Two men allegedly harassed local Yorba Linda churchgoers Aug. 22, although police say they were within their First Amendment rights to do so and no arrests were made.
The men could be seen on opposite sides of the driveway leading into St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church, holding video cameras and filming parishioners while yelling at them as they were exiting the parking lot after mass.
The videographers filmed vehicles’ license plates and VIN numbers in what appeared to be an attempt to illicit a reaction out of them, according to some residents. The action concerned locals who were leaving the church and were unsure what the men were doing.
“They filmed me and my family as [we were] leaving the parking lot,” Keri Wilson wrote on Facebook.
“I rolled down my window to inquire what they were doing and they would not answer, but one of them…put the camera near my face and made rude and threatening gestures toward me. The other man filmed our license plate and vin# on the windshield. I called the Sheriff to report. This is totally unacceptable!”
“It was creepy,” John Zarske also said on Facebook about the incident. “They clearly took a pic of my license plate and aimed their cameras right at us.”
The men were identified by The Epoch Times as Jose Armando Gonzalez of “SVG News First” on YouTube and Franklin Jacob Ornelas of “PedoLibre Audits,” another YouTube channel.
The two channels, who often work together, are a part of a social movement known as “First Amendment audits,” where “auditors” film the public and government officials, usually in an attempt to push the boundaries with law enforcement.
The two auditors’ YouTube channels show them traveling across Southern California, oftentimes filming police officers (who are usually there because someone called the police on the auditors).
They can be seen repeatedly curse at officers using vulgar and crude language to cause a scene without technically breaking the law, in what they say is an effort to test their First Amendment rights.
When officers respond, the men will ask for their name and badge number and post it in the video description in order to single out individual officers to the public.
One of SGV’s videos shows Gonzalez walking around a police station at night for an audit. When police officers contact him to ask what he is doing, he does not respond or identify himself, and then proceeds to get in an argument with the officers while accusing them of “assaulting” him.
The groups also have shown up to a number of churches, filming people inside their cars and intimidating church leaders asking them to leave.
In regard to the Yorba Linda incident, Orange County Sheriff Sergeant Todd Hylton said they received a number of calls from parishioners about the incident, but officers did not make contact with the individuals Sunday since they were not breaking the law or blocking the driveway.
Gonzalez and Ornelas did not respond to an inquiry from The Epoch Times for comment.