Should Videotaping the Police be a Crime?Even if all charges are dropped the guy got 26 hours in prison based on the video taping and not the driving if I'm reading this correctly. Seems like an abuse of power to me.
Plus if you watch the video, why is the unarmed cop pulling out his pistol for a speeding violation? "Don't worry, I'm pulling a gun, that means I'm a cop." And why is he doing anything when there is a marked car right behind him to handle it?
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|Matt - Nutcan.com's MBL|
I originally saw this story in an article here: http://reason.com/archives/2010/04/26/watching-the-detectives (you can search the author's archive for more stories about this and other police abuses), and since then have seen many other similar stories about people being harassed for taking pictures/video of cops (and sometimes for just taking pictures in public generally). The silliest part about this case is that in order to charge the guy, they are essentially contending that during an arrest/stop, the police officer maintains an expectation of privacy*, while the "suspect" has no expectation of privacy* in the same conversation. Add in the fact that the officer is a public official conducting official business on behalf of the people, and the claim falls apart.
A good article on this issue is here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/computer-security/taking-photos-in-public-places-is-not-a-crime?click=main_sr
The article's author is Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds and at his website you can find many more examples of what he calls a "War Against Photography"
Disclaimer: The author is a libertarian, so expect that slant.
*EDIT: Changed "presumption of privacy" to "expectation of privacy", which was the term I was looking for when I wrote the post, but couldn't remember until later.
|Matt edited this at 08/05/2010 12:54:00 am|
|Jeremy - 9375 Posts|
I can see not being in love with the idea. It's sort of like review sites. People only post things that piss them off. I think it's safe to say that there are many people that have an unjustified/irrational mistrust of police officers, and things like this only stoke that sentiment.
That said, I can't imagine what rules this possibly could break, or what grounds for making new ones they would have. I'm not a huge fan of the "this is technically public info so let's put it in everyone's face" attitude, but as long as they are public officials conducting public business, IMO they should not expect any claim to privacy, even if on the phone. (Which though I'm not a lawyer, and the law is probably poorly-worded/vague, is probably not applicable to wiretapping anyway. To me, some form of "hacking" into a conversation you weren't invited into should have to take place. )
|Matt - Washington Bureau Chief|
|I forgot this in my first post, but a big reason why videotaping the police should almost always be legal is that it by banning it, the government is hindering your ability to defend yourself against criminal or civil charges. If you end up in court and there is an issue where it is your word against an officer's, the officer is probably going to get the benefit of the doubt. Being able to show your own video as proof that you were correct in your account of what happened would be invaluable (and the existence of it would probably keep it from going that far in the first place).|
|Matt screwed with this at 08/05/2010 12:40:55 am|
|Matt - Washington Bureau Chief|
|Matt screwed with this at 08/05/2010 1:05:05 am|
|Matt - Ombudsman|
Also, and only slightly related:
|Matt perfected this at 08/05/2010 4:29:32 am|
|Alex - 3619 Posts|
Another slightly related video. It's kind of boring and long, so if you don't want to watch it the point is that there are way too many federal laws, many of which don't require any criminal intent to be shown (which is a major change from traditional common law). Also, they suggest that all criminal laws must be specifically passed by Congress, instead of granting blanket or vague powers to regulatory agencies to make up their own regulations that have criminal penalties. And possibly passing a law to cover such existing laws and requiring proof of intent or knowledge, as well as trying to create one set of all the federal laws which are apparently spread out all over the place in different pieces of legislation. Good stuff.