minutes ago I was reading how crowdsourcing was key to helping the police and FBI  gather information / photos on the Boston bombers, yet only a few web pages later we see the other end of the scale where police treat mobiles as a weapon against them.

    1. What’s even more ironic is the police reacting this way after becoming so notorious for the “If you have nothing to hide…” line.

  13. So he was being fined for smoking a cigarette on the street? What kind of place is this? Land of the fascists? It can’t be like this all over America, please say it isn’t so. The rest of the world gets a terrible image of life there through all the media.

  14. Phones can be converted to weapons. Thugs can wear police uniforms. And thugs who aren’t really police can sometimes disguise themselves as police. ;)

  15. Horse manure can be converted into a bomb. Cops should probably be harassing farmers all day.

  16. “They kept telling me ‘to calm down,’ that ‘you’re making this worse for yourself,’ “

    It’s comin’ right for us, Ned!

  17. This action is unusual in that it got recorded. I’ve seen over-the-top behavior on the part of the police 

    Power has a corrupting influence. The stupidest thing I can imagine is concentrating power in the hands of people like this cop which is one reason why I fully support our right to bear arms. 

  18. Dear lord…I apologize for what I am about to capitalize on…..

    Ready for this?  COP PROOF IPHONE COVERS!    Impossible to break!  Waterproof, pepper spray resistant.  Shock proof.  And automatically streams live video to a cloud service to be automatically posted on Youtube.

    The COP PHONE!   

    1. Do such services exist? I’ve read about them in books, but I just came back from an unsuccessful google search session. I may just be using the wrong search terms though, due to inexperience with media sharing in general and video in particular.

      1. Try

        It doesn’t post to YouTube (as far as I know) but it streams live from your phone and saves it on their server. It’s also free. It was bought out by Skype a while back, lots of people use it.

  19. Anyone who just wants to rant can skip reading this part, it is about how to ACTUALLY FIX THE PROBLEM.

    San Diego, for those international readers who do not know, is a city within the state of California.  Therefor California State Laws come in to play.

    One of which is that all law enforcement officers must be licensed by the State Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training, usually just called POST.

    POST certificates for officers come in Standard, Intermediate and Advanced.  They have other ones for supervisors and administrators.

    My proposal is rather simple and proven in a parallel licensing field.

    Just like driver’s licenses, assess points against their record for various violations.  Too many points, license suspended.

    I’d go further, and tie pay to the level of certificate.  Too many points on your Advanced Certificate?  You are downgraded to an Intermediate, with a resultant loss of pay for however long it takes you to straighten up, fly right, and get back your Advanced Certificate.

    If you drop from Advanced to Intermediate to Basic and roll up too many points on that one, you’re outta here!

    For supervisors, if they lose their supervisor certificates, they can no longer be Sgts. or Lts.

    This is very unlikely, as it is too reasonable. 

    But it does acknowledge that police are human, and human beings screw up occasionally.  This allows penalties that are not disproportionate. It allows the officers to learn from their mistakes and to correct their behavior.

    At this point, I expect to be burned at the stake by both sides of the argument.  Which is amusing, because I’ll at least have caused them to agree on something.

    1. It’s possible that it may be a bit more effective than current disciplinary methods, I have no idea, but it doesn’t solve the fundamental issues. It’s a band-aid.

      Where there’s a protective Thin Blue Line/Blue Wall of Silence the difference in disciplinary schemes is pretty negligible. Dig deeper, and you’ll find how these fundamental problems are the result of principles used in organizing for our security.

    2. But it does acknowledge that police are human, and human beings screw up occasionally.

      When other people screw up at their jobs, it doesn’t ruin their customers’ lives.

      This allows penalties that are not disproportionate.

      A non-disproportionate penalty for an officer who assaults a citizen would be 20 years in prison.

      1. So when doctors screw up diagnoses, or amputate the wrong limb or wrong patient, that is harmless?  Or is it more likely that you are WAY overstating your case?  Bankers make errors that screw up their customer’s lives.  So do auto mechanics.  Etc., etc., etc.  I’d suggest you have done it yourself, but I find it hard to believe you are employed.

        Do you have a clue what the normal penalty for a simple assault is?  Or are you just pulling this out of…. thin air?  (Nice edit, huh?)

        What you are suggesting exceeds the penalty for assault with a deadly weapon in most states.

        So I’d say you are still pretty disproportionate.

        Of course, that prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment” shouldn’t apply to police, since they are not “citizens”, right?  2nd class citizens are so much fun, since you can’t own slaves any more.

        To me it sounds more like you had encounter(s) with police that didn’t go your way, and you are having a wonderful 3-year-old-style tantrum about it.

        To save time, why not just make it a 20-year prison sentence for applying for the job as a policeman?  I mean, since you think they ALL are so horrible, why wait and let other people suffer the inevitable results of the hiring?

        For the slow on the uptake, this is sarcasm, meant to illustrate how ridiculous his position is.

  20. After the Boston Bomber was caught by people photographing in public, these cops are going to look even more like idiots but I’m sure they’ll still continue their reign of power.

    1. After they arrested the half-dead suspect who was found by a citizen, they were fist-pumping like they had just liberated Europe.

      1. Are you saying they are not entitled to feel happy/relieved, or are you saying you think they are taking credit for actions of others to a disproportionate level?

        Personally, I’ve always found “endzone celebrations” by the police to be in bad taste.  But then, I don’t think much of them on the football field either.

  21. A little harsh treatment but when I see hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts on the boardwalk I really do not care what happened to the victim.  

    1. So essentially you posted to let everyone know that you don’t really care when people get victimized if they do something that you find annoying?

          1. And slavish obedience to what authority would that be?  Agreeing in lockstep with Antinous’ juvenile view of effective police procedures?

            Cause this board pretty clearly expects no dissent in this regard.

          2. You do realize that you are in a position of authority on this board by being a moderator?  (raised eyebrow, like Spock)

  22. Even if the officer can’t be held accountable for assault, can he be fired? What’s the use of somebody this darn stupid?

  23. Dears:

    If you stick a video recorder in somebody’s face, you are going to piss them off.

    If you piss off a cop after being instructed to stop, you are going to get taken down.

    Don’t whine about it after the fact.  This is the way it has always worked.

  24. Note to kids everywhere —  

    You do not have a right to film police officers while stopped.  (“Stop arresting me officer, I can’t get a good shot.”) Compliance with a command incident to a stop is not optional.

    The kid getting arrested was a prick.  He was hostile.  He became goonily agitated when instructed to put down his cell phone.   He resisted.  Police did nothing wrong.       

    Criminal law and a functioning world do not operate as Mr. Doctorow believes they do.  


  25. Can I just give all americans advice. Just do what they ask. I know I know your have the right to film blah blah, but that guy got his face opened up. If it was a another member of the public you would have him in court and get come some compensation but not with cops. I’m sick of Boing boing dot net full of all these people videoing nonsense like a smoking violation. Yes the cop was WRONG and usually they are always WRONG,but people- who needs the hassle? Long term you’ll make your life easier

    1. I’m sorry to say, but it’s only a matter of time until an incident like this happens between one man and one officer, and the man takes it upon himself to beat the shit out of the officer. This can and will happen–and you can be darn sure it will be recorded.

    2. Can I just give all americans advice. Just do what they ask.

      Can I just give you some advice? Stop telling people to comply with unlawful requests from authority. Stop advising people to participate in the rise of the totalitarian state. And go to hell, go directly to hell, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

      1. You are wrong, and do not understand the law.

        Wait, don’t arrest me, you are blocking the light in this shot.

        Your view of what constitutes a totalitarian state sounds like that of a 14 year old.

        Quit censoring statements of the actual law regarding filming while being arrested.

    3. If they ask you to stop filming, it’s probably because they want to do something illegal.  You’re going to have something bad happen to you either way.

  26. San Diego is a haven for defense contractors – S.D. police officers are probably ex-military with PTSD. 

    The officer’s name can probably be surmised from the video with a little effort – timecode 1:12. Sue SDPD so they can demonstrate how a cell phone can be used as a weapon in court.

  27. I would’ve told the cop “you’re being recorded on my phone, anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. . .”

    Then, break my phone and tackle me. At least you know that will all be used against you.

  28. It is against the law to smoke on the beach in San Diego, and also by
    restaurants. He is breaking 2 laws. Lucky he didn’t throw the cigarette
    too, the offense goes way up. The giggling, on the video leads me to
    believe something else happened here. The video is incomplete, so unless
    the entire stop was filmed, it is a biased video. If it was 3rd party
    video, I would believe things more. In the words of Jim Carrey, Stop
    breaking the law a$$hole.

    1. Same mentality that says, “They crossed the border illegally, they can die in the desert now!” It’s called proportionate punishment, asshole.

      1. That’s not excessive force.  The perp was asked to put down his phone and instruction and refused to comply.  The perp then became agitated and physically resisted.

        At that point, force is applied, and the subject is arrested.  You think the police should beg?  Say pretty please?  Call in the negotiating team and see if they can get the guy to put down his cell phone? 

        This entire juvenile “meme” on boing boing is getting really old.  

  29. People equate things a little too quickly I think. Complying with a cop is giving into the totalitarian police state? Not agreeing with everything the media says is being a libertarian anarchist?

    Either way, things are blown way out of proportion too often it seems. I’d wager both parties were wrong in this case. The cop asks you to put away the phone? Put it away. The guy doesn’t put it away? Don’t overreact and smash him into the ground.

    1. The cop asks you to put away the phone? Put it away.

      No. What is wrong with you? Why would you comply with an order making it more likely that you could be abused by a member of an organization which is widely known for physically and legally abusing the public?

    2. There is absolutely no valid reason for a copy to ask for you to stop recording, unless they plan to do something illegal or already did and suspect you got it on record and they plan to confiscate it. Therefore, NO do not stop recording.  If they ask you to stop recording, you’re probably about to have something bad happen to you either way. Hopefully you’re using an app that streams video directly to the server so even if they take it, they’ve just added theft and possibly destruction of property to the video.

  30. In California it is legal to film the police

    “In California, it is well settled law that yes, you can record cops, but
    only while they are on duty, and you can’t interfere with their
    official duties. Otherwise, they are private citizens, subject to the
    same protections above, as anyone else. Other jurisdictions agree. The
    First Court of Appeals stated that is ok for the general public to
    video-tape public servant, eg, police officers, while they are
    working. This decision took place after cops were piecemeal arresting
    citizens who were recording them and the stories were run on television
    news channels.

  31. You remove my comments so I can’t reply to responses. This video is edited to benefit this person. The news shows more of him in cuffs being led away. If the phone was smashed, how is someone holding his phone recording him being led away in cuffs? His face looked fine in the clip while he was being taken away. You only see the cop in the video, not him behind the phone at all, or even from the beginning of him being stopped. You do not know what he was doing the entire time to antagonize this situation. Should have asked to sign the ticket and gone along your business. Next time remember it is illegal to smoke at the beach and near restaurants. Admit you are wrong and pay the ticket next time. You were wrong and whether the camera, you snickering in the background of the video, or other, you broke the law.

  32. I say any officer who thinks a cellphone is a weapon, and then assaults a man for carrying one should be subject to a mental health evaluation. If he passes, then he should be sent to prison. 

  33. I remember when the SDPD murdered a non-violent homeless man in Ocean Beach about 12 years ago, it caused demonstrations in the neighborhood.  

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