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Photographing Police: Deletion Is Not Forever 482

Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harassing people who do so — even journalists, who sometimes have their cameras confiscated. As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgeable about how deletion works. I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with 'resisting arrest' when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"
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Photographing Police: Deletion Is Not Forever

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  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#39211635)

    That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

    Cops get let off all the time, some examples: http://bit.ly/dWV5ab [bit.ly]
    This cop is not suffering from dementia, they showed him on the TV afterwards walking, talking, and smiling. In addition, it is typical in VA to be held indefinitely if your are unable to stand trial, as VA has no insanity defense.

    Remember the Katrina shootings: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/mistrial-declared-in-katrina-shooting_n_1239525.html [huffingtonpost.com]
    After enough mistrials, the case will likely be quietly dropped as the public forgets. Shit it has been 7 years already.

    Do I really need to mention the Rodney King riots?

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:16PM (#39211679)

    Hmmm I ponder...

    If I make a company on another state, and my equipment belongs to said company... not only that but the equipment is constantly "broadcasting" to a datacenter (so deletions are never actually possible) ... can a savy journalist get the FBI involved since it's a cross-state crime where the local state officer tempred with property of an out-of-state company?

  • And if you actually research it further, you'll find that the only charges he is actually facing is "Resisting arrest". He wasn't cited for failure to disperse.

    Funnily enough, he was actually asking the police if he could go to his car when one of the commanders started shouting "Arrestee! Arrestee!" and had him arrested. So apparently asking police to allow you to leave an area they have ordered you to leave is "disobeying a lawful order to disperse"... Much like being tackled from behind is "Assaulting a police officer" and lying unconscious on the ground due to a diabetic coma while cops kick you is "Resisting arrest."

  • Re:Privelege (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DnaK ( 1306859 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:54PM (#39212289)
    It is scary how true your statement is. The one time the cops were on my side during a home robbery at my place, i got a ride home from a cop after getting my stuff at the station (we got the guy!) Well as we drive home he blows every stopsign and stoplight without turning on his lights, and i ask him "Is'nt that illegal?" In a very sarcastic tone. His reply, "Who is going to arrest me" And those are direct quotes. Another time i was pulled over for "driving on the median" and in the report it had said i was in the middle median (double yellow both sides) for over 300 ft. When in reality i had only had 2 wheels cross the double yellow line for less then 50 ft. I please not guilty in court, and asked for video evidence and claimed this was a lie. The judge ruled in cops favor, even though he was blatenly lying. I will admit i don't always follow the rules, the only other time i got a ticket it was totally justified, i was going 52 in a 35. I please guilty, but it was removed from record because of traffic school.
  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:55PM (#39212301)

    I'm just guessing, but I think "resisting arrest" is english, whereas being "arrested" is jargon. Being "arrested" is being detained by police on charges. Where as "resisting arrest" is simply resisting being stopped by police. Just a thought.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:04PM (#39212467) Journal

    If a cop is telling you that you have to leave only because he doesnt want you to witness his activities ...

    And that would be an unlawful dispersal order. That's why the parent post specifically said, "... it is possible for police to issue a lawful dispersal order ..." (emphasis added) in order to specifically speak to the point in question. Your example is clearly outside that purview, making your post merely argumentative rather than constructive.

    If you believe an order to be unlawful, you are free to ignore it, and suffer the consequences until such time that the judicial system agrees with you or not. I have done so, and, fortunately for me, the consequences were not grave. A friend of mine did the same, at a different time, was subsequently arrested, but was later found to have been within his rights. The enlightened reader will understand that when the enforcement arm of our society issues a directive, not abiding by that directive has potentially serious implications, completely independent of the lawfulness of the directive.

    Let's put it simply: someone carrying a badge and a gun tells you to move. You don't. There's a very real possibility that you will get shot. Yes, it would be illegal for that to happen, but the reality is that you're still bleeding, and bleeding as a result of your choice to ignore the command. Or perhaps you're not bleeding, but you've been beaten about the head, or been arrested. Eventually the judicial system might catch up and rule in your favor, but that won't change the fact that you've been injured or detained.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dacullen ( 1666965 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:19PM (#39212705) Homepage
    Or when you have right leaners who empower bad cops by crafting laws that circumvent constitutional freedoms in the name of security
  • by dbc ( 135354 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:35PM (#39212945)

    The US has only existed for 340 years, give or take.

    Umm.... how much are you giving and taking there? I don't think a few colonies of farmers count as "the United States". You might want to review your history and your math. My ancestors came to this continent 378 years ago, but the constitution wasn't ratified until 1788 or 1789. 340 years is a very strange number to pick.

    People tend to pick July 4, 1776 as the start of the United States -- which is itself a bit of an odd choice. The Declaration of Independence was passed on July 2, and some delegates thought that should be the day that was considered the birth of the US. It was signed on July 4, when clean copies were available. It wasn't read in the public square until July 6 -- basically to give all the signers a two day head start out of town on the fastest horse they could find -- signing was a act of treason, punishable by "cruel and unusual" death -- and the court room for the highest court the King had in the colonies was right across the hall from the room they were meeting in.

  • Illegal Everything (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:45PM (#39213087) Homepage Journal

    If you can't be above the law then why be a cop?

    There are a bunch of similar stories here [youtube.com] (as well as several other atrocities like selling lemonade, Girl Scout cookies, felony ditch cleaning, and holding illegal prayer meetings).

    Cops on tape, breaking the law, and nothing is done about it.

  • The virtue of OSS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by columbus ( 444812 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:53PM (#39213211)

    Every comment I have seen has been on the social aspects of this incident. Let's talk about the software aspect of it

    (from TFA)
    "I used Stellar Phoenix recovery software for the first recovery, which has proven to be unable to recover large files in its entirety. I used PhotoRec for the second recovery, which did the job. PhotoRec has a steeper learning curve than Stellar Phoenix, but it’s free, unlike the former."

    Score one for open source software. Better than the proprietary alternative in this case.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperTechnoNerd ( 964528 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @03:55PM (#39213233)
    I had a similar experience. The Chief of Police comes in to our computer shop in a panic. Their file server was down. I said I will follow you to the station, but he said he got a faster way - get in my car. I got my stuff since it sounded like a power supply issue, I brought a new supply.and into his police cruiser we went at 80+ mph down winding country roads (he did actually use his lights and siren - for a server failure) I must admit it was loads of fun.. I replaced a bum power supply and again he took me back to the shop sirens screaming lights flashing.. It was a toot!
  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @04:03PM (#39213353)

    You know I was right there with you when Bush started doing warantless wiretapping and the patriot act etc, but when Obama is just as bad as his predecessor I don't think you can blame just the right anymore.

    Who said Obama was on "the left"? Other than the really far right, of course.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:31PM (#39214389)

    Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

    Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

    By metacops, naturally.

    But who metas the metacops?

    Citizens who start organizing multiple-person, coordinated, long range sniper rifle and IED attacks on complicit judges and top police/security officials, torching of police stations and infrastructure like police/SWAT armories, motor-pools, helicopters/helipads, aircraft and police vehicle refueling equipment & facilities, etc, as well as taking out individual off-duty cops and their families at home. They refuse to police themselves, so we are therefor forced to do it for them.

    It used to be the case that if I were to see a cop in trouble (being beaten, shot, stabbed, etc), I'd do whatever I could to help. These days, I'll turn my back and walk away. They are no longer "protectors", they are now simply "enforcers", and I have no sympathy at all for the ill-fate of enforcers.


  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:33PM (#39214413)

    Maybe instead you should use it to teach some critical thinking/don't believe everything on the net. However since you've apparently accepted it as Complete Fact(tm) that may be asking too much.

    What evidence do you have that this is a real note? A picture of something printed out is not evidence of anything other than that somebody wanted to make a picture. There is no evidence this is real.

    In fact, there is some evidence to the contrary. So it is dated 1994, yet the document uses smart quotes. I certainly don't recall my system in 1994 having that feature. I'd have to do more research (which I'm not going to do because I don't care) but I suspect such a feature was not in use then, which implies a forgery. There's other things too such as the "crease marks" in the paper that don't show visual distortion, as they normally would if they actually existed in 3 dimensions and weren't added in post and the askew angle, which would be more consistent with a camera photo rather than a scan but digital cameras were very rare back then.

    There's also some circumstantial things such as date happening to be Hitler's birthday and the teacher's initials being A.H. Could simply be a coincidence, of course, but does get one's antenna twitching.

    So perhaps a little more critical thinking, and maybe try and use it as a lesson that just believing anything on the net that happens to reenforce your preconceived notions is not such a good thing.

    Also, it is a bit silly to claim that it is "being taught in schools" if your best example is for near 2 decades ago. If it is "being taught in schools" then a more recent example should be easy to find.

  • Re: Judges ruling (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:28PM (#39215043) Journal

    Homosexuals are incapable of producing children therefore aren't given the protection of Marriage.

    The roots of marriage are economic; not religious. Children only come into play as the means to pass on wealth and power from one generation to the other. While I can see the argument procreation as a core component of marriage, the emphasis on "bloodlines" does not exist in modern society today, the way it did in the past.

    invariably those in favor of Homosexual Marriages are simultaneously opposed to Polygamy and often use the same arguments against Polygamy that Opponents of Homosexual Marriage use against Homosexual Marriage.

    As a supporter of gay marriage, my argument against polygamy is that it will lead to the hoarding of women by wealthy men, which would result in a shortage or marriage partners for men, which would lead to social unrest.
    That said, I personally don't see a problem with men having one legal wife and other non-legal wives, which seems to be the common practice among fundamentalist Mormons. This arrangement allows free association, while preventing powerful men (or women) from legally monopolizing partners.

    The state has no legal or moral imperative to define marriage

    That would be true if you think that the state should have no role in fostering a healthy and peaceful society, but I would disagree since the state is itself a manifestation of society.

  • Re:Privelege (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Thursday March 01, 2012 @07:48PM (#39215747) Homepage Journal

    Orson Wells was famous for using Ambulances as a taxi service, because he could get around mid-town Manhattan much faster with an Ambulance than with a conventional taxi service.

    Such acts are currently illegal in most jurisdictions because of abuse like this in the past, where the only time you can turn on the sirens and/or lights is to respond to a bona fide emergency. None the less, a server crash might fit the technical scope of an "emergency" when it does involve official police business.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner