Walter Buchanan was having the worst day at the DMV — before viral video caught his violent arrest
Walter Buchanan being arrested by the California Highway Patrol (Photo: Screen capture)

The video of Walter Buchanan being arrested by California Highway Patrol went viral last week, but before he was shouting back at deputies he was having the world's worst day in the California Department of Motor Vehicles.


Any experience at the DMV can be a tedious endeavor, but Buchanan's actually lead to an absurd arrest. He was at the Hollywood DMV to pay a fine and get his driver's license off of a suspension. Pulling a ticket marked C-132 he sat settled into a chair for the long wait. According to Lee Bailey's Electronic Urban Report, Buchanan actually dozed off and missed them calling his number. He woke up just as C-135 was being called. When he tried to explain to the clerk behind the DMV counter that he missed his number. She dismissed him. He appealed to a higher authority who assured him that he would be next.

Once he got to the counter again, the same clerk that had tried to tell him he lost his spot in line took his ID and printed out some paperwork. "And in the process of him printing it out his words to me exactly were ‘next time you come to the DMV—’ and I cut him short and told him that I didn’t come in here for a lecture,” Buchanan explained.

That was when the DMV clerk took leave of his post and walked away, stood by a table and watched Buchanan at the window.

“I thought he was going to do something but he wasn’t. He was just standing there," Buchanan said.

Picture the paper-pushing Vogons in "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy."

"I didn’t appreciate the fact that he was playing with me and my time. I had been there so long. I called him a bitch," Buchanan admitted. That's when the clerk went over to the California Highway Patrol officer.

Understandably, he didn't want any trouble, asked for his ID back and tried to leave. The clerk wouldn't return his ID, however. The CHP deputy told Buchanan he had to leave and he tried to explain he would if he could get his ID back. The deputy said he had to leave without it. A DMV supervisor walked over and handed it back and Buchanan left the building.

Deputies followed him out of the building, harassing him on the street and that's when the video began. LAPD officers showed up at one point and Buchanan said they insisted that CHP couldn't arrest him, but the deputies did anyway. He sat in jail for two days before finally agreeing to plead guilty to a charge of "disturbing the peace."

“I did it because I wanted to get out jail,” he explained. “I didn’t have bail money. I didn’t know anyone willing to bail me out. I tried to tell my public defender I was taking the plea deal under duress. I didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t have any type of help or anyone around me of any assistance. I’ve been to prison a couple of times in my life and I know that just based on my record it didn’t look good and I was afraid they were going to send me back to prison for a few years and I hadn’t done anything. I was just really eager to get away from there.”

He explained that his girlfriend was pregnant and could give birth any day. He simply had to get back to her and their children.

See the full video of Buchanan below: