Wallingford Man Arrested for Filming New Haven Police | NBC Connecticut

Wallingford Man Arrested for Filming New Haven Police



    Video taken from an iPhone landed a Wallingford man behind bars.

    A bit of curiosity led to a night in jail for Luis Luna, 26, of Wallingford.  "It was a pretty abrupt thing, my rights were completely violated," said Luna.

    Luna was in New Haven on College Street during the police department's Operation Nightlife, when he saw police arrest two guys and took out his iPhone to record it. 

    "Assistant Chief Melendez saw me, came towards me, and said what are you doing? I said, I'm filming, and he immediately just grabbed my phone out of my hand," said Luna.
    After they grabbed his phone, Luna says police didn't even give him a chance to explain. Instead they patted him down, threw him in the back of a cruiser and charged him with interfering with police.
    "I just couldn't believe I was getting arrested," said Luna.
    Luna was kept in jail overnight on a $5,000 bond. The next morning it was changed to a promise to appear. Luna was released and got his cell phone back, but the video he took was missing. A photo of two sets of feet was the only thing left from that night. Luna thinks police erased the clip.
    "All the evidence points towards that," said Luna.
    Luna also thinks things have gotten out of hand in New Haven, especially during Operation Nightlife, where police cracked down on downtown clubs. Last month, Yale students claimed police brutality after they used SWAT officers to raid a private party at Elevate Lounge.
    "What I think needs to happen is to have a civilian review board that has power where police officers can be accountable," said Luna.
    There is an internal investigation into complaints about Operation Nightlife.
    In a statement, Police Chief Frank Limon said, "Every sworn member of the department takes an oath to uphold the State and Federal Constitution. Any citizen has the right to video tape anything in as long as they are not interfering with an investigation and it does not jeopardize the safety of the officer(s) or others. Also, police officers should not arrest people solely for video taping. I made an inquiry with Internal Affairs and Luna has not filed a formal complaint regarding the allegation he made to the press regarding his phone. I am directing Internal Affairs to look into the incident and report back to me with the results."