A YouTuber who films her own confrontations with law enforcement was shot yesterday while recording a security guard outside a Los Angeles synagogue and high school.
The YouTuber, Zhoie Perez, who goes by Furry Potato online, began live-streaming the encounter after the guard drew a gun. “He said if I moved he’s gonna shoot me dead,” Perez says. After several minutes of filming, a shot is fired, and Perez shouts, “Fucker shot me! Fucker shot me in the leg! Fuck!”
Perez is part of a community of YouTubers known as “First Amendment Auditors” who film themselves interacting with cops and visiting government locations with the stated goal of holding the government accountable and educating Americans about their rights. In practice, many of these videos become confrontational, leading to escalating law enforcement reactions and, in some cases, arrests. Those confrontations can lead to more viewers and more paying supporters.
In a profile of this community just last month, The Daily Beast wrote that these YouTubers will show up at locations ranging from post offices to nuclear weapons factories to film. Some viral videos, like one in which a YouTuber calls a cop an “asshole” and tells him to “fuck off,” have garnered millions of views. A California law enforcement nonprofit issued a warning that some people had started recording officers in “the hopes of … [having] a poor contact with law enforcement, resulting in a violation of their 4th Amendment rights and or a bad arrest.”
An earlier video by Perez, in which she was arrested after filming around a Marine recruiting office, led to her pleading no contest to an infraction for disturbing the peace in December, according to The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. During that video, Perez stated that she had been arrested before and sued the LAPD. Her main YouTube channel, Furry Potato, has more than 250 videos and 18,000 subscribers. It’s been online since December 2017.
It’s not clear whether these videos violate any of YouTube’s rules. The company prohibits creators from “maliciously recording someone without their consent,” but it doesn’t seem to have applied that to videos of people being filmed in public, even when the cameraperson is trying to get a rise out of unwitting subjects. This has become an entire genre of YouTube videos — one, by Joseph Costello called “When F**king with People Goes Wrong,” that shows the host embarrassing, pranking, and annoying people on the street, has nearly 13 million views. We’ve reached out to YouTube for comment.
The LAPD issued a statement about Perez yesterday, saying that she had suffered “a gunshot wound to the leg” and described the injury as “non-life-threatening.” The guard was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The shooting occurred outside the Etz Jacob Congregation/Ohel Chana High School, according to the LA Times. Security outside synagogues has increased in recent years, with a renewed focus on security after a shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life killed 11 people last October.