Videographer Active Confrontation on Larchmont – Larchmont Buzz

A Peaceful Day Larchmont Blvd.

If you see someone on Larchmont Blvd. shoot a video of bosses and company employees, but refusing to say what the video is for and becoming irritated when asked, try to turn away and ignore them.

The Buzz was alerted this week to the recent presence of a self-proclaimed YouTube videographer creating confrontations with Larchmont clients and businesses. The man (whose name and YouTube ID is available on his YouTube channel, but we don’t advertise here), claims to be a “First Amendment listener,” a person who deliberately records people in spaces audiences, without their permission, in the hope of causing what the cameraman interprets as violations of his First Amendment right to free speech. The targets are often the police or other city employees, but can also be security guards, various types of company employees, and others just going about their daily business.

What are “First Amendment listeners”?

According to a article in DP-Pro, a trade publication for public works workers (who have apparently been frequent targets for this kind of confrontation), First Amendment listeners draw inspiration from videos captured by citizens, such as those showing the beating of Rodney King and the murder of George Floyd. But instead of filming events they stumble upon and using their cameras to help protect the civil rights of others, these videographers use their cameras to intentionally create confrontations, with themselves at the center of the fabricated drama. , which they can then exploit via social networks. media.

“This movement is a group of loosely affiliated activists who place themselves in confrontational situations with police and government officials while recording interaction with a stated goal of” auditing “encounters for violations of Prime Minister’s rights. Amendment “, explains the article from DP-Pro. “The focus has recently been broadened to target anyone working in the public arena, including workers in the public service.”

The article then describes how such an “audit” works:

“According to auditors, an audit is an inspection of the extent to which officials and others working in the public arena remain within the confines of the Constitution… Typically, social media activists with recording devices enter a public building, construction site or outdoor activity and use aggressive and alarming tactics to elicit a reaction. This meeting is then uploaded to a media platform.

According to history, most of these activities are legal. “If they’re in a public space and stay within legal limits,” says author and security expert Jim Willis in the article, “they can record and stream footage of almost anything and anyone. . In fact, once they legally create a recording, they own it and have full control over the content, regardless of the subject or image.

In Larchmont’s most recent video, which is promoted with the provocative headline, “Karens will start to melt! Street. The camera stays steady until people start reacting by asking what the videographer is doing, prompting him to fight back, “Can you stop disturbing me?” And “I don’t mind!”

When a woman at a restaurant table gets up and takes a curious step towards the cameraman, he says, “Stand back! I’m warning you, step back! And later, he tells another customer that it’s a “public sidewalk” and that he will “defend my bubble” if that person approaches.

Although the activity may initially seem harmless, although very annoying to some people, there have been incidents in which the clashes escalated, most notably in 2019, when a provocateur, Zhoie Perez, known on YouTube as name of “FurryPotato”, was shot dead during a confrontation with a security guard at Ohel Chana High School of the Etz Jacob Congregation on Beverly Blvd. According to a The LA Times story about the incident, city attorneys refused to press charges against the warden in this case, but Perez sued the warden for “assault, forcible confinement, neglect and discrimination,” while claiming she remained peaceful and within her rights. in a public space at all times during the meeting.

How to deal with such confrontations

If you come into contact with one of these videographers, or see one of their confrontations in progress, there are several things to know.

First, according to DP-Pro, remember that there is no specific right to privacy in a public space, so the video recording activity is probably legal, even if it makes you feel bad about it. ‘easy.

But also remember that these individuals are primarily looking for confrontation and will use certain techniques to create charged interactions. From the story of DP-Pro:

“The meeting will be planned to surprise you and your employees. The listener will often present himself in an outfit intended to intimidate and alarm. Some go so far as to carry weapons. The listener will either start filming and say nothing (stonewall approach) or start aggressively questioning any employee they meet.

If they use the stonewall approach, they won’t answer questions or speak when spoken to. They will usually only respond if you take offensive action, with simple statements such as “don’t touch me”, “don’t touch my camera” or similar directions.

If they use an aggressive questioning approach, they will try to verbally overpower angry employees with quick questions and requests, often asking for documents or information that they may or may not have a right to obtain.

The latter technique was used by the videographer de Larchmont in another of his posted videos (not shot on Larchmont), in which he confronts the owner of a car he believes is illegally parked. During the exchange with the owner of the vehicle, the cameraman repeatedly requests that the owner of the car give him the VIN number of the car, for an “investigation”.

Because videographers try to create sensational controversy, however, they can get bored and move on if no one gets up to their bait. So even if you are annoyed by the camera or its operator, just turning away and going about your business may be the best way to prevent further interaction.

Then, while it may be a good idea for bosses or employees of a company to contact the police or a security service about the unwanted activity, especially if the “auditor” is disrupting the business, report loudly. voices that you cry out for help can only fuel the flames. So keep your call or text to authorities as quiet as possible, without letting the person on camera know that you or someone else is making the call.

Later, if you find out that you were captured against your will in an activist’s video, you may be able to protest the posting of the unauthorized video on YouTube, which is a private company, with its own rules for the users. To do this:

  • Find the video on YouTube
  • Note the start and end time of the shot which you believe violates your privacy
  • Click on the small three-dot icon () under the video, choose “Report”, then “Violate my rights” and “Privacy issue”, and follow the instructions from there.

Finally, we also heard a suggestion to stream recorded music aloud to your phone if you see a “listener” filming a video nearby. This is because videographers are trying to monetize their videos on YouTube, and they may run into issues with that if the footage contains copyrighted music that they don’t have the rights to use. Thus, videographers can try to avoid the places where there is music, to prevent the audio track from flagging their video for copyright infringement. The theory is that the people making these videos will avoid or leave places where they are likely to pick up the audio of copyrighted music.

But it may or may not work. A publication we found, aimed at law enforcement officers – do NOT recommend this technique to police, claiming that ‘optics’ are not good for law enforcement officers… who might be perceived as trying to ‘prevent filming and, thus, creating their own camouflage activities in a sensitive situation. (However, this is probably less of a problem for individuals walking down the street or dining outside of a restaurant.)

So the best advice seems to be to just walk away and not engage. No engagement means no confrontation… and no confrontation means no marketable and actionable video.

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