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What To Say When the Police Tell You To Stop Filming Them 509

HughPickens.com writes: Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that first of all, police shouldn't ask. "As a basic principle, we can't tell you to stop recording," says Delroy Burton, a 21-year veteran of DC's police force. "If you're standing across the street videotaping, and I'm in a public place, carrying out my public functions, [then] I'm subject to recording, and there's nothing legally the police officer can do to stop you from recording." What you don't have a right to do is interfere with an officer's work. ""Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations," according to Jay Stanley who wrote the ACLU's "Know Your Rights" guide for photographers, which lays out in plain language the legal protections that are assured people filming in public. Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant and police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.

What if an officer says you are interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations and you disagree with the officer? "If it were me, and an officer came up and said, 'You need to turn that camera off, sir,' I would strive to calmly and politely yet firmly remind the officer of my rights while continuing to record the interaction, and not turn the camera off," says Stanley. The ACLU guide also supplies the one question those stopped for taking photos or video may ask an officer: "The right question to ask is, 'am I free to go?' If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal."
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What To Say When the Police Tell You To Stop Filming Them

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  • One small problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:27AM (#49637097)

    "If it were me, and an officer came up and said, 'You need to turn that camera off, sir,' I would strive to calmly and politely yet firmly remind the officer of my rights while continuing to record the interaction, and not turn the camera off," says Stanley.

    And if it were me, I would think twice or thrice about getting on the bad side of the local police department, being arrested (and who knows what else). Of course I would be vindicated, but that can occur after I spent some time in jail, got charged with some bullshit, spent who knows how much money on laywers and called ACLU for help...

    I mean, look -- there were a bunch of recent stories with suspects getting killed or beaten, and if one is lucky, the police is charged afterwards. Sometimes not even that. Basically, most of us cannot afford to stand on principle. Many have family to support or career to preserve, or both.

    • by danbert8 ( 1024253 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:36AM (#49637151)

      Right, the biggest risk to you to keep filming is that you spend a few nights in jail, hurt your career, hire a lawyer, spend a few days over the next who knows how many months or years in court, etc.

      Their biggest risk if they deny you your rights is some paid administrative leave while the department investigates.

      • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:45AM (#49637245) Journal
        You're both not wrong, of course...

        But. In exchange for the lack of personal inconvenience your compliance ensures, your rights die just a tiny bit.

        I understand the wisdom of not getting cross with the leos, and admit there are immediate and everlasting benefits, but know there are consequences as well.

      • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

        by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:04AM (#49637393)

        The biggest risk to you is that you die. Less likely than being arrested and having to spend money on a lawyer and so on, but piss off the wrong cop in America and ending up shot, choked to death, beaten to death, etc isn't an unexpected outcome.

      • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

        by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:17AM (#49637507)

        Let's be honest here: the biggest risk to you is that they beat you to death and then concoct some bullshit to justify it after-the-fact.

        That said, if you let that scare you so that you "COMPLY", then you've let the totalitarians win.

      • Right, the biggest risk to you to keep filming is that you spend a few nights in jail, hurt your career, hire a lawyer, spend a few days over the next who knows how many months or years in court, etc.

        No. What they'll do is take the camera. What are you going to do about it? It's your word against theirs in court, and they're the cop. And this is assuming they're a decent cop, rather than a corrupt one who'll simply shoot you and say they mistook your camera for a gun.

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          No. What they'll do is take the camera. What are you going to do about it? It's your word against theirs in court, and they're the cop.

          Ideally you'd bring to court the camera footage -- either the camera footage that your camera was transmitting to a separate storage device the cop wasn't aware of, or the camera footage from a second camera that the cop wasn't aware of.

          Not commonly done these days, but there's no technical reason why it couldn't be done.

          (btw I'm not sure I'd consider a cop who perjures himself under oath to be a "decent cop" -- it sounds like standards for decency aren't what they used to be!)

    • by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas@NosPAM.dsminc-corp.com> on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:37AM (#49637163) Homepage

      Don't forget that after the camera is off and nobody is watching you will resist arrest, get physically assaulted and tazed because you know you resisted. In the end resisting arrest will stick and see it was all justified.

      Cops need body camera's and a hard and fast law that anything not captured on body camera the cop can not testify to. Were past the time where we need to or should trust the cops word as to visible facts, technology is capable of giving an impartial viewpoint.

      • by knightghost ( 861069 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:44AM (#49637239)

        Ya'll watch too much TV. If you want to see what a police officer does then ask to do a full shift ride-along. It's rather eye opening.

        The negative focus on officers is 99.9% wrong. If you want laws changed then vote for different politicians.

        • If you want laws changed then vote for different politicians.

          That is the quote of the day, but nobody's picking it up.

        • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

          by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas@NosPAM.dsminc-corp.com> on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:08AM (#49637431) Homepage

          Thats fine that 1 in 1000 officer is still significant enough to justify correcting the system. We have learned time and time again authority must be tempered with oversight. We now have the technical means to reasonably oversee all interactions the police have on duty.

          It has been shown police do not follow the law hell even use ignorance of the law as an excuse. Real substantial change in policing will take decades, with unions and politicians scratching and clawing to keep the status quo.

          I grew up with cops, I've seen a lot more than a one night ride along and I pretty much don't watch TV. Having been around cops I will tell you the number is a lot higher than 1 in 1000, I would want to loose at least 1 in 10 cops and suspect that number would go far higher. I can say cops policing their own community tend to be far better than those that live elsewhere. I can also say police chiefs feel/are handcuffed by the unions and lawyers in getting rid of these bad cops.

        • This is certainly useful advice, other than the fact that it is highly unlikely it will ever be needed. It is quite rare that a by-standing citizen who is exercising common sense finds himself/herself at odds with the police, even if filming. Yes, there are instances and there always will be, but as most of us know you will much (much x 10) more likely be put in a situation where you require and get the assistance of a police officer.

          Given this advice or not, I think the wise person will make the right c
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          I realy love it that people say "just vote differently" when there is no real choice.

          And yes, if there is so much smoke, you better start looking for the fire. Yes, it IS that bad. What I see on shows like COPS is obviously not the average. However of those almost each and everyone of the incidents I see would mean that somebody will be fired because of abuse of power.

          Just look at how the 4 Swedish police officers in New York handled the situation. They were unarmed and were calmly holding the subjects. If

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:37AM (#49637169)

      If it were me, well I'm black, so I'd stop filming and pray the fucker doesn't shoot me and take my camera.

    • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:44AM (#49637241) Journal

      Many have family to support or career to preserve, or both.

      Yes, that is how tyranny flourishes. Keep everybody fed just well enough...

    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:52AM (#49637303) Homepage Journal

      I mean, look -- there were a bunch of recent stories with suspects getting killed or beate...n

      Well, I think ONE thing is pretty clear.

      Don't RUN from the cops. The one common denominator from most of the recently publicized cop shootings of citizens, is that the citizen generally ran from the officer.

      But one thing to do for sure...don't act like an ass, if you are (and you should) exerting your rights, do so in a calm, non-threatening fashion. Don't shout. Don't curse, use clear concise language. The "Am I free to go" statement is a very simple and very powerful thing to say and get an answer to.

      If you don't give them a reason to beat you...99.999% of the time they are not. Yes, there are bad apples, but I don't think that is the majority. If you do not fight, resist, run or act an ass, chances are you are not going to be arrested or hurt. And if they DO arrest you....just face it, you are going to jail...don't resist, doing so give the cops a LOT of leeway in how they manhandle you.

      Don't give them a reason to do abuse you, but also, you should always know and assert your rights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        Don't RUN from the cops. The one common denominator from most of the recently publicized cop shootings of citizens, is that the citizen generally ran from the officer.

        And this is a clear violation of department policy and law everywhere I'm familiar with and should result in the immediate charging of the officer(s) involved. A person that runs away is not an imminent threat, and therefore there is no justification for use of force. The problem is that officers are often not charged, even with video evidence, far too often. Honestly, officers should shoot second, unless going into a known shooting situation, and should never shoot to kill unless actually attacked. Further

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          and should never shoot to kill unless actually attacked.

          I agree with everything you said except this, this is a nonsensical statement. Shooting IS shooting to kill, there's no other expected outcome. It's lethal force and should always be treated as such. Yes the technical phrase they use is "shoot to stop" or "shoot to disable" but in actuality it is ALWAYS shoot to kill and should ALWAYS be treated as such. If killing the target is not an acceptable outcome then shooting should not be used period.

      • Good post, I agree with every point that you've made. However, I'd like to add one thing:

        When dealing with the police, avoid being black. This will greatly reduce your chances of being beaten, unlawfully being detained/arrested/searched, or otherwise having your other civil rights violated.
      • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @10:38AM (#49638285) Journal

        Yes, there are bad apples, but I don't think that is the majority.
        I think you misunderstand the "bad apple" metaphor. It's important to note the entire phrase or it makes zero sense: One bad apple spoils the bushel. What this means is that if you allow a minor corruption to go unchecked, it will eventually corrupt all of the apples in the bushel. One bad cop allowed to stay on the force will eventually corrupt all of the cops in the department. As soon as someone covers for him, that person is complicit. The bad apples need to be removed IMMEDIATELY before they destroy the department (or the public's trust in that department).

        Little corruption begets big corruption until eventually the cops can't tell right from wrong. It starts with fixing a ticket for a friend and the next thing you know, they're planting evidence and falsifying reports "for the greater good".

      • Well, I think ONE thing is pretty clear.

        Don't RUN from the cops. The one common denominator from most of the recently publicized cop shootings of citizens, is that the citizen generally ran from the officer.

        wait, are we talking cops here, or are we talkin' rhinoceros'es[es?]

        I know at least one of those things does not like it. maybe its both? I guess it could be both. so, when you see a wild animal OR a scared cop, don't run, don't charge them. maybe put your hands up right high so that they think you a

      • I mean, look -- there were a bunch of recent stories with suspects getting killed or beate...n

        Well, I think ONE thing is pretty clear.

        Don't RUN from the cops. The one common denominator from most of the recently publicized cop shootings of citizens, is that the citizen generally ran from the officer.

        But one thing to do for sure...don't act like an ass, if you are (and you should) exerting your rights, do so in a calm, non-threatening fashion. Don't shout. Don't curse, use clear concise language. The "Am I free to go" statement is a very simple and very powerful thing to say and get an answer to.

        If you don't give them a reason to beat you...99.999% of the time they are not..

        Tell that to poor Mr. Sureshbhai Patel: http://www.al.com/news/index.s... [al.com]

  • "Am I free to stay?" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:34AM (#49637139) Homepage

    "The right question to ask is, 'am I free to go?'"

    Are you not sort of expected to leave if you ask if you're free to go? I don't want to leave, I want to continue doing the legal thing that I'm doing.

    • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:43AM (#49637227)

      You dont have to completely leave, but it gives you the ability to walk away from the officer without the claim of resisting.

      • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

        You dont have to completely leave, but it gives you the ability to walk away from the officer without the claim of resisting.

        Wow, is that the rule?
        So then you have to record your question being asked and answered. Otherwise, it's your word against the police officer's word that "....but s/he said I was free to leave", when you are charged with resisting arrest.

    • ianal, but I think 'free to go' means free to move about. it does not mean you have to change (x,y) locations right there at that moment.

      • I believe the point of the verbal exercise is to gain an admission from the officer that he/she has chosen to detain you. Detaining a citizen implies things like probable cause and such, which may not exist. The point is, the leo will know exactly what you are asking.
      • ... but it's still bizarre if you ask for permission to go, and then just continue to hang around at that exact spot...
        • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:37AM (#49637671) Homepage

          I think that question says "are you embarking on legal proceeding against me, or are you just flapping your gums?".

          If the officer isn't detaining you, he's not doing anything other than speaking to you and you can walk away from him, or just stand there.

          That, of course, assumes the police officer knows or cares what that is supposed to mean ... just like the officer obviously neither knows nor cares about the fact that you can legally film him in the first place.

          The problem becomes when police don't give a fuck about the law, attempt to illegally detain you, and then when you say "what the hell are you doing?" they charge you with resisting arrest, despite that you weren't being arrested.

          In theory this says "unless you are arresting me, this is a voluntary interaction which I am ending".

          In practice, I'm not convinced all the police know or care about these things, because they believe they can do whatever they wish.

          And it's those police officers who are causing us to say "fuck it, I can't tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones, so put a body camera on them at all times and stop trusting them at their word". And I'm sorry to the good police who feel all butt hurt over this, but too damned bad.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:49AM (#49637289)

      Free to go does not mean required to go. Expectations are irrelevant.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:36AM (#49637159)

    Where I'm from if you backtalk a cop, they take you to jail (if you're lucky they don't beat you for "resisting arrest" too). They make up some charges after-the-fact. Or maybe there are no charges and they let you go after 48 hours of sharing a cell with crackheads. Either way, the lesson is "don't backtalk."

    • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:42AM (#49637215)
      Freedom isn't free. If you don't stand up for your rights, you'll have them trampled on. Every citizen with a video camera is a bad cop's worst nightmare.
      • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:55AM (#49637323)

        You go be the hero then. I've got a wife and kids who aren't going to accept "Daddy did something heroic" as an excuse when I lose my job and we're living in a van down by the river. Is the ACLU going to pay my mortgage when I have to call into work and explain to them that I can't come in because I'm in jail?

        • by pz ( 113803 )

          You go be the hero then. I've got a wife and kids who aren't going to accept "Daddy did something heroic" as an excuse when I lose my job and we're living in a van down by the river. Is the ACLU going to pay my mortgage when I have to call into work and explain to them that I can't come in because I'm in jail?

          I have heroes in my family. More than one. Big, international-scale heroes. Heroes who lived apart from their families, risked arrest, or even lost their lives, to do great things. My wife would slap me in anger and disgust if I were to cower in front of an abuse of power, and it would be well-deserved. "Daddy did something heroic," isn't an excuse, it is an expectation.

  • Problem only for now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:42AM (#49637219)
    This whole problem will go away when recording devices become so small that police will not know who is filming them and who is not. Eyeglasses? Could be a camera. Contact lenses? Camera? Glass eye? Camera. Third button down on the shirt? Camera.
    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      I think it's better if the police know you're filming them. They tend to be a little more polite.

      You also have to be careful because of these states where there are "mutual consent" laws about recording. i.e. in some states you can record a conversation surreptitiously, while in others, all parties to the conversation must know it's being recorded. The authorities have actually tried to use this against people who film their encounters with the police. There was a case in MD where an off-duty cop pulle

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        You also have to be careful because of these states where there are "mutual consent" laws about recording. i.e. in some states you can record a conversation surreptitiously, while in others, all parties to the conversation must know it's being recorded.

        Most (all?) states allow video-only recording without two party consent. Two party consent typically pertains to the audio portion of the recording.

      • All-party consent (rather than one-party consent) for recording has always been a stupid fucking brain-dead policy, but the proliferation of cameras means we ought to be making getting those laws repealed a high priority.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I think it's better if the police know you're filming them. They tend to be a little more polite.

        You also have to be careful because of these states where there are "mutual consent" laws about recording. i.e. in some states you can record a conversation surreptitiously, while in others, all parties to the conversation must know it's being recorded. The authorities have actually tried to use this against people who film their encounters with the police. There was a case in MD where an off-duty cop pulled over a motorcycle driver who was wearing a helmet cam and they tried to say he broke the "wiretapping" laws by recording without the cop's consent.

        They tried the same thing in Massachusetts. Only problem: the guy filming was a lawyer and he fought it. Courts came back and said that filming a public official in a public place was completely legal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      It really depends where the data ends up too. Live stream to a public server with other people seeing and making a copy in real time?
      Streaming to a file that one person has to connect to later?
      A copy kept in the device.
      If its to a public, live service then the material exists globally from that device.
      A request could be made to hand over all passwords related to the device and service.
      If the device is examined and found to be a protected upload site with a file, that could get interesting before a law
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:44AM (#49637237) Homepage

    You say, "ok officer" but keep filming them from your waist level, or from a distance. Honestly, get a frigging telephoto lens for your phone or carry a good video camera where you can be far enough away so you are not noticed.

    People need to be recording the police all the time and posting it all in public places. Cops need a strong light on them at all times, they need to be afraid of the public, and afraid of not being professional in public.

    I also say we need to film them when off duty, rat on the fucking scum cops that speed and violate laws.

  • I hear ya cous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:48AM (#49637283)

    Of course, if you get the camera slapped out of your hand while being tazed and the officer then claims you assaulted him who's gonna film it?

    Just how many cops have behaved inappropriately and have remained on the force. How many messed up or plainly did wrong and are still earning your tax dollar?

    Idealistic talk is nice...facts on the ground is another thing.

    Land of the free...yeah right.
  • Embassi in Laos (Score:5, Informative)

    by AndyCanfield ( 700565 ) <<moc.xednay> <ta> <dleifnacydna>> on Thursday May 07, 2015 @08:55AM (#49637315) Homepage

    I tried to use my tablet to take a picture of the new American Embassy building outside Vientiane, Laos. I was told by the guards that this is prohibited. I went out to the street and took a picture from a public road on Lao territory, but they again told me to delete the picture. I figure they had no right to prohibit the picture, but I deleted it anyway. Then they had the paradox that they were insisting that I delete the picture, but they could not touch my tablet and I could not delete the picture because it was already gone.

    So two days later, while I was in a taxi driving from downtown Vientiane to the Thai bridge, I pulled out my tablet and shot a video as we went past the new Embassy building. As soon as I got home I posted the video on my web site at
    http://www.andycanfield.com/Th... [andycanfield.com]
    So far the idiots in the U.S. State Department haven't contacted me. Is it an act of treason for you to look at it? Ask your lawyer.

  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:12AM (#49637461) Homepage

    The summary isn't quite right. A warrant would not be required to seize your phone or other recording device if the officer has probable cause to believe it contains evidence of a crime (and exigent circumstances exist, which they probably do). Then he can try to get a warrant to get that evidence off your device. An example would be they roll up on a crime scene and you were recording before they got there, or, maybe you got video of the suspect assaulting the police. They wouldn't need a warrant to seize it at that point, because exigent circumstances (you could leave, the evidence could easily be destroyed if they don't secure the phone) would justify seizure without a warrant. However they could not legally search it without a warrant. (Typically in a case where a bystander has video of the crime they'll be cooperative and send the video to the police if possible, or give consent to them to get it off their device).

    The smarter police aren't going to go around taking phones. If they believe you have evidence on your phone they'd probably like to talk to you about what you saw anyway and ripping your phone out of your hands isn't going to help that. But just be aware that they can most likely legally seize your phone without a warrant, if they have probable cause it has evidence of a crime, and if seizing your phone is the only way to preserve that evidence from being destroyed or lost (you could delete the video or walk away before a warrant could be obtained).

  • Just be white (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:18AM (#49637509) Journal

    Remember, Freddie Gray was stopped by police, who later killed him just for eyeballing them.

    If you want to play on-the-spot eyewitness news reporter with your cell phone, you should try your best to have white skin.

  • I always carry a camera and will readily use it, but before you take your newly re-discovered rights watch this....

    https://www.facebook.com/micha... [facebook.com]

    Knowing your rights isn’t enough; I am not suggesting this advice is wrong but you need to fully understand that if you find yourself in a situation like this that you are risking a confrontation with an officer that has deemed him or herself ‘worthy’ of your camera. Police must learn to respect the citizens they ‘protect’ and stop

  • Most cops are polite -- with good reason: If anyone approaches you in a menacing tone, stance or attitude, they _are_ guilty of assault, with firearm if armed. Cops have no legal immunity except when arresting. Assault is the _threat_ of violence, battery/mayhem is the act.

    With confidence they will not be prosecuted, some cops push the line. They make forceful requests they mean to be taken as orders. (Plausible deniability) One remedy is to ask: "Is this a request or an order?" "Will you use force if

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:51AM (#49637795) Homepage
    The laws on the book in the US are already good. The problem is the prosecutors and the judges do not enforce the law. They expect you to sue - at great cost - to ensure your rights are obeyed, all the while the judges ignore the laws.

    The solution is simple:

    Pass the following laws: 1) Prosecutors can not prosecute or even investigate accusations of legal crimes by police that they may in the future have to work with. Instead, each state should set up an "Internal Affairs Office of Prosecution", whose sole job is to prosecute police and similar law enforcement officers. They will be judged on how many convictions they get, and only the best will be allowed to become managers.

    2) After rule #1 has been in place for at least 5 years, require every one appointed to be a Judge to have previously successfully prosecuted at least one police officer.

    This system attempts to counter the natural prejudice prosecutors and judges have in favor of the police while at the same time creates a strong motivation within the government to prosecute their own.

  • Hands Up App (Score:5, Informative)

    by evenmoreconfused ( 451154 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @09:55AM (#49637825)

    The "Hands Up" app ( http://www.handsuptheapp.com/ [handsuptheapp.com] ) has just been released and is designed to deal with these issues. It's quite clever and records the your interaction with the police as usual, but also:
    - Turns the screen blank but keeps recording;
    - Automatically uploads geotagged video segments to Dropbox every few seconds, preserving the recording even if it's erased or the phone is destroyed; and,
    - Sends a text message to your emergency contact notifying them of the recording's existence.

  • by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Thursday May 07, 2015 @11:34AM (#49638853)

    if you want to see what all the fuss is about, go to photographyisnotacrime.com

  • by singularity ( 2031 ) * <.nowalmart. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday May 07, 2015 @11:47AM (#49638997) Homepage Journal

    1) The problem I see with the "Am I free to go?" question is that in all of the recorded interactions I have seen, the police officer more often than not just ignores the question.

    Police: "Sir, can you tell me your address?"
    Citizen: "Am I free to go?"
    Police: "Sir, I need your address so I know if you should be on this street."
    Citizen: "Am I free to go?"
    Police: "Sir, do you live on this street or not?" ...and so on. Eventually the police officer will either concede the person is free to go, or will call for assistance.

    2) For all of the talk about "99.6% of officers do not abuse their power", I have a problem when 99.6% of officers willingly choose to cover for the 0.4% that abuse their power. In my mind, that means that the 99.6% are also guilty of abusing their power, this time by not investigating and arresting criminals - in this case their coworkers.

    If a big city police department was found to completely ignore the crimes of another subset of the population, that would be described as a corrupt police department. The fact that the subset in this question is the very same police department should not make a difference.

    3) I am always confused by the "Let the investigation run its course, do not give in to the demands for immediate justice" calls that follow incidents of police brutality caught on tape. If someone records me shooting someone as they are running away from me, you had better believe I would be arrested as soon as the police located me. Putting me on paid leave for a few weeks while they "investigate"?

    4) As was seen in the Baltimore riots and countless other major protests before, the police, as a department-wide policy, have no problem locking people up for 24-48 hours and then releasing them without charging them with anything.

    The few people that are charged are caught in the catch-22 of being charged with resisting arrest, but no other crime. Their only crime was verbally and/or physically trying to prevent an officer from handcuffing them when the protestor was not doing anything illegal in the first place.

    5) At what point do we start holding North Carolina officers responsible when they unconstitutionally pull people over for a burned-out rear tail light? NC law only requires a single "stop lamp" on the rear of a car. The Walter Scott incident should have never happened, as it is reasonable for NC officers to know by now that NC law has held being pulled over for only a failed brake light is unconstitutional.

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