A deputy U.S. Marshal is under investigation for allegedly smashing a woman's cell phone Sunday. Video shows the on-duty deputy apparently striking the phone out of 34-year-old Beatriz Paez's hands and destroying it. Paez said she was recording police activity happening four houses away, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.
"He threw everything on the ground and smashed it with his foot. He stomped on it and he kicked it," Paez said.
Paez said she plans to take legal action.
She said she was recording "about eight to ten people being held in front of a lawn at gunpoint. All on their stomachs with their hands behind their back."
Paez has a history of using her cell phone to record police activity. Her lawyer said Sunday's video is clear evidence that her client's Constitutional rights were violated.
"What they wanted was to make sure that they were not held accountable, that nobody could see what actions they were taking," Colleen Flynn of the National Lawyers Guild said.
Cell phone videos taken by ordinary citizens have become vital evidence in documenting questionable law enforcement activity -- so much so that California State Sen. Ricardo Lara is proposing new legislation reinforcing the rights of amateur photographers to record public actions taken by police.
"They have that right to record police officers without being bullied or intimidated," Lara said.
The U.S. Marshals Service said it is reviewing the incident and the unnamed Marshal in question has not been suspended.