Video of Norfolk officer pushing camera phone goes viral on YouTube

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jun 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-12 19:31:38-04

Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk police say they are launching an internal investigation after video of one of their officers pushing a camera phone out of his face is going viral on YouTube.

"What if I pushed him and tried to take his flashlight.  What would happen to me? I'd probably go to jail," says 22-year-old Jeremiah Schwenk.  Schwenk told NewsChannel 3 he started recording a group of officers at Harborfest in Norfolk last weekend while they were questioning his friend.

"I'm here to make sure my friend doesn't get his rights violated," said Schwenk in the video.

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that," replied the officer.

"Police do not protect people," Schwenk said as he was recording.

The officer never asked Schwenk to stop recording, but he did continue to ask Schwenk to move.

"I have the right to record you," said Schwenk.

The officer replied, "I'm telling you right now. Step any closer, and keep trying to move around me.  This is on your phone right?  I will arrest you for interfering.  You understand me?"

Moments later, the conversation escalated into a heated confrontation when the officer yelled, "Get that light out of my face!" as he pushed Schwenk's cell phone away.

"I do not think at any point I was egging him on," said Schwenk.  "He approached me. I was keeping my distance from the beginning."

Neither Schwenk nor his friend were arrested.  Norfolk police said internal affairs is reviewing the video, but the officer has not faced any disciplinary action.  They said the officer has been on the force 25 years.

"Everybody's accountable for their actions.  Nobody is above the law, not even the police officers," Schwenk said.