First Amendment YouTuber shot while live-streaming security guard

March 14, 2019

Civil liberties and First Amendment YouTuber Zhoie Perez was shot on Feb. 14 while live-streaming outside of a synagogue and high school in Los Angeles.

Perez, who goes by “Furry Potato” on YouTube, was filming a security guard and his gun outside of the Etz Jacob Congregation and Ohel Chana High School in the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles while the guard repeatedly asked her why she was recording.

Perez did not answer, but said on the livestream that the guard threatened to shoot her if she moved. Minutes later, after a loud bang, the camera falls to the sidewalk.

Police officers arrived to the scene shortly after, and Perez was brought to a hospital for treatment of a graze wound to the leg.

Perez performs “First Amendment audits,” a method of filming law enforcement without explaining why to assert one’s constitutional rights and test an officer’s response to those rights. Civil liberties advocates hope to illuminate how agencies respond to First Amendment activities by engaging in the “audits” without notice or warning to law enforcement.

“It turned into an impromptu First Amendment audit because the security guard almost immediately was getting really aggressive with the filming and putting the hand on the gun,” Perez told the Washington Post.

According to NBC, the security guard, 44-year-old Edduin Zelayagrunfeld, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Perez did not respond to an email request for comment.

— The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].

March 13, 2019 Update

Prosecutors said on March 13 that they would not pursue charges against the security guard, Edduin Zelayagrunfeld, citing that they could not prove he was not acting in self defense, The Associated Press reported. It also reported that YouTuber Zhoie Perez filed a lawsuit against the synonogue and Zelayagrunfeld that same day.

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