It took three months and an order issued by a visibly angry and disgusted judge, but Chris Vannote was finally able to recover the cell phone that was confiscated last fall by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
It had been the announced intention of the LASD to keep that phone until after a resisting and obstructing charge against Vannote had been fully “adjudicated.”
Last November 18, Vannote of Los Angeles was arrested for “obstruction” while video-recording LASD deputies who were searching an SUV. The encounter, which lasted a little less than four minutes, can be seen in the video from Vannote’s tardily recovered cellphone.
“Hey! Get over there!” one of the officers, a Deputy Soliz, barks at Vannote as the citizen videographer approached the scene of the search. Gesturing across the street, Soliz told Vannote that if he wanted to videotape the incident, “go over there.”
Following an exchange of unpleasant epithets, Vannote retreated to the other side of the street, where he briefly interviewed local residents about the police stop. He then crossed the street again, asking the deputies where the police line was and pointing out that “I’m 25-30 feet from the crime scene.”
Within seconds, Vannote is swarmed and arrested without explanation, a block away from where he would be cited three months later for jaywalking for recording deputies from the same agency.