Police Seize (Steal) Woman’s Phone After She Records Violent Arrest – Portland Oregon

Police Seize (Steal) Woman's Phone After She Records Violent Arrest - Portland Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – According to the Gresham Police Department, a police officer who snatched a cellphone from a woman recording officers making an arrest was acting quickly to keep potential video evidence of a crime from being erased.

Carrie Medina considers herself a police watchdog and has a history of recording police making arrests.

Minutes after she began recording, the Gresham transit officer can be seen in the video walking over and demanding to see her phone so he can check for evidence.

On the video, Medina questions the officer’s request, but he tells her he doesn’t need a subpoena to search her phone for evidence of a crime.

“Ma’am, do you want to hand me the phone or would you like to show it to me?” the officer asks.

“I don’t want to show you …,” Medina begins to respond. At that point the officer snatches the phone from her while it is still recording.

“I was not there to interfere, I was not there to intervene, I was not there to yell at them. I was just there to quietly watch,” Medina said later during an interview. “He assaulted me. It was an illegal seizure of my property. It was a violation of my First Amendment right to be able to film. It was a violation of my Fourth Amendment right – the seizure and illegal search of my property.”

Gresham police say their officer didn’t seize her phone because he was unhappy that she was recording. They say he seized the phone because he was trying to protect video evidence he thought might be on the phone of the arrest he just made.

“The actual arrest itself was a crime of resist arrest,” said Gresham Police Department spokesman Lt. Claudio Grandjean. “She’s videotaping, the officer didn’t know how much she got of the actual resist arrest, but there’s potentially evidence of that on the video. That’s what he was after was that video. She made it clear she wasn’t going to hand it over.”

Gresham police say officers don’t need a warrant to seize the phone when they feel the evidence on it is in jeopardy of being erased, but they would need a warrant to actually look at the phone’s contents without the owner’s consent.

“In this case, all it takes is – delete – and the evidence is gone, and especially if someone is (backing away) – I’m not going to give you that – you’re real close to losing evidence,” Grandjean said.

In this case the law appears to be on the police officer’s side. The case is different than some previous cases where police have seized citizen’s cellphones, even putting a man in jail for recording in public, only later to admit they were wrong.

In those previous cases, police officers have seized cellphones, because they believed the act of recording itself was a crime.

In 2008 Beaverton police not only took Hao Vang’s phone he spent a night in jail after he took video of his friend being arrested.

Police said he violated Oregon law that says you can’t record someone’s audio without notifying them. But Beaverton ended up paying Vang for unjust treatment. Gresham police say that was a different circumstance.

“The courts have found that holding the phone up like this is enough notification,” Grandjean said. “You’ve told people, we all know what they’re doing so you have that situation. In this situation you have somebody recording evidence of a crime.”

Legal experts say there would be a problem in another scenario where an officer seizes a phone to cover up his own misbehavior.

So what are your rights in these situations?

The American Civil Liberties Union says that in public spaces, you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view.

Police cannot delete your photographs or video, but this does not give you the right to violate other laws or interfere with crime scenes.

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18 comments

  1. loutruckman69 says:

    Why would she be recording before the event/arrest?

  2. colt8826SOLDIER11B says:

    that was by far the most dumb cop he didnt even make his point clear, apparently you will also hold youre phone a certain way to record ughhhhh wtf

  3. Jordan McNeill (Frodo Baggins) says:

    this is why 8th grade history helps y'all and for me right now

  4. bernard james says:

    i woulda resisted and fucking beat the shit outta him if he tried to take it, get that nigga in a chokehold at least and call it self defense, then let myself get arrested by the other cop, have my friend record it all and then they both have commited many crimes

  5. Shawn Thomas says:

    Journalists? More like incompetent, ignorant hacks. 

  6. Jim Basler says:

    THAT'S FUCKIN' BULLSHIT!!!

  7. Fred Brown says:

    Why would she delete the video and why is the cop so aggressive and where is the proof she was going to delete the video she was rote ting her property

  8. AMERICAN says:

    They need a subpoena to SEIZE SOMEONES PROPERTY.

  9. Spock says:

    OK, Law Enforcement, You are being held to a hire standard of conduct, and that’s why you must know the law, DO NOT infringe on our 1st amendment, 2nd, third, or any other constitutional corner-stone, of our social (fire-walled) firm-ware…Please, Don't be Stupid

  10. Spock says:

    Government "either we shoot with cameras, or we shoot with guns"- It's now up to you, Do you wannabe be a bunch of Jack-boot, Steroid heads, racketeering, testiLying  group thinkers, who violate the People?.. Then, you chose to take on The American People, lovers of Freedom,  yes, a billion firearms (yes, that's a thousand million), on their supply base with the moral duty …to put you criminals in your place.  All we People ask is that you Police behave, stop acting like children, Police yourselves! Don’t Be Evil !!

  11. DoITAll 1911 says:

    It bothers me. THat the High ranking official tried to justify it later. He knows its wrong. Period.

  12. stormysknight496 says:

    The fact that people believe whatever a cop says is pathetic. The cop even admits that a warrant is needed to view the CONTENT of a phone, the video itself is the CONTENT of the phone. We need to start standing up against those who seek power by making those they were meant to protect fear them.

  13. PhattyMo says:

    Crooked bastards.

  14. Joe Anonymous says:

    what a crock!
    cant seize someone's phone without them being involved in the crime. ridiculous…

  15. Howlinblind Muddyslim says:

    The cop knows how to delete cell phone footage, because they do it all the time

  16. afk4lfe says:

    Those cops are FULL of bullshit. If they were as good at protecting the public as they are at spinning shite America would be a perfect nation. 

  17. Alex Lewis says:

    So the reporter didn't know that police needed a warrant to search your property? he thought they use a canine unit for a free air smell. Yep…cellphone video tested positive for drugs. Video evidence is always using illegal substances. 

  18. bob .right says:

    Most of the policemen are ( SONS OF A SOW ) That why I called them pigs.