Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Youtube Crime The Internet Your Rights Online

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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Police Using YouTube To Tell Their Own Stories

Comments Filter:
  • 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.

    • 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?

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

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

          • But, they got easy access to shoot the "fun" stuff by making sure they only showed stuff where the criminals were acting like idiots. If Cops had made a habit of showing police brutality that actually made the cops look bad, they wouldn't have gotten permission to make the show any more. That fact influences the way the police are shown by the media. Even subtler things like who the cops are friends with effecting who hears about breaks in a popular case effect the way police are portrayed in the media.

          • 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 gknoy ( 899301 )

            I would really love to see videos of cops doing their jobs as models of proper police behavior. It's much nicer than police footage that disappears, is lost, is confiscated, or otherwise isn't admissable.

        • "Cops" isn't about cops. South Park was right when they parodied it as "White Trash in Trouble". "Cops" is about rubbernecking other people's trouble with the law, not displaying the job of police officers.
          • by Nursie ( 632944 )

            It's supposedly a show that supposedly showcases the cops in situations where it should be easy to come across as the both the bigger man and the good guy.

            You know what I see about 50% of the time when I flick past it on the tv? Some cop acting like a complete dick to someone for no reason at all.

            If this is positive propaganda for the police in the US then I dread to think what it's like when you come across a US cop having a bad day.

      • More often, they just ignore the police brutality that does happen. The only times they actually show police being bullies is in those rare occasions when it's too big to ignore or dismiss as taken out of context. Even then, they move on quickly to less important things, like regurgitating talking points from politicians.

        It's rare that you get the media actually investigating police brutality. You heard about the pepper-spraying, but you probably didn't hear anything else about it.
    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      Nope. Nothing says it was the same policemen having both ideas. Besides, someone could prefer no filming, but still resort to filming oneself while filming remains legal.

    • >>>The police want laws to say they can't be filmed but they want to film everyone.

      While that is true, no State Law can overrule a State Constitution, and not Congressional Law can overrule Constitutional law. The right of the people to report on events (whether using an old-fashioned pencil, or a modern video) may not be outlawed. It's called freedom of the press.

      As for the article itself: UK police have been filming protests almost ten years now. The have a designed officer who does nothing bu

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @07:53PM (#40302955) Journal

        The have a designed officer who does nothing but film, so that they can protect themselves against protester allegations (both in the public view and in the court).

        Indeed. Funny how when Ian Tomlinson was murdered, the only video was posted by a tourist from the safety of his home country.

        The police in the UK have done a good job of looking like clowns recently. They managed to crack down really hard on legitimate, peaceful protestors (how hard is that?), suppressing freedom of speech, but when some real riots and looting actually happened, it turned out that they were bugger all use.

    • Police in the US are paid by cities, counties, and states. City councils have stepped up and been the ones to have police carry cameras and recorders. That's because, despite malicious rumors to the contrary, we still have a democracy and the city councils have to answer to the voters and they don't like allegations of police misconduct. Police can not act with impunity unless their bosses let them. If their bosses are not holding police accountable then the voters need to take action.

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure law enforcement agencies would never resort to creative editing. And I'm sure the media won't be more prone to parrotting the official "truth".

      Then again, I live in a fantasy world where authorities can be trusted.

      • The media reports what makes good viewing, they are not controlled by the police or governments in most countries. The idea that media are just lackeys is most a myth in first world countries. They may not focus on the important stories all the time which is true. But it makes for good counter-culture media reporting to claim that the other media won't report the truth.

    • As usual, the fault in these incidents lie with both sides; the cops, for often being quick to move into "riot control" mode, and the protesters, because they believe that nobody will give a shit about their cause if there aren't at least a few of them with blood pouring down their foreheads.

      As for the other 98% of us, we just want to get through the day without being fired, mistaken for a protester or having our stupid ass kids that we've invested so much time, money and emotion into getting involved in th

    • the occupiers usually come off as smug hipsters with a victim mentality - demonstrated through their actions and creative editing

      Bullshit. Show me the context where the occupiers' actions justified pepper spraying.

      You simply don't like the occupiers, and are trying to justify the other side.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HornWumpus ( 783565 )

        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.

  • 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.

    • 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.
    • 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.

      • 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.

        This is called "discovery", and is part of the legal proceedings. The problem is that the authorities ("the police") have the power of a warrant which allows seizure, whereas the public in gen

      • 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

    • I understand the instinct to call for balance in these situations. However, when it comes to the government or government institutions, liberty is not a two way street. No one oppresses the government. Liberty is an individual matter. While I believe in and would defend a police officer's individual liberty, I do not believe that is the same thing as granting them equality as an agent of the state. My other concern here is that a law enforcement agency or officer would post video that may be used as eviden
    • 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.

      • 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

        • If a video is selectively edited to portray a cop as a racist when he's not (like was done to Zimmerman's 911 tape by a network affiliate) then go ahead and sue for defamation.

          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.

          That's absurd. Police officers are public servants and are held to a higher standard than private citizens.

      • Again, they are not the bringers of news.

        They are often bringers of news, such as knocking on your door and informing you your loved one died in a car crash. Like a lot of police work it's a shitty and thankless task but someone has to do it.

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

    Sounds fair.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:11PM (#40301783)

    I find it hard to be on the side of the police these days. I live in Montréal, and I've seen and read about a lot of police abuse. They always have an excuse, a reason or some lie. I would be more inclined to believe them if they would show us what they are doing against inappropriate conduct by their own officers, or if they would publicly acknowledge any wrongdoing when it happens. When they constantly protect the ass of their officers, they lose credibility. When the press is constantly attacked by the police while trying to capture what is happening, they lose credibility. When they hide their badge number so we can't report them, we know they are up to no good. When they kettle a group of people, and then tell them to disperse while not letting them, well they probably think we're stupid about believing that they gave the people a way out. And when they detain and arrest people for no valid reason, or to issue them a traffic ticket because people were protesting peacefully, well they should consider themselves lucky we're not acting like the miners in Spain and all we do is put a video of their wrongdoing on the net.

  • In contrast (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:12PM (#40301799) Journal

    Police Unions are resistant to reviews of dash cam footage [],0,451142.story []

    /And don't get me started on retention policies for dash cam footage.
    //Without any specific laws in place, most police departments more or less do what they want.

  • The linked article (yahoo) doesn't link to the youtube channel, which I can't find. All it has is a couple stills distributed by the police and posted in similar articles on other news sites. I call shenanigans.

  • Just a bunch of dirty hippies trashing up the park. Most did leave when told to move on. Other than the litter it was peaceful. Nobody got beat up or abused by police and none of the protesters caused a major fuss, but several were arrested when they refused to go. Cartman could have handled them.

    People here generally clean up after themselves, but it only takes a few to make a mess.

    • by tobiah ( 308208 )

      I suppose you know this from first-hand experience observing the entire protest, or was it the 10-second news blurb on Fox?

    • Other than the litter it was peaceful.

      Yes, to me this demonstrates that the occupiers as a group have as much respect for their fellow citizens as your average CEO.

  • Blue Code of Silence (Score:5, Informative)

    by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:16PM (#40301837)

    This is fine, they should present their own point of view. The evidence suggests however, that police brutality exists and that often there is no persecution of the perpetrators – sometimes they even drop investigations against police and instead charge the victims with resisting arrest.

    There is a Blue Code of Silence [] in the police that will protect a violent minority of policemen. In Germany there was a famous case of police brutality [] at a demonstration "freedom not fear", where the CCC released a video of the incident. First of all the policemen had to be identified, which was only possible because it was a HD video, since despite Amnesty's [] calls for a identification tags for policemen, there is none. When the accused police officers were questioned, they were provably lying, because the CCC had another unpublished video disproving the statements by the police. They were later convicted, but only had to pay a few thousand bucks.

  • 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!
  • Predictions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by realisticradical ( 969181 ) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @06:50PM (#40302313) Homepage

    I think this is an entirely reasonable response. Instead of trying to shutdown speech the police are offering another side of the story. Good.

    Of course some of the broader implications are pretty interesting. An individual can basically edit a video to show the part where the police are beating the crap out of him and ignore the earlier part where he's spitting and throwing rocks. The police, on the other hand, don't get the luxury of using video simply as a PR mouthpiece. If this sort of response to protesters becomes commonplace it will be interesting to see what happens the first time an edited video comes out from the police. More interesting will be the cases where people start requesting these videos as evidence against the police at their trials.

  • When it comes to the protestors, I'm always on the fence. We have the right to protest, but even if only one guy or girl is causing trouble, police have to take some action. The way I see it, you'll have 99 good people and 1 bad; 45 people see that 1 bad doing stuff wrong, while the other 54 don't. The police step in; the 45 step aside, but the 54 think that police brutality is going on when they see them trying to apprehend the 1. They jump in, those trying to get out of the way knowing the police are just

  • Yaaay! This is how it should work! Slashdot often reports on poor police response, which taints our thinking. But based on personal experience, when someone tells me the police acted inappropriately it usually turns out that there are other details they were hiding. Let the truth be told and let us make decisions with full information. I'm glad to see the police embracing this technology instead of hiding it.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle