ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – An Alameda County Sheriff Sergeant is being investigated after he played a Taylor Swift song on his phone to prevent interaction from being recorded and published.
The man says in the video that he is playing the song to prevent the video from being uploaded to YouTube.
He believed the song would cause a copyright issue.
The sergeant KRON4 spoke to wants to emphasize this is not something they have ever told anyone to do and that people are allowed to record their interactions with law enforcement.
“While we always expect the unexpected–I was not expecting Taylor Swift,” James Burch said.
The Anti-Police Terror Project has had many interactions with law enforcement but nothing like this.
“I was really bewildered,” Burch said.
You can see in the video published to YouTube the policy director of APTP James Burch talking with the sergeant.
The group was outside the Alameda Courthouse in Oakland to listen to the pre-trial hearing of San Leandro police officer Jason Fletcher.
Fletcher is accused of wrongfully shooting and killing Steven Taylor, a man that was having a mental health crisis at a Walmart.
The sergeant asked the group to move their banners. Burch said they did but the sergeant came back.
“Unfortunately, it was not the end of it and less than a minute later the officers came back and told us that the banners couldn’t be on the stairs,” Burch said.
While Burch is trying to talk with the sergeant, you can see him pull out his phone, start playing music, and then put the phone in his shirt.
“One of the fundamentals of our job is to protect, to protect the right to protest and that is not a good look for us,” Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
Sergeant Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office says people are allowed to video their interactions with law enforcement as this group did.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the incident.
Supervisors will be going to all shift briefings to let everyone know what is seen in this video can not be done.
“This is not our practice, this is not something that we do and it’s not part of some kind of subculture within law enforcement to do this,” Kelly said.
The sergeant shows his name tag to the camera — It says D. Shelby.
He also says to the camera that he is playing the music so the video isn’t posted to YouTube.
“Through transparency can come change,” Kelly said.
KRON asked the police director of the Anti-Police Terror Project what they hope will come of this.
They say they hope more people will be aware of Steven Taylor’s death, which is why they were there in the first place.