Police Incident at Downtown Library
Screenshot of johnny five-o video / YouTube
Source: Santa Barbara Police Department
[Monday] afternoon at approximately 2:15 P.M., the Santa Barbara Police Department received a call from Santa Barbara Central Library staff requesting assistance with a male subject allegedly violating the Library’s rules of conduct.
At approximately 2:55 P.M., two Santa Barbara Police Officers responded to the site and contacted the subject who videoed parts of his interaction with the officers. The subject was arrested for trespassing and resisting or delaying an officer, both misdemeanors. After being medically cleared, the subject was transferred to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
The subject’s video was being live-streamed to social media and received an abundance of interest from social media followers. We ask members of the public who have any information regarding this incident to contact the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Professional Standards Unit at 805-897-2398.
The Santa Barbara Department is committed to continued openness and transparency with the public they serve.
Update by edhat staff
A man who refers to himself online as "Johnny Five O" was arrested on Monday afternoon for refusing to leave the Santa Barbara Public Library.
According to the Santa Barbara Police Department, staff of the library contacted the department for a man who was videotaping in their library violating their rules of conduct and refused to leave. Johnny Five O admits he had been videotaping for more than an hour before police arrived, as stated in his video.
The Santa Barbara City Library rules of conduct state "recording, photographing, or filming persons in the library without prior consent from the Library Director or designee and from the person(s) being recorded, photographed, or filmed" will result in the offender being asked to leave the premises immediately. It goes on to state that those who fail to comply may be forcibly removed resulting in a citation or arrest.
The video was being live-streamed on social media causing an influx of views and comments from people throughout the U.S. with some prompting calls to the library and police department. It currently has over 36,000 views.
Several online blogs and social media campaigns advocate for "First Amendment audits" in public places, specifically targeting public libraries. The individuals claim they have a right to film in any space accessible to the public, arguing that they’re entitled to do so as taxpayers and citizen journalists.
"Based on their output, their goal is to create videos of their encounters with police, security officers, and public officials that document a claimed violation of the camera person’s First Amendment rights. The video is then posted to YouTube or other social media, and used as evidence for a legal claim against the targeted agency or its officers and officials," wrote Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
According to the law, there is a difference between a traditional public forum and facilities opened to the public for a specific use, like a library or courthouse. Libraries are considered limited public forums, in accordance with the First Amendment, where the government agency administering the space is only obligated to allow those First Amendment activities that are consistent with the nature of the forum, according to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The full video is found below: