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Police Using YouTube To Tell Their Own Stories 299

stevegee58 writes "Posting videos to YouTube allegedly showing police misconduct has become commonplace these days. Now police themselves are posting their own videos to refute misconduct claims. 'After a dozen Occupy Minnesota protesters were arrested at a downtown demonstration, the group quickly took to the Internet, posting video that activists said showed police treating them roughly and never warning them to leave. But Minneapolis police knew warnings had been given. And they had their own video to prove it. So they posted the footage on YouTube, an example of how law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public.'"
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Police Using YouTube To Tell Their Own Stories

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  • Okay then... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @05:59PM (#40301623)

    Then they should stop confiscating the cell phones and cameras of protesters if they have nothing to worry about.
    The difference is, the only real attention the media will give will be to the police, and this AP article illustrates this perfectly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:00PM (#40301639)

    For the Chicago G8 protests, the police filmed every man woman and child who entered the protest area and had dozens of officers filming the entire protest.

    A few minutes after the protest ended they attacked everyone who didn't leave. They never showed tape of that.

    The police want laws to say they can't be filmed but they want to film everyone. They want maximum transparency of the population and none for themselves.

  • About time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FatAlb3rt ( 533682 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:00PM (#40301643) Homepage
    There's two sides to every story, and frankly, the occupiers usually come off as smug hipsters with a victim mentality - demonstrated through their actions and creative editing. But maybe it's just me.
  • I'm okay with this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dice ( 109560 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:02PM (#40301659)

    If we can film them in public places then they can do the same: liberty is a two way street. Let the information flow and justice prevail.

  • That's fine by me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:06PM (#40301723)

    Next, we should give the protestors guns, handcuffs, and bullet proof cars.

    Sounds fair.

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:07PM (#40301735)

    i guess police are people, too...

    ... that must be held to a higher standard.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:08PM (#40301747)
    My thoughts exactly, this is the proper response to police being filmed, not confiscating cameras and arresting people who dare to disrespect their authority. The only issue left now in my mind is mandatory retention and access under sunshine laws.
  • Re:Post it all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:15PM (#40301827)


    So cops come to your house in response to a call and film it, for whatever reason. Turns out you didn't do anything but someone said it was a domestic abuse case. You want that film if you answering the door at 2am public? Even though you didn't do anything wrong? Isn't that an invasion of privacy?

    I agree the police side should delete the film, if it was kept, but making it public ... not so much.

  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:17PM (#40301849)
    What's this, social activists edit their posted videos to hide the truth? Shocking!
  • by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:23PM (#40301927)

    In case of a legal dispute, the police should be forced to release their video, as to provide the clearest possible picture of the case. They should not only release them when it suits them. Unfortunately, presumably incriminating police videos often end up "missing", with little or no consequences for the policemen.

  • by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:24PM (#40301949)


    And so you think spraying large amounts of pepper spray into people's face because they are protesting is ok then?


    Is democracy completely dead in your country or what?

  • by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:27PM (#40301991)

    They were warned and they made a choice - and the narrative quickly went from "police brutality" to "protester choice".

    The narrative remained "non-violent protesters, undeterred by threat of violence from police, ultimately met with violence by police".

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:30PM (#40302015)

    the only real attention the media will give will be to the police

    That hasn't been the case so far. And it's easy to see why.

    Allegations of police brutality (and the controversy surrounding it) gets eyeballs. Police just doing their jobs is boring. Guess which one "the media" wants.

    See how that works?

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:33PM (#40302073)

    If we can film them in public places then they can do the same

    No, they can't. They are there to enforce the law. They are not a news agency.
    If they have issues on how people behave, they should go to court. Then a judge can decide if it was illegal or not.

    In no way should they be able to start posting these. Very specific exceptions might be given by a judge, not even by themselves. And only if it could help solve a case.

    Again, they are not the bringers of news.

  • by realisticradical ( 969181 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:34PM (#40302089) Homepage

    They were warned and they made a choice - and the narrative quickly went from "police brutality" to "protester choice".

    Just because they were given fair warning doesn't make it even close to a proper use of force. The police could have arrested everyone for trespassing or illegally blocking a walkway (if that's illegal). Any protester who didn't simply allow himself to be arrested could then be charged with resisting arrest. Only if the protesters fought back would the use of force be reasonable.

    How far does "they were warned" let an officer go? Get out of my way or I'll hit you with a club? Get out of my way or I'll shoot you with a gun?

  • No..not available on request. That can turn someone from having a really bad day, to destroying them. Ye,s they need to be available, but you should need to go through the courts to get them.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:40PM (#40302179) Journal

    Ten the un-edited video came out, and it showed the police office walking up to each protester, telling them that if they didn't move they would be pepper-sprayed, and to a person they all sat ad waited for the officer to do what he said he would do.

    Yes, he said he would violently repress their right to peaceably assemble, and then he did. Who could find fault with that?

  • What about cops? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:03PM (#40302445)

    Allegations of police brutality (and the controversy surrounding it) gets eyeballs. Police just doing their jobs is boring. Guess which one "the media" wants.

    I seem to recall a show called Cops that would disprove your claims.

  • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:21PM (#40302625)

    I seem to recall that show focusing on the "fun" stuff (for varying definitions of fun). I never saw a single episode where a cop rolled around his beat for 30 minutes, and cut to credits. I don't even recall seeing a routine stop. Imagine that episode: cop flashes his lights, car pulls over, speeding ticket issued, no drama, motorist apologizes for the violation and goes about their business. That's boring, doesn't get airtime.

    Every episode had some form of chase, either on foot on in the cars, or they had cops tackling drunken rednecks or breaking up fights, getting shot at, etc. That's exciting, that's what airs.

    Fast-forward to the current situation: protests. We-the-people don't want to see video of cops politely asking 15 times for someone to clear out. We get bored watching police standing around while protesters peacefully demonstrate, which is what's actually happening 95% of the time. We want the videos where someone gets punched, or slapped in cuffs and dragged away from their tent... even if you have to cut out the previous 6 hours of the cop telling people that they're not allowed to take a crap in the grass.

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nocturnal Deviant ( 974688 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:26PM (#40302675) Homepage

    I would treat your entire diatribe with far more respect and empathy had you not used the term "pig" in every single line. Frankly your name calling to justify a point just shows immaturity. Then the fact that people modded you up as AC makes me wonder what modders are thinking today. While your post is informative, it is also antagonistic.

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:27PM (#40302691)

    and they all cover eachother, even when it involves breaking the law to do it. If only they would self regulate we wouldn't have a problem, if only it was ok for a partner to say to the chief i don't think this officer should be running around with guns and clubs because he is in it for the fight not the peace. Which is fine when it's a murdering rapist but what when it's teenager reaching for a handkerchief? If the police department wont try to put a stop to this (which honestly if anyone one should have to follow the law it should be the police) the public will try (or at least want to which makes for lots of ratings on news shows). If the cops want to film themselves then that's great, stick a camera they can't turn off on there head and i reckon you'll see a lot less misconduct, even though most abuse will still be swept under the rug when it can be.

  • that's absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    so a demonstrator is allowed to present their side of a story to the court of public opinion, and the police can only present their side of the story to an actual court?

    one or the other: both police and demonstrators can engage the court of public opinion, or both police and demonstrators must keep their footage for an actual court of law. you choose

    i don't understand this point of view that only demonstrators can engage the public. the police are not alien beings, they are our neighbors, tasked with a job we want them to do, keep the law and order. if they abuse someone, we want to see the video and we want to have them judged. if someone LIES about them abusing someone, we want to see that video too and the liar to be judged. as a citizen, i want to hear both sides. you will not tell me i can't hear or see the policeman's side of the story, just as much as you or the government can't tell me i can't hear the demonstrator's side of the story. transparency is the only way justice can work, and that truth works BOTH ways. shrouding one side, or the other, is when abuses get perpetrated, whether by police, or demonstrator

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:38PM (#40302797)

    The difference is, the only real attention the media will give will be to the police, and this AP article illustrates this perfectly.

    So long as people continue to watch media which only gives half the story, only half the story will be given. I go through a lot of effort to seek out alternative media and accounts of major stories, and what I've discovered is that domestic media only provides the appearance of impartiality; Just enough to suspend disbelief. This is most evident in how they give "equal time" to, say, creationism, as they would a scientist, when doing a report on the latest global warming. Domestic media is there to provide just enough facts for each 'side' to continue to perpetuate the idea of a controversy, when in fact, there very rarely is one. The media will even manufacture controversy if their corporate sponsors are paid enough; the recurring gay marriage stories and 'controversy', for example -- if you look, there wasn't much polarization before the general public was saturated with coverage of it.. people were like "Well, maybe I don't like it, but why the fuck do I care? There's about a billion other things more important than that." But the republicans needed a victory, so they pumped Murdock and behold, a polarizing story designed to get their voters to the polls to defeat their democratic rivals.

    So yes, domestic media is totally corrupt, and they will happily splice and cut footage up, take people's quotes out of context, and generally 'spice' things up, but there is a very specific agenda behind such things. Indie media though is even worse... people desperate to get "their side" of the story or portray "the truth" often do such a piss-poor and slanted job of it that only the political activists in their own little microcosm would ever approve of it. I've tracked OccupyMN since they pitched their first tent... they've released hundreds of YouTube videos... all with only a few hundred, perhaps a few thousand at most, viewing it.

    The Occupiers never got organized, they just barfed content onto the internet and made a cacaphony of conflicting statements, all basically saying "See! See! This proves what we've been saying all along!" ... Of course, nobody really knows what it is they've been saying at all... the Occupy movement is sortof a blob of negative emotions projected by the working class onto the rich, and while some of it is justified, the lack of any real cohesion means it basically reduces to a king sized bitch fest.

    And then there's 'Collateral Damage', a widely-watched indie media video produced by Wikileaks, which later led to it being hunted by the 'land of the free' with a zeal that harkens back to soviet-era media manipulation. Indie media had a great potential to show us the actual cost of war, and to underscore how drone attacks and remote bombing may not harm homeland security in the short-term, but it definately creates lasting hostility to this country which definately harms it in the long term. 9/11 was a direct consequence of this kind of media manipulation -- it forced political reactionaries abroad to use bombs to get the general public's attention, because what was going on on Afghanistan was so far removed from public view that few people on the street could even tell you what we were doing there.

    And this is the loci of the problem: No matter which 'side' you're on, the concept of 'sides' is the real enemy in journalism. Democracy absolutely depends on impartial reporting; Democracy fails catastrophically when the population becomes illiterate and misinformed or underinformed (both are equally bad). And that's exactly what's happened in this country -- ever since the vietnam war protests, our government in concert with wealthy private interests have carefully constructed a sort of "glass curtain" around the country. Unlike an iron curtain, like the soviets had, or similar systems which the Chinese have, our form of censorship is subtle and depends on controlling the broadcast media via private corporations and individuals so the government has plausible deniability; But it accomplishes the same basic goal: To mislead the general public about government actions.

  • old problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    every single demonstrator should have a camera. every single cop should have a camera. now you have a proper adversarial situation. when something goes bad, whether the fault of demonstrator or cop, now we will clearly know

    the more cameras, on either side, the better. who cares if someone loses something? the incriminatory evidence should be available from the side that wants to present the abuse that was perpetrated

  • by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @08:08PM (#40303095)

    Statistics and misguided hate do not make all police fit your image of an officer. I know, in fact, many extremely smart police officers. Many of them, even those who aren't that smart, are very kind and easygoing people. The fact is, their job requires them to have a very definitive good/bad policy on virtually everything they encounter, and often leads them to deal with very abusive/belligerent/annoying people.

    Let's consider that the time you most encounter police is when there is some sort of serious problem occurring. A traffic accident, robbery, assault, whatever. They are tense situations, where you have to understand the cops can't crack jokes and act like your buddy - they have a very specific job to do. Consider, also, that you can't fathom the amount of people who harass them, annoying people they need to deal with a-la bums, drunks, etc. Their job really does suck quite often, they don't get paid that much, and they are there to help you when you need it.

    That said, I think it is fantastic that the police are embracing video as those trying to hold them accountable have. Video is a great tool, and for a person charged with upholding peace and establishing the truth of crimes, it is crazy they haven't been using this in every aspect of their jobs already.

    I just hope they respect the boundaries on video surveillance placed on them by the law. None of that "Whoops, my camera happened to look in your second story window without a warrant".

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @08:14PM (#40303151) Journal

    Couple o' things I can think of offhand:

    1) Huge accusations, but no cites. Considering the accusations, some credible and substantiated citations would have been damned useful, at least before you demand that someone form an opinion one way or the other (and no, "Google it" doesn't cut it, given that most of the links that are likely to come up will be slanted one way or the other).

    2) GGP running around calling cops "pigs" at every other breath? It labels him quicker and more effectively than it labels the cops. He just doesn't understand that, and apparently neither do you.

    I figured that someone with a low UID would be old enough by default to understand such simple things...

  • Re:Okay then... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nocturnal Deviant ( 974688 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @08:27PM (#40303255) Homepage

    ^ what he said.

    I actually know firsthand what police brutality and antagonistic tendencies are. I open carry.

    (If you do not know what that is, and are commenting on police brutality, then I will now say my first antagonistic comment which is get your head out of your ass and off of slashdot.)

      I however treat them with respect deserved by a fellow human being. You calling every single police officer bad, just states ignorance. That's like saying every black person steals and does drugs, or every Asian is extremely smart, or all Americans are redneck idiots, or all Brits talk in 1 accent(I'd love to see a Brit respond to someone saying that.)

  • Re:About time... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @08:49PM (#40303445)

    When they block a public right of way and refuse to dispurse (e.g. UC Davis), same as the right to life protestors who block abortion clinics and get pepper sprayed.

  • by ifwm ( 687373 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @09:19PM (#40303697) Journal

    but as long as you have this "us" versus "them"

    You mean the exact mentality the police ADMIT they have?

    they are accountable to us, they are accountable to YOU

    No, this is a lie. They are accountable to their supervisors, and to accountability boards that are staffed by ex-police, and to Internal Affairs, who are also police.

    NOWHERE in that process can a citizen bring accountability. Qualified Immunity prevents lawsuits except in the most egregious, and rare, circumstances. If IA and the accountability boards don't hold a cop responsible, you're out of luck.

    You can't elect them out, you can't vote them out, so this "they are accountable to you" tripe is just blatantly false.

    not the entirety of the police force

    The entirety of the force colludes in protecting the bad apples. And you make excuses for them because they "kiss their kids at night" or some other "think of the CHILDREN" sappy bullshit.

    stop talking about them like they invasive inscrutable species out to hurt you for no reason

    I will when they stop living up to the description.

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/18722525/2012/06/06/prince-georges-county-police-officers-under-criminal-investigation?obref=obinsite [myfoxdc.com]

    FTFA "WALDORF, Md. -Two Prince George's County police officers are under criminal investigation in Charles County for allegedly handcuffing, detaining and assaulting a teenager in order to teach him a lesson."

    Now, that's two cops plus every other cop who covered for them. You forget, they have a responsiblity to uphold the law, so every single officer who knew about that incident and didn't turn those cops in is legally culpable. But you ignore that in your rush to paint a portrait even more distorted than the one you're crying about.

    maybe you'll actually get something accomplished about their behavior

    No, the current "Fuck the Police" attitude has done more to bring attention to these issues than the copsucking you're suggesting ever did. That, and ubiquitous cameras. However, I don't fault you, collaborators always suggest collaboration, it's easier than resistance and you collaborators tend toward laziness and cowardice.

    I appreciate your opinion, but as you can see, you really have absolutely no idea what the fuck you're talking about. Frankly, you take a startlingly similar line to cops themselves, and I have to wonder if you have a bit of Stockholm Syndrome.

    You're a citizen. It's your DUTY to resist tyranny. Not sit by and defend it because it kisses it's kids forehead at night.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:14PM (#40304675)

    Aye. When I was younger, like everyone else I used to watch videos of violent demonstrations on TV. Then the G20 summit came to town and one day I went to watch the protest. I followed the peaceful march to downtown then watched the protests from a footbridge for 2 hours. The demonstrators peacefully chanted slogans, beat on drums and waved signs, much to the dismay of the watching bystanders who'd occasionally yell "come on do something!" Sure once in a while a bored cop would fire something into the protesters who'd simply retreat and advance back cautiously asking for peace, again much to the dismay of the bored spectators...

    Later when the crowd had dispersed, I ran back home and excitedly turned on the News to see the coverage of the first peaceful G20 protest ever. What did the media say? "Protesters were out again today during the summit, they smashed the windows of a McDonald's and Starbucks and police had to repeatedly fire warning shots at them." No mention of the hours of peaceful protest, none, zip, nada.

    The media today isn't the press of 1890s. They're not there to report the truth, they're simply trying to make a buck like the rest of us. If they reported the entire truth, it'll be either boring and people would switch to another outlet, too shocking and people would switch again, or start a revolution that might make the media lose their comfortable home and present way of life. So they don't lie, but they sure as hell don't tell you the entire story. Beware.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:41AM (#40307571)

    The media today isn't the press of 1890s.

    Ever heard of the Spanish-American War?

  • by Raenex ( 947668 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @11:00AM (#40309131)

    Classic story. So you got busted for riding a bike with "fictitious tags, no license, and no insurance", and your biggest complaint is about the "redneck" cop who was yelling at his dog? And you admit to doing 70 in a 35? You're such a dick you don't even realize it.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas