YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Lucas Mullikin, a freelance filmmaker and journalist, is speaking out against the Yuma Police Department (YPD) after he said he was arrested for peacefully filming officers.
On May 16, Mullikin was driving along Fourth Avenue near 5th Street when he stopped to record a YPD officer struggling to arrest a homeless man on the sidewalk.
“There was basically a fence corner between me…so two fence lines between where I was and the officers. So pretty far away. I couldn’t have lunged and I wasn’t any threat or obstruction to these officers,” said Mullikin.
In a cell phone recording captured by Mullikin, the officer instructs Mullikin to get back multiple times before another officer arrives on the scene and pushes Mullikin to the ground.
In the video, the 34-year-old is seen getting back up to his feet before demanding the officer’s badge number.
Mullikin was taken to the ground and arrested for failure to comply and resisting arrest.
A police report obtained by News 11 alleges that Mullikin “physically resisted” the officer’s efforts to move him back and that Mullikin “pushed his elbow” toward the officer while he was being pushed.
“There was no level of resistance. Literally, I stood there while they came up and grabbed my arm, grabbed my phone, and twisted my arm behind, ” retorts Mullikin.
Thomas Garrity, the Police Chief of the Yuma Police Department, said that his officers did not do anything wrong that night.
He said that Mullikin was asked at least eight times to move back, most of which was not captured on his cell phone recording.
“At no time, even in his video, do the officers ask him to stop recording. They asked him to get back for their safety,” said Garrity.
“All we’re asking for is the officers to have the safe space to operate and none of this would happen if you comply with the officer’s orders,” Garrity added.
Arizona lawmakers passed a bill last year that made it illegal for the public to record police officers within eight feet.
The law was later overturned by a federal judge.