Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has pulled an officer off patrol in response to a video that came out over the weekend. It shows the officer trying to prevent a man from recording a traffic stop -- an action the chief says citizens have a legal right to do.
Acevedo said in a press conference Monday it was both irritating and a shame that he had to take the time to address the situation. He called it "self-inflicted" and a knock on good policing.
On Friday night Phillip Turner, who tells FOX 7 he uses his camera to fight back against police injustice, began to document a traffic stop off Burnet Road.
You can see a back-up officer walking up to Turner and shining a light directly into his camera. The officer continues the behavior. Another officer also enters the picture. At one point Turner is prevented from returning to his vehicle.
Turner sent the video to Acevedo.
Acevedo says the policy regarding public recording is clear. It states -- as long as a photographer is in a place he has the legal right to be, officers shall not order that they stop, detain them or in any way, threaten or intimidate them.
Read Policy 302, page 105:
Acevedo says Turner behaved in a respectful manner. He has launched an internal investigation into both officers on video. The main actor, Officer James Maufrais, was pulled off patrol immediately.
Acevedo says he will not tolerate officers who are dismissive of policy.
"We really shouldn't be here and that's upsetting to me. When you look at the serious issues we have to deal with in society right now, when you have issues of wanting to build trust and we have the issues of communities concerned about the election. We have so much to deal with. This is a clear policy and we really shouldn't be here," said Acevedo.
Acevedo says the filming policy is important. This is a free country and APD is a department of transparency.
Turner plans to sue the city.