One Day After DC Police Told Not To Interfere With Citizens Recording Them... Police Seize Man's Phone

from the but-of-course dept

So, yesterday, everyone was feeling warm and fuzzy about the very clear statement by Washington DC's police chief Cathy Lanier pushing out a very explicit policy to all DC police concerning mobile phone cameras. The policy was straightforward: police cannot interfere with someone recording them. They cannot demand to know why they're recording them. And they cannot seize the phone.

It appears that some police officers didn't read the memo.

As noted by Ars Technica, the day after the policy was announced, a police officer seized a guy's camera for recording police activities. They did eventually give the phone back but kept the memory card and the guy is pissed off because the card supposedly has hundreds of photos of his daughter on there.

The DC police say that they're "looking into" the report. It would be nice to see them follow up on their original policy statement with a clear rebuke of the officers involved.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    I smell

    another costly lawsuit.. Especially since they enacted the policy as the result of an earlier lawsuit. sheesh

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Maybe it is time to start building timelines of those things.

    Anybody knows a good one online that you don't have to sign in for it?

    I only found this one.
    http://www.tiki-toki.com/

    Although I am sure this can be done in OpenLibre, Google Docs or any spreadsheet.

    There is even some open source ways to.
    http://thetimelineproj.sourceforge.net/

    Start documenting all this crap and see what it really looks like.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    Sadly I think if you make one and have it open for all to edit then it will quickly become an epic timeline of trolling.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Read the memo? Really?

    It appears that some police officers didn't read the memo.

    Was there a version narrated by Elmo? Remember that these are DC police officers you're talking about.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Chris Brand (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Read the memo? Really?

    "Elmo never tries to stop people recording him. Elmo never tries to take their cameras. Elmo just remembers to smile and to be polite, so the person gets great pictures of Elmo"

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    Re: I smell

    I don't see a lawsuit here IF they do the right thing and properly chastise/perhaps fire the officers in question.

    They really should do that in cases like this where the policy is very clear.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    Oh gosh.... you hit the "Elmo" right on the money with your post.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Read the memo? Really?

    It appears that some police officers didn't read the memo.

    Was there a version narrated by Elmo? Remember that these are DC police officers you're talking about.


    Translate this into Elmo:

    Robbery in Washington D.C.:
    Robbery in Washington, DC includes three basic elements. First, there is “force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear.” This element is crafted to cover a whole range of different behaviors. I could push you and take your purse. I could threaten you with a weapon. I could threaten you with words. Alternatively, an aggressive or threatening demeanor alone could satisfy this element of the crime so long as my demeanor was sufficient to put you in fear for your immediate safety.

    Second, there is the taking of something of value. The item needn’t have much value. In fact, the items need not have monetary value or value to anyone except to the person from whom it was taken. If I take a pen from you, that could satisfy this element of the crime.

    Third, the taking needs to be either directly from the person or from the person’s possession. If I grab your purse from your hands, that is a taking from the person. If I grab the purse from next to you on a park bench, that is a taking from your possession.


    Now, it doesn't take Elmo to tell you that —in actuality— the cop is not going to get charged over this incident. Just won't happen.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    gnudist, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    Remember to read it in the voice.

     

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  10.  
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    PlagueSD (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Looks like another officer is getting a "paid vacation" again.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

    Are the police using "loose cannon cop" movies as job training material or something?

     

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

  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Read the memo? Really?

    "Was there a version narrated by Elmo? Remember that these are DC police officers you're talking about."

    And have The Count adjudicate the violations:

    "You have broken the rules ONE times, TWO times, THREE times! AH AH AHHHHH!"

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Re:

    They need to start giving out unpaid vacations.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    This thread brought to you by the number 911.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:25pm

    Well, THAT didn't take long...

    If it is any indication of how badly the policy change is needed, it's the amount of time it takes to have it come into play once it's made. Now let's see if the announcement has any follow up or if it was just hot air.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    johnny canada, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    Think of the Children

    Quote "They did eventually give the phone back but kept the memory card and the guy is pissed off because the card supposedly has hundreds of photos of his daughter on there. "

    This is one time we can use THINK OF THE CHILDREN

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re:

    Make two then, the troll bait and the other one :)

    I do the same thing with the bug trolls in my garden I plant things just for them, so they leave the other plants that I want alone.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Card erased

    I bet when he finally does get the card back it will be empty. Not a trace of his daughters pictures or anything he had on the card. Maybe it is time for another lawsuit.

    As for DC cops not reading the memo. Well, just assume most DC cops can't read or write. Sad but true.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Actually...

    When I first saw the automatic upload "feature" that is enabled by default in Google+, I was a little annoyed. I mean, I don't really want every picture I take uploaded to the cloud. However, here is an instance where it would be highly useful. Of course you would need to lock your screen before they took your phone (shouldn't be too hard to do). Once you receive it back, you then should have proof if any data was missing as any images missing from the card that were uploaded to Google+ should easily prove that they violated the policy.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Card erased

    I'll agree with the read part of your statement but they write just fine as they practice by writing traffic tickets all the time.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Not saying it was right, but this is why you don't leave photos sitting on the memory card of your phone.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    Baldaur Regis (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    From the Ars Technica article:
    According to a local Fox TV affiliate, Earl Staley, a 26-year-old local resident started trying to record officers who were punching a man who they were arresting.
    "So I go and grab my phone and start trying to record it," Staley told Fox 5 News in the District. "And once I do that, another vice cop reaches over my back and grabs my phone and tells me he's not giving my phone back."
    And later in the same article, a portion of the policy was quoted:
    “A member [of the police department] shall not, implicitly or explicitly, coerce consent to take possession of any recording device or any information thereon,” the new order states.
    The officer did not "coerce consent to take possession". He didn't ask or demand for the phone, he just took it. So that makes it all right, then; the new policy remains unviolated. Apparently DC will have to craft a NEW policy addressing the ability of an officer to walk up to any citizen and just take something of theirs. Funny, you'd think there'd be a law against that. Already.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't think the unions allow that. Too bad.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    Apparently DC will have to craft a NEW policy addressing the ability of an officer to walk up to any citizen and just take something of theirs. Funny, you'd think there'd be a law against that. Already.


    District of Columbia Official Code
    Division IV. Criminal Law and Procedure and Prisoners.
    TITLE 22. CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
    Chapter 28. Robbery.

    DC ST § 22-2801

    Whoever by force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear, shall take from the person or immediate actual possession of another anything of value, is guilty of robbery, and any person convicted thereof shall suffer imprisonment for not less than 2 years nor more than 15 years.

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    I'm missing the connection between robbery and the DC policy on officers being recorded?

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    I'm all for paid vacations for these officers, as long as the vacation involves a mandatory 365 day, 364 night stay in prison.

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    LDoBe (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Fine, fire the bastard for directly breaking police policy, and prosecute him for robbery.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    How can you not?

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    I'm missing the connection between robbery and the DC policy on officers being recorded?


    According to the allegations reported by Fox News in the story by Bob Barnard, “Man claims cell phone taken by DC Police officer at crime scene”:
    Staley says his smartphone was snatched by a D.C. Police officer last Friday evening along Raleigh Place in Southeast D.C. Staley says he saw police punching a man they were arresting and another plain-clothes officer harassing the people watching.

    "So I go and grab my phone and start trying to record it," says Staley, a 26-year-old employee of a private, non-profit mental health agency in the District. "And once I do that, another vice cop reaches over my back and grabs my phone and tells me he's not giving my phone back."

    ...

    Staley says when he eventually got his phone back later that night, the memory card was missing - including hundreds of pictures of his four-year-old daughter.


    That story, if proven, seems to meet the three essential elements of the crime of robbery in the District of Columbia (DC ST § 22-2801).

    Mr Staley alleges that the officer grabbed his phone. That's a “sudden snatching”. Mr Staley's phone was valuable to him. And Mr Staley's phone was taken directly from his person.

    Even if, the phone was eventually returned to Mr Staley, the phone's memory card was not. The memory card was valuable to Mr Staley, and it, along with the phone that held it, was suddenly snatched directly from Mr Staley.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    I'll take you from point A to point D then.

    A: A newly in place policy that is supposed to prevent police from interfering w/ a citizen recording them.

    B: That prevents the officer from legally taking the camera, as that stops the recording by the citizen.

    C: If an officier can no longer legally take the camera, that means he commited a crime.

    D: The crime is taking what isn't his, aka theft/ robbery.

    It isn't likely to go that route (well, if the ACLU read Techdirt & Popehat comments, it may), but it doesn't take a leap in logic to get from the policy violation to theft/ robbery.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    And the letters P, I, G and S

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, the unions don't allow that either.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re:

    "steal from the populace you're sworn to protect and you will spend 15 years in prison."

    you can bet your ass that memo would make the rounds pretty quickly

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Re:

    Who needs "loose cannon cop movies" when you can just get hired as a loose cannon cop?

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Wait... what?, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:21pm

    What was he doing.

    The thing is, why was he even recording police activities.

    I get it if there's something going on here, or is this guy a "rights" nut who's doing it just because he can.

    If someone was recording me whilst I was going about my business, I'd be very inclined to say "what are you doing and why".

    I understand that the police shouldn't have seized the tape from this guy, unless the guy was recording whilst going off, or had recorded someone commiting a crime and it would likely be great evidence in court.

    My main point here though, is, "Just because you can something, doesn't mean you should"

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 5:59pm

    Re: What was he doing.

    Didn't bother to read the article, did you? The cops were punching they guy they were trying to arrest, so the other guy started recording them.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:02pm

    Re: What was he doing.

    1. RTFA. (Read The Fucking Article)
    2. RTFRA. (Read The Fucking Referenced Article)
    3. RTFC. (Read The Fucking Comments)
    4. Think. (process facts and implications obtained from 1-3)
    5. Repeat 1-4 as necessary.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:05pm

    Re: What was he doing.

    "Just because you can something, doesn't mean you should"

    If only the DC police understood that, this wouldn't even be a story.

    Reading AND understanding the law as it applies to the population as well as to itself is fundamental for the police, or at least it should be.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I really need to join the pirate union.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    Yeah, the nerve of this asshole walking around with something personal on his person.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re: I smell

    And return the guy's property

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:07pm

    One can wish

    I just hope they rebuke these buttheads into the unemployment line! When my boss says "don't do that, or else!", and I do it anyway, I would expect no less...

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:38pm

    Re: What was he doing.

    You know THEY BANNED IT... The Chief said no taking recording devices even if they're in the way. They could be asked to move out of the way. If they were arrested for something their digital devices were supposed to be off limits without a warrant.

    This guy if his video is removed should use advanced data recovery to prove it was and give these assholes what they deserve.

    It's not really that hard to recover data and the officers deleting it are probably too retarded to realize just how easy data is to recover.

    This ban is pointless though just for one reason. The police are above the law and they know it. I mean ffs they get a paid vacation for murder what makes anyone think they would get in any actual trouble for seizing someones phone.

    Do they care about the lawsuits? Of course not why would they when they are going to be paid for with tax payers money.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:39pm

    Almost forgot to add do you guys really trust a bitch with teeth that look like Chiclets? I don't...

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    You have a good point. If we read the law.... well, this is actually narrowly, this was theft.

    Therefore the cop in question should be charged with theft, just like a mugger who was caught would be.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Christopher (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Re: What was he doing.

    They don't get a paid vacation for murder. They get a 'paid vacation' for when they have been accused of using their firearm in the line of duty and that (to a normal person) appears to be murder until the investigation is done.

    Many times, when something is ruled murder by the overseers in the police, the officer is charged with murder... however, many times, the officer will be let off solely because they are an officer 'of the law'.

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not sure, pointing out the hypocrisy of the police and those in power seems like it would be right up the alley of your typical troll.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Well that didn't take long

    Looks like we have our test case to see if the new 'rules' actually have any teeth.

    I really hope the police involved get some serious punishment sent their way(unpaid leave if everything on the memory card is intact, flat out fired if anything, including the video taken, is missing), otherwise it's just sending the message that new rules or not, it's business as usual for them, and they can still go around stealing stuff without repercussions.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 9:56pm

    Re: What was he doing.

    I think an appropriate response to this would be to find out the cop's identity and make him an unofficial living city monument so that people will photo/video him all day long.

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jul 26th, 2012 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Read the memo? Really?

    Whereas the officer sin this case were much more like Bert than Elmo.

     

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

  51.  
    icon
    Tobias Harms (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re:

    Wow, that really seems like a nice working environment that in now way seems to encourage harassment and instead foster a culture of standing up for what is right even if it means going against your colleges.
    What could possibly go wrong?

     

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

  52.  
    icon
    Tobias Harms (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 1:00am

    Re: Re:

    You forgot the amendment:
    "Unless you are a police and really feel like it in which case we will have to have a talk with you over coffee and donuts and then send you on a paid vacation curtsy of the public"

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 3:00am

    Re: Re: Re: I smell

    WHAT?! They couldn't possibly do that! They can't completely admit they were wrong, after all. Have to keep the peasants in their place, and such.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:11am

    Re: Read the memo? Really?

    "Was there a version narrated by Elmo?"

    http://www.tauntr.com/blog/occupy-sesame-street-gets-violent

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thankfully, the unions don't get to stop disciplinary actions such as 'unpaid administrative leave.'

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    It wasn't a seizure

    By definition, seizure is the seizing of something, especially the taking of something by force or the official or legal appropriation of something.

    The authorities didn't wrestle him to ground so force is out but they also weren't LEGALLY ENTITLED to appropriate the item.

    I prefer to think of it as a very polite mugging.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re: It wasn't a seizure

    The authorities didn't wrestle him to ground so force is out


    Is English your native language?

    Whereever did you get the bizarre notion that “force” is synonymous with wrestling someone to the ground?

    You know, in your average, garden-variety convenience store stick'em-up, the robber does not usually wrestle the convenience store clerk to the ground in the process of seizing the cash from the till.

    What is your native language? We'll try to find you a competent translator.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re: It wasn't a seizure

    ripping it out of his hand is forceful.

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Re: It wasn't a seizure

    I see that sarcasm isn't your forte.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: It wasn't a seizure

    I see that sarcasm isn't your forte.


    Crimes against persons are very serious.

    This is one of the statutes at issue in this discussion (DC ST § 22-2801):

    Whoever by force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear, shall take from the person or immediate actual possession of another anything of value, is guilty of robbery, and any person convicted thereof shall suffer imprisonment for not less than 2 years nor more than 15 years.

    A crime which carries a sentence of more than one year imprisonment is a felony.

     

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

  61.  
    icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: It wasn't a seizure

    It's sarcasm my friend. I agree the police are wrong. The police have ALWAYS been wrong on this issue and will CONTINUE to be wrong. You're preaching to the choir.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, the nerve of this asshole walking around with something personal on his person.

    Phones get lost or stolen all the time. Keeping the photos on the phone is fine, but you should also back them up by copying them to a computer, burning them to disc, etc.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    MattP, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: What was he doing.

    +1 internets to you good sir/madam.

     

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


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