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Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded 1123

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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  • Land of the free (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:40PM (#32446442)

    But don't...

    The police and the courts should bear the following in mind when considering the recordings:

    "If the police are doing nothing wrong, then they have absolutely nothing to fear from being recorded".

    Unfortunately the "recording" of police should not be left entirely to police owned CCTV systems. Because those systems can malfunction at the most inconvenient times, causing the images to disappear right when, for example, someone called Charles de Menezes [] gets shot in the head for his crime of wearing a jacket on a warm day.

    While the police have a job to do, and most of them do a damned good one at that; they are still human beings. And as such not infallible and not immune to all sorts of temptation - from wrongly kicking someone in the face who probably deserved it (but deserving has no place in law), to covering one's or one's buddy's ass in an ugly situation, these things can and DO happen. People should not be punished for recording something that is happening - especially in a public place or in the privacy of the recorder's own home. The Romans coined the saying: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" The government cannot be trusted blindly. There lies the path to tyranny.

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#32446600) Journal

    One last tidbit from the article worth reading

    For the second time in less than a month, a police officer was convicted from evidence obtained from a videotape. The first officer to be convicted was New York City Police Officer Patrick Pogan, who would never have stood trial had it not been for a video posted on Youtube showing him body slamming a bicyclist before charging him with assault on an officer. The second officer to be convicted was Ottawa Hills (Ohio) Police Officer Thomas White, who shot a motorcyclist in the back after a traffic stop, permanently paralyzing the 24-year-old man."

  • wow. (Score:3, Informative)

    by xandroid ( 680978 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:50PM (#32446660) Homepage Journal

    The legal justification for arresting the "shooter" rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. ... Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

    A few weeks ago, an Illinois judge rejected a motion to dismiss an eavesdropping charge against Christopher Drew, who recorded his own arrest for selling one-dollar artwork on the streets of Chicago. Although the misdemeanor charges of not having a peddler's license and peddling in a prohibited area were dropped, Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.

    On March 5, 24-year-old Anthony John Graber III's motorcycle was pulled over for speeding. ... 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. ... Police spokesman Gregory M. Shipley is defending the pursuit of charges against Graber, denying that it is "some capricious retribution" and citing as justification the particularly egregious nature of Graber's traffic offenses. Oddly, however, the offenses were not so egregious as to cause his arrest before the video appeared.

    This is one of the most ass-backwards things I've ever heard of.

  • Except he didn't disobey orders -- he was on a bicycle down the street and couldn't have heard orders from a foot officer up the block -- nor was he doing anything different than all the other cyclists -- and Officer Patrick Hogan was convicted of assault for what he did. He also lied about it until the video came out. Nice of you to leave out the facts, apologist bootlicking shill. And oh, he was a jock in high school. Figures. []
  • by VShael ( 62735 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:52PM (#32446718) Journal

    Miranda rights exist because of abusive cops.

    How timely. Miranda rights are going away, because of Right-wing judges.

    Supreme Court backs off strict enforcement of Miranda rights []

  • ACLU defending cases (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#32446760) Homepage

    The ACLU has taken at least two cases in that area.

    The Maryland motorcycle case []: "This prosecution by the Maryland State Police and Harford County State's Attorney is profoundly dangerous, and seems meant to intimidate people from making a record of what public officials do," said David Rocah, Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland. "It is hard to imagine anything more antithetical to a democracy than for the government to tell its citizens that they do not have the right to record what government officials say or do or how they behave."

    The video [] is on YouTube.

  • by DiademBedfordshire ( 1662223 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:57PM (#32446800)

    umm no... In the arrest of Ernesto Miranda, the police followed the letter of the current laws. His lawyer objected and stated that current policy of not requiring the explanation of 5th amendment rights was directly in violation of the 5th amendment. The supreme court agreed and Ernesto Miranda was re tried excluding his confession and was found guilty of rape and kidnapping.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:59PM (#32446854)

    Good. Show the tape that gives the whole story and I’ll shut up. I have nothing against seeing the whole story, just against the pigs who try to not let anyone get any of the story.

    I was thrown onto the pavement and had my arm yanked nearly out of location for resisting arrest. I couldn’t lay or sit without pain for a month and a half afterward. I should have gone to the hospital and gotten something in writing to prove that I was injured by the pigs, but I didn’t; it would have been pointless, the game was stacked against me anyway. I needed to get back to my regular life and job and not be tied up in courts where I’m some stupid lying kid and the cop’s word is unquestionable.

    Written on the police report? Suspect “flexed his arms” when they tried to put the cuffs on. Yeah, I’m sure that really put the cop in danger. Did they offer the squad car dashboard footage as evidence? No, the report said that no footage was saved. I’d love to have seen it. Did I really need to be beat down as I was? For flexing my arms when they tried to cuff me? Okay, I was stupid, but that doesn’t give them the right to be pigs. Hell, once I knew they were just going to injure me if I didn’t do what they wanted, fuck that... I’ll let them cuff me and be a quiet nice citizen.

    Cops are supposed to physically subdue people, yeah, but I do not believe that should involve inflicting as much pain as necessary to force them to comply. That’s torture.

    Their cameras are set to record everything. Why do they hide the footage (like in my case)?

    Because they’re pigs.

  • by c00rdb ( 945666 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:09PM (#32447032)
    Check out "The Wire". Amazing show.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:12PM (#32447082) Homepage

    If you want to get good video quality in most lighting conditions and to be able to zoom in and catch cops doing their thing from a distance that makes it obvious who they are then you need to buy a good video camera.

    Canon GL-1 and GL-2 are really good for this and are rather cheap in the used market for a near broadcast quality DV camera. you do not want HD because HD is not good in low light, and you want optical image stabilization with a long zoom. keep a tape recorded with junk on it in your pocket, and if you are chased by police, press eject, swap tapes, and ditch the good tape in a nearby bush or other items. If recording from a few hundred feet away, you will have a lot of time to do this and can plausibly act like you did not hear the cop.

    If your video is good enough for TV broadcast, lots of tv stations will play it. plus when put on youtube it helps incriminate the officer as more details can be seen.

    Stay a few hundred feet from the cops and you have not only time to ditch them, but they cant identify you. dress dark if at night, dress in drab colors if daytime... dont stand out.

  • Re:But... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:13PM (#32447120) Homepage
    Whether or not the police intend to behave illegally is irrelevant. Whether or not they follow the law is.
    "I mean, I didn't intend to rob that old lady, but when I came around the corner she was just standing there with her purse half-open." Would you excuse this person from robbery? Same laws apply to the police as to average citizens.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:19PM (#32447232)

    How about the recent story about the police saying that their patrol car tape was erased, and a citizen managing to prove that they were hiding it from him. []

    Why should we trust the police? We give them the right to carry guns and use them on citizens!

  • by yyxx ( 1812612 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:27PM (#32447372)

    Try recording a police officer in Europe doing something unflattering and posting that video on YouTube; you'll get prosecuted for invasion of privacy. Europeans don't even allow you to record and publish murderers and criminals.

    The only thing that's different in the US is that in the US some people actually still complain about their erosion of civil liberties. In Europe, they're effectively already gone, but the people don't even notice.

  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:27PM (#32447386) Journal

    Hi, whoever modded that troll? Maybe you misunderstood me, but I was referring to really basic physics; it’s been a while since I took the class but I think you can figure out what the difference between an impact (extremely high force x extremely short time) and a restraining force (moderate force x long time).

  • by TheLoneDanger ( 611268 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:28PM (#32447406)
    There's always the now-concluded and consistently excellent The Shield [], based off of the real-life Rampart Division of the LAPD.
  • by Ill_Omen ( 215625 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#32447554)

    For the people that obviously didn't read the article, here's some additional context:

    Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among 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. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

    As much as the OP would like you to think so, these states don't have a law saying it's illegal to video the police. In fact, reading that last sentence would probably lead a reasonable person to conclude that in 11 or those 12 states, recording the police in public would be legal.

  • by PFactor ( 135319 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:39PM (#32447608) Journal
    You're wrong yourself. We have all rights not explicitly given to the government. The Bill of Rights just codifies a few of the most important ones. The Constitution explicitly says that any rights not given to the government are retained by the people.
  • by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:48PM (#32447786)

    It is an odd paradox that the further people are removed from having used the ammo box the more they see it as some sort of solution to tyranny. Ask Randy Weaver's wife how well that worked out. Or David Koresh.

    I have considerable deployment time as a scout sniper in the USMC and I regularly shoot in long range tactical matches. Usually place well. Knowing what I know about the force capability of even the national guard, I have 0% interest in joining some kind of armed insurrection put together by a bunch of weekend shooters with instruction jackets that consist of having watched a Magpul video and accumulated 1000 posts on gun forums.

    People who don't know their stuff think it sounds really awesome printed on a flag or the like, but those of us who've seen the elephant hope you all concentrate really hard on the first couple of boxes.

  • by cyberworm ( 710231 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {mrowrebyc}> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:12PM (#32448172) Homepage
    I had read about this the other evening and was really disturbed. My first reaction was the tired and cliched "if you're not guilty, then you have nothing to worry about."

    The thing to me though, is that after they started putting cameras in police cars it was trumpeted as being such a great thing for the officers. How the cameras have saved so many officers and/or brought criminals to justice, that otherwise may have gotten away with their crimes. Think about all of those shows with police car footage, where someone gets pulled over, shoots a cop, and drives off. The storyline is something like "if it hadn't been for dashboard cameras, this officer's killers may have never been brought to justice."
    But things work both ways. There have been some grievous abuses of citizens by the police, that may have never come to light if someone hadn't been there with a camera.

    There are good cops and bad cops. I've had encounters with both types. Fortunately for me I've never had my skull cracked open by either. But I feel like, if we don't have the option to record our encounters with law enforcement on the same level that law enforcement has to record their encounters with us, then we are all in trouble. From the police standpoint, I can see the argument that a citizen's recording could be biased or doctored as it doesn't have the same type of safeguards that police footage is supposed to have. But again, this works both ways. I don't know if there is citizen oversight or some type of neutral chain of custody for police dashboard video, but I've heard more than a few accounts (first hand and news stories) of video becoming "lost." To me it's not right that the people in authority are the only ones with a copy of the tape. Citizen or cop, there can be bias and misuse either way, but this can be compensated for by combining videos from both as well as eye-witness accounts to reconcile the stories to gain a more accurate description of events.

    In addition to having a camera available mounted in their car, the police also have the option of calling for backup to assist on the scene. As a citizen (I've been arrested before) I've never had the option of calling for backup/witnesses to my arrest. In a one on one encounter with a police officer, who is there to guarantee my safety and tell my side of the story? As far as I've ever experienced when it comes time to go to court, you already have a strike against your credibility because, to have an encounter with the police means that you had to have been doing something to get their attention. What hasn't really been brought up is why you've gotten their attention. Did you actually do something to warrant their attention or did the officer have you pegged for some other reason. The way you look, the car you drive, the people you know, the places you go, etc.
    As someone already pointed out, a lot of authority amounts to trust. Who do we trust to safeguard our liberties and protect society in general. As people we mainly have to trust each other. I could create a nightmare for some random stranger right now by calling the police and making some false accusation. There are laws against this, but in the time it would take to sort this out, damage would be done. In the same way, a rouge police officer could do the same. I could have an encounter with the police right now and levy some accusation against an officer. Again, in the time it would take to sort this out, damage would be done.
    I think that the police and citizenry are both well served with the right to record our interactions with each other. It could only stand to increase the amount of trust we have to place in each other and be an effective deterrent to any possible abuse of that trust by rouge authority. The best possible thing to happen right now for the police (nationally) would be for their union to stand up, support and encourage the rights of the people to record the police in the course of their jobs just as the people have encouraged the police to do the same.

    Redundant facts in the course of figuring out a crime certainly could only help to serve justice and any differences between the facts (recordings) would strengthen a case one way or another. Why should the police be the only arbiter of the facts and evidence?
  • by shadowfaxcrx ( 1736978 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:24PM (#32448380)

    There is. In fact, it's the first one. Freedom of the Press. If you point a camera at something and then put it on youtube, congratulations. You're the press. The founding fathers were very careful not to set limitations on what is and is not a journalist, because those limitations are ripe for abuse. If the government suddenly decides that only Glenn Beck is a journalist, and no one else is, then you can see where government influence of media coverage would alter government itself, and not in favor of the people. So! Everyone who records something and then shows it to an audience, or who observes an event and then writes about it for an audience, whether it be a TV photojournalist, a newspaper reporter, a blogger, or some guy with a camcorder uploading videos to the internet, they're all press. And they all have the right to act in journalistic ways, which means that cops do not have the right to limit recording.

    Wanna talk activist judges? It's the bastards in these states who think they can unilaterally rewrite the constitution.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:03PM (#32449032) Homepage Journal

    Try recording a police officer in Europe doing something unflattering and posting that video on YouTube; you'll get prosecuted for invasion of privacy.

    If you aren't a total and utter liar, why are these still up? [] []

    Liar liar die in a fire.

  • You should have seen the show. It regularly featured fabrication of evidence, deal-making, bribe taking, protection rackets, prisoner abuse, etc. Essentially the point of the show was to watch a police unit slowly self destruct from a "just this once" evidence fabrication incident until they become more monstrous than those they are supposed to be protecting us from.

  • by justinlindh ( 1016121 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:22PM (#32449274)

    The same Rampart division, yes. The show is loosely based on it. The characters in the show do have alliances/pay-offs with fictional rap moguls, were involved in a "money train heist" where the money was never found (similar to the bank robbery of Rampart's "David Mack"), and they used similar acronyms/symbols (instead of CRASH, it was STRIKE team and they had cards with symbols for their division).

    So, no... it's not supposed to be a direct documentary on the Rampart division, but it's similar enough. The show was originally titled "Rampart", even, but was changed to not anger the LAPD.

    That said, The Shield is one of the best television series ever produced and it's worth watching all 7 seasons. Each one is better than the last.

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:09PM (#32452240)

    Alot of countries aid the PA. Egypt, Syria, Iran, heck its easier to list the Islamic countries that don't aid the PA.

    Jordan. Why not Jordan? Because the PLO tried to overthrow the country in 1970.

    But what counties will attack Israel? Iran and Syria are the only ones that openly back a proxy against Israel.

    I've been to the PA and Israel, I'd say there is more momentum for peace in Israel than there is in the PA. The PA still educates their children in favor of pushing the Jews into the sea.

    This whole event was unfortunate, but personally I'm completely behind Israel in the whole matter.

  • by Clandestine_Blaze ( 1019274 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:33PM (#32453576) Journal

    Egypt has opened their borders up, but only temporarily: []

    And there are plenty of countries, and even the UN, who have called the embargo on Gaza to be illegal: []

    Israel doesn't care and the US routinely vetoes any and every UN resolution against Israel.

    The Palestinians live essentially in a modern-day ghetto. Palestinian airspace is controlled by Israel, and they routinely fly drones and fighter jets over homes, causing people to panic. Israel also blocks the three-mile shore using their navy. There are only 80-some humanitarian items that are allowed in, and food / medical supplies typically expire by the time they make it into the region. Building supplies are always discarded by Israel, since all humanitarian aid goes through Israel first. Without building supplies, Palestinians cannot rebuild their homes that were destroyed by Israeli bombs or bulldozers, and can only use existing rubble from other destroyed buildings. Try living like that for the rest of your life.

    Economic embargoes causes despair, and despair causes people to commit desperate acts. Israelis know this very well. If you recall, the state of Israel was founded through terrorism, with the Stern Gang leading the way with hotel bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations until the British gave them land. Back then, Israel did not have the modern, sophisticated military that they do today, and having suffered through the holocaust, they saw no other way.

    Hamas may be crazy, but the only people Israel can blame for Hamas' existence are themselves. Israel supported Hamas during its infancy to undermine the secular Fatah movement of Yasser Arafat: []

    While I personally feel that the people of Palestine can do much, much better than Hamas, they're only going to cling to whoever is going to offer them support and protection. Even so, the actions of Israel are disgusting, and to think that the very same people who had to endure living in ghettos in Western Europe are now essentially doing the same thing to other people is mind-blowing. Israel hopes that by employing collective punishment against the people of Palestine, they can force them to overthrow Hamas. This hasn't worked, and it's caused even the moderate factions in Palestine to get angry at Israel.

    I hope for a peaceful resolution to all of this so that both sides, Israel and Palestine, can live as neighbors.

  • by blitziod ( 591194 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:38PM (#32453606)
    first off SO WHAT if it is an act of war? So is firing rockets into schools and houses. Israel is in a legal state of war with Hammas. Until there is peace I would expect war like actions from , well from both sides. I might ad that the current war was declared first by the Palestinians. Second. Those people on the blockade did not give a dick about getting the actual aid to people. Israel had offered to ( as it had done many times in the past) turn the "Aid" over to UN peace keepers to distribute fairly, after checking the cargo for weapons and terrorists. Why was this not good enough? Well the UN certainly distributed the aid in the past, so activists had no reason to think that the people who needed it would fail to get it. Actually Hammas wants to be the ones who distribute aid. That way they can SELL the food, medicine, etc and use the money to finance the war with israel. This use of international charity to finance a war is criminal, but nobody seams to care. Also they use the "aid" to help them stay in power by distributing food and medicine through and to those who support them the most. Speak out against a suicide bomber, well maybe your diabetes medicine from the red cross/red cresent might not make it to you this month. The fact that Israel has a very god video of the whole deal showing clearly the armed uprising by supposed "peace activists" should be enough to prove that this whole thing was never about distributing aid to people in need.
  • by wein0 ( 552999 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:27PM (#32453844)
    If you are going to rage like a two year old at least try to sprinkle a little bit of truth amongst your one eyed rhetoric. Thankfully the Israelis did use cameras. You can see those innocent peace loving protesters: [] The middle east conflict is not black and white. While Israel deserves criticism for some actions it is as important to acknowledge that Hamas has no Nelson Mandela. Hamas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist. As the government responsible for Gaza its being treated the same way as the rest of the world is treating North Korea. Despite the fact that the millions of Koreans affected are civilians. It is also important to use words like Genocide in context. Keeping in mind true genocides like those inflicted in Rwanda, on the Kurds by the Turks, currently happening in Zimbabwe. If you consider introducing a little balance to your squealing then your valid points might get a little more support.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.