Claim filed in filmed police showdown over cellphone

Adam Pringle says First Amendment rights violated

SAN DIEGO - A viral video of a showdown between a San Diego police officer and an Escondido man over a cellphone has launched a national debate over shooting video in public.

On Friday, Dan Gilleon, an attorney for Adam Pringle, filed a claim against the city of San Diego -- a precursor to a lawsuit. Gilleon said Pringle's First Amendment rights were violated.

Three weeks ago, Pringle shot the video as he was being cited for smoking on the boardwalk.

For a minute, Pringle is seen in the video refusing to shut off his cellphone camera after an SDPD officer asks him several times.

Soon after, Pringle said his phone was slapped out of his hand, before he was tackled by the officer writing him the ticket.

Pringle was arrested for disorderly conduct.

"It makes me feel really upset because I was harassed," said Pringle.

Pringle got his phone back and posted the video online, which now has some 160,000 views.

10News reporter Michael Chen asked Pringle, "A police officer has asked you to do something. Why not simply be cooperative?"
 
"I wasn't trying to be disrespectful, but I know my rights and I was standing up for them," Pringle answered.

Gilleon's contention that Pringle's rights were violated is a position apparently backed by the National Press Photographers Association, which filed a complaint with San Diego police. They've publicly called police's concern about cellphones used as weapons an end-around the First Amendment.

"It's a ticketing scenario and he had every right in the world to be videotaping this. It's actually an important thing for society that this filming happens. It allows public debate," said Gilleon.

In a different case in Florida that's drawn national attention, police deleted video off a phone they confiscated.

Meanwhile, San Diego police said they're conducting an internal investigation and vow to take the complaint seriously.  

The San Diego City Attorney's Office says they have yet to decide on criminal charges against Pringle.

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