Appeals Court: Arresting Guy For Filming Cops Was A Clear Violation Of Both 1st & 4th Amendments

from the huge-victory-for-free-speech dept

We've had a lot of stories this year about police arresting people for filming them. It's become quite a trend. Even worse, a couple weeks ago, we wrote about a police officer in Massachusetts, Michael Sedergren, who is trying to get criminal wiretapping charges brought against a woman who filmed some police officers beating a guy. This officer claims that the woman violated Massachusetts anti-wiretapping law, a common claim from police in such situations.

Segederin may have been better off if he'd waited a couple weeks for an appeals court ruling that came out Friday, because that ruling found that arresting someone for filming the police is a clear violation of both the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. How the case got to this point is a bit complex, but basically, a guy named Simon Glik saw some police arresting someone in Boston, and thought they were using excessive force. He took out his camera phone and began recording. The police saw that and told him to stop taking pictures. He told them he was recording them, and that he'd seen them punch the guy they were arresting. One officer asked him if the phone recorded audio as well and Glik told him it did. At that point, they arrested him, saying that recording audio was a violation of Massachusetts wiretap laws.

Even more ridiculous, they then had him charged not just with that, but also with disturbing the peace and "aiding in the escape of a prisoner." After realizing that last one didn't even pass the guffaw test, Massachusetts officials dropped that charge. A Boston court then dumped the other charges and Glik was free. However, he wanted to take things further, as he thought his treatment was against the law. He first filed a complaint with Boston Police Internal Affairs who promptly set about totally ignoring it. After they refused to investigate, Glik sued the officers who arrested him and the City of Boston in federal court for violating both his First and Fourth Amendment rights. The police officers filed for qualified immunity, which is designed to protect them from frivolous charges from people they arrest.

The district court rejected the officers' rights to qualified immunity, saying that their actions violated the First & Fourth Amendments. Before the rest of the case could go on, the officers appealed, and that brings us to Friday's ruling, which, once again, unequivocally states that recording police in public is protected under the First Amendment, and that the use of Massachusetts wiretapping laws to arrest Glik was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights as well. The ruling (pdf) is a fantastic and quick read and makes the point pretty clearly. Best of all, it not only says that it was a clear violation, but that the officers were basically full of it in suggesting that this was even in question. The court more or less slams the officers for pretending they had a valid excuse to harass a guy who filmed them arresting someone.

The 4th Amendment bit may not be as widely applicable, since it mainly focuses on the Massachusetts wiretapping law. Here, the court notes that the law only covers audio recording in secret. But there is no indication that Glik did any of his filming in secret. It found the officers' arguments that he could have been doing lots of things on his mobile phone completely uncompelling, stating that the "argument suffers from factual as well as legal flaws."

The full ruling is embedded below, but a few choice quotes:
Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting "the free discussion of governmental affairs." Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966). Moreover, as the Court has noted, "[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because '[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.'" First Nat'l Bank, 435 U.S. at 777 n.11 (alteration in original) (quoting Thomas Emerson, Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment 9 (1966)). This is particularly true of law enforcement officials, who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to deprive individuals of their liberties....

[....]

In our society, police officers are expected to endure significant burdens caused by citizens' exercise of their First Amendment rights. See City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 461 (1987) ("[T]he First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers."). Indeed, "[t]he freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state." Id. at 462-63. The same restraint demanded of law enforcement officers in the face of "provocative and challenging" speech, id. at 461 (quoting Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1, 4 (1949)), must be expected when they are merely the subject of videotaping that memorializes, without impairing, their work in public spaces.

[....]

The presence of probable cause was not even arguable here. The allegations of the complaint establish that Glik was openly recording the police officers and that they were aware of his surveillance. For the reasons we have discussed, we see no basis in the law for a reasonable officer to conclude that such a conspicuous act of recording was "secret" merely because the officer did not have actual knowledge of whether audio was being recorded.
While this case isn't over yet, it's still a huge victory for those arrested by police for filming them in action. It suggests such people can bring charges against the police for civil rights violations in taking away their First Amendment rights. A tremendous ruling all around.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    A great ruling indeed. However this won't change jack. You think police care about a court ruling? Get real.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    "Appeals Court: Arresting Guy For Filming Cops Was A Clear Violation Of Both 1st & 4th Amendments"

    That's nice, do cops get reasonably punished for breaking the law? Or does punishment only apply to others.

     

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  3.  
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    Onnala (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Techdirt tends to go for some harsh stories about police and such but I would like to note that I still believe that the majority of cops are trying to do their jobs. Most of the time that I have heard of cops going for people with camera's its because they really were doing something excessive.

    Filming arrests with cell phones, has gotten popular here where I live. Lots of people bring the camera's out when they see the police now. So far from what I have seen they just ask people to step back and stay out of the way.

     

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  4.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    Glik sued the officers who arrested him

    something tells me LEOs will start to care very much when courts are awarding damages in individual civil suits for such behavior.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    I think that this ruling may lead to even more people whipping out their cell phones every time a cop shows up, which will just interfere with the job that the police have to do.

    There will undoubtedly be cases where people will be arrested while filming, and charged with obstructing justice because they got in the officers face with the camera and made it difficult if not impossible for the officers to perform their duties.

    It's disappointing to see such a wide open ruling, as it can lead to some serious abuses.

     

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  6.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Shark Week

    True.

    Also, a majority of sharks do not encounter humans, let alone ever bite them. But generally the only time we hear about sharks is when they bite somebody.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Something is 'remarkable' (literally!) when it is in need of discussion. Hence newsworthy.

     

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  7.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    "Techdirt tends to go for some harsh stories about police and such"

    This is a pretty broad generalization, and imo, not especially accurate. Mike was quick to point out a cop who handled the situation well, and other cops who support your rights.

    Mike comes down hard on law enforcement officials who trample rights, but, well, that's sorta his duty, as a citizen, you know?

     

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  8.  
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    Trails (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re:

    "that's sorta his duty, as a citizen, you know?"

    PS: yours and mine too.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    ffs are you fsckin serious?

     

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  10.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    There will undoubtedly be cases where people will be arrested while filming, and charged with obstructing justice because they got in the officers face with the camera and made it difficult if not impossible for the officers to perform their duties.

    It's disappointing to see such a wide open ruling, as it can lead to some serious abuses.


    In saying that, you have demonstrated why it makes no sense. As you point out, there are already laws about obstruction of justice, and they come into play when somebody's actions actually obstruct justice - like getting up in an officer's face, whether they are holding a camera or a banana.

    That's the point. A camera, in and of itself, means nothing, and does not magically make a person's actions illegal if those actions do not interfere with the officer. If they DO interfere, there are existing laws to take care of it. This very good ruling clarifies that.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    If a guy with a gun can't do his job and needs to hide in the shadows to do it properly there is something very wrong with the police.

     

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  12.  
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    David Liu (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    Wrong. A police officer is allowed to move the public away reasonably in order to do his job. If the public is literally up in his face, and continues to do so, the police would be allowed to charge that person with obstruction of justice.

    What he cannot do is arrest an innocent bystander who is merely filming an incident at a safe distance.

    There's no reason why filming should interfere with the job that the police have to do.

     

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  13.  
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    David Liu (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re:

    And if I'm not mistaken, the money will come out of the police officer's pockets, rather than the department's money. That's a key difference (one hurts the infringing policeman directly, and one hurts the taxpayers).

     

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  14.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    The police are supposed to be an organization with rigidly enforced standards of behaviour. They are supposed to be an organization that people trust implicitly.

    I say this in all seriousness: the entire organization of "the police" should be held accountable for the actions of any one police officer.

    When one police officer violates the rights of a public citizen, every single officer is shamed. Every other cop in the country should be standing up and saying that what this officer did was wrong - but we know that's not how the police work. In fact it's quite the opposite: they go to great lengths to protect each other. They also expect (and generally receive) a wide berth for questionable behaviour due to the nature of their job.

    That's fine. But if they want to protect each other, and if they want to get special privileges because of the badge, then they need to accept that any action that tarnishes that badge reflects poorly on ALL of them.

     

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    Spaceboy (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    If you are recording a police officer from across the street or are otherwise not engaged with him, how is that interference?

     

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  16.  
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    Mark, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Re:

    As opposed to the abuses that are performed by LEO's (like in the original case that brought this suit).

    "There will undoubtedly be cases where people will be arrested while filming, and charged with obstructing justice because they got in the officers face with the camera and made it difficult if not impossible for the officers to perform their duties."

    and those people should be charged. But the most typical type of encounter with these situations is a citizen filming the arrest from a distance and then the police going out of their way to get into the citizens face and not performing their duties.

    this ruling is actually good for the police. As it will make them turn their focus to performing arrests and duties within the bounds of the law. Rather than putting their attention to someone and distracting them from what could be a dangerous situation. If the officers were doing nothing wrong, then they shouldn't have any reason to feel threatened by a doofus with a camera.

    Plus, if something goes wrong, their is video evidence. This can both protect and hurt the officers. If they are the provocateurs then it can lead to disciplinary hearings and possible removing of the 'bad' officers from the force. If it was the person the officers were dealing with, then it gives them more credibility with the law and with public as it can't just be seen as police protecting another.

    Again, this is good for the police, the citizenry, and for society as a whole. How you can be against this is unbelievable.

     

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  17.  
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    Douglas Smith, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Re: Cops

    You Are a complete half-witted suck up!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    I think that this ruling may lead to even more people whipping out their cell phones every time a cop shows up


    I certainly hope so!

    which will just interfere with the job that the police have to do.


    Besides *two* courts disagreeing with you, could you explain your logic? How does passively *filming* someone interfere with what they're doing?

    Filming is just observation - are you suggesting that police officers are subatomic particles?

    Let's see - we have quarks, muons, bosons, leptons, gluons, and now "copons"?

     

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  19.  
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    Stuart, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    The majority of cops are just trying to do their jobs as long as it is convenient.
    Near where I live one cop beat a homeless man to death while the "good cops" stood by and watched it happen.
    As long as the police "protect their own". I will treat them as they act. Like gang members endorsed by the government.

    Fuck them.
    Fuck the bad ones.
    And fuck every officer who shirks their duty by protecting them.

     

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  20.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > And if I'm not mistaken, the money will come out of the police
    > officer's pockets, rather than the department's money.

    if it's a Section 1983 suit, both the department and the individual officers can be liable.

     

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  21.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re:

    "Coupons" actually.

    Cops are a type of subatomic particle, referred to as "coupons" and their motions are altered simply by observation & recording.

    ;-P

     

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  22.  
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    DocWebster, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    I fully expect that in the near future there will be some attempt to write a law to circumvent this ruling nationally. Law enforcement would not be headed down this road without the implied consent of those in power. It will be done quietly and be buried in the minute recesses of some appropriations bill. We should all wake up to the fact that we are no longer considered anything more than cows to be milked and the police are really only there to make sure that the discontented cows get sent to the slaughterhouse.

     

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  23.  
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    someguy, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    THey don't care

    There is no penalty for a police officer violating these Constitutional rights by making these false arrests, so they'll continue to do it. They don't care if later on it gets thrown out. The purpose of these free false arrests is to harass the filmer and prevent others from wanting to go through the harassment. The more publicity the better; that way people KNOW they are going to be arrested and have to go through a lot of expense.

    And it works, so the police will continue to do this. They're union. You can't fuck with union thugs.

     

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  24.  
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    Overcast (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Government is doing a good job at making this world even crappier; day by bay.

     

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  25.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: THey don't care

    >>There is no penalty for a police officer violating these Constitutional rights by making these false arrests ...

    That isn't true. Section 1983 of the US Code specifically covers this situation.

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/42/21/I/1983

     

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  26.  
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    Steve, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Re: It's disappointing to see such a wide open ruling, as it can lead to some serious abuses.

    Oh no people will abuse their rights! We need more rulings that severely limit those rights. We're already 27 years behind schedule.

    How do you "get in an officer's face" with the camera? Wouldn't you have to get between the officer and the person they're arresting in order to do that?

    How does filming an officer doing their job make it impossible for that officer to do their job?

     

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  27.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Indeed, "[t]he freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state."

    This is my new favorite quote. Thank you for sharing.

     

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  28.  
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    el_segfaulto (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And when they gather together they are groupons. Thank you! I'll be here all week.

     

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  29.  
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    Dave, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Re: Citizen Duty

    As others above have said, it'll be a while before this ruling makes a bit of a difference on the street. If you whip out your phone and start recording, you will still be at risk of some officer attempting to confiscate your phone or have you arrested. If the situation allows, it seems to me quite valid to let the officer know that "I fully intend intend to comply with any summons to court to provide this video as evidence. In the meanwhile, the chain of evidence of this video will remain as clear as possible: I will keep my camera and the footage safe until a court requires it." I suppose this will inspire some officers to add a charge of resisting arrest to your docket, but that's the cost of eternal vigilance, I suppose.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    Agreed 100%

     

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  31.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    This is a great victory for everyone except abusive police officers. However, I would very much like to see the doctrine of qualified immunity to be dropped. If officials act legally, they have no need for qualified immunity.

     

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  32.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm wondering whether the police officer's pocket will be refilled by the department...

     

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  33.  
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    DOlz (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    It's the first rule of news; dog bites man isn't news, man bites dog is news.

     

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  34.  
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    Canuck, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    Exactly how does a citizen who is filming law enfporment activities get in the way of police doing their job.
    A ) Cops are civil servants...they are OUR employees
    B) I am legally entitled to ensure that those employees are doing their job apprpriately, professionaly.
    C) If a cop chooses to interfere with my right to film his/her actions, then it is not I who is the one at fault for slowing down the police work, it is the cop who decided to bother me and let their duties fall to the wayside, who is at fault.

    Thank GOD common sense and the rule of law was applied correctly in this appeal...these cops are a disgrace to the badge, and it astounds me that anyone whould rally around them.

     

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  35.  
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    Dave, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Considering the offence, shouldn't that be a 1984 suit?

    Ba da dum dum.

     

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  36.  
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    mateo, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    And what happened to the police officers in question? I'm guessing not a damn thing.

     

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  37.  
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    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re:

    Filming is just observation - are you suggesting that police officers are subatomic particles?

    Simple fix. Download the Heisenberg Compensator app to your smartphone and make sure it's enabled before filming. That way your video recording won't affect the spin or position of the officers being filmed, while simultaneously overcoming the Uncertainty principle of how often the officers will legally be allowed to arrest you for interference in performance of their duties, and attempt to get away with trumped up charges in in violation of your 1st and 4th Amendment rights.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So the more Simon tried to observe the coupon, the less predictable the actions of said coupon became? Sounds about right. ;)

     

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  39.  
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    backseat_driver (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Control of the video

    Since police have been recording us for years via dash cams and mics on their uniforms I don't think the real fear is being recorded. I think the real fear is not being in control of those videos. Those who control the editing & deleting of the videos are the ones with the real power and they realize that.

     

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  40.  
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    Thomas (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    A quote from the post

    "He first filed a complaint with Boston Police Internal Affairs who promptly set about totally ignoring it" Just goes to show that the "internal affairs" is solely devoted to whitewashing the police of any wrongdoing. And cops and city politicians wonder why people don't trust the police. It's simple; the police should not be trusted. I would much much rather encounter a mugger in Boston than a Boston cop; a mugger would take your wallet/phone and be gone, but a cop you annoy can arrest you without real cause, throw you down to the ground, beat you up, and then throw you into jail, where you will be charged and it will take thousands of dollars to clear your name, assuming you can even afford to pay an attorney. Cops say that only people who have done something wrong will run from them, but if you are a member of a racial minority an encounter is likely to get you arrested even if you've done nothing wrong.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    There's still a 4th Amendment? Cool. Too bad some cops can't count past three.

     

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  42.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    I will always pick abuses by the general public over abuses by the police or government.

     

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  43.  
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    Aleina, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Impossible

    It is impossible for a police officer to memorize every law they enforce, there are simply too many laws, with too much legal language that they aren't possibly qualified to interpret."
    Yet they can and will arrest any citizen who violates any of those laws for the same ignorance. Why should you excuse cops who violate them because of ignorance? That's extremely flawed and dangerous thinking.
    http://goo.gl/zTDoR

     

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  44.  
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    FritzMuffknuckle, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    This ruling will apply to politicians who confiscate recordings as well.

    I'm very happy to see a court rule on the common sense of citizens recording cops and removing the one sided use of recorded evidence. But there is another pleasant consequence of this ruling.

    Since this ruling applies to recording public officials in public places, it also outlaws the practice of politicians prohibiting citizens from recording them at public events. This practice is used to stop normal citizens from using the politician's own words in any future criticism.

    The most recent case being Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot at a town hall meeting in a public school last week. He had police confiscate cell phones from citizens who tried to record the event while letting the media continue to record it. This ruling should put a stop to this as well as help keep the police accountable. It's a win all the way around.

    FritzMuffknuckle

     

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  45.  
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    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re: Control of the video

    Those who control the editing & deleting of the videos are the ones with the real power and they realize that.

    The movie Blue Thunder comes to mind, in that the police helicopter had a surveillance video tape erase feature built into it that was controlled remotely.

    Turns out the star of the movie, Roy Scheider, had some things to say about the loss of privacy and rights (we are experiencing today) all the way back in 1983.

     

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  46.  
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    Krusty, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    I believe you are correct and that “police officers” harassing citizens filming them are in fact a small but ever present criminal element infesting an otherwise honorable and dedicated force.

     

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  47.  
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    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re: This ruling will apply to politicians who confiscate recordings as well.

    Quickest way to give your opponent fodder to defeat you in an election? Do something as stupid as Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot just did.


    Do citizens have right to bring cameras to public event?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KmP_bmdUh0

     

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  48.  
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    PRMan, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Seriously, though, we need an app that doesn't record audio, since that it what all these cases hinge on. If there's no audio, it can't be illegal, even if hidden.

     

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  49.  
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    DCL, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: THey don't care

    In theory, yes... in reality, not so much.

     

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  50.  
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    PRMan, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    You can't have officers wondering if they are going to get sued for disabling a person they shot in the line of duty and then not shoot and get killed.

    This is the reason for qualified immunity and why the courts so often find in their favor.

     

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  51.  
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    PRMan, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    They'll be owing Glik some money...

     

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  52.  
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    PRMan, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    "There's still a 4th Amendment? Cool. Too bad some cops can't count past ZERO."

    FTFY

     

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  53.  
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    xobob, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    police

    if officers are acting within the law on their enforcement the cameras shouldnt bother them at all, in fact cameras are furnished them to AID in their job. only the trash officers are afraid of cameras. and there are trash officers just like bad apples in any job, and they need to be gotten rid of before they spoil others.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    Most of the time that I have heard of cops going for people with camera's its because they really were doing something excessive.

    This isn't and these aren't any of those times:

    Police vs Reporter, US - ABC TV Crew Pulled Over, Gunpoint
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aS4VO-P8FQ

    Police Attack a Fox News Reporter
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu07FzPPXBs

    Insane Cop Arrests ABC News Reporter For Filming Traffic Accident
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbQUltNOqo8

    Cop Puts Cameraman In Chokehold for Filming Peaceful Protest
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSsGrIf8F0M

    Tons more where that came from on Youtube.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problem with that is unless you have a high quality video where mouths can be seen and lips can be read, then the police can say you said you verbally threatened them ("he said he had a gun and was going to shoot us") and that's why they shot/tasered/punched/kicked the crap out of you or others on the video someone filmed. The audio leaves no doubt as to what was going on, even catching things that aren't visible on camera.

    Hopefully the "wiretap" laws will catch up with the times and be ruled on more precisely as this case was here.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    geetch, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re:

    as i have read most of the posts on this article, there is one common theme. they dont like cops. i find that funny as every one dislikes them until they need one because some other malcontent has either ran a red light, stolen something, the list can go on. the way i see it with most is fuckem' till i need them. thats a piss poor attitude. just as there are a few bad cops, you can find the lazy and worthless employees in any job.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    bob, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    this goes farther than that

    this ruling also goes towards government officials who suppress camera recordings at town halls, council meetings, etc.

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    BeeAitch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...you can find the lazy and worthless employees in any job.


    But the guy in a cubicle doesn't have the backing of the government to detain me, threaten me with loss of income and freedom, blemish my future reputation, and so forth like the guy with the badge does.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    as i have read most of the posts on this article, there is one common theme. they dont like cops.

    as i have read most of the posts on this article, there is one common theme. they dont like BAD cops.

    FTFY

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    Re:

    Obviously they do...

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Re:

    If people start filing civil suits against police departments whose officers do this, they will have no choice. They may not stop after the first such case, but as the department starts hemorrhaging money, their superiors are going to crack down on the behavior.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    someguy, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    "That isn't true. Section 1983 of the US Code specifically covers this situation."

    That law is never enforced. Prosecutors also don't want citizens filming police because it destroy's their cases, so they never enforce this section of the code.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re:

    Rule of thumb, people will remember 1 bad experience better than 10 good ones.

    Also, it wouldn't be so bad, except you hear of these "bad" cops doing things that are completely illegal, but they get away with it.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Patent Pending.... An App that doesn't record audio, but reads the lips of anyone in the video and re-constructs the text as well as possible....

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    A reason for anger is that most lazy employees aren't likely to really inconvenience you or hurt you.

    With great power (come on.. in unison.. ) comes great responsibility.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Obviously? Where does it say that these cops will be punished for violating this guy's constitutional rights?

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    Rawr, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Cops are people. They have as much right as anyone else to ask another person to stop filming. What they can't do is use the power granted to them as law enforcement to do so. But they get first amendment rights, too. How quick we are to claim our rights, and give them none of theirs.

    It's the provoking, disrespectful, smug asswipe with a camera that is the problem here, not the small percentage of corrupt cops. The former are just out to make a decent cop look bad by being a douchebag and provoking natural human irritation for some good YouTube fodder.

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Wizid, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    Want to piss off a cop and get yourself into more hassle? Tell them they can't do something because it violates your rights. I discovered this as a teenager after taking American Gov, and told a cop what he was doing violated my rights.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    toastar, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    hell no police never get in trouble when they do messed up shit

     

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

  70.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re:

    unfortunately, this likely simply leads to the department, and thus the tax payer, paying out when they pull this kinda stupid thing and get busted for it.

     

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

  71.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re:

    there's a solution to that... but the USA's way past the point of being able to implement it. too bad they don't take advantage of the Reason they're allowed to have all those guns in circulation....

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Really, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    Re: "Just Interfere"?

    I don't think that people whipping out their cell phones every time a cop shows up "will just interfere with the job that police have to do". How many times do these videos show up on the internet where police officers are found using excessive force? There's a reason why people are filming, and saying that it will only interfere with the job is a pretty open statement, and does not touch on any positive results of citizens openly filming police activities

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:09pm

    Re:

    Cops r so shitty, u must be the wife of a pig....

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    Re:

    Cops are people. They have as much right as anyone else to ask another person to stop filming.

    But they get first amendment rights, too. How quick we are to claim our rights, and give them none of theirs.

    Just as you said, cops have First Amendment rights too, but then no one is going around arresting them for recording citizens in public without their consent.



    What they can't do is use the power granted to them as law enforcement to do so.

    And when they do, they should get called to the proverbial "woodshed" to face the music for violating the citizens rights under color of law.



    It's the provoking, disrespectful, smug asswipe with a camera that is the problem here, not the small percentage of corrupt cops. The former are just out to make a decent cop look bad by being a douchebag and provoking natural human irritation for some good YouTube fodder.

    As far as I know, provoking, disrespectful, being a smug asswipe or making the a cop look like a douchebag (by the cops own actions and/or ignorance of the law) and posting the video to Youtube, are not arrestable offenses under the law in the U.S. of A. (With the exception of the twisting of so-called "wiretapping" laws in some backwards states excluded).

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    cyndy green, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:25pm

    Does it apply to all states?

    This is wonderful news for one state...the question is, does it apply to ALL states?

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Meh, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    Re:

    You'd like to think so, but reality proves you wrong. I would venture to say that while most police officers are goons who could give a damn about people's safety, rights or the Constitution, there are some cops out there who are outstanding public servants.

    Filming arrests is popular where I live, too, and it's a wonderful byproduct of technology that there will always be someone out there watching these people and documenting their actions.

    To any officer who thinks the average citizen doesn't have the right to film him, I'd just like to say (in a NYPD officer's trademark New York accent): "If you ain't doin' anything wrong, you got nothin' to worry about."

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re:

    If you only heard what is said in the locker room by the guys on the street and not the command staff.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Hero, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:29pm

    Re:

    Miranda Rights, Terry Stops Law, and a number of other common police procedures come directly from court decisions. Individual officers may not give a shit, but their departments facing millions in litigation costs surely will. You should expect to see a HUGE decrease of this type of activity in the near future.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Jamyn, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Interference

    ---
    I think that this ruling may lead to even more people whipping out their cell phones every time a cop shows up, which will just interfere with the job that the police have to do.
    ---
    No. You don't get it. Filming an officer DOES NOT INTERFERE with what they're doing. They're a public official. IF you're nonchalantly filming what they're doing on the job, it shouldn't matter, not even a little bit.

    The only time it matters is if the person recording the activity is actively interfering with the arrest. Otherwise, simply documenting what's going on is NOT ILLEGAL and should not be. Ever.

    We, including the police, should respect the ideals this country was founded on. We're supposed to be an example country, showing how things are done "right". We should be the most free country... but our rights are being eroded.

    Stand up for your rights.

     

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

  80.  
    icon
    thepilgrim (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 2:01am

    Filming in Public

    RE: Rawr, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    "Cops are people. They have as much right as anyone else to ask another person to stop filming."

    And as a photographer, I am under no obligation to comply with your request. The courts have consistently ruled that a person in a public place has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    The only time I need to get a release from you is when I am going to use the picture in a commercial venture i.e. a commercial or advertisement that implies your endorsement of the product.

    Freedom really is freedom.

     

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

  81.  
    icon
    bratwurzt (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I like cops - they are nice people. Bu I DO live in Europe... :P

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Raton, Aug 30th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Re: Civil Damages will move Law Enforcement Officers(?)

    While I wish it would, this has proven NOT to be the case. What happens is they still don't care because THEY DON"T PAY A DIME. You know who pays? You got it--YOU, the TAXPAYER! That is what is ridiculous about claims against police departments (and other government agencies). We need to have personal consequences for those involved.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    Kanati, Aug 30th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    Am I missing something or is this NOT a judgement against the police and the City of Boston? This is a dismissal of their ability to use qualified immunity and paving the way for it to go to trial. It changes nothing. Yet.

     

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  84.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Aug 30th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Wonder if...

    the city of boston will try to settle out of court now?

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    Motheius, Aug 30th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    No Audio?

    Exactly how many video devices (sold to the average consumer mind you) are there that don't record audio at the same time as video?

    Officer: ``Hey, does that camera record audio?''

    Citizen: ``No, sir. This is my Silent Movie ZX delux. It also only records in black and white.''

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    wally, Aug 30th, 2011 @ 8:12pm

    Being tried and found guilty of a Civil Rights Violation carries a MINUMUM 10 year sentence in the slammer. When these guys come out, their rectums will look like the Holland Tunnel.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    MountainHome, Aug 31st, 2011 @ 6:26am

    Thank You

    Thank you for reporting this cause it didn't make CNN or FOX news and this is such an important news article cause it's happening all across the USA.

     

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

  88.  
    identicon
    NHPatriot, Aug 31st, 2011 @ 9:28am

    HAHA

    Suck it cops that violate people rights. I love the ruling and for the people that say people with cameras will get in the way that is false. Most people, if not all, film away from the scene and do not hinder the police and filming police that abuse their powers will make all police think twice before they abuse someone.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2011 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    An officer should conduct themselves as if he/she were on camera any way. If he/she is doing their job correctly. Then the officer shouldn't have any problems. Actually videotaping an arrest can be beneficial to the officer/prosecution. It could be used as evidence against the suspect being arrested if they were for example resisting arrest, being disorderly etc....

    I do however agree that if a person interferes with an officer conducting an investigation or an arrest that he/she should be charged with obstruction.

     

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

  90.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Man faces 75 years for recording police

     

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

  91.  
    identicon
    Rich Paul, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:47pm

    Re:

    Of course they care, if they have to pay money damages. This is a civil case. That means a copblocking activist is getting PAID to get arrested. This is huge.

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Christophe, Sep 2nd, 2011 @ 11:01am

    We can do more than just film abuse of power by the police

    Many (non-mainstream) sites continue to offer significant news covering the gross abuse of power by our governments, but few come up with any workable suggestions as to how to realistically fix things.

    I hope you'll be willing to check out my site, and to help spread the information (or contribute to it, as my email is on the site)
    http://betterinfos.com -> gives a short run down on major truth people should know about (eg: link to 15 min documentary that will convince everyone but trolls that 9/11 was an inside job)
    http://betterinfos.com/politics.html -> more detail
    http://betterinfos.com/fakes.html -> info on the myriad fakes that typically fool everyone who 'awakens', at first
    http://betterinfos.com/WhatToDo.html -> a long list of things you can and should be doing, things that you will see can reasonably SUCCEED!

    Hopefully you can help me spread this information, and make it viral, as honestly it stands out from the rest: it's not just disheartening truth about our corrupt government - it's also how to defeat them.

     

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

  93.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    From Mark Clifton's novel "Eight Keys to Eden", published in 1960.

    The case was crumbling, but all was not lost. He still had witnesses. He thought for a minute and began to wonder about those witnesses. Any judge, anybody around the courts, anybody connected with the press, and maybe even some of the public knew that any police officer will swear to any lie to back up another police officer because he might need the favor returned tomorrow.


    The situation isn't new.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2011 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re:

    They should all be held accountable in that they all are "shamed"? First off, how will that help anything? Even so, there are plenty of officers that feel shame for others that have done the badge an injustice. This doesn't fix the situation. There are good, just as there are bad people out there, but punishing a group based on one person's actions is not the way we should function.

    Lets equate this scenario to your family. If your brother committed a crime and was incarcerated for it, you would protect him and stand up for him, wouldn't you? So, with your logic, both of you should serve the penalty, because you stood up for him. Right? He's your brother... you did stand up for him, didn't you? You're a family. One is bad, they must all be bad, right? Maybe your whole family should be locked up?

    Seriously... You should think about judging an entire occupation before you hit the submit button.

     

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

  95.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Authority figure.

    See the difference?

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Remember privileges are not rights and neither are rights which are just privileges.

     

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

  97.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2011 @ 6:07pm

    I will keep my camerabeats by dr dre and the footage safe until a court requires it." I suppose this will inspire some officers to add a charge of resisting arrest to your docket, but that's the cost of eterCheap Beats By Drenal vigilance, I suppose.

     

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

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Lead to serious abuses? worse than police arresting people for trying to expose their own illegal activity?

     

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

  99.  
    identicon
    bbogz, Apr 17th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    What police dept/union do you work for?

     

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

  100.  
    identicon
    Disappointing?!, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward (aptly named)

    It's disappointing to see a police officer get on here and defend the actions of those cops, however obliquely.

    WHAT IS YOUR NAME, RANK, BADGE NUMBER AND JURISDICTION SIR?

     

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

  101.  
    identicon
    Precisely!, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Re: That's a key difference

    Yes, one hurts the infringing policeman directly, and one hurts the taxpayers.

    --And we should absolutely strive for the TAXPAYERS to be held responsible, because that is the source of the problem. The TAXPAYERS fund this system.

    The TAXPAYERS support it.

    The TAXPAYERS turn a blind eye to these abuses.

    This wasn't just "one cop". This was the whole department. AND the prosecutor, DA, Judges in the past that made them so arrogant, We The People who don't stand up in that time and place to defend our lives as required.

    It is the SYSTEM's fault, not one officer -- and it is the TAXPAYERS who create that system.

    Give him $50 million!! Then MAYBE the TAXPAYERS will give a flying you-know-what.

    Until then, they go on doing it, and everyone knows it.

    Don't let the system try to feed you a sacrificial goat.

    BILL THE TAX PAYERS.

     

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

  102.  
    identicon
    What about...., Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    Re: disciplinary hearings

    If they are the provocateurs then it can lead to disciplinary hearings and possible removing of the 'bad' officers from the force.

    That's the WORST thing that can happen. How about kidnapping charges? Assault and battery? Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon? Attempted murder?

    Conspiracy to do all the above?

    Breaking an entering if you're in your car.

    Petty theft when they take your phone?

    "Disciplinary hearings" are a joke. I want 3-5 years of hard time in general population!

    If there aren't consequences then nothing will change.

     

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

  103.  
    identicon
    Moo, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:50pm

    Cows don't carry guns.

    There's a reason for that.

     

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

  104.  
    identicon
    Moo, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:52pm

    RE: oppose or challenge police action

    Without dead thugs, they are dead words.

     

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

  105.  
    identicon
    Tears of laughter, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:54pm

    Re: an otherwise honorable and dedicated force.

    XD lol, you should go to the Improv with that schtick!

    You're a riot!

     

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

  106.  
    identicon
    Uhhhhh, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    You are so right.

    > You can't have officers wondering if they are going to get sued for disabling a person they shot in the line of duty and then not shoot and get killed.


    You are SO RIGHT!

    We can't have officers thinking before they act, just BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Questions later. No comment.

     

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

  107.  
    identicon
    Yep, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Neat huh?

    > So, with your logic, both of you should serve the penalty, because you stood up for him. Right? He's your brother... you did stand up for him, didn't you? You're a family. One is bad, they must all be bad, right? Maybe your whole family should be locked up?


    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    Ever heard the phrase "The Hand of One is the Hand of All" ?

    The cops sure have.

     

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

  108.  
    identicon
    Huge, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:00pm

    Re: copblocking

    > That means a copblocking activist is getting PAID to get arrested. This is huge.

    Sounds like it's time for a career move!

     

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

  109.  
    identicon
    The Taxpayer, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re: Civil Damages will move Law Enforcement Officers(?)

    The TAXPAYERS are the problem. Police are the symptom.

     

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

  110.  
    identicon
    You're wrong, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

    Re: You're wrong

    That is such a stale old canned argument.

    It's false.

    Never called a cop and never missed 'em either.

    You are referring to yourself and no one else.

     

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

  111.  
    identicon
    No, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Not quite.

    > only the trash officers are afraid of cameras.

    Nonono, they have no problem with cameras they control. The "lose" that footage all the time.

    They TERRIFIED of /you/ having footage!

     

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

  112.  
    identicon
    Almost, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

    Re: any action that tarnishes that badge

    > But if they want to protect each other, ... then they need to accept that any action that tarnishes that badge reflects poorly on ALL of them.

    Not quite; those actions you describe do not just "reflect poorly" upon them.

    They BECOME the criminals, not mere reflections. It's criminal conspiracy. It's a crime. It's a conspiracy.

    Allowing them to investigacte themselves makes us into a laughing stock of a "civilization"

     

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

  113.  
    identicon
    WTF Ever., Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:20pm

    Re: sigh.

    Terry STOPS violate the law.

    "No warrant shall issue but upon probable cause AND...! AND!!!!!"

    Arrest means "STOP"

    Stop means "Arrest"

    Hey I know, let's invent a legal justice system where "legal" doesn't mean legal, and "justice" doesn't mean justice!!!

    Yeah!!!!

     

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

  114.  
    identicon
    High IQ, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Impossible

    No, it's not "too many laws".

    It's "too FEW brain cells"

     

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


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