During a dispute on Tuesday between Morro Bay police and a YouTuber who films officers, Police Chief Greg Allen and another officer physically took the cameraman to the ground after he refused to provide identification, video shows. Footage of the incident, as well as follow-up videos involving verbal tussles between YouTubers and Morro Bay police, have received thousands of views this week.
YouTuber “Nasty Nathanial” alleges Allen and the other officer violently threw him to the ground. The cameraman was then handcuffed and placed in a police car for about an hour before being let go without any charges, he said.
“I was not just detained. I was physically assaulted by the chief of police, Gregory Allen. I was thrown to the ground and, yeah. I was in a lot of pain. They put me in a police car for an hour or more in handcuffs that were on very tight,” Nasty Nathanial said in YouTube video. “I’ve never had an incident quite as extreme as this where I was physically assaulted by anyone, let alone members of law enforcement.”
The Morro Bay Police Department has since released a statement saying the videographer was detained for the purpose of determining he was not a threat to police or the community and “to verify his actions were not terrorist-related.”
Nasty Nathanial is a self-described “First Amendment Auditor,” who in recent months, has filmed numerous police and government employees in Southern California and on the Central Coast.
According to Morro Bay police, at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nasty Nathanial was recording video footage while standing at the entrance to the police department parking lot dressed in all black military-style clothing with tucked in military boots. At that point, Allen was entering the parking lot, and he stopped to ask Nasty Nathanial what he was doing. Nasty Nathanial said he was filming police vehicles entering and exiting the lot, according to the police department.
Allen then learned from other officers that, moments prior, Nasty Nathanial had been recording video in the police department lobby. Shortly later, Allen and the other officer approached Nasty Nathanial, who had move to outside the front entrance to the police station.
Video shows the other officer stating Nasty Nathanial had committed a misdemeanor and violated the penal code while filming inside the police lobby. Meanwhile, Allen said his main concern was that Nasty Nathanial had been filming the back of the police station and that created officer safety concerns. Allen also said that in a lot of towns people do not have the best intentions for officers.
After both officers demanded Nasty Nathanial’s identification and the videographer did not comply, Allen lunged toward the camera and Nasty Nathanial then went to the ground, video shows.
“Chief Allen had an immediate concern for the safety of police employees based on his personal knowledge of past attacks of police stations,” the police department said in its statement. “An investigation into his identity and actions revealed he posed no public safety threat, and he was a self-proclaimed photo journalist and “First Amendment Auditor.” He was then no longer detained. The entire incident during Chief Allen’s participation in the detention occurred over a 45-60-minute period.”
The following day, Nasty Nathanial was joined in Morro Bay by fellow YouTuber “johnny five o.” The two videographers filmed additional footage of the police department.
In a YouTube video of his own, johnny five o claimed that, while detaining Nasty Nathanial, Morro Bay police called the SLO County District Attorney’s Office, which instructed them to let the videographer go because no crime had occurred.
Another video shows johnny five o calling the police department and speaking with Allen. The police chief hangs up after johnny five o briefly questions him about the incident and refuses to provide any identification other than “good citizen.”
Johnny five o then called back and said to Allen, “Listen bitch, you work for me. You don’t need to know who I am.”
The YouTuber warned Allen and the police department that they would receive 1,000 calls in protest of the incident with Nasty Nathanial. At least one other YouTuber followed suit and called the police department.