POCATELLO — An online video depicting a man being arrested by a police officer while videotaping the FBI building on the city’s north side has caused a Facebook firestorm, with many people criticizing the Police Department’s handling of the incident.
The video was posted on YouTube on June 20 about a week after the incident occurred, but anger over the man’s arrest erupted on Saturday and Sunday on the Pocatello Police Department’s Facebook page, which received hundreds of comments from people defending the man and saying he should not have been arrested.
At one point Saturday the entire police Facebook page was taken down by the city for unknown reasons. It was brought back online Sunday.
The video posted on YouTube appears to depict a verbal exchange between a Pocatello police officer and the man videotaping the FBI building located at the former Naval Ordnance Plant complex off Yellowstone Avenue. The situation between the officer and man escalates during the nearly six minute video until the man is arrested.
Pocatello police have not yet provided any details on the man’s arrest.
The Journal was alerted Saturday night by concerned citizens about the YouTube video. The Journal has not yet been able to communicate with the man who was arrested, identified as Sean Johnson in the video. A search of court records shows Pocatello police did arrest a Sean Johnson for misdemeanor resisting or obstructing on June 12 — the date authorities have confirmed was when the footage outside the FBI building was videotaped. It’s believed Johnson is from Chubbuck.
Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand issued the following statement Sunday about the incident: “The Pocatello Police Department is aware of the YouTube video concerning the filming of the FBI facility. The department is looking into the matter.”
The video is the second posting on YouTube concerning Pocatello police that’s attracted attention this summer. Late last month another local resident posted a video of a Pocatello police officer sleeping while on duty at the Fred Meyer Substation off Yellowstone Avenue. Marchand responded to that video by saying the incident was a personnel matter and police would not be providing more information.
Both videos attracted widespread attention on social media.
The incident outside the FBI building attracted hundreds of comments on the Police Department’s Facebook page, with the vast majority voicing dissatisfaction with the officer’s handling of the matter.