A DeSoto police officer drew a weapon on a citizen recording police officers Saturday in what the chief of police described as a "very serious" and "concerning" interaction.
DeSoto Chief of Police Joe Costa released a lengthy statement Tuesday morning outlining the Feb. 3 incident involving a man identified as Charlie Dominguez, as well as a few others that occurred previously.
Costa said Dominguez is a person known to police for recording a series of videos in the subgenre of "first amendment audits." In those videos, the person doing the recording often tries to attract the attention of law enforcement to see if the officer will violate their right to record them.
Costa initially said one of his officers was being followed Feb. 3 by man he identified as Dominguez, a person he'd arrested recently for interfering with public duties.
During the incident Saturday, which was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, Dominguez can be seen in the video following an officer through a parking lot. At one point, the officer abruptly stops and gets out of his vehicle and points something toward Dominguez.
While it's not clear in the video what it was, Costa said in his original statement that the officer drew his weapon and told Dominguez that if he continued to follow him it would be viewed as a threat.
Costa said the officer then left the area and notified his supervisor of the incident, prompting an administrative review.
"Once our investigation into this matter has been thoroughly completed, the Police Department will address all inquiries and concerns regarding this case," DeSoto police said in a revised statement Tuesday. "The professional men and women of our Police Department remain committed to ensuring that our community is safe, as well as protected on a daily basis."
Dominguez, meanwhile, has filed an official complaint with the department over the incident.
In his initial statement, Costa shared details about a number of interactions Dominguez has had with DeSoto police in the recent past -- two of which have resulted in his arrest.
Costa also shared links to some of Dominguez's videos posted online that shows his interactions with the officers.
- On Jan. 10, police said Dominguez approached a DeSoto officer and a citizen at a traffic stop. When asked not to approach the officer in a blind spot, police said Dominguez "launched into a profanity-laced tirade on the officer."
- On Jan. 23, in front of the Tri-City Jail, Dominguez recorded a citizen attempting to file a police report with an officer. Though the citizen asked him to stop recording, he refused. He continued filming officers and making rude remarks while insisting they pick up trash.
- On Jan. 25, Dominguez was back at the police department, officials said. Officers recognized him and knew he had an outstanding warrant from another city and took him into custody and seized his bicycle.
- On Jan. 29, Dominguez returned to the police department to retrieve his bicycle. While in the lobby, he approached an interview room where an officer was taking a complaint from a citizen and began recording. He was ordered to stop recording and leave and he refused. Dominguez was arrested for interference with public duties.
- On Feb. 3, Dominguez approached an officer in a shopping center -- the same officer who arrested him on Jan. 29. As the officer left the area, Dominguez followed him through the parking lot where the officer eventually stopped and drew his weapon.
Costa said Dominguez often posts videos of his interactions with police and firefighters on YouTube under then name Charlie dogbmx and Charlie dog84 as a "first amendment audit." Costa said he respects the fact that Dominguez wants to be sure officers are conducting themselves in a fair manner, but cautioned against behavior that may lead to safety concerns or that infringes on the rights of other citizens.
In his original statement, Costa said, "I promise you that the officer involved in this incident is a fine officer and one of the best we have," but that the investigation into the incident is ongoing and that they'll "make a fair determination ... after a complete review."
As of this writing, the DeSoto Police Department has not identified the officer who pulled his weapon.