Police Claim That Allowing People To Film Them In Public Creates 'Chilling Effects'

from the those-aren't-the-chilling-effects-you're-thinking-of dept

There isn't a ton of new information in this NPR piece on how police still can't stand the fact that people record them with cameras and cameraphones, but it's one of the first articles on the subject that has actually laid out an argument for why police think it's bad that people out in public can film them:
"They need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be," says Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"We feel that anything that's going to have a chilling effect on an officer moving -- an apprehension that he's being videotaped and may be made to look bad -- could cost him or some citizen their life," Pasco says, "or some serious bodily harm."
Frankly, this makes absolutely no sense. Why would a police officer think twice about doing his or her job if there are legitimate reasons to do what's being done? The only time I could see a "chilling effect" on the actions of officers, is if what they're doing is not legal.

Meanwhile, the article does show the real chilling effect of officers intimidating people who are filming them. The article tells the story of a teenager who tried filming police in Newark, New Jersey last year, and for her troubles, was handcuffed, put in the back of a squad car, and had the videos deleted off the phone. She was released two hours later and no charges were filed (though, she's now suing the Newark Police Department). Still, when asked, the woman, Khaliah Fitchette, says that she probably wouldn't film police in Newark again:
Khaliah Fitchette's lawyers in New Jersey say her detention was illegal. But Fitchette still says she'd think twice before filming police in Newark again.

"It would have to be important enough to get myself in trouble for, I guess," she says.

She has this attitude, Fitchette says, because she thinks she could get in trouble again, even though her detention was allegedly unlawful.
Now that is a chilling effect.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

    This seems like a confession that the standards for becoming a police officer are too low. "We simply can't guarantee that all of our officers have enough training and self-control to confidently do their job when there is any level of scrutiny."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Donnicton, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      To be fair, it is New Jersey. The same state who's mayor of Atlantic City shelved the police dogs because perpetrators were complaining about being bitten.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2011 @ 5:30am

        Re: Re:

        If you read the story correctly the dogs were removed because the residents complained that the police officers were using them incorrectly. So again the cops are always right and the citizens are always wrong.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:24pm

      Re:

      It's basically an admission that some police officers may not have the necessary training and competence to act in a publicly acceptable manner and so we are better off giving them the option of not acting in a publicly acceptable manner because forcing them to act in a publicly acceptable manner could cause them not to act under certain circumstances and such inaction could be bad for the public. Better to allow them to act in a not so publicly acceptable manner than for them not to act.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 9:08pm

      Re:

      More specifically

      If a police officer is sensitive/easily distracted enough to allow something as minor as video camera use to prevent him/her from properly doing his job then the police officer is probably not mentally capable of doing his/her job to begin with (regardless of video camera use). Police officers are supposed to be mentally and physically equipped to properly handle situations that are far worse than simply being recorded, they should be trained to be able to work well under pressure. If the minor added pressure of a video camera is enough to prevent them from properly doing their job then they clearly aren't cut out to be cops (regardless of the presence of a video camera). The police officer either needs additional training or he/she needs to find another job and be replaced by someone who is more capable of handling stressful situations.

      Outlawing video camera use on police officers because it retards their performance is also self contradictory. Police officers are supposed to be able to perform well under situations where people break the law. If it's against the law for people to use video cameras because video camera use prevents police officers from performing well then that's a law that the police officers can't perform well under when broken, which kinda negates the whole idea that police officers are supposed to work well in situations where people break laws.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    So police dssh-cams stop them from doing their jobs? Or do they just erase the tape after they beat the (*& outta some innocent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

      Re:

      Police dash-cams aren't edited after-the-fact to show the officer's actions in the worst-possible light.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Beta (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Are they edited "after the fact" (when else?) to show the officer's actions in the best possible light? Or are they made available to the public unedited?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

        Re: Re:

        So then it's unfair to put a criminal in jail for robbing a bank because you are putting him in jail for his actions committed during his worst possible light. The footage of him robbing the bank is selective in nature, you are selecting the moments of his life that portray the bank robber in the worst possible light. You are not considering the other aspects of the bank robbers life.

        They say people are judged by the worst thing they've done (ie: an otherwise nice person murders someone and gets put to jail for life). So why should cops be any different? If anything, those who are responsible for upholding the law should be held to a higher moral and legal standard than the rest of us (at least while on duty). The real question here is not, "why is the footage editing out all the good things that the officer does" it's, "why is the officer doing bad things in the first place".

        As far as being taken out of context, I don't buy the argument that the public is too incompetent to understand the different contextual possibilities that a camera could be drawing its information from and therefore no footage should ever be permitted at all. Under that pretext, we can argue that all cameras that record the public should be abolished because there is no way of knowing whether or not they are simply taking footage out of context. Why does the "if you're not doing anything wrong then you wouldn't mind them watching you" only apply to citizens and not police?

        and why should we simply assume that the police are less likely to edit footage than a regular citizen, just because the police say so? Citizens are guilty until proven innocent while police are innocent until proven guilty, but we must deny citizens the means to prove those police guilty (but police get access to the means to prove citizens guilty)?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think you're miscontruing the phrase "worst possible light" to refer to actual bad acts ocurring, rather than a manner of showing acts that makes them appear as bad as possible.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, I addressed that possibility to, starting with the paragraph beginning "As far as being taken out of context"

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The answer is that people are able to extrapolate the different contextual possibilities that the camera could be drawing its information from.

            All footage is taken outside of the context of what's not being recorded, so all footage is taken out of context to some extent, but that's no excuse to disallow the existence and distribution of any piece of footage.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I agree with your conclusion, I was just pointing out that the bit about a robber's robbery being "his worst light" seemed off point.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        mr pitt, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 6:58pm

        Re: Re:

        Sure they can. Which is why it is important to have LOTS of footage available that can be viewed in it's unedited form down the road. That way everyone is protected.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Difster, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    This Begs The Question

    Is there any evidence that a citizen videotaping police has ever actually caused a death? The answer is no. How do I know that?

    If there was, they'd be waving it around and shoving it in our faces and using it as an excuse to get anti-filming laws passed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    I believe there's a phrase for this sort of situation: "Fuck the police."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Aaron Von Gauss, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    While I think people (for non-profit purposes, i.e. not TV camera crews) should be able to film whatever or whoever in public, let's be real, throw a camera in someone's face and we all react a bit differently.

    On a (un)related note, how did the US become a society where you need to blur out every product image in regular TV? Thats just insane.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      WTF? You don't think TV camera crews should be allowed to film in public places? Why the frak not?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Aaron Von Gauss, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Not that the language of your comment warrants a reply, but I think there is a difference when the motivation is for profit vs regular people just taking pictures or making videos. News crews are an easy exception, with journalist "undercover" shows being a gray area.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

      Re:

      "throw a camera in someone's face and we all react a bit differently. "

      There is a difference between a police officer acting as a police office at taxpayer expense and a regular person acting as a regular citizen on his/her own time.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Aaron Von Gauss, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Police officers, while representing the government, are people too.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          and your point?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So your point is that police make mistakes too because they're people too? They're corruptible too? Isn't that kinda the point? They can be corrupt and so we should be allowed to record their behavior to curtail their corruption through exposure.

          Why should we assume that police are superhuman non corruptable entities that should simply be assumed to be immune to corruption and hence not publicly monitored? But regular non-cops are subject to corruption and so cameras everyone need to watch our every move?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            and so cameras everywhere *

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              Bruce Ediger (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 10:50am

              Already happened

              Hey, cameras already appear everywhere. Pay attention!

              In the 2.5 blocks between bus stop and my building, I counted 16 cameras that probably could see me. These aren't special blocks with a federal building on them, either. So, yes, cameras everywhere, and cops shouldn't get special dispensation. It's something of an open secret that they abuse their position already anyway.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          G Thompson (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 2:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Absolutely, and as long as they do their job with due diligence, professionalism, and realise that whislt on duty as public servants they have no expectation to privacy whatsoever (no matter whether in the USA, UK, CAN, or AUS/NZ) then all will be fine. Off duty though, an LEO has the same privacy available to them as anyone else no matter what they are doing.

          When they start spouting out comments that basically boil down to "Filming me means I have to stop and think to Cover My Arse" then their is a major problem and it is not with the public.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      RadialSkid (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      On a (un)related note, how did the US become a society where you need to blur out every product image in regular TV? Thats just insane.

      Commercial television doesn't have to blur out product logos, but many times they elect to as to not provide free advertising. Apart from the obvious money-grubbing, it can potentially lead to situations such as, say, Honda being less likely to purchase advertising on a program where the protagonist drives a Chevrolet with a prominently placed emblem.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 11:14pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm not sure. I was watching Speeders one day and they pulled over a Ferrari. They even mentioned it being a Ferrari but blurred out all the logos except one they missed.

        How is that not just about the same thing?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Thomas Jones (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 11:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Some companies like to sue you for using their trademarks... they would probably not win such a lawsuit, but they are expensive to fight.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    crade (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    In other words, being recorded can make people nervous. That may be true, but in the case of police officers it's also neccessary to ensure people are safe from oppression so you kinda gotta deal with it. Maybe the officers could get training of some sort to help handle their nervousness when being recorded?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    2 faced!

    Its OK for the city of Chicago to place cameras all over the city to watch us. When we complain they say "If you are not doing anything wrong then you shouldn't care" but then when the camera is turned on them they cry foul.

    It sounds like a bunch of huppla to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Someone needs to remind the police that..

    ...they are public SERVANTS. We are their masters, and they must demonstrate that they are worthy of the trust we vest in them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Wise (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Video-taping anyone in candid has a "chilling effect" on the person being recorded. I agree with Mr. Pasco in that regard, however there are no legal bounds that say you can't film them. However, I draw the line in some of the videos wherein the police ask the man to leave them alone to their business and the camera-man takes the juvenile stance basically saying, "Make me!" while spouting their right to film.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      If the police want to be left alone then the police should find another job. If you don't want public scrutiny then don't get a publicly funded job.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Kyote (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        I think we should take this even further. We should put web cam's in ALL public job locations, except the bathroom. Imagine the improved work performance of public employee's if they knew not only the public was watching them but that their supervisor/boss might be too. Mayor's Office? Camera it! DMV facility? Camera it! Police Department? Camera it! etc...

        Although I have not thought out all the in's and out's. It seems it would help in many ways. Sexual harassment? Not while your being monitored and your spouse/employer might be watching.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RD, May 16th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    East Coast Cop Scum

    True story. A friend of mine spent 6 months in the hospital, and over a year out of work, after being "restrained" and arrested by NJ (cesspool of the nation) cops. His crime? He was on the boardwalk with his niece, waiting outside a public bathroom while she was inside. While he was waiting (leaning up against the wall doing NOTHING) 3 cops tackled and were subduing someone for something. One of the cops came up to my friend and says "what are you LOOKING AT???" and when my friend quite reasonably replied "nothing, I'm just waiting for my niece" the cop grabs him, throws him to the ground, starts kicking him and calling him "guido" while another cop comes over and bends his arm up behind his back, and then SITS on the arm while the first cop keeps kicking. No charges were ever filed, but he had cracked ribs, torn shoulder ligament and lots of muscle damage. Several surgeries later, NO lawyer in the STATE would touch the case he wanted to bring because the cops and judiciary would just protect their own, waste of time. NJ is one of the most corrupt places in this country, and many (but not all) of its cops are scumbag thugs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Mike42 (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    Not Representative

    Having dealt with many individual officers in several police departments (thanks to an adopted juvenile deliquent), I am of the opinion that the departments that wish to make recording illegal are in the minority.
    I seriously believe that those who don't want to be recorded are bad apples and know it. Law enforcement attracts those who want law and order, but it also attracts bullies. Thankfully, most bullies don't last long, or so I've been told.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Pitabred (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

      Re: Not Representative

      Depends on whether those higher up are on what side. You get people like Joe Arpaio heading things up, and the bullies survive while the "law and order" types get pushed out.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    kyle clements (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    tips

    I don't want to sound like I am defending these illegal detentions and destructions of personal of property, but having a camera pointed at your face can be intimidating for a lot of people.
    Sometimes a confrontation can be avoided with some subtle trickery or deception.

    For example, don't wave the camera in their face right from the start. Pretend you are recording a friend talking, or recording touristy things, then land on the scene at hand when their focus is no longer on you.

    If that wont work, resolve the problem the Canadian way: smile politely and apologize in a way that sounds genuine. Show them that you are deleting the video/photos, and casually move along... Then run home and install some data recovery software, get your files back, and post everything on-line anonymously. Nothing is lost and a big legal hassle has been replaced with a much smaller technical hassle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

      Re: tips

      ...having a camera pointed at your face can be intimidating for a lot of people.

      That's rather the point.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

      Re: tips

      Any police officer caught trying to delete footage of their behavior should be fired immediately and they should be prohibited from becoming a police officer anywhere for at least ... (a year?) on their first offense. They should also be forced to pay a penalty (or face jail time. If it's OK for the govt to fine and jail us for every victimless crime that we do, it should be OK for us to do the same to police officers for the non-victimless crimes that they do).

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        G Thompson (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 2:59am

        Re: Re: tips

        Actually deleting footage after a suspect has been arrested for either filming them, or other means can, and most likely will be, destruction of evidence.

        Whether it is evidence that could be used by the prosecutor, or the defendant it is still evidence until a court says otherwise, even after any charges are dropped. The only person who might have a defence on deleting it is the actual filmer themselves.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      LDoBe (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 12:15am

      Re: tips

      While you make a cogent point in regard for avoiding being hassled by the police, it isn't really the point.

      Whether the police like it or not, we as citizens shouldn't have to worry about whether we will get in trouble for recording our public servants in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy.

      An officer of the law has no legal grounds (yet) to detain a citizen for doing something legal.

      Everyone has uncomfortable experiences all the time, whether it's getting a filling, or paying your taxes.

      The police should stop being pussies and ignore the camera, and follow their training. If they stay true to the fact that they work for us, then they don't need to worry about liability.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Punmaster (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 6:22am

      Re: tips

      re: having a camera pointed at your face can be intimidating for a lot of people

      If a police officer is intimidated by having a camera pointed at them, perhaps they aren't suited to being a police officer.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    RobShaver (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Teeshirt warning ...

    I have a teeshirt with this printed on it, "This conversation may be recorded for quality and educational purposes." I believe in full disclosure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DH's Love Child (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 9:21am

      Re: Teeshirt warning ...

      I think we should make bumper stickers that say that too. That way, if they pull me over, they already know I'm going to be recording them.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    lostalaska (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    If you're up in the cops space as he's trying to do his job (especially if you're not part of the "situation" that brought the cops), then yes I think they should be able to detain you since your interfering with police work and it's one of the common ways to get arrested for "technically" doing nothing wrong. On the other hand if the cop has to walk across the street and tell you to put your camera away then it's just a cop being a douche since you were well outside their "sphere of control".

    The few times I've dealt with officers it's been about 50/50 some have been super nice and talkative even able to relate to, while others have been all about trying to put the fear of the police into you and threatening to arrest you for obstructions of justice, or interfering with police work when you've done nothing wrong and aren't holding back any info. I'm of the opinion that going to jail or being detained is literally a coin toss as to what kind of officer you are going to be dealing with.

    NOTE: most of my experience has been as a witness to a crime (fender benders, 1 robbery while living in PHX) or for a very short span of renting a room in a house where the landlords (a couple on the rocks) would get get into huge verbal fights and throwing all of each others stuff out the windows and on the lawn. The cops would come out for domestic that a neighbor would call in... I got the hell out of there fast both of the owners were sociopaths that cops apparently knew by first name. (sometime saving a few hundred a month just isn't worth it).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Hugh Mann (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    Chilling effect on officers

    Well, I'm generally in favor of clearly stating that police officers are subjec to being recorded/filmed in the public performance of their duties. However, I don't think it's a good idea to dismiss so easily the concept of an officer thinking twice before taking some action. Who wants to be subject to Monday morning quarterbacks in ANY job, much less one in which a large number of citizens are likely to find somethign to criticize just on general principles?

    If we don't accept the reasoning of "only someone who has something to hide should be afraid of public scrutiny" when an ordinary citizen is faced with invasion of privacy by the government, why is it different for cops? While we certainly expect a certain level of professionalism, ANYBODY can get the jitters if they know they are (or might be) subject to a bunch of backseat drivers.

    Again, not to say I am actually opposing the ability to videotape the cop who is giving you a speeding ticket, but I think we have to treat as real (and take appropriate action, if possible, to mitigate it) the fact that a cop can get stage fright just like anybody else, and being recorded very well might cause a cop to take an extra second to think about it in a situation in which seconds count.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:18pm

      Re: Chilling effect on officers

      "why is it different for cops?"

      Because they are public servants paid with public funds, and therefore shouldn't expect any sort of privacy from public scrutiny.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

      Re: Chilling effect on officers

      However, I don't think it's a good idea to dismiss so easily the concept of an officer thinking twice before taking some action.

      That's the point. We *want* them to think twice before 'taking some action.'

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mr pitt, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

      Re: Chilling effect on officers

      if the cop has issues with "stage fright" while doing their very public job before the public that pays them, perhaps they should not be a cop.

      In a functioning democracy, scrutiny of the work performed by public officials is a critical part of the oversight process. If we can not document behavior we as members of the public might find questionable because the public official might get "stage fright", how on earth can "we" the public make intelligent decisions about how to vote when questions such as "should the town cops carry tasers" come-up? If we vote yes and suddenly the town is filled with rumors of people being tased in a way that is inconsistent with the law but no one is allowed to document the behavior in question, it is just a he said she said cluster-fest that goes no where. If we see a video of 200lb officer Brutus tasing a little old lady and kicking her in the head, we now have a situation where the video may not tell the whole story, but, it does suggest something is not right with the world as a 200lb cop apparently needs a taser to subdue a little old lady.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Culturengine, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Police who get caught on camera breaking the law sometimes experience the chilling effect of having to answer for it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/07/video-g20-police-assault

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Robothustra (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    Correct

    They're absolutely correct, if the public saw video of police beating someone innocent, it would creating a "chilling effect." Don't tase me, bro.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    I think we *want* officers to be "chilled" in this scenario (i.e., they think twice before getting physical with a mouthy suspect).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    The Panopticon Sees All and Shows All

    Orwell didn't know that having cameras everywhere would mean that the public gets to see everything to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    On further news it is now illegal to defend yourself from the illegal actions of the police in the state of Indiana. The State Supreme Court has decided overturning more than 150 years of common law.
    Further eroding (the right of the people)(you and I)to be secure in our persons, papers, affects, and property.
    Welcome To The Jack Booted Authoritocracy!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

      Re:

      link?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        bordy (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 8:22pm

        Re: Re:

        This is it I believe:

        http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/05121101shd.pdf

        I live in Indy. I'm trying to be less cynical these days, so I'll remind all of you that the courts in your state do dumb shit too.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Rikuo (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 2:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          From your own link
          "As we decline to recognize a right to resist unlawful police entry into a home, we decline to recognize a right to batter a police officer as a part of that resistance."

          You can technically say that the police officers in that case did not have leave to enter the house, but the defendant in that case should have just refused permission for them to enter his home, not attacked them. The cops were well within their rights and authority as part of a domestic violence case, to enter the home of the aggrieved and provide aid.
          The issue of unlawful entry...I agree with the cops on this one because...imagine if a suspect just has to run into his house and deny entry, and that way he can get off scot free? That point was mentioned in the article.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            bordy (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The problem with this ruling, as I see it, is that I no longer have a right to reasonably refuse an unlawful police entry to my home.

            What rights then am I left with to keep an officer who, without a warrant, just feels like snooping around? Should I just say, "Please don't come in"? Should I call the police?

            Seriously, it seems I have no other recourse except some post hoc legal action, by which time the rights I'm concerned with protecting have already been violated.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2011 @ 9:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The cops were well within their rights and authority as part of a domestic violence case, to enter the home of the aggrieved and provide aid. "

            The opinion certainly doesn't say that. Where are you getting that from?

            They weren't invited by either party that lived in the home.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Angry Puppy (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 5:42pm

    How to Find Balance

    A few months ago the police caught someone in my cul-de-sac who was running from what looked like every on-duty unit in the city that night. I could hear squeling tires and sirens for over half an hour. The suspect tried to park the car he was driving, duck down and pretend to be just another car in the neighborhood. When six or more squad cars boxed him in he tried to run and then fought with the police yelling as screaming punk tough guy. They beat the hell out of him. When he finally gave in and was finished he was covered in blood head to toe and crying like a baby.

    I went out (this was about 3AM) and asked if this had anything to do with any of the people living in the neighborhood (it didn't) and the officer was extremely nervous and wanted to keep me away from getting a good look at the suspect. He seemed relieved I simply said thank you and went home and did not have a camera. Most of what I am relaying is based on sounds and a glimpse or two of the actions but I got a complete picture of the events and the necessity of what the police did to protect me and you.

    On video this would have looked terrible. Six or more police beating a teenager (albeit a large, muscular, tattooed, shaved headed, violent one) with batons and boots. The reality was a hyper-violent suspect resisting arrest and trying to injure police to his last once of strength and well trained police trying not to kill him while attempting getting him under control after a dangerous car chase that left all of the officers filled with adrenaline. They could not use a taser because they have been banned for any police use in this area (considered too dangerous). If only a small part of the fight was recorded and not the initial attack of the suspect this video taping of only part of the incident would be very coercive, effectively working as if it was edited.

    On the other hand another incident that was on the news was a bystander's cell phone video that showed a suspect fully complying and on the ground and another officer coming up and kicking the arrested man in the face without provocation, something he may have gotten away with without the video evidence.

    Having had arrested knife wielding muggers, home invaders, and a couple of thieves in the past and controlling the situation through extreme aggression, but no violence, I can see that a police officer may use a level of aggression that is less than necessary if intimidated by a video taping public resulting in harm to the officer, suspect, or both given the possibility of a loss of promotion, career, or even a bogus criminal sentence. Looking at shows like "Video on Patrol" I do sometimes sense a level of reserve on that part of officers confronting aggressive suspects in several of the videos (usually from the police dash cams) that could be argued encouraged the suspect to become violent and did result in injury and even death when a far more aggressive initial confrontation would have resulted in compliance.

    Personally these NPR liberal, academic, armchair quarterbacks often make me retch but I agree that the actions like those of the New Jersey police who arrested Khaliah Fitchette and, in my opinion are guilty of tampering with evidence, and that idiot that was recorded confronting the motorcyclist in plain cloths and pulled the pistol without first identifying himself as a police officer and then arresting and prosecuting these vidoegraphers to intimidate them should have been brought to light. The article also does point out that most police do understand that video is now ubiquitous and a fact of everyday life for us all. Where should we draw the line? Should video from anti-crime cameras put in place by cities be edited if police are recorded committing crimes?

    On the whole, I would have to side with public freedom to observe, report, and record police actions in public otherwise we will end up with more of a police state than the "patriot" act and other slimy, anti-freedom, anti-privacy laws have already created.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChrisB (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 6:49am

      Re: How to Find Balance

      Excellent post.

      How many times have videos by students showing a teacher yelling or grabbing a student been put on Youtube. Of course, they don't show the students egging the teacher on for 15 minutes before they get the perfect 15-second "gotcha" clip. I can understand why cops don't want to be videoed, because it will encourage people to fuck with them until they snap.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Almost Anonymous (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: How to Find Balance

        Easy answer to that. As soon as a cop goes on duty, his camera starts recording, full time. They will require extra training to not look down while they pee.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      JustMe (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 8:51am

      Re: How to Find Balance

      "Personally these NPR liberal, academic..."

      /sarcasm
      Yeah, because what this country needs is fewer academic people. The smart folks are absolutely holding back this country. In fact, how about locking up every academic person?
      /end sarcasm

      People who seek to emulate Pol Pot and Chairman Mao because they fear smart people aren't the solution.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Doan Bugme (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 5:54pm

    Restrict You Movement??

    Mr. Union Guy claims: "They need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be ..." Dang, my phone doesn't come with a "tractor beam" that I can use to grab people, but I think I want one! C'mon Mr. Union Guy, tell the truth for once. You just want to make sure that nobody can ever ever call one of your "there's no bad officer in my union" officers a criminal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    "Police Claim That Allowing People To Film Them In Public Creates 'Chilling Effects'"

    Yeah, the Bart shooting is very chilling indeed. This video also may be key in the case to help shed some light on what happened immediately before the officer fired his gun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKy-WSZMklc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    "All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    - Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 1887


    In the reality of everyday life, there isn't much power that is more absolute than armed men with the ability to legally restrain and detain a citizen.

    The accountability provided by filming of police while on the job is extremely necessary to ensure the power entrusted to them does not tip toward the side of corruption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    It's never a good idea to annoy police - by any means. A Virginia woman was criminally charged for photographing police and decided it was best to plead guilty.

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/222686

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    princefeliz (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 7:31pm

    They love the camera for the TV Show Cops... Don't they? Let me guess that's different, that's a token for celebrity status.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    princefeliz (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 7:31pm

    They love the camera for the TV Show Cops... Don't they? Let me guess that's different, that's a token for celebrity status.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    VMax, May 16th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

    Shouldn't they always think someone is lookin over their sholder?

    When the public entrusts you with the duty of enforcing the law, I would think you'd say to yourself "Is this the right thing?". If you have the time to worry about someone filming you, you're probably not involved in a dangerous situation; so if you're doing wrong, it is intentional. If your actions cause someone distress, I think it should have "Chilling Effects". A cold shower has helped me from doing quite a few stupid things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    cofiem (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 9:11pm

    While I do think that it is perfectly ok to film police in public, I would say that this sounds suspiciously close to

    "if you're not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't have any objection to being tracked/filmed/recorded/etc"

    Now obviously the larger point is police doing their job properly. I would like to see some consistency, tho.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2011 @ 9:26pm

      Re:

      It's perfectly acceptable for corporate employers to monitor their employees at work. But that's different than allowing the employer to secretly hide cameras in the employees house and monitor the employee at home.

      Same thing here. In this situation the public is the employer and the police are the employees. Employers should expect to be monitored from their employees while at work.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Ralph-J (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 2:10am

      Re:

      "if you're not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't have any objection to being tracked/filmed/recorded/etc"

      There is no inconsistency in allowing the filming of police officers. Phrases like "nothing to hide - nothing to fear" are about protecting privacy against abuses by those in power. This does not apply here: police officers are doing public work in a public space. The people filming are not "in power".

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michael, May 17th, 2011 @ 3:43am

    Bottom line.

    While it may make some police nervous, there is no way to justify violating a persons rights in order to make police feel comfortable. If you want a comfortable job, you should reconsider policing as a career.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Omali, May 17th, 2011 @ 4:46am

    Double Standard

    "The only time I could see a "chilling effect" on the actions of officers, is if what they're doing is not legal."

    Exactly. If the "if you don't have anything to hide, you should be open to us watching you," can be used by cops to citizens, it can be used by citizens to cops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    chuck, May 17th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    "coparazzi"
    It could be possible!
    I can just see some camera wielding citizens chasing a squad car into a tunnel..And we ALL know how that turned out for Dianna.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 17th, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Standard procedure

    Cops should act as if a camera is always pointed on them while on duty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    David, May 17th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Similar UK

    Sounds like the similar recent spate of incidents here in the UK where photographers have been harassed (or in one case, actually arrested and de-arrested) for taking perfectly legal photographs in public places. It is on record that they appear to have been trying to make up new "laws" as they go along and, in another example that was clearly audio recorded, stating that they did not need a law to restrain an innocent 16-year old who was taking pictures in a a public place of a public parade. All this, despite a strongly worded letter from the Association of Chief Police Constables to all forces saying that this must stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    No one seems to have brought up the point that in most any job EVERYTHING you do can be monitored or recorded. Your computer can be tracked and they can use a key logger. Anyplace on company property can be recorded. As public employees, why can't cops be monitored. Since when are they above the law?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Justen, May 19th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    ROFL!

    Yes, that's the point. We want to be afraid of beating the shit out of people for no reason, to be afraid of raping people, to be afraid of cold blooded murder, to be afraid of abusing your power in any way. A chilling effect is what we're after. And we will keep filming. Suck it up and learn to behave like decent human beings. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, isn't that what you're always telling us?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Richard Reynolds, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    FILMING IN PUBLIC

    There is not now nor has there ever been a law abridging the right of people to film in common public areas (with the particular exceptions of courts or certain other government property that has clearly been marked for prohibiting photography) or to film any person within such an area, be it a police officer or not. Any police officer who arrests a private citizen for "obstruction" or "disturbing the peace" for filming, photographing, or videoing the police or anyone in common public areas is committing an unlawful detention, arrest, or perhaps even kidnapping. Ms. Fichette should pray she be arrested every single time an officer sees her videoing. She'll be very well off as long as there are stupid officers out there willing to violate the law and people's rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    johsonmcjohnson, Nov 17th, 2011 @ 7:16pm

    Duh

    Filming police officers is intrisically biased. this is because the audience of the film is not saavy to the nuances of police activity, rules, or protocol. Nor are the filming entities without bias. They are armchair quarterbacks. Filming police means that actions that are legal, or in a grey area subject to legitimate human judgments, are going to be edited to the benefit of the filmer, and/or judged from the perspective of a person with a built in bias. Hence, the chilling effect that causes police to NOT take otherwise lawful actions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      mr pitt, Mar 28th, 2012 @ 8:08pm

      Re: Duh

      Fortunately, a good video record provides a terrific opportunity for the police to explain why their actions, activity, rules or protocols are correct and appropriate for a given situation. To suggest a film is intrinsically biased is absurd. A "film" is simply a visual and auditory record documenting a given series of events taking place at a given location. While video can be edited in a way that takes an officer's actions out of context and presents those actions in a way that makes the cop look like an idiot, that is not what we are actually talking about. We are talking about the unedited video record. In a situation where editing has been done to make a cop look bad, the solution is as simple as showing the whole unedited clip.
      Police are vested with a great deal of power and leeway when it comes to making on-the-spot decisions. Perhaps outcry by the public, which employs the police, should be regarded not as an uninformed bunch of civilians being “armchair quarter-backs.” Maybe this is a situation best viewed, as the employer telling an employee their behavior or method for handling a situation is unacceptable.
      Police are public officials. Guess what, when it comes to public officials, every member of the public is an armchair quarterback. If you are unable to do your job as a cop in the public eye, maybe you need to consider a different line of work.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This