Police in Memphis have launched an investigation after a video was posted online purportedly showing police officers assaulting a man for filming them in the line of duty, even though he has a legal right to do so.
The video was posted to Facebook on Monday by Francesco DaDon Guglielmette who claims he “was assaulted by Memphis police just for recording,” which is something that Memphis Police Department have previously stated is allowed.
A number of police officers can be seen talking to a number of men by a police car when Guglielmette is asked to move onto the sidewalk by one of the officers.
“The sidewalk is made to walk, not to stay,” the officer says to Guglielmette who is walking away.
The police officer, who has not been identified, continues to follow him, however, repeatedly asking him to move further along. The officer then appears to grab Guglielmette and wrestle the phone off him, dropping it to the ground.
Another onlooker is understood to have picked up the phone and Guglielmette is seen on the ground surrounded by five police officers who are trying to arrest him.
“Arrested on false charges and treated like an pure animal,” Guglielmette wrote in a Facebook post.
“Someone broke in to my lil brother home… I get a phone call to go check on his mom,” Guglielmette explained. “We the ones who called the police… They were just mad because I was recording them abusing their authority.”
MPD posted a message to their Facebook page stating that the officers involved have been identified.
“This video has been turned over to our Inspectional Services Bureau and a thorough investigation is underway,” the post reads.
“I understand the outrage from the community concerning this video; however, I do ask that you all allow us to conduct a thorough investigation into the actions of this officer,” said Interim Director Michael Rallings.
According to MPD’s policy document, “members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record MPD members while members are conducting official business or while acting in an official capacity in any public space, unless such recordings interfere with police activity.”
“If a person is taking photography or recording from a place where he or she has a right to be, members are reminded that this activity itself does not constitute suspicious conduct,” the policy reads.
The officer will be the latest from the Memphis department to have an investigation launched into their activities.
In April, officer Michael Smith was indicted on three counts of rape as well as sexual battery, official oppression and official misconduct after a 26-year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting her outside a nightclub in the city, reported WREG.
“I mean, those are the people who are protecting our streets who’s being accused of sexually assaulting someone,” Bridgett Bilda told WMC Action News 5.