A violent arrest by L.A. County deputies was caught on video. Now the man is seeking justice and a public apology.
Last Friday, after a week-long investigation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department charged a L.A. attorney who, along with three friends, was videotaping people on a sidewalk around 2 a.m., with the videotape containing lewd, voyeuristic and indecent content.
His arrest came after members of the department’s Special Response Team spotted two men having a picnic in a parking lot and pulled over the attorney and his three friends.
“It was the most embarrassing thing I’ve done in my life,” the attorney, Matthew Baraz, told the Los Angeles Times.
But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. When his friends later turned him over to the police, he was accused of criminal charges, arrested and interrogated for hours without a lawyer, a judge, access to a lawyer or to his two daughters, who were sleeping in their beds nearby in the apartment as they prepared for school the following day.
At one point, the police officer took an audio recording of Baraz’s conversation with his attorney, Baraz said, and played it back in court, at which point he could not hear. He was later told that his attorney and his wife had spoken on the phone, but was not given a transcript of that call.
The tape of his conversation with his attorney is now under seal, and the Los Angeles Times has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Baraz, seeking a court order that it be published and the charges dropped.
Baraz, who has since been released on bail, said he doesn’t know what the police officer heard and felt during interrogations that led investigators to file charges. He was told that the officer, identified in court documents as S.C. McCleary, had been called to investigate the noise of fireworks during a Fourth of July celebration.
The officer said Baraz, who is a practicing attorney, was videotaping people in the parking lot when he became irate and began yelling at his girlfriend,