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Los Angeles Police Department officers were caught on camera arresting a volunteer at their own community movie night

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

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

  • Robert Cortez was filming a friend in police custody when the LAPD turned their attention to him.

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

Los Angeles Police Department officers were filmed detaining a volunteer and his friend at a community event hosted by the department itself.

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

Officers recognized the childhood friend and began detaining him, according to Cortez’s mother, who spoke to Insider about the incident. In the meantime, Cortez pulled out his cell phone to record.

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

“He tackled my son to the ground. Why ? Because he was recording you? she says.

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

“You could have killed my son and then this is what you cover him with?” she says.

“Why is he being detained? Cortez can be heard telling police in a video. According to Los Angeles police officer William Gude, a member of the community broken pictures of the incident showing the two men being arrested.

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

“Why am I detained? Cortez can be heard screaming in videos taken by community members as the two 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 bystanders to film police officers as they interrogate and arrest suspects.

Gude said Cortez was doing nothing wrong 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 sweeping reforms at the LAPD, given recent acts of police brutality.

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

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

Read the original Insider article


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