Los Angeles Police Department officers were filmed arresting a volunteer at their own community movie night

A member of the LAPD sits inside his squad car, parked outside their headquarters on 1st St. in downtown Los Angeles.Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • A young man volunteering at a community movie night was arrested by the LAPD.

  • Robert Cortez was filming a friend being detained by police when the LAPD turned their attention to him.

  • Cortez’s mom, Rocio Gonzalez told Insider police could have killed her son.

Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were filmed detaining a volunteer and his friend at a community event put on by the department itself.

Robert Cortez, 19 was with his childhood friend helping set up chairs for an event organized in part by Los Angeles City Hall, the Harbor City Council, and the LAPD when a patrol car noticed the young men and approached them.

The officers recognized the childhood friend and began to detain him, according to Cortez’s mother, who spoke to Insider about the incident. In the meantime, Cortez took out his cell phone to record.

Cortez’s mom, Rocio Gonzalez, told Insider she was in shock when she saw the video.

“He slammed my son on the ground. For what reason? Because he was recording you?” she said.

Gonzalez said she spoke with the officers involved and their sergeants. She said officers told her they thought her son’s phone could have been a gun. The LAPD did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

“You could have shot my son dead and then that’s what you cover it with?” she said.

“What is he being detained for?” Cortez can be heard saying to police in one video. According to Los Angeles cop-watcher William Gude, a community member snapped footage of the incident showing both men being arrested.

In the attendee’s video shared to Twitter, Officer Victor Quezeda can be seen rushing to Cortez after a few minutes of him recording his friend’s arrest and tackling him to the ground. The 19-year-old was later arrested for resisting arrest.

“What am I being detained for?” Cortez can be heard yelling in videos taken by community members as both men are arrested, while another officer points a green taser at onlookers.

Cortez’s bail was later set at $25,000. California law and the first amendment allow onlookers to film police officers as they question and arrest suspects.

Gude said Cortez wasn’t doing anything wrong by filming the officers.

“I think Robert was brave and did the right thing,” he told Insider.

Activists like Gude have joined a chorus of people calling for deep reforms at the LAPD, given recent acts of police brutality.

In 2020, 27 people were shot by police, resulting in seven fatalities. In 2021, the LAPD shot at least 38 people, killing 18 of them, according to reports from the department seen by Insider.

And last year, while trying to apprehend a suspect, the LAPD shot and killed Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-year-old who was shopping at a local department store.

Read the original article on Insider



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