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Are cameras the new guns?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Kevatc, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This is an article from a Gizmodo that I got on Facebook. Sorry I don't have an actual link to the article.

    My bottom line is that this will only foster more abuse and cover ups by the police. And as many of you know this is coming from a guy who is generally pro-police.



    In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

    Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

    The legal justification for arresting the "shooter" rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

    Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, "[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want." Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, "The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law - requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense."

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

    In 2001, when Michael Hyde was arrested for criminally violating the state's electronic surveillance law - aka recording a police encounter - the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction 4-2. In dissent, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall stated, "Citizens have a particularly important role to play when the official conduct at issue is that of the police. Their role cannot be performed if citizens must fear criminal reprisals…." (Note: In some states it is the audio alone that makes the recording illegal.)

    The selection of "shooters" targeted for prosecution do, indeed, suggest a pattern of either reprisal or an attempt to intimidate.

    Glik captured a police action on his cellphone to document what he considered to be excessive force. He was not only arrested, his phone was also seized.

    On his website Drew wrote, "Myself and three other artists who documented my actions tried for two months to get the police to arrest me for selling art downtown so we could test the Chicago peddlers license law. The police hesitated for two months because they knew it would mean a federal court case. With this felony charge they are trying to avoid this test and ruin me financially and stain my credibility."

    Hyde used his recording to file a harassment complaint against the police. After doing so, he was criminally charged.

    In short, recordings that are flattering to the police - an officer kissing a baby or rescuing a dog - will almost certainly not result in prosecution even if they are done without all-party consent. The only people who seem prone to prosecution are those who embarrass or confront the police, or who somehow challenge the law. If true, then the prosecutions are a form of social control to discourage criticism of the police or simple dissent.

    A recent arrest in Maryland is both typical and disturbing.

    On March 5, 24-year-old Anthony John Graber III's motorcycle was pulled over for speeding. He is currently facing criminal charges for a video he recorded on his helmet-mounted camera during the traffic stop.

    The case is disturbing because:

    1) Graber was not arrested immediately. Ten days after the encounter, he posted some of he material to YouTube, and it embarrassed Trooper J. D. Uhler. The trooper, who was in plainclothes and an unmarked car, jumped out waving a gun and screaming. Only later did Uhler identify himself as a police officer. When the YouTube video was discovered the police got a warrant against Graber, searched his parents' house (where he presumably lives), seized equipment, and charged him with a violation of wiretapping law.

    2) Baltimore criminal defense attorney Steven D. Silverman said he had never heard of the Maryland wiretap law being used in this manner. In other words, Maryland has joined the expanding trend of criminalizing the act of recording police abuse. Silverman surmises, "It's more [about] ‘contempt of cop' than the violation of the wiretapping law."

    3) Police spokesman Gregory M. Shipley is defending the pursuit of charges against Graber, denying that it is "some capricious retribution" and citing as justification the particularly egregious nature of Graber's traffic offenses. Oddly, however, the offenses were not so egregious as to cause his arrest before the video appeared.

    Almost without exception, police officials have staunchly supported the arresting officers. This argues strongly against the idea that some rogue officers are overreacting or that a few cops have something to hide. "Arrest those who record the police" appears to be official policy, and it's backed by the courts.

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

    When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop.

    Happily, even as the practice of arresting "shooters" expands, there are signs of effective backlash. At least one Pennsylvania jurisdiction has reaffirmed the right to video in public places. As part of a settlement with ACLU attorneys who represented an arrested "shooter," the police in Spring City and East Vincent Township adopted a written policy allowing the recording of on-duty policemen.

    As journalist Radley Balko declares, "State legislatures should consider passing laws explicitly making it legal to record on-duty law enforcement officials."

    Wendy McElroy is the author of several books on anarchism and feminism. She maintains the iconoclastic website ifeminists.net as well as an active blog at wendymcelroy.com.
     
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  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If they don't want to be filmed they have those sweet kkk uniforms on like Amazon. But it might blot out their dashcam footage so that'd never fly.
     
  3. edogg

    edogg Western Washington Active Member

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    If you want to record the police, wear a shirt or hat that says "premises within my line of sight may be under digital video surveillance". That way you're giving warning of video recording like the signs on buildings like banks.
     
  4. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Great Article, Kev


    (This is not aimed at anyone in particular around here, BUT)

    I do find it "odd" that the three listed states with these obviously draconian actions and convictions are dominated by one particular political party brand... which one was it again, Hmmmmmm?

    Obviously this will have to go before the SCOTUS, AND I bet it'll be a 5-4 vote striking such actions and convictions down... I wonder (not really) which four are most likely to side with the current "status quo"... Hmmmmmm?



    This sort of stuff would make the Brownshirts, Gestapo, Stazi, Kamer Rouge, GRU, KGB, and various Politburos (past and present) proud! :gun10:



    Who do/did you vote for? Search your soul before the next election cycle.
     
  5. bullshot

    bullshot Thurston ,WA Member

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    Ever been to Britain? Cams are the new guns! dash cams to watch workers not just the police, Yet they want to make a big deal about the ones they don't control Hmmm, Take a look around at all the cameras out and about on your daily drive, The ones your meant to see at intersection, parking lots, isle-ways, now think how many you don't, Who has access and what are they used for! Conspiracy theorists might not sound so out there now!
     
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  6. mpmax

    mpmax Woodburn Active Member

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    Hey, HERE in Oregon only one party has to beware of an audio recording. However, your camera phone will be taken as "evidence".
     
  7. adidasguy

    adidasguy West Seattle New Member

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    What if you had someone post t e video under a clandestine or civil rights account? Remove traces to the actual person doing the recording. Perhaps let the ACLU post it?

    I had always thought you can freely record anything visible to the public and on public property (as long as not used for commercial purposes so movie companies don't sudden;t move in) unless explicitly prohibited - like a nuclear facility with signs posted.
     
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  8. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    Tyranny. He doesn't like being recorded. He's fighting a guerrilla war against freedom and to come out and stand straight up fight against freedom - before the populace can be completely disarmed = is detrimental to Tyranny.
     
  9. RicInOR

    RicInOR Washington County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    There are several online organizations following this closely. Check out PhotographyIsNotACrime Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC | Photography is Not a Crime

    Most of the time the Officer is wrong when they say they can't be recorded - they are saying what they want to be true, rather than what is true. Also in many cases restrictions are on our government, not private citizens. This can cause confusion. You can record most things when you are in a public area like a sidewalk or street. There are limitations - think up-skirt and you see what I mean.

    I strongly believe that every interaction with any member of the Government - not just LEO's - needs to be recorded.
    I also believe every LEO needs a video camera recording their every action. 99% of the time this will show they are correct and the complaints about them are unfounded. But, the 1% will be evidence for the good guys.

    The second group to be on this is Reason magazine. Those Libertarians. Both the Dems and Republicans tend to allow the police & prosecution too much leeway. What we need is less -they should be held to a higher, tighter standard than citizens.


    Yes I see the OP mentioned Carlos and his web site & team but not the link.
    And they mention Radly, one of the more famous Libertarians, he is not currently at Reason.
     
  10. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    Well, on a positive note, many jurisdictions are moving toward making it mandatory for police to wear a camera when on duty. Supposedly to reduce lawsuits, but it might curb the abuse. Also, police in Boston are all having GPS installed in their cars to track them. What is good for the goose.

    Sad that you have to go to Russia Today to find a well written article like this.

    http://rt.com/usa/boston-police-gps-trackers-938/
     
  11. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    The GPS units in Boston will help to establish the locations of the Best donut shops . . .

    Sheldon
     
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  12. SCARed

    SCARed Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Some of the new Chevy Police cars have a system in place that once the officer exceeds a certain speed, the car sends out an email to the officers sgt. that they are traveling faster than the certain speed. Also if the overheads are used, it automatically starts recording video. Needless to say, the lowly patrol officers don't like this.
     
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  13. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    sadly most the cameras will be broken when the citizen resist arrest (or so they say)
     
  14. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    yea my new truck has that :-(
     
  15. RoneKiln

    RoneKiln Western Washington Active Member

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    Wait till an ambitious young lawyer flips this around and gets footage from security cameras thrown out to let a criminal off due to the precedent set.
     
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  16. luke23

    luke23 United States (Hawai'i island, Olympic Pen. WA) Active Member

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    Actually this is why Russians have so many dashcams. Under Yeltsin corruption was so bad the cops would rob you. People found recording them was a deterrent. They've improved considerably, but the habit remains.
     
  17. billdeserthills

    billdeserthills Cave Creek, Arizony Well-Known Member

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    I think Taser has a new line of cameras in production
     
  18. hoody

    hoody Tigard/Beaverton area Active Member

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    Oregon State law requires that ALL parties to an in-person conversation in a public place be notified if the conversation is being recorded. Exceptions exist for press conferences, lectures and other venues where recordings are expected. You do not have to notify if the other party has already told you they are recording. You do not have to notify in your home.
    ORS 165.540 c
    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/165.540

    "Obtain or attempt to obtain the whole or any part of a conversation by means of any device, contrivance, machine or apparatus, whether electrical, mechanical, manual or otherwise, if not all participants in the conversation are specifically informed that their conversation is being obtained."

    News article about several arrests for covertly recording police in Oregon.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-n...f/2011/10/if_an_oregon_police_officer_is.html

    "James, the attorney representing Neff, doesn't think the law was created to prohibit the public from covertly recording police during public encounters, but that's how state courts have applied the law."

    "The Eugene Police Department -- the agency that arrested the Cottage Grove man, Neff -- has decided in light of the recent debate nationwide, officers won't arrest anyone if their only perceived crime is secretly recording police."
     
  19. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    I believe everyone here should have a dash cam. For the minor cost there is no excuse to be caught w/o one.

    Already saved me a $300 ticket. Proved the officer was lying or severely confused.
     
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  20. luke23

    luke23 United States (Hawai'i island, Olympic Pen. WA) Active Member

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    Amen to that. It's a simple solution. Kind of like having car insurance, but with fewer monthly payments.