Guam – East-West Rental owner James Adkins has filed a motion with the District Court seeking reconsideration of the Court’s dismissal of his first amendment claims against 2 Guam Police Officers who arrested him last year for failing to turn over his cell phone camera.
The motion, filed by Adkins Attorney Anita Arriola, objects to District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood’s recent decision granting “qualified immunity” to the 2 GPD officers who arrested Adkins after he refused to turn over his cell phone which Adkins had used to take pictures of an accident scene the officers were investigating near Adkins Tamuning residence.
Specifically, Arriola objects to Judge Tydingco-Gatewood’s finding that “a reasonable police officer would not have known it is unlawful to order an individual to delete photographs of an accident from their camera, and then arrest them in retaliation for challenging the officer’s authority.”
The incident occurred October 4th of last year when Officers D.B. Anciano and Serafino Artui arrested Adkins because he used his cell phone to take photographs of a car accident that they were investigating in his Tamuning neighborhood.
The 2 officers told Adkins to stop, get out of his car and they demanded his cell phone. When Adkins refused, he was handcuffed, booked , fingerprinted, and photographed and finally released after being detained and imprisoned for about four hours.
Arriola writes that the “Court’s Opinion focuses solely on whether Defendants … violated Mr. Adkins’ clearly established rights when they forced him to choose between deleting the photos he had taken, allowing Defendants to delete the photos, or being placed under arrest.”
Arriola argues that the Court “Wholly ignored .. the fact that Defendants arrested Mr. Adkins in retaliation for verbally challenging their authority and served him with a Notice to Appear on charges of ‘failure to comply’ and obstructing governmental functions.”
In addition, Arriola argues that “the court erred in holding that a right is not clearly established unless it has been explicitly recognized in the Ninth Circuit.”
Adkins originally filed a multi-million dollar civil rights lawsuit against GPD, then Police Chief Paul Suba and 2 officers. But Court rulings have whittled down the complaint to just the 2 officers involved in Adkins arrest.
Last week Monday, the Guam Attorney General filed a motion for Judgement on the Pleadings seeking dismissal of the remaining complaints against the 2 officers.