On January 22, Adrian Burrell was at his home in Vallejo, California, when he saw his cousin outside with his hands in the air. The cousin, Michael Walton, was standing next to his motorcycle with his back to a police officer. “He can’t hear you. He has his helmet on,” Burrell told the officer, according to the account he later gave to KGO. At that point, he says, the cop told him to go back in his house.
Instead, Burrell, who is a filmmaker, opted to record the incident. Even if he hadn’t been standing on his own private property, this would be within his rights. In California, citizens can film on-duty police officers as long as they aren’t interfering in their work. In this case, Burrell tells The San Francisco Chronicle, he was on his porch—more than 20 feet away from what was going on.