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Supreme Court Blocks Illinois Law Against Recording Police 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-your-cameras dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Illinois anti-eavesdropping law was cut down slightly. While protecting the average citizen from eavesdropping, it also put in place prohibitions against recording the police as they were doing their jobs. An appeals court sided with the ACLU, saying that it was too great a restriction on First Amendment rights. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, cementing in place the lower court's ruling. In Illinois, you can now secretly record the police."
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Supreme Court Blocks Illinois Law Against Recording Police

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  • by concealment (2447304) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:06PM (#42096461) Homepage Journal

    I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

    Realizing the significance of his footage, Holliday phoned the local police station, but claims that the person who answered the phone 'blew him off'. Next, he tried CNN, but no one was there to take his call. Finally, Holliday took his tape to local Los Angeles station KTLA. They edited out the blurry first 13 seconds of the tape showing King charging Officer Powell, and broadcast the last 68 seconds of the beating. The next day CNN and NBC obtained copies, and the tape was seen around the world.

    http://www.seeingisbelieving.ca/handicam/king/ [seeingisbelieving.ca]

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:10PM (#42096513)

    Finally the line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" can be used against law enforcement. Since law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting ever more invasive tactics to monitor citizens, it's refreshing to see that we can finally monitor them without fear of reprisal.

  • by Mononoke (88668) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:16PM (#42096585) Homepage Journal

    I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

    So the beating was justified then? Wow.

  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:16PM (#42096587)

    Yes, because 13 seconds of lunging requires a 68 second response of multiple people beating someone. Your premise is that if they showed the first 13 seconds people would of regarded the reaction as reasonable. I think you may want to reconsider that premise.
    Regardless of how it looks it should be made public if it took place in a public area. Having police harass you and break/confiscate your equipment and arrest you while recording a public event is mind boggling. If they're not doing anything wrong then they have nothing to hide.

  • Record Secretly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mk1004 (2488060) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:24PM (#42096681)

    Secretly? How about openly? I'd say that you'd better record secretly if you don't want to spend the night in jail and get hit with some BS resisting arrest charge or the like.

    There are plenty of officers who don't like the idea of being recorded, and their reasoning varies from concerns about "Monday morning quarterbacking" to the sociopaths not wanting to get caught abusing their power. Still, if they can record us, we should be able to record them.

  • Re:In Illinois? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:32PM (#42096763)

    The problem is that mopes and dopes got 98% of the votes 3 weeks ago.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:36PM (#42096803) Homepage Journal

    I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use.

    His 100 mph chase, drug use, priors, and lunging don't give the cops an excuse to beat a suspect. Ever. Punishment is supposed to come from the courts, not the police. Punishment isn't a cop's job, solving crimes and arresting people are.

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:39PM (#42096837)

    Yes, because 13 seconds of lunging requires a 68 second response of multiple people beating someone. Your premise is that if they showed the first 13 seconds people would of regarded the reaction as reasonable. I think you may want to reconsider that premise.

    I think you completely missed the OP's point. The point is that a video recording (any video recording, for that matter, not just of police) can and almost inevitably will, given the generally sensationalist bent of the media, be taken out of context. In the case of his example, that doesn't mean the beating would be justified, not by a long shot. But it would certainly make a lot more sense, and be far less grievous, than a beating for no reason whatsoever. It's pretty easy to edit video footage to show whatever the hell you want it to show (reality TV shows exist because of that fact).

    Does that mean the police can ban recording them? No, not by a long shot. But the concern is valid. The response would be to record every police encounter themselves, although that is technically challenging in some cases (already done, IIRC, by most departments for traffic stops). Something like Google Glass would help considerably. Even then, their response wouldn't get as widely published as initial "shocking" footage, but it would help a lot.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:53PM (#42096997)

    It's not like the cops don't edit selectively themselves. Lose tapes etc.

    This just levels the playing field.

  • Nothing to fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:10PM (#42097179) Homepage Journal

    If you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear officer.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:10PM (#42097183) Journal
    Reductio ad absurdum
  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:20PM (#42097291)

    I love it.

    Cops and other forms of authority are always telling people that if they are doing nothing wrong, then they shouldn't be concerned about a lack of privacy.

    Right back at you Police Officers. If you are doing your job without breaking the law you have no reason to be concerned about me recording you.

  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:31PM (#42097417)

    You don't mind getting roughed up a little and sitting in jail for an
    evening on trumped up charges and then paying for a lawyer to
    eventually dismiss your charges for which you file a complaint that
    is ultimately ignored.

  • by hoxford (94613) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:34PM (#42097449)

    As long as cops are given the authority to use force above and beyond what ordinary citizens are they expected to behave differently than ordinary citizens. They are supposed to follow the law and follow their training. If they cannot behave better than a typical goon when confronted with an emotionally charged situation then they should not be given any more authority than a typical goon. Ultimately, though, you are correct which is why the idea that only cops should be allowed to carry guns is silly.

  • Commander Vimes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:38PM (#42097485)

    Commander Vimes didn't like the phrase "The innocent have nothing to fear", believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like "The innocent have nothing to fear".

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:10PM (#42098023)

    "So the beating was justified then?"

    No, but when you have all of the information and see the complete video (as opposed to an excerpt), it puts the incident in an entirely different context than that which was portrayed in the news media.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:33PM (#42098383)

    I'm all for a limit on how long someone can be a cop before they are required to get an honest job.

  • Re:caselaw summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:37PM (#42098465)

    That is fantastic news that the DoJ is finally help people remember the ancient wisdom:

    Authority NEEDS to be balanced with Accountability.
    Authority without accountability leads to Totalitarianism
    Accountability without authority leads to Bureaucracy.

  • Re:caselaw summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:46PM (#42099473) Journal

    The problem is all your "training" is worth exactly piss as long as resisting arrest and disorderly conduct are on the books, because frankly both of those laws are written so damned vague (on purpose i would argue) that saying "What is the charge?" is enough to get those charges slapped on you, and once you rot in a jail cell for a week or so (remember they can hold up to 5 days without charge in most places) they will have their "chilling effect" and insure that nobody dare not "respect my authority!".

    Of course there is a reason why in poor neighborhoods most wouldn't piss on a cop if he were on fire, its because the heavy handed skull cracking jackbooted thug bullshit has been going on far too long. Everyone thinks having a camera to record this thug behavior will help but for all those people I invite you to watch the largest gang in America [youtube.com] and to realize that the majority if these, even when caught on camera, did NOT go to jail or even lose their jobs, despite overwhelming evidence of them cracking skulls and being...well gangbangers with badges.

    So good luck with your training doing shit friend. I live on the "meth highway" and I had a friend who was a cop that quit in disgust, he said it had gotten to the point that he viewed his fellow officers as more of an enemy than the crooks! He said the few good ones left aren't gonna say shit about the others thanks to the code of silence, and he was surrounded by cops that were in it for the "Training day" style corruption or that were bullies that simply wanted a badge to crack the skulls of those they didn't like. Having a camera won't do shit because the corruption is too deep, too many of them are in it for the money or the ability to inflict pain, and as long as they can walk even after getting caught on camera then all the "training" in the world ain't gonna do shit.

  • Re:In Illinois? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:17PM (#42099785)

    When you're levelling a blanket insult at a group of people, and that group comprises 98% of your compatriots, it's time to consider the possibility that maybe you're not perfect.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:56PM (#42102073)

    You can stop at "no".

    The beating is not justified.

    It doesn't matter if Rodney was a lowlife. The cops are the law. They are supposed to follow the law. When the cops disrespect the law, it devalues the rule of law.

    Judges and juries decide punishment. Not cops.

  • Re:In Illinois? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holi (250190) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:58PM (#42102367)

    No I really want good cops. but if they are not turning in the bad cops then how can you say they are good cops. When they witness a crime or abuse of authority (which, let's be honest, should be a crime) then they have proven they are no better then the ones committing the acts. The thin blue line isn't there to protect "good" cops.

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