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Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded 1123

Posted by kdawson
from the ain't-nobody's-bidness-if-we-do dept.
linzeal writes "When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop. Judges, juries, and legislatures support the police overwhelmingly on this issue, with only a few cases where those accused of 'shooting' the cops being vindicated through the courts."
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Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded

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  • by VShael (62735) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:29AM (#32446198) Journal

    and the general apathetic public sleeps soundly.

  • Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:30AM (#32446240)
    Record anyways. Even if it gets to the point where video evidence a flagrant abuse of power becomes inadmissible, it's potential value in stirring public outcry far outstrips any consequences associated with the establishment seeking to restrict the publics use of video recording and their public servants.
  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:31AM (#32446244) Homepage
    But I thought that people with nothing to hide had no reason to worry about surveillance? Does that mean that this statement is wrong, or does it mean the police have something to hide?
  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:32AM (#32446268)
    nearby police action. Thanks for your cooperation citizen, now pick up that can!
  • by nebaz (453974) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:33AM (#32446274)

    have the privilege of turning the telescreens off.

  • FTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@gmail. c o m> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:33AM (#32446294)

    1) Graber was not arrested immediately. Ten days after the encounter, he posted some of he material to YouTube, and it embarrassed Trooper J. D. Uhler. The trooper, who was in plainclothes and an unmarked car, jumped out waving a gun and screaming. Only later did Uhler identify himself as a police officer. When the YouTube video was discovered the police got a warrant against Graber, searched his parents' house (where he presumably lives), seized equipment, and charged him with a violation of wiretapping law.

    Bureaucratic mother fuckers.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:34AM (#32446304) Homepage
    Panem et circenses is far more effective than anything else at keep a population quiet and complacent. Now take away their American Idol and fast food....then would see an uprising.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:34AM (#32446318) Homepage Journal

    Judges, juries and legislatures support the police overwhelmingly on this issue

    Honestly, why? What possible legitimate reason do the police have for wanting to keep things (at least things outside the station) off camera?

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:36AM (#32446348) Journal

    There's a lot of reasons why you can't point a gun at a cop.
    There isn't a lot of drawback for a cop pointing his gun at you. (Filling out some paperwork)

    While most people have become fine with that for weapons, the fundamental difference is that a Camera is not lethal. There is absolutely NO reason why Cops shouldn't be under the same scrutiny as the general public, and if they are allowed to use dashboard cameras, security surveilance, and whatever else at their disposal to help convict a criminal - then the populace should have the same ability at their disposal to defend themselves. Think of it as the right to bear arms.

  • Make it obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:36AM (#32446350) Homepage
    From TFA:

    ...the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway.

    So it seem one can avoid prosecution (persecution?) by setting up a tripod and a few lights and making it real clear they are recording?

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:37AM (#32446382) Homepage

    held accountable for "violating" the same laws when they record citizens behavior without their consent for use as evidence. But somehow when it's a cop being taped, it's an illegal "unconsented" recording and people are going to jail.

    This will be fair when those doing surveillance recording for law enforcement can also be sent to prison for recording in public places without individual consent. Until then, it's one more example of the way in which cops are increasingly generally subpar people, recruited from the less educated and less successful demographics of society, eager to hold a gun, and drawn to the profession precisely because they feel powerless in other areas of their life as a result of their general lack of merit, and thus need to abuse citizens in order to compensate for this lack.

  • by GarryFre (886347) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:37AM (#32446396) Homepage
    While I understand the idea of being made nervous when a camera is pointed at me, I think its hypocritical sp? of them to have cameras on the public but object if the reverse happens. I've seen a few obvious gross abuses of authority on the part of police. Its not all that common but it happens and to outlaw John Q. Victim's only defense against criminals in authority is a crime in itself. If they don't want to be recorded, they may be hiding something.
  • by pacergh (882705) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:39AM (#32446418)

    And people complain about Miranda rights. Miranda rights exist because of abusive cops.

  • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:39AM (#32446426)

    Yes.

  • by DiademBedfordshire (1662223) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:40AM (#32446434)

    Most cop cars have dash mounted cameras. It's not the idea that a cop does not want to be recorded, they want a system that the end user does not have the ability to alter. The individual cop can't get to the video, I am sure only internal affairs and their superiors have access.

    The problem with these cell videos is they don't capture the whole event. A group of cops beating up a person looks extreme until you find out that person was resisting arrest and put both the cop and civilians in danger.

    No doubt power can corrupt but most cops, and I know from personal and familial experience, took the job to "protect and serve".

  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:40AM (#32446444)
    But if only selected portions are shown with the intention of embarrassing someone, it seems like a either libel or harassment

    If this were the case we could yank all mainstream news off of the air.
  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:41AM (#32446468)
    The end of the article mentions districts writing into law that recording on duty policemen is specifically legal as backlash against the courts interpretation of the existing laws. Fixing the laws is our check against the courts faulty interpretation and the police's enforcement. So we can whine on slashdot about the public being apathetic while some people are clearly trying to fix the problem or we can try to get similar laws passed in our states and districts.
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:42AM (#32446484) Homepage Journal

    There is absolutely NO reason why Cops shouldn't be under the same scrutiny as the general public

    Absolutely, I would go so far as to say there are several reasons why they should expect *more* scrutiny then
    the general public. Every one of the cases cited in TFA are good reasons IMO.

  • by frenchbedroom (936100) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:42AM (#32446496)

    If they don't want to be recorded, they may be hiding something.

    Now now, be careful with that sword, it's double-edged.

  • Re:Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:43AM (#32446498)
    With great power comes great responsibility; for both the people who give the power and the those who receive it. It's our duty to keep a close eye on them.
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:44AM (#32446522)

    When somebody invokes the authority of law enforcement, they assume the responsibility, too.
    This person has the potential to protect and serve those over whom he exercise authority.

    When somebody invokes the authority, but denies the responsibility and accountability, this is a situation with a "high potential for abuse."
    This person has no potential to protect or serve. Only to abuse.

  • Re:But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Biggseye (1520195) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:45AM (#32446554)
    Basically this goes to two points, one in favor of the police and one not. In favor is that, lets be honest, it is never or rare that a police office does not have to use some force to arrest a criminal suspect. They are caught between doing the duty as a police officer and what might be considered excessive force.Taking some one down is never pretty and is often extremely physical in nature. The second point, and this is not in favor of the police is that many law enforcement people, not a majority, but enough, have the opinion that the law does not apply to them. I fall on the side of those that think this is a stupid law. There is a whole body of law that says that what happens in a public place is open to all to see.
  • by Jeng (926980) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:45AM (#32446558)

    There should be a constitutional amendment that makes recording of public servants a protected right.

    Other than nuking it from orbit its the only way.

  • by DRMShill (1157993) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:47AM (#32446612)
    then they have nothing to fear.
  • by maliqua (1316471) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:49AM (#32446642)
    also prefer not to be on camera should we oblige them as well? as far as i'm concerned a camera in plain view in a public place can roll all it wants
  • Goose & Gander (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Das Auge (597142) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:49AM (#32446648)
    If it's okay for them to videotape me in public, then it's okay for me to videotape them.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lupis42 (1048492) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:50AM (#32446688)

    Because discretion works both ways.

    Every time they let someone off lightly, every little thing they ever ignored, could be recorded. They could let the teenager with the dimebag off with a warning before, but if they're on camera all the time now, discretion goes out the window.

    It's worth it, though. Besides, I figure it would only take a year or two of full on enforcement of all the stupid malum prohibitum [wikipedia.org] crap before some effort was made to ensure that the only things that are against the law are things that effing should be.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:53AM (#32446740) Journal
    Then the cops should record the whole event to vindicate themselves.
  • Re:Let Them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:54AM (#32446762)

    Record anyways. Even if it gets to the point where video evidence a flagrant abuse of power becomes inadmissible, it's potential value in stirring public outcry far outstrips any consequences associated with the establishment seeking to restrict the publics use of video recording and their public servants.

    Once again, target fixation prevents you guys from seeing what's really going on: It doesn't matter whether the police abuse their power.

    That's a bold statement to make, so let me explain it; Legally, there's almost no recourse. But why? For the system to function, it has to place trust in a group of people at some point. Every method of governance reduces to this basic truth if you dig at it long enough: It becomes a question of who to trust. If the police can't be trusted, then they can't do their job. So even if they do their job poorly, and with frequent abuses, the system will tolerate this because the system depends on the assumption that they can be trusted (regardless of whether they can or not). By arguing about whether or not there are safeguards against police brutality, or legal recourses, or any of that, you're sidestepping the critical issue: At some point, you have to trust them. Cameras expose these breaches of trust, but they also fundamentally undermine the system by doing so.

    The system is happy to hide the occasional act of injustice (and punish those who expose them) because the public's trust in the institution is vital to its continued functioning. It's paradoxical, unfair, illogical... and true.

  • by surmak (1238244) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:54AM (#32446764)

    what slide? in each of those cases the person violated a law. the NYC one was by a bunch of idiots called Critical Mass who think it's OK to disrupt traffic. they deserve to get beat down for what they do. ...

    Nobody deserves to get beat down by the police. They perhaps deserve to be arrested with the minimal amount of force and violence required to effect the arrest, and then detained in a safe facility (safe from both other detainees and staff) until they are released on bail or finish serving their sentence.

  • by wrf3 (314267) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:59AM (#32446830) Homepage

    Right. That's why cops have video recorders in their cars. That's why cops have flashlights with video recording capability.

    Sauce, goose, gander.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:01PM (#32446886) Homepage

    this is why you record them from a distance without their knowledge.

    The cop is less likely to smash some heads if you have a camera on him.

  • by Fuseboy (414663) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:02PM (#32446904) Homepage

    Part of the issue is that police officers rely on their intimidation as a tool, and being filmed makes that a lot harder to use.

    Police regularly deal with unsavory characters who lie easily, sometimes know the relevant law, or have nothing to lose, and the threatening presence of a police officer (physically imposing, assertive, suspicious and armed) is a useful tool to put the people they're talking to at a disadvantage.

    If police are filmed routinely (e.g. we all carry a Schneier Life Recorder [schneier.com]) - setting aside outright murder, corruption and cover-ups [wikipedia.org], even standard practice becomes potentially embarrassing ("YouTube: Cops harass my 17 year-old daughter!"), and anything borderline could easily turn into a career-limiting stink.

    No doubt this would make police uncomfortable.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:03PM (#32446914)

    Until then, it's one more example of the way in which cops are increasingly generally subpar people, recruited from the less educated and less successful demographics of society, eager to hold a gun, and drawn to the profession precisely because they feel powerless in other areas of their life as a result of their general lack of merit, and thus need to abuse citizens in order to compensate for this lack.

    Perhaps this is true, but I doubt it. For my personal anecdote, the (admittedly few) police officers I've known personally have been intelligent and friendly people with no obvious mental or emotional issues.

    The real problem can be summed up most effectively with three words: Stanford Prison Experiment [wikipedia.org]. Put people in a position of physical and legal authority over others and they will abuse it. It doesn't matter who they are or where the authority is derived from, it appears to be built into basic human nature. See also the Rosenhal Experiment [wikipedia.org] for a possible explanation as to why people in that kind of authority act that way, they see what they expect to see in their prisoners/patients/criminals.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:03PM (#32446922)
    ...Just as tolerant as we are now.

    The root part of the problem is our absurdness in our culture thinking that if you don't have something to hide then the police are our friends rather than the unelected, abusive, thugs they really are. Shows like 24 epitomize this, that police are hindered by laws and the "bad guys" get away the more we enforce the constitution. What we really need for change is showing the evils of the police department, sort of an anti-COPS show, showing abuses in the police system to innocent people.
  • Trust but Verify (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NixieBunny (859050) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:04PM (#32446938) Homepage
    Hey, it worked for the Cold War, so how about using it here?
  • by dwiget001 (1073738) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:06PM (#32446962)

    A camera fixed into the hood or dash of a police car doesn't get the "whole" event either.

    The argument doesn't hold water, sorry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:06PM (#32446966)

    No sir.. Those in positions of authority deserve no such protections... The Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads, where it belongs.

  • Code of Silence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mounthood (993037) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:06PM (#32446980)
    The reaction is because of the Code of silence [wikipedia.org]. Lying for your fellow officer is a lot more dangerous when there might be video showing that you're all lying.
  • If you're out in public where anyone can point a camera at you, it's the truth. There's a difference between what you do behind closed curtains being private and what you do on a public street being private. If a cop loses his shit and decides to beat your ass down for talking back to him in the middle of a public place, why should he think he should be immune from being recorded?

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:09PM (#32447030) Journal

    so is selling crap on the street with no license

    The nerve of someone to want to engage in commerce without first obtaining permission from the government.....

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:09PM (#32447034) Journal

    You don’t subdue someone with impact forces, dumbass. You subdue them with restraining forces.

    Get some fucking rope or something. I don’t know.

    Clubbing them until they yield is nothing short of barbaric.

  • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by melikamp (631205) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:10PM (#32447052) Homepage Journal

    So what is your suggestion? Fold over and let them pass another unenforceable law? Because it is already unenforceable, and with technology going where it does, it will be a total joke in some 10 years from now. Everyone will be wearing a camera attached to a general purpose computer, which is attached to the Internet. What is this law gonna do besides generating the public contempt? If you make these recordings inadmissible in court, it will be only a matter of time before someone records a cop committing a first-degree murder, and courts setting the cop free, which will make everyone LOATH the cops and the system that supports them. I don't believe that system will be functional at all.

  • by Razalhague (1497249) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:10PM (#32447060) Homepage

    We're a prozac and adderal nation now.

    Bread and circuses isn't exactly a new invention.

  • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:11PM (#32447066) Homepage
    Do you know how many suspects are arrested each year that are on PCP? Very few. Do you know how many times the police uses questionable force to detain/arrest a subject? Me neither, but I would suspect it is much higher than the percentage of suspects on PCP at the time of their arrest. This is a scenario where a taser should and would be used. Batons do not subdue an enraged subject anyway.
  • by AndrewNeo (979708) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:12PM (#32447080) Homepage

    Especially when the tapes are mysteriously destroyed.

  • by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:12PM (#32447090)
    We need more Dexters [sho.com] out there.
  • Re:Let Them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:12PM (#32447102)
    I can't seem to find that device on the apple store, or on the at&t website, or on walmart.com ... so how exactly is your advice relevant to the average person who happens to find themselves in the middle of a police encounter?
  • 'Nuff Said (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:13PM (#32447116)

    People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

    --V for Vendetta

  • by Rusty KB (1778458) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:14PM (#32447132)
    You don't have to watch it, no. But trying to avoid all the drivel that surrounds it is nigh on impossible...
  • by sorak (246725) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:16PM (#32447154)

    But they also have the double-standard backward. We, the public are entitled to privacy, while the government should be transparent. It is a double standard, by design, and they have it completely backward.

  • [...]
    What we really need for change is showing the evils of the police department, sort of an anti-COPS show, showing abuses in the police system to innocent people.

    It's called YouTube.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#32447200)

    The end of the article mentions districts writing into law that recording on duty policemen is specifically legal as backlash

    WRONG! The article mentions ONE jurisdiction (I would guess it would be in a "left wing" Democratic riding) where photographing a police officer is specifically and officially stated to be legal (which would be assumed by most people anyways, though ignorance of how judges will interpret the law is no excuse).

    Your interpretation is in contrast to what the article actually says:

    a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

    Obviously a trend is more symptomatic of reality than one particular "jurisdiction". Actually there is a trend to having more laws, with stricter punishments that has been going on for years. Typically it is the Right Wing and their apologists who tend to downplay this trend.

  • by nlawalker (804108) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#32447206)

    A lot of things happen in police encounters and sometimes a camera can have a chilling effect on the proceedings.

    Funny, coming from a cop. A camera's "chilling effect on proceedings" pales in comparison to a police officer's.

  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#32447220) Homepage

    There's a lot of reasons why you can't point a gun at a cop.

    Yes there is. If an unidentified individual bursts in my door or sneaks onto my property, they are going to get more than a gun pointed at them, they are going to get a round pumped IN them, I don't care if they are a cop or not.

    And in my state, you have every right to shoot a home invader on sight.

    Which is why it is important for police to behave professionally and within the law.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:19PM (#32447242)

    People wouldn't get it, if they would they'd already be pissed off just watching plain old regular COPS. It happened to be on when I turned on the TV one day and I left it on while I cooked supper. Well, for the first 10 minutes anyway, after that I turned it off in disgust. They followed some pedestrian for 3 blocks until he crossed the street int he middle of a block (not even jaywalking by most definitions) then demanded to see ID (which he didn't have), threatened to arrest him for not having ID, then did arrest him when he tried to walk away, and nearly arrested his mother when she came out to see what was going on. I haven't been that mad at my TV since my sister watched three straight episodes of "My Super Sweet 16" when I was visiting her.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:23PM (#32447310)
    The people though who watch YouTube videos of things like that though are already the people who know we need to limit the power of the police force. The problem is, Joe 40 year old voter doesn't watch YouTube videos, might read a few liberal or conservative blogs, and watches lots of TV. They would watch shows like 24 and COPS but if there was a show on a major network showing abuses of police power almost exactly like COPS only then examining the cops and showing they were doing nothing wrong.

    The average person who would watch YouTube footage of police abuse, Wikileaks coverage of governmental abuse and keeps up to date with general internet buzz already knows about abuses of power. Sadly though, there are a lot more 30-100 year olds out voting for more police power based on media brainwashing than 18-29 year olds who know about the abuses of power, thus those who care about removing abuses of power always get outvoted.
  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:26PM (#32447352)
    When you point a camera, it is not just a passive device recording events. Instead, it can actually influence the events that it is recording.

    Hello, is that you, Dr. Heisenberg?

  • by Dishevel (1105119) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:26PM (#32447358)
    Some police officer are awesome people who risk their lives to protect others.

    Some police officers are horrible little bastards that abuse their power and terrorize citizens.

    Most police officers are unionized government workers getting a check and protecting all their buddies no matter what they have done.

  • by JohnnyKrisma (593145) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:27PM (#32447382)

    why should he think he should be immune from being recorded?

    Because he's a cop silly. The whole reason he became a cop is to have special privileges.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:28PM (#32447414)

    I have been reading recently about what seems to me to be a disturbing trend by police agencies, prosecutors and legislatures to criminalize the ability of a citizen to record a police interaction. This is but one example: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/12/police_fight_cellphone_recordings/ [boston.com]

    While I strongly support the Sherriff and the other police agencies in Arizona, corrupt officers are not unheard of, and I strongly reject the notion that a citizen recording any interaction with any official of the state should be criminal.

    What is your position on this issue and what can we do to prevent such onerous laws, such as they have in Massachusetts for example, from becoming law here?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:30PM (#32447460) Journal

    I don't think the situation is symmetrical. The whole point of our post-Enlightenment traditions in the West has been the understanding that Authority, if left unchecked, will naturally tend towards abuse. The Police, in all their forms throughout the ages, have always been the most visible aspect of abusive Authority. The ability of the citizen to make his fellow citizens aware of abuses by Authority is key to the preservation of liberal democratic values. If you give the Authorities any sort of free pass on this, you simply invite them to do their worst. If you catch them doing their worst (ie. we just had the fortieth anniversary of the Kent State Shootings), then there is some capacity to assure some degree of justice, and more importantly for the Authorities to moderate their own behaviors.

    I'm not saying all cops beat perps, in fact I'm fairly certain that most cops are decent men and women who become police officers out of a sense of duty and a desire to protect society. But even the best cops can fall victim to the us-vs-them that inevitably occurs in such an organization. Once you have that, then they start to view a much broader swathe of society than just bad guys as being the "them".

    Of course the police don't want to be recorded. In some respects it can interfere, because they may spend as much time worrying about whether swinging that baton may be seen as they do about public safety and even their own safety. But what's the alternative? If we first agree that society has a vested interest in assuring the good and proper conduct of the police, then it strikes me that bans on recording them are utterly incompatible with that notion. Liberty requires constant vigilance and what they're asking is that a tool of the vigilant be removed.

  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:30PM (#32447462) Journal

    Isn't the response of the law-and-order types to privacy complaints "If you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about"? So if the police have nothing to hide they have nothing to complain about. In fact they could be helped in case someone makes a false claim against them.

    The only real motivation they have is that they want to hide their actions. They are public employees and the public has a right to watch them.

  • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:35PM (#32447542)

    For the system to function, it has to place trust in a group of people at some point.

    How much trust do we have to put in them? Or do you mean faith?

    If the police can't be trusted, then they can't do their job.

    If we don't trust the police, then telling us that they require our trust is not going to convince us to give it. If we can't trust the the police, then perhaps we need new police.

    So even if they do their job poorly, and with frequent abuses, the system will tolerate this because the system depends on the assumption that they can be trusted (regardless of whether they can or not). By arguing about whether or not there are safeguards against police brutality, or legal recourses, or any of that, you're sidestepping the critical issue: At some point, you have to trust them.

    And you are sidestepping another issue. At some point on the road to a police state, you have to stop trusting them. If the system requires that trust, then perhaps we should discard the system.

  • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#32447578)

    So what is your suggestion? Fold over and let them pass another unenforceable law? Because it is already unenforceable,

    All systems, organic or electronic, should be built with error tolerance in mind. The system will make mistakes -- that can't be helped. The system has some safeguards in place to prevent errors from occurring; Both internally and externally. Examples of error prevention; trial by jury, the right to an attorney, the fifth amendment, etc. Examples of error correction: De novo review, appeals courts, and public examination of judgements (and the evidence). External examples of error correction and prevention: the governor's right to commute sentences, the press, and voting for judges, or offering ride-alongs to private citizens interested in what police work is like.

    To hone in on the main example of this article; Dashboard cameras have radically changed how police behave. They have also given the public insight into what everyday life looks like for a police officer -- albeit dramatized in the form of Cops and similar TV. But here, the chain of custody is maintained, and the evidence is reviewed by assumedly competent experts, and footage is used to train officers and systemically refine practices across the country. The problem isn't recording of police -- the problem is that the camera doesn't tell the whole story, and when footage is taken out of context and placed in the court of public opinion, the damage to the reptutation of law enforcement can be severe. Witness the Rodney King beatings; By taking the issue public, a massive riot ensued. This damage to public property and trust far outweighed what happened between those five men. It was later determined by a court long after the public controversy had moved off the radar that training practices needed adjustment, which is exactly the kind of self-correcting behavior that is supposed to (and usually does) happen when mistakes are made. But these processes are slow and people want immediate emotional gratification -- and it's that need for gratification that's the greatest threat to justice and security, not the occasional police fuckup.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:39PM (#32447618) Journal

    Ok, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have called him a dumbass.

    However my point stands.

    The reason 6 cops with batons can’t subdue a PCP-crazed maniac is because they’re doing it wrong.

    Cops idea of subduing someone is inflicting as much pain and non-lethal physical harm as possible until the suspect complies with their demands, and that is wrong on so many levels. It’s wrong from a practical point of view because the suspect can’t even feel it in his drug-altered state, and regardless of whether or not it is effective it’s fundamentally wrong from a humane point of view because it’s essentially torture.

    Now try to imagine 6 cops huddled around the maniac, but instead of pounding the shit out of him with the batons, they’re trying to hold him down with their little batons. They’re using the wrong fucking tool. That’s why it’s so hard.

    I have about as much sympathy (and a lot more contempt) for the 6 cops subduing the guy as I have for the guy who complains that his peas are rolling off his knife when he tries to eat.

  • by aaandre (526056) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#32447690)

    Because in a court of law, the cop's word is more likely to win. Being recorded takes away the possibility of getting away with abuse by just saying it ain't so. That's *a lot* to lose (for the cops).

    So now they are working on making it illegal to prove that they lied by recording their actions.

    Just imagine what the police report would've looked like for the BART shootings if there was no video capturing the event. Or the countless beatings, using tazers to torture etc.

    Some police brutality on the tube for your viewing pleasure. [youtube.com]

  • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gclef (96311) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:45PM (#32447718)

    because the public's trust in the institution is vital to its continued functioning. It's paradoxical, unfair, illogical... and true

    No, it isn't true, and that's provable quite easily by looking outside the US. There are plenty of countries where the police are well known to be massively corrupt, and are completely untrusted by the citizens. Russia comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples. The people know it, many people in the government know it, yet the institution continues to function.

    Trust isn't necessary for the police to function....power is. The problem is, when trust is gone, the society functions much less effectively. Corruption flourishes in such an environment, and you're on a quick road to third-world status from there.

  • by ukyoCE (106879) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:46PM (#32447736) Journal

    Is it though? Is the workplace really private? How many millions of workers already have cameras pointed at them throughout the day, or most of the day? Every worker in retail, every worker in restaurants, most workers in office buildings. You'd almost have to ask "how many regular workers DONT have cameras pointed at them".

    If this many workers are already being recorded in the workplace, I think police officers would be one of the LAST workers we would want to take cameras off of. As much for the officers' defense and pursuit of criminals as for prosecuting officers for wrongdoing.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#32447750)

    "The only rights we have are listed in the Bill of Rights."

    Yes and no. Amendment #9 reads:

        "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    Therefore, our Rights are not limited to those which are explicitly stated in The Constitution.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:50PM (#32447812) Homepage Journal

    Some police officer are awesome people who risk their lives to protect others.

    Some police officers are horrible little bastards that abuse their power and terrorize citizens.

    Most police officers are unionized government workers getting a check and protecting all their buddies no matter what they have done.

    The first category are clearly a tiny minority, or the second wouldn't be tolerated.

    As for the third, they're closer to the second than they'd like to think.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:52PM (#32447842)
    There is nothing wrong with hiding most things you might do on your own property, for example in your bedroom; nor your banking transactions etc. Privacy in those realms is good.

    Performing your state-sponsored job duties in public spaces, on the other hand, is quite different.

  • Re:But... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:52PM (#32447850)

    From what I have been told by many law enforcement officers...

    They cannot break the law while on duty while pursuing the course of those duties.

    Do not take that as they have to obey the law, but rather that the laws cease to apply. This is why you will see cops speed, run red lights, do u-turns, etc. Now, an after-the-fact review may deem some actions unnecessary to pursue their duties (such as excessive violence), but by recording these events, they open up police officers to public scrutiny as we try and hold them to OUR laws.

    All I can think of is a line from "Fight Club"... "we watch you while you sleep, do not FUCK with us". All power corrupts, and no police officer is beyond corruption. We can only hope that while the occasional citizen is affected, that the overall effect on society is beneficial for having law enforcement officers.

  • by stokessd (89903) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:53PM (#32447856) Homepage

    I realize the absurdity of that, but the broadcasters NEVER interrupt commercials, they always interrupt the content that we are given in metered doses between "product indoctrination sessions"

    Sheldon

  • by izomiac (815208) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#32447876) Homepage
    The public pays the salary of public servants, like policemen. You don't get privacy from your boss checking up on your work, especially when interacting with a client. Furthermore, anyone entrusted with the use of lethal force should be held to the highest standards. Personally, I trust the police (in general), but I'd like to constantly verify that they're worthy of that trust, and eliminate the ones that are not.
  • by b4upoo (166390) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:55PM (#32447898)

    Apparently cops are unlike all others in that the truth will not set them free. As cops are a part of government my premise that no government can live in honesty is pretty much being proven. Governments are like fungus. They prefer a dark place to do their thing.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:56PM (#32447912)

    You would be instructed to turn it off or you would be arrested. It is that simple.

  • by U8MyData (1281010) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:59PM (#32447970)
    These people are public SERVANTS. They need to be held accountable more, not less than the average citizen. Otherwise we continue this slide down to a authoritarian society. All any officer needs these days to invade your personal property is "probable cause" loosely defined and even less defensible such as a broken tail light. I don't need to describe this do I?
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:59PM (#32447980)

    consequently all traffic, speed and red light cameras in those 12 states must now also be illegal as they don't seek the consent of the driver and all passengers prior to filming.

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:07PM (#32448088)
    Something tells me that electing cops would not make them more accountable or ethical.
  • by dhermann (648219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:09PM (#32448128)

    *sigh*... Mixing metaphors already? Also, I'm not sure if the parable of the Sword of Damocles really portends where the sword belongs.

    While I agree with the majority of us (seems like a high percentage of slashdot users are anti-Establishment) that this does seem like a move first made by the SS or the Gestapo, I think there is a fair counterpoint: the sad truth is that YouTube and modern journalism in general can grossly misrepresent accounts of encounters by editing or simply showing a few seconds of footage (Los Angeles 1992 ring any bells?). If a policeman's career can be ruined even by false accusations generated with a cellphone video and a pirated copy of Premiere, and we can all agree that this is wildly unfair treatment for people who actively choose dangerous, low-paid jobs necessary for our society's survival with little or no gratefulness by that society, what is their recourse? A law requiring YouTube and the press to show objective, balanced views of these incidents? Good luck with that.

  • by dhermann (648219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:12PM (#32448158)

    Because in a court of law, the cop's word is more likely to win.

    Wow... you have never served on a city jury, have you? Trust me, the cop will be naturally distrusted by a group of twelve of your peers if you live in a major metropolitan area.

  • Thugs (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:17PM (#32448232)

    Cops are just another street gang. Grafting off of the populace. Their gang crimes units are just inter-gang warfare specialists and their vice division doesn't like to have competition.

    People want to say that they keep us safe but they are no better then neighborhood toughs running protection rackets.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:17PM (#32448240)

    We did have those in the US. The Wire showed the press, police, gangs, education and drug dealing without any pretense or spin to the factions.

    The Shield showed renegade LAPD set in a fictionalized version of the Rampart Division doing the sorts of things LAPD Rampart Division.

    Southland is pretty good at showing the grey area big city police (again, LADP) operate in without glamorizing the department, but just show the people who work there.

    Although 24 wasn't about police, it CTU was a Federal counter-terror unit, part FBI and part NSA. Federal Law Enforcement are not police.

    I don't trust the police, but I don't think they are "unelected, abusive, thugs" by any means. I've had my run-ins with the police (tribal and state) and actually been arrested for things I didn't do, the "abuse" I got if I did suffer abuse was at the hands of the judiciary, not the police.

  • by Heather D (1279828) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:24PM (#32448370)
    No. What we need is a dose of reality. The police generally aren't abusive thugs and they aren't paragons either. They're people and people and people sometimes abuse power when tempted to do so. The problem is the attitude we seem to have that there can be only two sides to every problem. Either you are for police power or for the criminals, or so the 'thinking' goes. As long as we have that choice we'll go for police power even past the point where it's really wise to do so.
  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#32448486)

    I've been completely happy with my interactions with cops here in the US. Every time I've been pulled over (for legitimate speeding) the cop was polite and nice, didn't throw his authority around. Another time one helped me catch a neighbor's horse that had gotten loose.

    The problem is not that cops are bad guys, any more than anyone else is a bad guy. The problem is that they have an enhanced ability to be a bad guy and get away with it.

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:37PM (#32448598)

    I'd say it's even broader than that - give someone a goal and they will try to accomplish it, to the point of losing all perspective of why they were given that goal to begin with.

    If your goal is to catch criminals (which is only part of the larger goal of maintaining the peace, but the part you deal with), it's human nature to be frustrated at everything that keeps you from doing that, including to a large extent our constitutional protections.

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:40PM (#32448648)
    absolute power corrupts absolutely. Cops need to be held accountable for their actions whether being recorded or not. They don't want to be accountable or recorded and neither does the legislature - hence the support. http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=police+video+recording+tampering [google.com]
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:47PM (#32448752) Journal

    Part of the issue is that police officers rely on their intimidation as a tool, and being filmed makes that a lot harder to use.

    Where's the downside to this? Cops' jobs are only easy in police states. Especially nowadays where the intention in the 'States is apparently to make every single person a criminal guilty of SOMETHING, I *want* the cops' jobs to be as hard as humanly possible.

  • Fair's fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:50PM (#32448812) Homepage

    They monitor us, we monitor them. That's fair.
    They monitor us, we can't monitor them. That's unfair.
    They don't monitor us, we monitor them. That would also be fair, because WE PAY THEIR FUCKING SALARIES.

    If they don't like it, they're more than welcome to forgo their special extra-legal privileges in exchange for less surveillance.

  • by TexVex (669445) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:52PM (#32448850)
    Then the cops should record everything they do and keep the recordings for a few years, so they can show the whole truth, when these things happen. Plus, anyone should be able to obtain and keep a copy all footage of them that the cops take of them. On top of that, all surveillance cameras viewing public space should have publicly accessible live streaming feeds at all times.
  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:53PM (#32448868) Homepage Journal

    Your mistake is that of the revolutionary war generals placed in modern combat.
    Or that of the WWI commander trying to fight WWII on the Maginot Line.

    Combat nowadays is rarely a contiguous "front".

    The idea that an armed insurrection is going to simply band together and stand across the field from an Army unit with tanks and field emplacements and "trade volleys" is ludicrous.

    An armed insurrection nowadays is going to be a guy with a gun popping important people (or people he thinks are important).
    And while he's probably a dead man for doing so, he can inflict an inordinate amount of casualties before they finally stop him.
    Honestly, if you were concealed, and didn't care about prolonging your life, how many people could you kill off before someone found you and ended you?
    Or better yet, if you didn't care about prolonging your life, how many people could you kill in a group simply by walking up innocuously and unloading?

    Wow, the police killed ONE WHOLE GUY! How many people did he wound or kill outright before that?
    And do they know he was part of an armed insurrection or just somebody gone postal with a gun?

    THAT is what the government is going to have to put up with, if it ever REALLY comes to an armed insurrection. Afghanistan in their own back yards.
    But worse. Because EVERYONE looks just like you!

  • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:53PM (#32448872) Journal

    It's all fine and well to sit here thinking of the situations where it could be good or bad, but you never really know until that situation happens.

    But to answer your question: One would have to question the mentality/stability of the person who didn't run away. How many other people did or would they attack and harm? Maybe it's better for society in general for me to go through the process (and anguish?) of having to defend myself mentally and legally to confront that element rather than letting them continue as if nothing can stop them.

  • by delvsional (745684) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:02PM (#32449014)

    You're still taking yourself seriously? Sorry, I stopped giving you the benefit of doubt at "the unelected, abusive, thugs they really are". If you want people to start listening, you have to stop ranting like a lunatic.

    Sorry, but I thought he was spot on. I have seen cops blow through lights and stop signs with their lights on, only to flip the lights off and slow down a block later because they didn't feel like waiting to cross a road.

    I personally know cops and other law enforcement that see the constitution only as some kind of barrier to their fun. I didn't elect these thugs and I don't need them to protect me.

    Police aren't there to protect you. They come after you've already been assaulted and robbed or otherwise violated and investigate. Usually they take your report, file it, and never think about it again. Unless it's a murder or other forcible felony, you're never going to hear another word about it.

  • by pacergh (882705) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:04PM (#32449046)

    To go even further, citizens have a number of rights not guaranteed by the Constitution. For example, the right to privacy against other private individuals is not guaranteed by the constitution. Rather, it is a right that developed in the common law.

    The Constitution guarantees some rights in the Constitution. Most of those guarantees are based upon a limit of government power.

    Nevertheless, that doesn't mean other rights do not exist. It just means the government may abridge those rights more readily than it can abridge Constitutionally-enumerated rights.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:05PM (#32449060)
    "Sadly though, there are a lot more 30-100 year olds out voting for more police power based on media brainwashing than 18-29 year olds who know about the abuses of power, thus those who care about removing abuses of power always get outvoted."

    Are you seriously claiming that 18-29 year olds are somehow more in tune to what's "real" in terms of abuse of power than those over 30?

    Oh you sad little boy.

    I know it must not seem that way from your perspective - that of somebody who only recently got big boy pants and tie shoes - but lots of us over-30 "seniors" are plenty networked.

    Besides, some of the greatest abuses of power are perpetrated by gray haired old men.

    Probably didn't occur to you that there are plenty of people who were teens in the 60's who can show you actual scars from police brutality. So get on your tricycle and go away. Come back when you've got some experience of the world that doesn't come out of a rectangle on your monitor.
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:09PM (#32449108) Journal

    In this case, that attitude is right. While on the job, you are responsible to your employer, and you have no inherent right to privacy. Sure, you can argue that you should be granted some privacy to make it a non-hostile work environment, but ultimately that is a privilege, not a legal right. It starts to get dicey when you're talking about ostensibly personal communication while physically at a work site, but that's not what we're talking about here. Nobody would ever be able to successfully sue for a privacy violation if he/she got fired for stripping nude in front of a security camera. That's essentially the level of privacy we're talking about here---overt activity in a public or semipublic place. To that end, they have no right to privacy, and more to the point, *should not* have any right to privacy while out on patrol or on a bust or whatever.

    When it comes to police officers, the general public are their bosses, in effect. Their job is to protect the public, and thus only the public can reasonably determine whether or not they are doing their jobs. As such, we have a fundamental right to know what they are up to. We don't have a right to know instantly; that would put officers in danger. However, much as we have a responsibility as a society to oversee our military and their actions, we have the same societal responsibility to watch our police force. Period.

    Moreover, what they do, they do in public. There is a fundamental legal right of the public to photograph and videotape *anything* that occurs in a public place. Period. There's no grey area here. And when they are in private places, the right to determine whether recording is allowed or not belongs to the owner of the property, which again, usually is the person doing the videotaping.

    Finally, I would add that preventing police officers from being recorded is a technically infeasible request. We have security cameras all over the place, and individuals have a right to have security cameras on their property. It's just not feasible to have these systems somehow magically identify a police officer and shut off. Any mechanism that could provide such functionality could also be abused by the bad guys to nullify the utility of the security system. This is a fundamentally unsolvable problem.

    So what they're asking is either:

    • To have special rules applying only to cameras/camcorders/cell phone cameras when held in the hand of an individual. This doesn't fully solve their perceived problem, and is provably discriminatory against people unable to afford security systems. This one won't pass muster, and is stupid, to boot.
    • To make it illegal to make available footage of the police doing their jobs. This runs afoul of the first amendment, and constitutes prior restraint of publication. Protection against prior restraint is basically the highest hurdle a speech law can have to jump. It is almost never possible to get a prior restraint law past the courts except in exceptionally narrow cases, and even then, usually only for a limited time (e.g. not allowing live coverage telling where police are).

    In short, IMHO, there's basically a 0% chance that any law like this would make it through SCOTUS without being nullified, no matter how they write the law. That said, it would be nice for a law on this subject to be taken all the way to the SCOTUS just to cement that into binding precedent.

  • by Enigma2175 (179646) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:14PM (#32449172) Homepage Journal

    I've been completely happy with my interactions with cops here in the US. Every time I've been pulled over (for legitimate speeding) the cop was polite and nice, didn't throw his authority around. Another time one helped me catch a neighbor's horse that had gotten loose.

    The problem is not that cops are bad guys, any more than anyone else is a bad guy. The problem is that they have an enhanced ability to be a bad guy and get away with it.

    Even those "nice" cops are complicit in the problem because they cover up the wrongdoings of the bad officers by participating in the Blue Code of Silence [wikipedia.org]. The problem is exacerbated by the glorification of the job by the media and the insular nature of most police departments ("us vs. them" mindset). Many officers feel that they are above the law and in most instances they are right.

  • Naughty cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Casca (4032) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:28PM (#32449374) Journal

    As long as they aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about. Right? Right? Isn't that the argument used by all the people that support the patriot act bullshit? The only cops that don't want to be recorded are obviously the ones that are doing wrong.

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:34PM (#32449464)
    I don't think anybody is disputing that sometimes violence is needed. But attacking people on bikes in timesquare is pretty different. I pray that you understand that as well.
  • by dhermann (648219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#32449476)

    I'm almost certain all police vehicles have a frontal camera for precisely that reason, but most times don't release it to the press. In a civil or criminal action, you are certainly free to request it during the discovery phase of the trial, and you can use it during trial (if properly authenticated). (Yes, I am a lawyer.)

    But, as was the case in 1992, if the news media has the entire clip but only choose to show a small fraction of it, in an effort to create more a salacious story and sell newspapers or increase advertising revenue, there really isn't a point to it being freely available.

    I'm also not sure how I feel about all cameras in public locations streaming to the public at all times: that seems like a slippery slope to invasion of privacy. It would certainly be a godsend for every stalker... well, ever. Imagine if facial recognition software got to the point where as soon as you stepped out into public, you could be immediately recognized and your movements tracked? Minority Report presents a decent idea of how that would go over. What about the grocery that had a security camera with a nice, clear view of your child's elementary school? The ATM across the street from Taylor Swift's apartment building? Street-level cameras streaming data that Google could use to track individual license plates and datamine their traveling habits? A fundamental religious group who sets up shop across the street from the strip club your bachelor party is at? Realtime viewing by your boss, your mother, your shady government organization, your terrorist attacker, and everyone in between? Like I said, I'm not certain that full public disclosure is the goal here.

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#32449482)

    Yes, and I'm sure we tell on all of our friends as well, and report every guy in our department who watches youtube videos when he should be working, or is running a server on the side, or who looks through people's pictures on their PC's when they bring them in for support.

    It's not the same degree, because most people in non-police jobs don't deal with the same seriousness of situations, but the impulse is *entirely* human nature.

    Not saying it's good, not saying excusable - I'm saying it's expected, it's how we're wired.

    Also, I assure you that most cops just want to get home at the end of the day and *not* mix themselves up in the attention they would get from standing up and ratting someone out. You're throwing a lot away in any career being a whistleblower, and most people care much more about their paycheck and their pension and just getting on through life than standing up for some guy they don't even know, who very likely could have been a guilty asshole instead of an unlucky innocent.

    Now, do I think we should have policies that encourage keeping police officers accountable, respecting rights, and having competent responsive management? Hell yes. That doesn't mean that *encouraging* the sort of us versus them mentality you rail against in the Blue Code of Silence is going to do anything productive, though. If the good cops still get shat on by the people they are serving what reason would they have to break against social pressure to get the bad cops?

  • Re:FTA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:37PM (#32449498) Homepage

    What annoys me more than anything about these stories is that there are lots of people involved in this. There are *FUCKLOADS* of people who decided that this was a fair use of their time, and all went along with it. Yes I can believe that this one Uhler guy was annoyed and wanted to get his own back, but where were all the other people in the organisation telling him that this isn't on?

    No wonder the police have a bad reputation. When they act as one impenetrable self-protecting mass, where there rarely seems to be any measured discussion *inside* the organisation, they deserve any reaction they get.

  • by loxosceles (580563) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:50PM (#32449716)

    pulled over (legitimate speeding)...

    What is that?

    Speeding tickets are revenue generation. Speeding, alone, is not a good indicator of driver safety. If it were, you wouldn't see the bulk of traffic going 10-20mph over on highways, and 10-15 over on 3-lanes.

    Even if you're talking about the far end of the bell curve, people doing 25+ mph over the speed limit, in all probability they are far better drivers than everyone else on the road, and the reason they get into accidents is -other- people not being properly aware of their surroundings, changing lanes without signaling, braking for no reason, etc.

    I've had more near misses with idiot soccermoms on cellphones and old ladies than I've ever had with people speeding excessively. Excessive speeders are predictable. They want to get past you as quickly as possible. If you pay attention, you can predict way in advance which lane they're going to change to. Soccermoms and old people and just plain stupid people are not predictable. They weave. They cut across multiple lanes to turn at an intersection. They ignore traffic signals.

  • by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:06PM (#32449926)

    Oh, I agree with you - I drive a fast car, speed everywhere I go, and have never caused an accident. I go to race driving classes.

    That doesn't change the law, though, and if the grandmothers who vote all decided we should have speed limits, that's what's legal. That's what I meant by legitimate - I was breaking the law, and they pulled me over for it. It's their job, even if I disagree with the law.

  • It Has To Be Said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff&gmail,com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:11PM (#32449976) Homepage Journal

    If the police are not doing anything wrong, what do they have to be afraid of?

    The terrible abuses in the Camden PD would never have come to light had it not been for video surveillance.

    Do we really want to condone criminal behavior by the police? Can a "good" cop justify hiding or ignoring criminal behavior on the part of police officers? Can any elected official? Any judge? If they do, they are just co-conspirators.

  • The Difference.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RandomUsername99 (574692) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:27PM (#32450212)

    Many people seem to be making a distinction between 'criminals' and cops who illegally arrest, assault or harass people. A criminal is someone who breaks the (criminal) law. There are laws against illegally arresting, assaulting and harassing people. It doesn't matter if they are cops or not, when they break the law by doing these things, they *become* criminals. They've just got badges too.

  • They like cameras on intersection lights, they put cameras outside their police stations, they allow cameras following them aroound for the show "COPS" and now they don't like cameras all of a sudden?

    The police use cameras in the cars that they drive around in all day and use them to record pulling people over without their consent. What the hell is the justification of not being able to record an officer in the exact same situation? He pulls you over and never tells you that you are on camera. You tell him that your car has a built in camera provided by the insurance company: http://www.teensafedriver.com/our-system/faqs.asp [teensafedriver.com]. And that they are being recorded.

    Then they arrest you? What the hell kind of protect and server stance is that? I pay the damn sallary and would love it if they had cameras on them at all times. ALL TIMES. What could a police officer do that would be hindered by having one of those cameras strapped around his neck snapping pictures %100 of the time? Clock in, start recording. Clock out, leave your gun, badge and authority with the camera and go home a normal person. If you wouldn't do it on camera as an officer on the clock I don't want to pay you to do it. You get no privacy when you work for the people since you should be accountable to those people every second you're on the clock. I'll excuse you for bathroom breaks since I'm such a nice guy, only in acknowledged gps located bathrooms. Now get back to work!

  • by weston (16146) <westonsd @ c a n n c entral.org> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:28PM (#32450958) Homepage

    When teachers didn't want to be tested as they claimed that testing was a poor indicator of someone ability. Go Figure.

    Most teachers don't complain about being tested on their subject matter -- maybe a few, but not most. Testing on subject matter is standard practice for getting a secondary certificate these days... not just in the context of the dual education/subject degree you generally earn while you're working towards certification, but there's actually tests at the end [ets.org] to certify. Heck, in some states, you have continuing education requirements for a long while afterwards. This is all par for the course.

    What teachers do complain about is having how students fare on standardized tests serve as a metric for their performance. Everyone knows standardized tests are somewhat problematic metric of even student ability, but most people are willing to accept it as a starting point while trying to work with varying cases. So, just like you sometimes see higher grades than test scores would indicate awarded to students who diligently complete their homework, take extra credit assignments, consistently participate in classroom discussion, and in general work hard, you'll also see colleges accept students with lower standardized test scores who show a similar pattern in their schoolwork and extracurricular activities. (And you see people succeed in life that way, too -- my girlfriend says her rocket scientist father actually struggled quite a bit with math, but he's know since he was a kid he wanted to be freakin' rocket scientist, and he worked hard and he's a highly respected guy at Aerojet who's worked on stuff from the NASA New Horizons project to fielding calls from the Mythbusters team).

    But when you take something that problematic and then use it as an indirect metric for something else, the problems are magnified. There are too many confounding factors. What the student population brings to the table is quite simply as important as what the teacher brings, and what the larger system does to support or work against teachers is a big factor as well.

    You might be able to use tests that measure only aggregated student improvements as a minor part of an overall program including human assessments from other professionals, continuing education/training, feedback from students and parents, and organizational reviews for schools and districts. But any teacher who complains about a merit program that focuses on standardized testing is only acting on good sense.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:42PM (#32451150)

    And I personally know cops and other law enforcement that work hard to help keep our society safe, regardless of the risk to themselves. What's your point?

    And whenever any of them defend a corrupt cop or turn a blind eye because of their belief in the thin blue line they are just as bad as the guys they are protecting. The number of cops willing to speak out about other cops is a tiny minority. My uncle was a career cop himself and the stories I've heard were rampant.

  • Even if you're talking about the far end of the bell curve, people doing 25+ mph over the speed limit, in all probability they are far better drivers than everyone else on the road, and the reason they get into accidents is -other- people not being properly aware of their surroundings, changing lanes without signaling, braking for no reason, etc.

    Absolute BS. Speaking as someone who responds to many accidents where people who "are far better drivers than everyone else", you're full of it. The simplest, main reason? Because being a good driver includes "being prepared for the unpredictable behavior of others". If you are driving in a manner that gives you no escape room from any unpredictable behavior, then you're not a good driver. Simple as that.

    In all probability, those going 25mph+ over the speed limits are the ones "changing lanes without signaling", "braking for no reason" beyond "attempting to execute a race-style passing manoeuver".

    Here's the thing. Excessive speeders may always want to get ahead of you. But they'll always be behind someone else. Unless there's noone ahead of you, then that's always going to be unsafe (and even then, again, part of being a "good driver" is knowing the limits of your vehicle, the condition of it, and the road, and environment, and driving in a manner that accounts for such things).

    Ego is a problem, too. People who persistently excessively speed like to think they are far better drivers than everyone else on the road. They like to think that it is some testament to the quality of their skills that they regularly navigate the freeway at 85+. It more often than not isn't. It's blind luck. It's about as accurate as the multitude of people who say "sure, I can talk on a cellphone and drive, it's other people that suck at it". Pop quiz, when was the last time you heard someone admit freely that they can't drive and talk on their cell at the same time?

    Trust me, I've seen plenty of people that think they can excessively speed... and for everyone who might blame another person for having the audacity to brake (hint, if the distance between you and the guy in front of you is less than you and your vehicles response time, regardless of speed, you're going too fast, or are too close), etc, there's just as many accidents where Excessive Speeder has painted himself all over the road through no-ones fault but his own (and often taking a few bystanders with him).

  • by blitziod (591194) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:27PM (#32453520)
    The very idea that a person could enjoy any kind of assumption of privacy while engaged in an act of paid public service is crazy. Anything a cop does in the line of duty is by it's very nature public. I mean he/she is a public servant. Not only paid by the public, not only serving at the behest of the public..but actually acting on behalf of the public. Not to mention that most of these cases either occur in a public place( i.e. the side of a public street) or in the person doing the recordings PRIVATE home. An uninvited guest certainly has no expectation of privacy( outside the bathroom) while in another person's home.
  • by Thing 1 (178996) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:52PM (#32454342) Journal

    We don't have a right to know instantly; that would put officers in danger.

    I'm not sure I fully agree. If the police are doing something that God himself should not be watching, then perhaps they're doing it wrong?

    I invoke religion, knowing that I'm completely separate from it; but, it does speak to the emotions. Now to speak to logic: anybody acting in public can be video and audio recorded without their permission; this is what one gives up by leaving one's private quarters.

    If one can be recorded, the recording can be broadcast. Let's say the broadcast happens immediately (which makes sense, otherwise those crooked cops I watched that hour of Youtube earlier would now know to take the recording device away from you, or destroy it, and then we wouldn't have had that hour of video to watch, in 9:29 segments).

    So, if it's uploaded immediately, then it can be downloaded (almost) immediately. Therefore, again this is logic speaking here, if the police are acting in public, then they can and should expect their actions to be broadcast to every citizen instantly. Not doing so, would put us the public in danger.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:24AM (#32454776) Journal

    We don't have a right to know instantly; that would put officers in danger.

    I'm not sure I fully agree.

    There are sometimes very good reasons to not allow live coverage of police activity. It's probably easier to explain it by example.

    A bank robbery is in progress. The police have surrounded the building and are preparing to move in. The robbers inside are watching the situation unfold on live television. The police are within their rights to ask that live broadcasting cease temporarily so that the robbers are not aware of the imminent action. Continuing to broadcast live could turn what should be a surgical strike into an ambush.

    I'm not saying that this is the norm for police actions, but sometimes temporary prior restraint of publication is acceptable. Prior restraint for a prolonged period of time, however (including confiscating the tape), is almost never acceptable.

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