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NY Couple On "Wanted" Poster For Filming Police 541

Posted by timothy
from the don't-watch-us-we'll-watch-you dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ben Fractenberg and Jeff Mays write that the NYPD has created a 'wanted' poster for a Harlem couple who film cops conducting stop-and-frisks and post the videos on YouTube — branding them 'professional agitators' who portray cops in a bad light and listing their home address. The flyer featuring side-by-side mugshots of Matthew Swaye and Christina Gonzalez and the couple's home address was taped to a podium outside a public hearing room in the 30th Precinct house and warns officers to be on guard against them. The couple has filmed officers stopping and frisking and arresting young people of color in Harlem and around New York City, which they post on Gonzalez's YouTube account. They said their actions are legal. 'There have been times when it's gotten combative. There have been times when they [police officers] have videoed Christina,' says Swaye. 'But if we were breaking the law they would have arrested us.' Swaye was part of a group of advocates including Cornel West who were detained at the 28th Precinct in Harlem in October for protesting the stop-and-frisk policy which Mayor Bloomberg strongly defends. "
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NY Couple On "Wanted" Poster For Filming Police

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  • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:01PM (#40583527) Homepage

    It (the flyer) was spotted by multiple people, including the couple, when it was taped to a podium outside a public hearing room in the 30th Precinct house last Thursday, where residents met for precinct council meeting.

    It could have been anyone to post the flyer, including the couple themselves.

  • by morcego (260031) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:02PM (#40583543)

    The only reason they would consider legal options would be because it would bring awareness to their (admittedly excellent) campaign.

    If they want to record the cops doing what they believe is wrong, I honestly don't see why the police cannot publicly post a warning to other officers in what seems to be a mostly harmless joking way.

    Listen, public embarrassment and notice is a two way street. If you want to publicly post the actions of the police, I don't see why you should feel others couldn't do the same to you.

    Pretty sure posting their home address on the flyer can have some legal implications.

  • by Patman64 (1622643) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:07PM (#40583577)

    Sounds like libel, especially since they are not making any money off it. They should get in contact with the ACLU.

    Also, very classy of the NYPD to do a public smearing of people who show their abuses to the public. They'll happily invade your privacy at random, but don't you dare film them while they abuse people on your dollar!

  • by strikethree (811449) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:34PM (#40583777) Journal

    Fair enough. From the link you provided, "The name derives from Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968),[2] in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that police may briefly detain a person who they reasonably suspect is involved in criminal activity".

    To me, it sounds like there is no REASONABLE suspicion of criminal activity though. It sounds like they are grabbing random people who are not dressed like a businessman or who do not have the proper skin color... Which disqualifies them as true Terry stops. :/

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#40583797)

    It could have been anyone to post the flyer, including the couple themselves.

    That's it! The couple posted their pictures and home address for all to see, just to get some cops in trouble!

    Seriously, am I the only one on Slashdot who think that conspiracy theorists like this guy are completely fucked up?

  • by strikethree (811449) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#40583801) Journal

    Are there not enough terrorists in this world? Why do they feel the need to create more?

    and why is everyone replying as an Anonymous Coward? Are you all seriously THAT afraid of the powers that be? Let them kill you. It sucks, but life has to end sometime. You may as well make it is inconvenient as possible to enjoy "their abuse of power" with your death.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NFN_NLN (633283) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:10PM (#40584109)

    Great. Now dude, fucking leave if you don't like it here!

    You come across like a douche, but technically that was the approach used by Europeans to escape tyranny at home. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anymore free land we can trade glass beads and firewater for. So, now we are forced to deal with people like you.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:08PM (#40584723)

    Seriously, why would the police care if the police are doing nothing wrong?

    If only it really worked that way. Edits made to a video can make it seem like the cops are out-of-line when they were actually acting in accordance with the law, and even an unedited video can sometimes be spun by those with an anti-police agenda.

    That said, the police in this case are at least responding properly to the videojournalists' actions, by letting each other know that they need to be especially on their guard to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and by allowing the videotaping to continue. The only thing that makes this case particularly special is that there aren't more people out there videotaping the cops. If lots of people did it, then it wouldn't be anything special, and the cops would ultimately make fundamental changes in their own policies and behavior.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ffflala (793437) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @04:11PM (#40585243)
    If I had mod points I'd waste them on your already level-5 rating.

    The failure here is humanity's, not the system. Elections are actually a pretty good way to keep things from getting bloody every generation or two.

    Here's an illustrative example. In 2000, I was pretty broke and living with four roommates. We had a circle of about 15-20 friends who'd regularly hang out -- come over, watch SouthPark or something. I was really concerned about the upcoming Gore -v- Bush presidential election. Without being a nagging pain about it, I tried to keep the upcoming election on their radar. I reminded them of the voter registration deadlines. I located our polling station --a five minute, seven-block walk from our house. Night before election day I reminded people to vote. Election day came, about 10 people were sitting around watching Southpark, and I reminded them again -- still plenty of time to get to the polls, it was close and there was no wait. Of course they didn't end up bothering to go vote. Had the country had a mere thousandth of a percent less apatheteic --had one of those friends in 10 across the country bothered to take a few minutes to vote-- we would not have had 8 years of W. We certainly wouldn't have a war in Iraq, and... well wishful thinking about what could have been is useless. Just happened again with the failed recall of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

    Point is, don't blame the system; blame the lazy fucking public. Most people do not vote. It's a minor thing that could literally change the world, but hey no can do -- Game of Thrones is on and/or I have to head out to da club/mall/I'm too busy on reddit. They'll be sure to bitch about how bad the system is though, ignorance and apathy notwithstanding.
  • by D66 (452265) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @04:30PM (#40585403)

    Let it continue to slide and Bloombergian New York will be the future American Police State.
    Stop n Frisk
    Police intimidation
    Soda Bans
    Smoking Bans
    TransFat Bans

    What is the old cliche... if you are not free to make a bad decision, you are not free at all. We need to stop looking to our elected leaders for solutions and start pushing them to set only minimum standards and allow us to find solutions for ourselves. Otherwise we will be laying down and inviting the boot to step on us

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @06:32PM (#40586315)

    As a police officer in Los Angeles, I'm bothered by all the anti-police sentiment and posts portraying cops as fascist brutes just waiting to violate people's rights.

    Are there bad/corrupt cops? Yes. However, I can say the vast vast majority are out there trying to do a good job and follow the law. There is no ulterior motive where we go around looking to piss off people or violate their rights. As far as people videotaping us, it happens ALL the time (at least in LA) and I've never worked with anyone who did anything about it or even cared that much. Sometimes it's annoying as the people videotaping assume we're assholes looking to beat people but we don't worry about it because we know our law and policy and do what we're supposed to do.

    Most police vehicles have cameras with microphones attached to each officer. We don't mind as it overwhelmingly helps us against bogus complaints or allegations. It gives us documented evidence that we didn't have before.

    And yes, I believe in privacy and our 4th amendment rights. I don't want police powers expanded at the expense of an individual's privacy and I do not believe that people have nothing to hide if they're innocent. Many cops feel this way, we're normal, thinking, people too. I went to college and majored in computer science, grew up reading slashdot etc etc. I'm a lot like everyone else here except when I go to work I wear a uniform with a badge and gun. Do I use force when necessary? Yes, but I'm not interested in hurting someone and I'll do everything i can to avoid a use of force, as a lot of us would.

    I can't comment on the NYPD's practice of conducting their stops, I'm not familiar with it. In LA of course we do Terry stops routinely and again, we don't do it to unnecessarily harass people. We have to have reasonable suspicion...this usually takes the form of seeing someone in dark clothing, with a backpack (commonly carried by burglars), walking around a residential neighborhood (which has a burglary or car burglary problem) at 3am, who crouches behind a car as I pass by. Will I stop him , identify him, and see what's going on? Yes. I don't think that's so ridiculous and if I lived in that neighborhood I would expect the cops to do their job and talk to that individual.

    Anyway, I just wanted to give a different perspective.

  • by pete6677 (681676) on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:03AM (#40588471)

    Chicago is too politically correct to have anything like stop-and-frisk, and we now lead the nation in murders. Not to mention, thugs run lose in tourist areas beating up people for fun. You can google for this if you want proof - there are numerous articles. So by all means, oppose a proven crime reduction strategy. And don't be surprised when the young gangbangers come after you. What do they have to be afraid of?

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