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Couple Who Catch Cop Speeding Could Face Charges 876

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the turnabout-isn't-fair-play dept.
a_nonamiss writes "A Georgia couple, apparently tired of people speeding past their house, installed a camera and radar gun on their property. After it was installed, they caught a police office going 17MPH over the posted limit. They brought this to the attention of the local police department, and are now being forced to appear in front of a judge to answer to charges of stalking."
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Couple Who Catch Cop Speeding Could Face Charges

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  • Moo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chacham (981) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:14PM (#18071364) Homepage Journal
    apparently tired of people speeding past their house

    Well, according to the article "They have said they did so in hopes of convincing neighbors to slow down to create a safe environment for their son."

    thinkofthechildren [slashdot.org] will get you a lot futher than speed [slashdot.org].
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:14PM (#18071366) Homepage Journal
    Like any job that any of us have, most people work in order to better their own lives. We work out deals with our employers to enter a relationship where both parties profit -- the worker doesn't have to worry about handling the day-to-day surivival of the business, and the employer fulfills a position that he/she can not do as efficiently as the employee. All employment is mutually beneficial or the two parties would not enter into the agreement in the first place. This is true of all positions, but it is especially true of any "public" official -- cops, public school teachers, politicians.

    The problem with public officials is that they have the right to use excessive force in order to protect their position. The average citizen has no right to call out any public official on any illegal actions since the average citizen has no real power against non-elected public officials. If a cop breaks the law, there is almost nothing you can do to fight them. There is a lot they can do, off the public record, that can harm you more than they harm you in their lawbreaking. Remember, cops are not here to protect you, there are there to protect their jobs -- and many of them love the power they wield over the average citizen. Why else do we have cop unions?

    We are not free from the tyranny of cameras -- many police cars already have them, and they are not audited by any watchdog group. Our phones can be tapped, but we have no right to listen in on the phones of those who supposedly serve us. The public official is the watchdog of the general public, not vice versa. Is it any wonder that I am anti-State?

    What you do on your property is no one's responsibility but yours. If someone's light-rays that bounce off their body enter your property, they are now YOUR property. You might even say that those light-rays are pollution, but I think that is pushing the definition of pollution a little too far. When a bunch of cops stopped an alleged speeder in front of my old house, I complained about the constant blue and red lights and strobes keeping me awake -- I was told I have no right to prevent it. If a cop speeds in front of my house, I should be able to to make note of it, but I can not. Informing your elected official about the problem will do only one thing -- give them reason to make a new law protecting their kin in tyranny. It surely won't help you, it won't bring you more freedom.

    Don't be shocked as the tyrants find more ways to increase their power of tyranny. They are not here to help you, there are not here to protect you -- there are there to protect their own incomes and pensions, and you are powerless to stop it as long as you continue to vote into office people who love the authoritarian powers attached to both the liberal and conservative sides of the political system. When will people learn that it isn't left or right, it is pro-tyranny and against-tyranny -- liberals and conservatives are on the "pro-tyranny" side of the coin. The opposite side of the coin is not a libertarian, as some might think, but an anarcho-capitalist.

    You will reap what you sow, friends. These folks put up cameras because the police did nothing for them to prevent speeders. This is to be expected -- when you need help, you won't find any.
    • by istartedi (132515) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:27PM (#18071540) Journal

      If local cops are mis-behaving, this is what IAD is for, and if IAD is corrupt, that's what the FBI is for, and if the FBI is corrupt, that's what Canada is for. :)

      • It is funny that you list one tyrannous group after another in order to try to "fix" the initial group -- the local police.

        If Wal*Mart serves me badly, against what I consider a profitable exchange, I stop shopping there. Eventually, we see stores fail -- even big ones, often. If Burger King serves me badly, against what I consider a profitable exchange, I stop eating there. Eventually, we see restaurants fail -- even big ones, often. If the police serve me badly, what can I do? I can risk upsetting them by tattling on them. I can not stop using them, because I am forced to pay for them. Even worse, if I stop paying for them, guess who can come knocking on my door, with force? The very same people I am not happy with.

        Your solution sounds great, but how often would any of us take the risk to tattle on them? For proof, see original article.
        • by Travoltus (110240)
          There is no government on a desert island.

          But you might get visited by pirates.
        • by rpbird (304450) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:01PM (#18072130) Homepage Journal
          Have you heard of democracy and the court system? Local communities get fed up with their high-handed police all the time. They sue the city, they campaign against the police chief (if it's an elected position), they put up opposition candidates to local elected officials. Local government elections aren't as sexy as national elections, but they have more real impact on your life. Take my little town, for instance. There's always someone upset at the sheriff or the mayor or a county commissioner or the school superintendent. There are always recall elections, new candidates for sheriff, lawsuits against the school, lawsuits against the city, reform candidates for mayor (our new mayor is the reform candidate, he won the last election), and write-in campaigns aimed against the county commission. This in a rural Kansas town of 1500, in a county of 5000 people. Got a problem with government? Fix it yourself, with a little help from your friends. That's the essence of democracy.
          • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:31PM (#18073732)
            This only works if the police don't kill you. I had a similar problem where the city I lived in thought it was a good idea to dump freeway traffic on one side of a residential neighborhood, and pick it back up on the other. They didn't want to build the freeway in the land that was already owned and waiting for the freeway. I personally witnessed over 150 car crashes in just the one city block in front of my house. A few pedestrians a year would get run down, and the police would tell anyone that called them about hit and runs in our neighbor hood that those were civil matters, so they would refuse to even take a report.

            When my wife and I started raising a stink, and making public statements about the situation. Started taking photos, and logging traffic speeds... I received a phone call from the police department telling me "Your just trying to make trouble.", "You better drop this. We know who you are." Now, there are some who might claim that this was not a threat of violence, but I think most sane people would take it as a very real threat.
          • by windsurfer619 (958212) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:20PM (#18074512)
            The Fifth of November! The Fifth of November! Remember, Remember the fifth of November!
        • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:18PM (#18072460)
          There will come a time when eventually enough people will get fed up with how we are being treated and go back and follow the words of our own fore fathers:

          That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

          However, I think that that document will be ruled contraband long before that happens.
        • by slack_prad (942084) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:25PM (#18072602) Journal

          If the police serve me badly, what can I do?
          Become one.
        • by porkface (562081) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:31PM (#18072734) Journal
          It's sad that you presume that all of those organizations, through and through, are tyrants.

          Because that is not the case. Anything you cite I'm sure will be annecdotal and far from evidence that as a whole those organizations are bad.

          And it's kind of funny that so many of the annecdotes tend to involve citizens with a deep seeded opinion that the police are bad. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it seems to be the case quite often.

          It's important to know the difference between not trusting authority and distrusting authority.
          • by jpellino (202698) on Monday February 19, 2007 @08:51PM (#18076166)
            Check out how bad the CT State police got the past few years. Assault, battery, sexual assault, fraud, murder, larceny, DUI. And not just the isloated anecdotal case involving someone with an axe to grind. 4 DUIs and one guy's still on the force. They've beaten their girlfriends, and two murder+suicides by CSP, one killed his civilian wife, the other his local PD girlfriend. And no one saw it coming or stepped into admittedly bizarre behavior. They had to call in the IAD department of the New York State Police to untangle this one. The current explanation seems to be that there are 99 ways the CSP can get in trouble, and that's too confusing, they n eed it down to 21. I am not making this up. And the higher-ups looked at each incident and did nothing to stop or prosecute these. Go back two decades til you find the part where one of the finest lawyers (yes, I'm serious) to ever practice law was in charge of straightening out the CSP as the Chief State's Attorney, and they made him go away in a very public and very ugly fashion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AndyG314 (760442)
          To me the mistake they made was taking their evidence directly to the poliece department that was causing the problem. The poliece department's actions were largly to be expected. Very few people are willing to bust their friends and co-workers. Instead the couple should have taken the issue to an independent body with power to resolve the situation. An elected official, traffic violation reporting service which many states operate, or even the local media to generate some bad press. It may not have go
    • Service to whom (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:32PM (#18071624)
      Parent has some very valid points. Wherethere is a system or service, being controlled by its own practiitioners, then that system will evolve so as to cater for the desires of the practitioners. This is something that seems to happen in organisations independent of the scale (ie. families, small companies, large corporations, countries).

      Lawyers contruct a legal system that suites them, not one that best protects the citizens.

      The court system is constructed to put the courts ahead of anyone else. Contempt of court is a very big deal.

      Tax accountants construct a tax system that is too complicated for Joe Average to use, so you need to hire a tax consultant.

      Cops have a system that serves cops...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:36PM (#18071668)
      If a cop breaks the law, there is almost nothing you can do to fight them. There is a lot they can do, off the public record, that can harm you more than they harm you in their lawbreaking. Remember, cops are not here to protect you, there are there to protect their jobs -- and many of them love the power they wield over the average citizen. Why else do we have cop unions?

      Hardly, while there are obvious examples of "cops getting away" with things, you act as if this isn't already reflected in the general community. In our local paper, two cops have been fired and are awaiting criminal trials for abuse of power, so not all cops get away with everything. Conversely, there are plentiful examples of citizens "getting away" with numerous crimes. It's a general part of the system. Plus, your whole comment about "why else do we have cop unions" is laughable. I assume then that you consider all unions evil? Your grossly overgeneralized comments could be said about anyone in any profession (remember, the developer isn't there to help you, their just there to keep their jobs). Puleeze, anyone past the 4th grade can see how simplistic (but apparently popular) statement that is.

      What you do on your property is no one's responsibility but yours.

      I think you are confusing "responsibility" with something else? I think even cops would agree, ultimately YOU have responsibility over what happens on your property (certainly all personal injury lawyers agree with this).

      When a bunch of cops stopped an alleged speeder in front of my old house, I complained about the constant blue and red lights and strobes keeping me awake -- I was told I have no right to prevent it.

      I guess they should have let the guy continue speeding through your residential neighborhood until they got to some place where he wouldn't disturb anyones sleep? Or they should have turned off their lights, thereby increasing the chances that they might get hit by other motorists? Plus, look at your statement above. The street in front of your house is owned by the city (or county), you absolutely have the right to erect a barrier to block the light, as long as it doesn't run afoul of any local ordinances. So on your property, do what you want, the police, or anyone else, have no obligation to you while on public property.

      These folks put up cameras because the police did nothing for them to prevent speeders. This is to be expected -- when you need help, you won't find any.

      Again, nice oversimplification. Are these folks willing to pay more in taxes to get more police on the streets to help THEIR particular problem? I live in a predominantly quiet neighborhood and we are very sensitive to speeders, but I don't walk around thinking that MY problem is the biggest and/or only problem in the city.

      Your diatribe is humorous, and many will take your side. They choose to take the simple view of life, however far it differs from reality. That's why systems fail, not necessarily because of faults in the system, but because of the supreme lack of understanding by those who are trying to implement it. It's like OpenOffice vs M$ Office, all the rhetoric about FOSS being "better" don't mean squat if you can't get something implemented that is better. While you may have won some kind of "moral" victory (and that is dubious at best), you have not truly helped the general populace.
      • by Myopic (18616) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:13PM (#18073456)
        Are these folks willing to pay more in taxes to get more police on the streets to help THEIR particular problem?

        Did anyone say anything about there being too few cops on the street? The people in the article (the Sipples) did have a problem with speeders, but the context of the rest of the story suggests that there are in fact cops patrolling their street, but that the cops weren't doing anything about the speeders.

        Now, I'm a libertarian, so perhaps I would suggest that the speed limit might be too low and that the Sipples need to stfu and keep their kid out of the street, but if society agreed on a speed limit -- and it did -- and if society hired some police to enforce that limit -- and it did -- and if they hired enough police to patrol that very street -- AND IT DID -- then my estimation of the situation is that the police were not only breaking the law, and were not only abusing their powers (in that watchdogging the police is not "stalking" by any stretch of the imagination), but were also negligently failing to do their job by enforcing the law.

        It is certainly reasonable to fire any person from their job for failing to perform it satisfactorily, and it is even more clearly reasonable to do so with a safety officer; but this officer didn't just fail to do his job, he also broke the law (as well as his oath to obey and uphold the law), and most importantly, he abused his lawful power. Any of those transgressions are sufficient for terminating the officer; all three together might warrant criminal prosecution.
    • They are not here to help you, there are not here to protect you -- there are there to protect their own incomes and pensions, and you are powerless to stop it as long as you continue to vote into office people who love the authoritarian powers attached to both the liberal and conservative sides of the political system.

      Yay for sweeping generalizations! A cop going over 15 miles speed limits means that all cops want to subject us to their evil tryanny! Give me a break.

      Here is the facts:
      Cops are people.
      There are good people and there are bad people.
      Therefore, there are good cops and bad cops.

      My best friend is a police officer in Phoenix. He is truly a great guy. The whole reason why he wanted to be a police officer is because he wanted to help people. I believe him when he says it because he's done some crazy things

      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:49PM (#18071904)
        I disagree. I've seen to many examples of "nice" cops (and the courts who support them) who turn ruthless if confronted with evidence that they are breaking the rules.

        Even "nice" cops are fundamentally in love with their power over others. And this includes some of my relatives in law enforcement. They just love the fact that they can make your life hell if you are just an average joe.

        Like most bullies, they are abject cowards when it comes to people with real power (and rightfully so since the cops get the same treatment when they try to enforce real rules on people in power). You cross the wrong person- your career is over. You might as well leave law enforcement and go be a milk maid.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Brickwall (985910)
          It's not a question of it being the police. Anyone who is given coercive power over another individual turns brutish in a remarkably short period of time. There are many psych experiments where the students are divided into "prisoners" and "guards". Almost inevitably, the guards begin displaying cruel behaviour towards the prisoners. Some of the "guards" are shocked at their own behaviour when shown it on videotape.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cornflake917 (515940)

          Like most bullies, they are abject cowards when it comes to people with real power (and rightfully so since the cops get the same treatment when they try to enforce real rules on people in power)

          This is the most ludicrous statement I've heard all day. That means alot because I've been reading lots of comments on slashdot today.

          Cops are definately not cowards. You can say they abuse their powers at times, but I think it takes alot of balls to be dealing with criminals on a constant basis. I don't know if you ever been shot at before, but putting yourself in the line of fire is not a cowardly action. People always bitch and moan about cops screwing them over. The fact is that cops are saving

          • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:06PM (#18073308)
            I agree and disagree with you. They can be very brave with regard to criminals (possibly being killed) and then immediately turn around and be completely cowardly to a political threat (possibly "only" ending their career as a cop).

            They get caught all the time covering up minor offenses by themselves and people with the right connections.

            When the criminals get real power (ala mexico), the police back off. How does the old hack go-- "Cops got better things to do than get killed in Harlem". Same thing for many areas of New Orleans PRE Katrina.

            They are peculiar heros, my nephew would put his life on the line to protect innocents from bad guys and then regale you with a tale about intimidating the same innocents himself. They do want to do good, but they are corrupted by the power given to them.

      • Illogical (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jgoemat (565882) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:50PM (#18071912)
        I hate to nitpick, but...

        Here is the facts:
        Cops are people.
        There are good people and there are bad people.
        Therefore, there are good cops and bad cops.

        a->b, a->c does not mean that b->c

        For instance:
        NFL Players are people.
        People are women and men.
        NFL Players are women and men.

        I'm not saying there aren't bad cops by any means, just point out that it isn't good logic.

      • by Darlantan (130471) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:51PM (#18071946)
        So, wait, his off-duty speeding is somehow more legitimate than when I speed? Explain the reasoning there. Is it somehow safer for him to speed? Do the laws of physics bend a little for cops and make a car driven by a cop at 75 MPH do the same damage as a car crashing at 55 MPH with a civvie behind the wheel?

        "Because you can" is no more a valid excuse for police to break the law than it is for me. The difference is that they can chose to enforce the rules when and if they choose. Speeding on the job, when required, is overlooked because it is usually required to perform a task that benefits the public safety. Driving around at 20 MPH over the limit just because they can is endangering the public safety. That's why we have speed limits to begin with. If they want to drive like bats out of hell even when it isn't needed, perhaps they should push to do away with speed limits.

        You're right, though. Police are people too, not evil overlords bent on dominating everyone else. As such, they should be held to the same standards as the rest of us.
        • by networkBoy (774728) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:26PM (#18072626) Homepage Journal
          An answer to you and the post immediately below:
          No physics don't change, training does.
          A cop is better trained in tactical driving than the average citizen. You may be a good driver, but it is fairly improbable that you have the requisite training to make you safer at speeds higher than the average speed of traffic around you (which *should* be at the posted limit).
          I don't condone that they would speed when off duty, and I think they should get a mark for it or some such, but as to why things are different, it's training.

          I worked with a guy (he was head of security for my old employer). He was on a local road with steep ditches on either side for a rather long stretch (5 or 6 miles). It is a two lane road and there was ample on-coming traffic. A paramedic turned on their priority lights behind him (thus they were in a hurry and he was obligated to yield), but there was no safe way to get out of the way. His solution was to speed up to about 85/90Mph (50 speed limit) and pull over as soon as the road widened enough to allow so.

          Well a cop heading the other direction flipped a U-turn and promptly caught up and pulled in behind him, citing him for: Failure to yield, reckless, speeding, evading (apparently the cop figured since his lights were on our guy was running, never mind he couldn't see them). Cop refused to listen to the explanation of no safe place to pull over.

          Come court day bob told the judge what happened and that his was the only reasonable and prudent course of action. Judge asked what experience he had driving at high speeds. Reply? Pursuit instructor and EOD officer for HM Army and MI6 back home in England.

          Result?
          Case dismissed instantly.

          It's all about training.
          -nB
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            A cop is better trained in tactical driving than the average citizen. You may be a good driver, but it is fairly improbable that you have the requisite training to make you safer at speeds higher than the average speed of traffic around you (which *should* be at the posted limit).

            First thing you are taught in tactical driving is that while you can know your own thought processes and predict behavior based on that, you can't do that for any other vehicle on the road. Cop or not, you speed if there is a nee

          • by All Names Have Been (629775) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:22PM (#18073584)
            Training my ass. I spend some of my free time racing cars, doing autocross, and have been through driving courses that a I dare-say makes the average cops' driving training pale by comparison. Should I be allowed to speed? Heck, we an institutionalize it - take some courses, and speed all you want!

            What you (and these cops apparently) fail to understand is that no matter how good you are, there are 10,000 other assholes out there that can't drive worth a shit, not to mention kids, unforeseen road problems, etc. Some of these cannot be avoided, and the only way to mitigate damage is to slow the fuck down.

            Out in the middle of nowhere with no one to kill but yourself, sure speed. In town with other traffic or in a residential area - you better have a damn good reason to be hauling ass. And one of those reasons isn't that you're an off-duty cop. There's a reason that cop cars and emergency vehicles have lights and sirens. It's to help ensure that people get out of the way. Speeding without those running is especially reckless. Again - you better have a damn good reason.
        • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:10PM (#18073388) Journal
          As such, they should be held to the same standards as the rest of us.

          No, actually as enforcers(and this goes for those who write the law also) of the law, they should pay a much higher price for violating it.
      • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:52PM (#18071960)
        Why should cops get to break the law when they want to? Not saying they are tyrannical, but they are no more special than you or me. Next time you get pulled over, ask the cop why he is giving you a ticket. He'll say "Speeding causes accidents, so we ticket people to make them slow down." or something to that effect. So are you trying to say that cops can drive better than the average person? Is this because they go on a neat training course where they learn how to drive fast? If that's the case, then I should be able to take that class as a private citizen and get a license to speed as well.

        I don't think that cops are sitting around laughing and speeding because they are assholes. In reality, I think the whole speed enforcement racket is a joke. But, if they are going to expect me to pay fines because I am speeding and say it's to increase public safety, then they need to follow the same damn laws. If this guy was legitimately on the way to an emergency, then he should have had his lights and siren on. If it was a "silent call" then there is a protocol for that, too. But if it was neither of them, then he should get a fine and get points on his license just like the rest of us.
        • by StarvingSE (875139) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:29PM (#18072684)
          Your nailed it right when you said "speed enforcement racket" because that is all it is. If the police were really out there to slow people down so less accidents happen, then they would:

          a) have a very visible presence in traffic so that people could see that they are keeping tabs on it. Instead, they hide in the bushes so that drivers can't see them, and when people do see them they tend to slam on their breaks to slow down before they get checked. It can be argued that this causes way more accidents than speeding, but it is beside the point.

          b) issue more points per violation on your license instead of a monetary fine. Don't you find it strange that the fines go up all the time, but the points you get per violation stay the same? If they wanted to slow people down, they'd start a "3 offenses and you get a suspended license" campaign.

          Cops issue tickets to make money for the department, and thats the only reason. Case in point, in my home town during that midterm elections, we voted down giving the PD more funds to renovate their headquarters (the place is already pristine). The next day, they gave out a record number of speeding tickets.
          • by NtroP (649992) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:57PM (#18073126)

            Heh, I live in North Pole, Alaska. Our cops are the constant but of jokes and curses because they won't spend any time solving crimes, they just want to write tickets.

            Recently, the weather warmed up and the intersections got particularly slippery. At one intersection in particular there is a down-hill slope before the stop sign. A local cop would sit in a parking lot off to the side and ticket car after car that slid through the intersection for failure to come to a complete stop. Now, was he trying to enforce or encourage public safety? I think not. If he was, he could have put flares out or done something else to make people aware of a potentially dangerous situation until a gravel-truck could have been dispatched. No. Instead he was gleefully writing tickets.

            This particularly upsets me because I used to be a cop and saw this mentality a lot. There is a lot of pressure to write tickets for several reasons: First, of course is the income from the fines, but secondly, it's a lot easier to justify your time when you can point to all those traffic citations than to report that you acted as road-crew for 4 hours while waiting for a gravel truck. That being said, some cops are just pricks and get off on that sort of thing - not even thinking about the emotional and financial impact on someone who has a hard enough time keeping mandatory insurance on their vehicle who now has to pay a fine and higher rates for the next 3 years.

            I wonder how these people can sleep at night sometimes...
      • by abscissa (136568) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:29PM (#18072688)

        Cops are people.
        There are good people and there are bad people.
        Therefore, there are good cops and bad cops.


        Nonsense argument.

        Cats are animals.
        There are furry animals and there are scaly reptilian animals.
        Therefore, there are furry cats and scaly reptilian cats.
    • by StressGuy (472374) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:51PM (#18071940)
      let me correct the above statement:

      The guy that got your fries last time you went to McDonald's or Burger King or whatever, doesn't care about you...but the police officer, firefighter, engineer, doctor, or other professionals do...at least to the extent their profession requires.

      You see, once you've gone past the menial labor industry, your job becomes more than simply 'how you earn your income' or 'what you do for a living', it becomes part of how you identify yourself as a person.

      While there will always be exceptions to any rule, in general, the police officer became a police officer because something about that profession appealed to who he was.

      Nothing wrong with being vigilant against abuses of power, but the particulars of this case don't exactly herald a fall into totalitarianism just yet...to wit:

      1) Said section of road was at the base of a steep hill

      2) The couple had sent numerous e-mails to the officer and, in fact, the charge he filed was "stalking"...he has since dropped those charges. As I understand, the couple was never charged with pointing a camera at a public road.

    • by weston (16146) <westonsd @ c a n n c entral.org> on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:57PM (#18072056) Homepage

      The problem with public officials is that they have the right to use excessive force in order to protect their position. The average citizen has no right to call out any public official on any illegal actions since the average citizen has no real power against non-elected public officials.


      The problem is probably more closely related to the fact that, in part due to the libertarian ravings about "the gubmint" like your own, in part due to the dissolution of community, people have stopped seeing *themselves* as the source of civic power and have therefore chosen to be governed rather than govern themselves. Eliminating civic power is one choice, of course, but really, it simply makes the eventual private power structure that arises more opaque and even less accountable, should the citizenry choose to rouse itself at some point. The Sipples have recourse in courts and councils right now. Remove civic power, and they wouldn't have that alternative, or a speed limit to attempt to enforce, or a means via which to try to enforce it other than personal confrontation.

      They'll have to spend some time and attention getting a matter of social conflict resolved. But the truth is that this problem wouldn't magically go away in a Liberatarian fantasy world, and they'd have fewer tools to work with.

  • by drsquare (530038) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:15PM (#18071380)
    You don't actually own the road in front of your house. They should increase the speed limit by 20mph to show this couple who's in charge.
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:23PM (#18071484)
      We have a busy-body on our street. She seems nice enough, but she tries to take care of the "speeding" problem herself. She will occasionally zap people with a radar gun and talk to them (or their parents). I think once or twice she's called the cops. And if she doesn't have the gun out and "thinks" you're speeding she'll yell out to you.

      But I find myself insanely annoyed (border-line angry) at one thing she does. If she's driving towards you in the opposite direction and "thinks" you're speeding she will pull into the middle of the road with her SUV to get you to stop or slowdown.

      WTF!

      Yes people speed on our street, but not by much and not often. It's a short windy street that doesn't really take you anywhere. But the speedgun is a bit much. Heck, the street just loops back into itself to make a letter P so it's not like a shortcut to anywhere so there's little point.

      And stopping in the middle of the street to stop cars is pretty hazardous.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728)
        That's easy to deal with. Install a dash cam then drive "on the line" or where the cam shows the middle of the road to appear. When she swerves in hit her. follow up with a lawsuit and press charges of reckless driving.

        Just this morning I went to pick up my kid from spending the night with her cousin. Neighbor put super glue in the locks of one of the cars. Due to previous incidents*, and the flanking houses being empty and up for rent there is no doubt as to who did the deed. Since there is no camera
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by GreyPoopon (411036)

          When she swerves in hit her. follow up with a lawsuit and press charges of reckless driving.

          Bad idea. The dashcam will effectively implicate both drivers. It'll be obvious from the video that not only was one car blocking the road, but that the other had sufficient time to stop, and both drivers will be charged with a traffic violation. Probably better to find a friend on the police force to periodically check out the area where she does this, particularly during times when she's likely to be driving dow

      • by drago177 (150148) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:17PM (#18075274)
        relevant joke worth the read (somebody tell me if true):

        I always wanted a hopped up muscle car when I was younger. I couldn't afford one. Now I can, and I have one. It is a '70 Mustang, and her name is Bessie. Bessie is the prototypical juvenile, male-caveman, scratch you crotch and drink cheap beer car. Chromed engine, dual exhaust, 250 horsepower, big tires, tra la la la.
        I'm driving Bessie on Beach Boulevard behind an ancient guy in a beat up truck. He decides to turn in front of me without a blinker. I accelerate to swerve and avoid him, and this asshole, overaerobicized woman jumps in front of my car with her hand up.
        Meet Ethel, the neighborhood busybody/nuisance. She proceeds to yell in my window, "Hey, slow down you fucking idiot." I'm a well-bred, mellow guy by nature, so I ignore this. As I drive away, she yells, "asshole" at me again. Twice? Fuck that. I turn around and drive up next to her.
        "Do you have a problem?" I ask.
        "Yeah, why are you driving like an idiot?"
        "I was driving like an idiot? How, exactly."
        "You were speeding. I watched you."
        " You were? I see. How did you measure my speed?"
        (Ever the interrogator, I am.)
        "I heard you."
        "So, you measured my speed by ear?"
        "I can hear."
        " How fast did you HEAR me going?"
        "Look," she says, "I don't have to take this. Here comes a cop. I'll wave him down."
        THE POLICE? This woman is a trip. She waves him down, and proceeds to tell him that she observed me speeding.
        "What happened?" he asks. I told him the story, and told him that I accelerated to an indicated 33 mph (the speed limit is 35) to avoid a collision.
        "Are those mufflers legal?" Ethel asks. She's pushing it. I reply, "I have a C.A.R.B. exemption for them." I give the paperwork to the cop.
        She tries to find another thing to screw me with. She says "What about those big tires? They CAN'T be legal. " I began feeling little overheated gears in the back of my head start to turn.
        "These tires were available on the 1970 Boss 429, " I told the cop, " Which makes them street legal as a replacement."
        Ethel gets angry. She whines, "So you're not going to give out any tickets to this asshole?"
        The cop says, "No, I am not."
        I've about had it. So I say, "Sir, this woman told you that she left the street at the corner, and she met up with my car here. According to Title 39, pedestrians have to cross the street at a right angle. This woman admitted she crossed at a 45-degree angle, which is a ticketable offense."
        "What?" The cop looks confused.
        "Also, she told you that she walked in front of my car to stop me. A citizen can't detain someone without probable cause, under Terry v. Ohio (My new favorite case). Since she couldn't measure my speed, she had no probable cause to detain me. That is an indictable offense."
        The cop says, " But, I didn't see any of this."
        "But," I said, "I did, and, as an officer of the Court, I can demand her arrest. I'll agree to dismiss the Illegal Detention charge, but I want her cited for not crossing at a right angle and Hazardous Conduct on a Public Street."
        The cop called his Lieutenant, and after the cop told the story, he authorized the summonses.
        She went home with $215.00 worth of traffic tickets, and they are worth a total of four points against her license, as well as the appropriate insurance surcharge!
        Of course, if she demands a trial I won't prosecute. But the look on her face as she walked away was more than enough satisfaction for me.
        Yea, I've passed the bar, and I'm on a mission from God.
  • by Jhon (241832) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:15PM (#18071388) Homepage Journal
    Read all about it here [daily-tribune.com]

    Interesting story.
    • by seriv (698799) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:21PM (#18071458)
      It seems if the matter were to be brought to court, it wouldn't get far I imagine. I think the cop got as far as he did just because he is a cop. If it were someone else, nothing would have happened. I am guessing someone told the cop he was being an idiot, which is probably what any cop would tell anyone else trying to press charges.
    • by Nutty_Irishman (729030) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:27PM (#18071536)
      Nice find.

      For those that are too lazy to read either article, it seems that they were also emailing the officer in question about his speeding and he wanted some kind of court order to prevent them from continuing to email them. Neither article clearly specifies what exactly the "stalking" was referring to: the actual recording of the speeding event, or the constant emails he received from them (or perhaps both).
  • by ghoti (60903) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:16PM (#18071398) Homepage

    they caught a police office going 17MPH over the posted limit

    Wow, that's one fast police office!
  • It's funny? Laugh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:17PM (#18071406)
    Someone has an odd sense of humor. What's so funny about the police misusing their power? Yeah, that Rodney King thing a few years ago was a real yuk-fest. And tasering that college student in the library to the point he was shrieking in pain? I couldn't stop chuckling after that one...
  • by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:17PM (#18071422) Homepage Journal
    If you view the Georgia Stalking Law [wiredsafety.org] you can see that:

    A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.

    The key phrase here is "for the purpose of harassing and intimidating". The statute goes on to define this:

    "For the purposes of this article, the term "harassing and intimidating" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose."

    In order to convict the people in this case the state of Georgia would have to prove they were causing the officer emotional distress and "establish a pattern" of behavior. From what is shown the office got caught once, and that does not constitute a pattern, therefore there is no harassment and no stalking. (There are also several other problems if you apply the facts to the law such as the emotional distress--is the officer suffering from depression because he got caught speeding? And you have the defense of legitimate purpose; the couple could easily argue there is a legitimate purpose).

    This is just a case of the police force trying to intimidate someone who caught an officer doing something maybe they should not have been doing. The problem is that when this hits big in the media it is going to be a larger embarrassment than if the police department just told the people the truth or lied and said it was official business.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      This is just another case of the police force trying to intimidate someone who caught an officer doing something maybe they should not have been doing

            There, fixed it for ya. Thanks for the informative post, btw ;)
    • RTFA. (Score:3, Informative)

      by SuperBanana (662181)

      In order to convict the people in this case the state of Georgia would have to prove they were causing the officer emotional distress and "establish a pattern" of behavior. From what is shown the office got caught once, and that does not constitute a pattern, therefore there is no harassment and no stalking.

      You should have spent less time on your post, and more time reading the article(s). They repeatedly emailed him about the matter, and he felt it was harassment. We haven't seen the emails, now have w

  • by Nrbelex (917694) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:19PM (#18071440) Homepage
    The couple then placed the entire Bartow County Police Department under citizen's arrest for intimidation...
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:20PM (#18071450) Journal
    I was actually considering putting a digital camcorder in my car to record what I see, to show people how idiotic the drivers are in my area. Basically, what they do is camp the passing lane or otherwise form walls that slow down traffic well below what should be possible given the road size and traffic level. Yes, even 18-wheelers camp the passing lane. On a three-lane freeway.

    Then one time I saw a police car on the freeway that did exactly that. Thanks, Officer Jerk, for setting a great example.

    Personally, I wish more cops would speed. Everyone feels compelled to go slower than the police, so whenever a police car is nearby, the cars around them turn to molasses. It's amazing.
  • Moo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chacham (981) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:22PM (#18071478) Homepage Journal
    Couple Who Catch Cop Speeding Could Face Charges

    Certainly, capricious captions claim: Careless Cop Caught Cutting Celerity Cap; Criminal Court Charges Capturing Couple

    Cartersville: Child-caring couple connect camera, chronicalling cop cutting celertity cap. Court...
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:25PM (#18071508) Journal
    It's just like privacy. Can the government read your mail and tap your phone. Yes. Can you read what the government produces on your dime? Not on your life. Why that would invade the privacy of the republic.
  • by jordandeamattson (261036) <jordandm@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:27PM (#18071534) Homepage
    It is incidents like this and so many others (the police arressting people for taking a picture of their actions, etc.) which cry out for David Brin's "Transparent Society"http://www.davidbrin.com/tschp1.html [davidbrin.com].

    Bring on the cameras! Just give the ordinary citizens the right to access the feeds and observe and watch those who are the watchers. If a police officer knew a live feed of their activities was going out via the web, don't you think they would be a little bit more carefully in how they treat people?

    Yours,

    Jordan
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DCheesi (150068)
      If a police officer knew a live feed of their activities was going out via the web, don't you think they would be a little bit more carefully in how they treat people?

      Or they'd just beat the crap out of you and steal your camera...
  • I'm not surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:28PM (#18071544)
    I can't say that I'm surprised to read that this happened in Kennesaw, Georgia. For those of you who don't know what kind of place Kennesaw is, it has a law that requires the head of every household to own a firearm with ammunition. It's also the place that former US Representative Bob Barr called home and he was much loved there. That should give you an idea of the politics of the place, so no, I'm not surprised at all by this.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:30PM (#18071582) Homepage
    The officer was in a public place where anybody can see you or photograph you.

    How is this possibly stalking? How is this different than being in any public place, and getting caught on any form of camera (either privately or publically owned)?

    Aren't there precedents which basically say you have no expectation of privacy when you're in a public area?

    I hope the judge in this case demonstrates some common sense.

    Cheers
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:36PM (#18071676)
    This is definitely the norm here. Whenever I see a cop speeding (which is a frequent occurrence) they are almost always going much faster than the other cars, even if they don't have their lights on or don't appear to have an urgent need to get somewhere.

    One time I was driving around atlanta and was going about 15-20 over in the far left lane, when I saw a cop coming up behind me very fast. I thought I was fucked and would be getting a ticket, so I move over to the right, figuring he will want to pull me over on the right side. Instead he just blew by me like I was standing still.

    The cops routinely get away with this because really, who is going to stop them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nexuspal (720736)
      He wasn't "getting away" with anything. He could have been going to a call Code 2, which means get there fast but doesn't require lights and sirens. He could also have been catching up to a drunk driver, and if that's the case, he doesn't need to turn his lights on either, so he can get behind the driver and see how well/bad they are driving...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mr_mischief (456295)
        The lights and siren are warning devices. If the police cruiser is operated at what is considered to be above safe limits for traffic and there are other drivers on the roadway who may be in danger by the excess speed, those drivers should be protected by using the warning lights and/or siren. That said, whether or not a car being operated a few miles over the speed limit by a well-trained driver is endangering anyone is a judgment call. The officer's judgment, usually.

        If an officer actually causes an accid
  • by alakazam (529128) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:39PM (#18071710)
    As much as I despise new laws always popping up, I *really* wish we could make it legal to audio/video record *any* government official in the course of their work. Without notice or permission. If they're "on the job" they should be fair game for being recorded by their employer (us). It would solve a lot of problems if "they" didn't think they were above "us."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:44PM (#18071812)
    BARTOW COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
    135 W Cherokee Ave
    Suite 368
    Cartersville, Georgia 30120
    Phone (770) 387-5080
    Fax (770) 387-5085

    Office Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

    T. Joseph Campbell, District Attorney

  • by sootman (158191) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:45PM (#18071836) Homepage Journal
    Evidently not us.
  • by planetmn (724378) on Monday February 19, 2007 @03:52PM (#18071958)
    If you bother to follow the link to the article, it is a short summary, followed by mentioning that if you'd like to read the article (as in, you know, the news, and hopefully some details), to go get the paper.

    Creating a front-page Slashdot story out of this is just plain stupid.

    Find an actual article with some facts, or don't post the story. Sure, it's common on slashdot to think that the police are out to get you, but there is no reason to believe that the summary is in any way an accurate portrayal of the situation.

    -dave
  • by B_tace (802354) on Monday February 19, 2007 @04:52PM (#18073026)
    I have seen this story in the local news. Both me and the ball-n-chain were rolling our eyes. The police officer was pissed because the couple kept on bugging his boss with their idiotic complaint.

    The speed limit in front of their house is 25 mph, coming kinda downhill. I think, in the Atlanta area where nobody drives under 50, this is just plain dumb.

    They were the typical overreacting freaky parents who were making a stink out of nothing because they are a couple of those people who love to have something to complain about.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday February 19, 2007 @05:50PM (#18074066) Homepage

    For about a year, I had an Eaton VORAD radar pointed out my window at an intersection. This is usually used as an anti-collision device for heavy trucks, and we had one on our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle. So, for debugging, I had one pointed at the street, hooked up to a PC running QNX.

    A VORAD is a real phased-array radar; you get bearing, range, and range rate, separately for multiple targets. The software took this in and produced a track on screen. I could watch cars making turns. With all that info, I could see speeding and dumb driving in any direction. Never did much with the data, though, other than use it for debugging the robot software.

    The VORAD only has a 15 degree scan width, and a very narrow beam vertically. So it couldn't cover the whole intersection. The VORAD is ten year old technology. A more modern unit would be more interesting.

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