Well-known LAPD critic arrested in Hollywood on criminal threats charge

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 01: Los Angeles Police Headquarters located at First and Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles July 1, 2020 as Los Angeles City Council voted to cut hiring at the LAPD, pushing the number of sworn officers well below 10,000 and abandoning a budget priority once seen as untouchable by city leaders. LAPD Headquarters on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police arrested one of their most well-known critics Monday on suspicion of threatening a homeless person in Hollywood, a move that drew immediate outcry from area activists.

William Gude — better known to his 10,000 Twitter followers as @FilmThePoliceLA — was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats about 1:30 p.m. near Las Palmas Avenue and Leland Way, said LAPD Capt. Brent McGuyre, who oversees Hollywood Division.

McGuyre said Gude and a homeless person became involved in a dispute "over the victim throwing trash in the street." The homeless man accused Gude of threatening harm, which led to the arrest. McGuyre said no other witnesses to the alleged threat had been identified as of Monday evening.

Gude, who works in finance and lives in Hollywood, has gained a following online by documenting crime scenes and police work. He has frequently filed complaints against officers at Hollywood Division over what he views as abuses by officers, often against young Black men.

Someone posting on Gude's behalf from his Twitter account Monday afternoon said the arresting officer was someone whom Gude had an "active complaint" against, and other area activists immediately accused police of arresting Gude in retaliation for his activism.

Gude was released from custody about 7:45 p.m. on $50,000 bail, McGuyre said.

In videos published to Twitter late Monday evening, Gude could be seen arguing with police officers, who he said seized his phone as part of the investigation. Gude said there was footage of his arrest on the phone, according to the footage, and he said the homeless man who supposedly made the complaint against him was armed with a knife.

In June, Gude's 22-year-old son, Marcelis, was shot and killed in South L.A. in a burst of gunfire that also wounded an 8-year-old girl.

Describing his activism in a previous interview with The Times, Gude said his filming ramped up in earnest after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer. Gude said he was not necessarily against the police, and that his work was aimed at helping achieve justice for young Black men in Los Angeles.

“There’s an overpolicing problem. I think we spend too much money on policing when we should be spending more on other stuff,” Gude said. “At the same time, somebody murdered my son. Do we think that they shouldn’t be held accountable?”

Times staff writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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