YouTube personality shot in Los Angeles is a first-amendment listener


A photo of a YouTube personality video, Zhoie Perez, also known as "Furry Potato", which shows it filmed by a security officer in front of a Los Angeles synagogue. (Furry Potato / YouTube / PHOTOGRAPHER Furry Potato / YouTube)

An armed security guard Thursday shot dead a YouTube personality in the leg in front of a Los Angeles synagogue, while the confrontation was broadcast live to thousands of people.

Zhoie Perez, who calls himself "Furry Potato" On YouTube, she was filming the guard as part of what she calls an "audit of the first amendment." The second of the two videos released by Perez shows the guard behind a portal with his gun deflated for about four minutes, before telling Perez to "Go-in" and shoot his rifle. Perez was taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She told the Washington Post on Friday that she was "shaken, painful" but in agreement.

The first amendment and its close cousin, copwatching, date back to at least the mid-2000s and perhaps much earlier (some filmmakers say they are inspired by the civil rights era and the first audits with camcorders and VHS cassettes). Recently, this practice has turned into a YouTube subculture, with so-called "listeners" in many major US cities wandering in suburban and small towns to see how the police reacted to it. lens of a camera. Photographers see themselves as testing their constitutional rights.

In its purest form, a listener is simply in a public space, films and refuses to pose the camera, to explain or to identify with the approach of an agent. Perez said that she first arrived in the Los Angeles area community a few years ago and that she felt compelled to create her own videos. "It's not just about lightening bad cops, it's about brightening the good cops even better," she said. "You put yourself in places where you know the cops are going to be called. Will they respect the constitution, enforce the law … or break the law?

On Thursday, Perez filmed in front of the Etz Jacob Congregation and Ohel Chana High School in the historically Jewish neighborhood of Fairfax in Los Angeles. Two videos were streamed live on the YouTube channel Furry Potato, but one of them seems to have been deleted since. There are brief graphic moments in the second live stream around the marks of four and 37 minutes, while Perez seems to have been killed and later films his injury from an ambulance.

Perez, a 45-year-old transgender woman, told The Washington Post that she had started filming the synagogue because she was intrigued by the architecture while she was coming back from a doctor's appointment at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, located nearby. "I saw the synagogue and I said I'll go check it out. There are a lot of interesting things on it, like stained glass, "she says. This did not turn into a situation similar to that of an audit before the safety officer confronted her, she said.

"That turned into an impromptu First Amendment audit because the security guard became almost immediately very aggressive with the shooting and laying of the revolver," said Perez. At the time, she said, she had not realized that the building also housed a school.

Perez also said she was unaware of the shooting that took place last year in the Pittsburgh Synagogue, during which 11 worshipers were killed by an anti-Semitic armed man during the ceremony. Saturday morning. The massacre put the Jewish community in the country at ease. Many Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues enjoy some form of security in case of threat and increased security after the Pittsburgh violence.

The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that police responded Thursday to a call after a stir said "a shooting just happened." At the scene, police found someone shot in the leg and were transported. the person in the hospital. According to the statement, the security guard was armed and then detained.

Norma Eisenman, a Los Angeles police officer, confirmed to the Post that the guard, Edduin Zelayagrunfeld, 44, was arrested. She said that Perez had not been charged.

The second live video shows the filming and some of the events that led to it.

It all starts with the guardian of the synagogue standing behind a gate and holding his weapon. Perez regularly zooms in on the gun while commentators react in real time to the confrontation with messages ranging from "Be careful, my daughter!" To "These Jews are crazy!"

"He told me he was going to kill me," Perez says about two minutes from the screen. "He said that if I move, he will kill me."

"Why are you registering?" Asks Zelayagrunfeld, still holding the gun. "Why do you record me? Why are you registering this institution? "Perez does not respond to the goalkeeper but says again to his live viewers:" He said that he was going to shoot me if I moved. "

Four minutes later.

The video seems to show Zelayagrunfeld pointing his weapon down, probably to the ground. There is an explosion and a second later, Perez screams as the camera rocks on the sidewalk. While Perez screams in agony, "The [expletive] I've shot it! Zelayagrunfeld is heard screaming "Leave" before leaving the gate to reprimand Perez, saying that he had fired a "warning shot".

Witnesses seem to be helping Perez, while Zelayagrunfeld follows him momentarily and insists that he "pulls on the ground". About 12 minutes later, police arrive to help Perez but, according to his story, he also seems to be detaining her. "I get shot and handcuffed?" Asks Perez. "Everything is broadcast live; 100% of the content is broadcast live, "she told the officers, but refuses to give her name. The lens of the camera is obscured or very low on the ground for most of the meeting with the police.

In the last moments of the flow of nearly 40 minutes, Perez, in an ambulance, returns the camera on his injured leg. She tells her viewers that she is heading to the hospital. She later told KCAL 9 News that "the doctor said that it was an egg."

"This is not just an example of paranoia in this country among cops and security guards when it comes to citizens with cameras, but an example of the dangers to place armed security guards and cops in schools, "said Carlos Miller, whose website is Photography Not a Crime uses and writes about the listeners. "[Like] Many other police and security guards lacked basic de-escalation skills and chose to intensify a lawful, non-violent interaction with a citizen by shooting with a deadly weapon. "

In 2018, Perez created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his audit and transition. He raised $ 3,575. Later that year, she was arrested for filming in front of a Marine Corps recruiting center, after pleading "no challenge to the breach of peace", and was fined $ 100. On Tuesday, Perez posted a video on YouTube titled "Watch the cop" in which she and a friend were filming and talking with officers in Los Angeles. In the video, Perez reports that she and her friend were about to conduct a separate "audit" when they saw several police cars parked in the street. Perez tells viewers that she and her friend "make sure not to hurt anyone; that's all. At one point, Perez's friend chats with an officer of the make and model of the cars.

"We are not auditing this place," she says in the video.

It is the so-called failed audits that tend to generate the most clicks, which has led the police to charge aggressive listeners to intentionally provoking them.

In May, a listener known as "Mexican Padilla" was arrested while filming (and shouting and swearing) in a police station in Leon Valley, Texas. This inspired a multi-day demonstration in the city, organized by listeners from across the country – during which police arrested, arrested and confiscated cameras from several other YouTube personalities, which led to videos still more viral and to a bigger scandal.

Nearly a dozen protesters and listeners are now suing Leon Valley in federal court, alleging that the police had assaulted, harassed, intimidated and illegally detained them.

In 2017, a Federal Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Phillip Turner, an auditor who prosecuted three Fort Worth police officers after arresting him while filming on a sidewalk near a police station. "Filming the police allows the public to hold the police to account, to ensure that police officers do not abuse their power and to make informed decisions about police policy," wrote Judge Jacques Wiener of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

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