A New Mexico police department is getting some flak for how it handled a situation caught on video. The man, who’s also the YouTuber behind the camera, calls himself a “first amendment auditor,” and it’s not the first time his videos have been at the center of controversy.
“You’re disturbing her mental status,” a Carlsbad police officer said.
“That’s not my problem,” Albert Jerome Bustillos replied.
“Yes, it is,” the officer said.
“I’m on public property,” Bustillos said.
Bustillos is the man behind the camera. On YouTube, he goes by “Stray Dog the Exposer,” documenting several encounters with police on camera.
“I’m not engaging nothing. Look how far away I am. You engaged me. You were 30 feet away and walked up to me,” Bustillos is heard saying in the video.
“Give me your ID,” the Carlsbad cop said.
“Nuh-uh,” Bustillos replied.
Bustillos was put in handcuffs after an incident with Carlsbad police a couple of weeks ago. You can see him filming a police situation before his confrontation with the officer.
“That’s what it’s about, is educating the citizens that we have the power to fight back,” Bustillos told KRQE News 13 on Wednesday.
“I have to be committing a crime to have to give ID,” Bustillos told Artesia police in a video from last September.
“No sir,” the Artesia cop replied.
“Yes, I do!” Bustillos said.
“No,” the officer said.
“Wanna bet?” Bustillos responded.
In that incident, Bustillos was arrested by Artesia police for concealing his identity while trying to get footage at an oil refinery for a news story. He says his goal is to hold law enforcement accountable through “first amendment auditing.”
“You got that badge and that gun, but you don’t even know how are you going to enforce something,” continued Bustillos. “I’m not giving you my ID.”
“Alright, turn around, put your hands behind your back,” the officer said.
“Do you feel you acted appropriately in these videos?” KRQE News 13 asked.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Bustillos said.
Bustillos is self-employed and says he does this as a side gig to make extra cash. However, it’s turned into a real problem for officers.
Both Carlsbad and Artesia police say they were hit with several complaints following the release of the videos. Artesia police say they’re using an internal investigation as a learning opportunity.
“Is there something that we could adjust, something that we could do better, something we can do different?” Artesia Police Commander Lindell Smith said. “Was it within the limits of the law?
Carlsbad police said in a statement they are aware of the video and are also reviewing the situation internally.
“If we do something illegal we get punished, and we expect that from them, too. You know, they’re not above the law,” said Bustillos.
Bustillos was cuffed but not charged by Carlsbad police. He was found guilty of concealing his identity for that incident last year with Artesia police.
Artesia police say their internal investigation is almost wrapped up, though the findings will be confidential.