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Police Accused of Illegally Seizing Journalist’s Cellphone to Entry Pictures


A reporter from a Univision affiliate in Arizona has accused police of illegally seizing his telephone and threatening to entry its contents by “brute power” throughout an incident in April.

In a 28-page movement filed in Gilbert Arizona’s Municipal court docket, journalist León Felipe González Cortés of Univision Arizona says that police violated his First Modification rights as a reporter by unlawfully seizing his telephone and threatening to entry its contents, as reported by AZCentral. In the course of the incident, González additionally alleges that the police referred to him as “compadre” in a derisive method in reference to his Latino heritage.

Police have held the telephone for greater than a month, and attorneys from each the city and the police division have allegedly stopped responding to requests for its return.

González was arrested and had his telephone seized whereas masking the loss of life of a Chandler police officer in April. In response to the movement, González — regardless of sporting a Univision shirt and being accompanied by a photojournalist — was advised by police that he was on the unsuitable aspect of the police line and was arrested for trespassing and hindering a police investigation.

González claims that the telephone contained private data and guarded journalistic work unrelated to the April incident and that such data is protected by the federal Privateness Safety Act of 1980 and the Arizona Structure.

AZCentral requested David Cullier, a professor on the College of Arizona Faculty of Journalism, concerning the legality of the seizure given the circumstances, which he referred to as “unacceptable.”

“Police have a proper to guard the integrity of a criminal offense scene, however confiscating and breaking right into a journalist’s cellphone crosses the road,” he says.

Univision and the Arizona Broadcasters Affiliation additionally condemned the seizure.

Gilbert’s spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison despatched out a press release saying that González was arrested “after he deliberately walked inside a clearly-marked crime scene in the course of the legal investigation” and “by his personal admission, captured digital pictures and/or video footage from contained in the scene.” His telephone was, subsequently, “seized as proof on the time of his arrest, because the Police Division had possible trigger to imagine that the telephone contained proof of his legal conduct.”

She went on to state that she believed that his arrest and the telephone’s seizure have been supported by federal legal guidelines and offered no additional remark.

Over a month after the preliminary incident, Gilbert police added a further trespassing cost towards González regardless of the property proprietor the place that trespassing allegedly occurred declined to prosecute. The movement additionally claims that the declare the telephone contained proof of the preliminary crime and was, subsequently, essential to seize is doubtful, because the police had “ample time” to take images of their very own.

The crux of the case appears to hinge not on the truth that González went past the clearly marked police line, however that the police had no proper to grab his telephone and threaten to entry its contents in consequence.


Picture credit: Header photograph licensed through Depositphotos.



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