Citizen Recording Of Police Proves Officer Lied About Arrest

from the who-watches-the-watchers dept

Reason.com alerts us to an LA Times article covering a recent trial in which a private citizen’s cellphone video proved officers lied about an arrest, resulting in the acquittal of a young man accused of carrying a concealed firearm.

According to police reports after the arrest:

Deputy Levi Belville testified that he saw Gipson in the side yard run and toss a loaded revolver onto the roof of a detached garage. The deputy said he ordered Gipson to stop and that the suspect walked back to Belville, who then detained him.

However, the cellphone video depicted a very different chain of events:

The footage did not show Gipson running, tossing a gun or walking back to the deputies to be detained. Instead, the grainy video showed deputies arriving and walking past Gipson, who was standing against a wall of the house near the rear of the yard. One of the deputies, Raul Ibarra, returned to Gipson and escorted him to the back of the yard.

This new footage led to a change in the way the officers describe the events. This inconsistency in the officer’s testimony led jurors to acquit Gipson of the charges.

Jurors said they did not find Belville’s trial testimony credible and believed he changed his account of the arrest after being confronted with the video. They also questioned why a deputy with more than 10 years’ experience would walk past a man who had just thrown a gun without immediately detaining him or warning colleagues.

Even as police and governments around the country are fighting the practice of the public recording the actions of the police, stories like this show the power that such recordings have in administering a fair justice system. Without this video, the trial would have been based entirely on the officer’s testimony of events rather than on hard evidence.

I will close with a few words from Gipson himself in response to these events, “I never thought an officer would lie.”

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Comments on “Citizen Recording Of Police Proves Officer Lied About Arrest”

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69 Comments
Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Police are there to protect us, HA!

So why should any law be made or be allowed to be made that makes it illegal to video them in any situation doing their duty?

We are recorded all the time just living our normal lives. I can share over 10,000 links to police stopping people from video recording their actions in what should be a 100% (no grey area) legal situation.

Even at the height of the communist regime in Russia they didn’t arrest people most times. They just took the video recording device.

Why are we letting our country become a police state?

Just one example
http://www.teaparty.org/article.php?id=1247

Police should not feel any threat to being videoed nor should they be allowed to do anything they don’t want recorded.

The video from OccupyWallSt.org at http://youtu.be/jYaA-34c-vI just shows my point.

MrWilson says:

Re: Police are there to protect us, HA!

Any law against filming police or with the effect of making it illegal to film police should be considered a violation of the right to a fair trial. Everyone can potentially be charged with a crime, so having the ability to film what transpires when interacting with the police ensures that the truth can be preserved. Or do the law enforcement officers and their advocates publicly support the destruction of evidence?

S (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Police are there to protect us, HA!

Does smoking the evidence count as destroying it?

Anyone with some street knowledge knows that drugs seized are invariably used by the cops themselves with two exceptions: first, they keep just enough as evidence to ensure the highest-possible-degree conviction; second, when the seizure is too high-profile for them to get away with it.

I suppose a potential third exception is the apocryphal “honest cop”, but those are quickly identified and marginalized by their peers — the guy sitting there directing traffic or “overseeing” a road-closed blockade is usually some honest schmuck the corrupt cops want out of their way while they terrorize and exploit the general populace.

tc says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Police are there to protect us, HA!

Wow. Are you seriously implying that all cops use the drugs seized in drug arrests?

RIP reason.

The ‘net derp is strong in you.

For the record, I do believe that it’s wrong for any law to criminalize recordings of police officers as they perform their duties and tasks. They are public officials, paid by public taxes performing their job in public.

I also believe that the US is becoming a police state because people are allowing it in the name of safety, children, fighting terrorism or whatever.

However, the sort of idiocy you are spouting does not help anyone. In fact it makes it easier to shake off valid criticism of law enforcement because it gets drowned out by the moronic “all cops are corrupt” screaming.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Me too. No matter whether I agree with your position. In my country you will always be able to express it in any way that is non-violent. Yell, scream, talk through a bull-horn. I don’t care because that is your RIGHT as a citizen of the US.

Freedom of speech was such an important tenet of the idea in the creation of America they made it the first right!!!!!

First Amendment ? Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Anonymous Coward says:

Shit cops lie all the time I know this from experience with a cop in VA Beach who gave me a ticket right after he said he did not know how fast I was going, then testified in court that I was going 20 over the posted limit.

How many other time has this one cop lied?

How has this impacted the people that he lied about?

sehlat (profile) says:

From "Eight Keys to Eden"

The book was written in 1960 by Mark Clifton. Fifty years haven’t changed a thing, except now we have a shot at proving the lies.

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.

Daniel J. Lavigne (profile) says:

Re: From "Eight Keys to Eden"

sehlat offers: ” Fifty years haven’t changed a thing, except now we have a shot at proving the lies. “

True. But how many of you have spine sufficient to attempt to do so AND persevere until you KNOW that the change that must happen in America is underway?

Hint: How many of you have acted on your LAWFUL DUTY to refuse to support a society that would be party to the use of weapons of mass murder? (Hint: Read “The Nuremberg Principles”, to which America is a signatory and has signed a treaty to fully respect those Principles and that all of its citizens are similarly obliged to refuse to support a society that would be party to mass murder.)

Then, access “The Tax Refusal” and learn about your imprescriptible right and duty in such regard and GET BUSY doing what ALL Americans should have done so long ago. Rant over.

Now, have a look at something positive with regard to helping the poor, get involved and maybe, just maybe, win a prize for doing so.

Thank you.

Daniel J. Lavigne, Founder
MedicAngel?
http://www.MedicAngel.com

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Everyone lies

Liar!

Everyone lies, but few lie all the time.

I have a rule about how to tell when someone is trustworthy. Once I have a good idea about what things I can trust a person about and what things I can’t, I call them “trustworthy,” since nobody is a saint.

With most people, it’s doesn’t matter much whether I can trust them or not. Cops are different, though, because they have so much power that it’s dangerous to trust a cop when the trust is unwarranted. And unless I know the cop pretty well, I cannot trust them.

O. B. Server says:

a "throw down gun"

Police often keep an unregistered gun handy. If all else fails, they toss down the gun and then proceed to solemnly “explain” with a big, honest faces and lots of police jargon, that the “weapon” was found near the suspect – proving that the perp tried to draw/reach for it, and of course, deserves his fate. Often applied in situations when the suspect is killed, and goodly officers need a post-hoc excuse to have shot him. So voila! The “throw down gun”. Same old.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22throw+down+gun%22

pjcamp (profile) says:

officers lie all the time

I’ve been the victim of that in more petty ways. They’re intent on doing what is necessary to get the conviction. The question is what happens to them as a result? The answer is usually nothing. There are no real consequences for this sort of bad behavior because they are, after all, The Heroes (TM). The sad truth is that often, especially in small towns, the only thing separating police from perpetrators is that they managed to get through police training before being caught.

Jeff Rivett (profile) says:

Lying is part of every cop's bag of tricks

Anyone who is surprised when a cop lies just hasn’t been around cops very much. Cops’ lying is a natural reaction to how much lying they face every day from the people they normally deal with. Which is not to excuse it by any means. In fact, I feel that cops should be held to a much higher standard of behaviour than us ‘little people’ because of their position of trust and the fact that they have so much power over us. If a cop decides they don’t like you, they can – quite simply – destroy your life.

Anonymous Coward says:

What we need is a department that takes an active role in going after governmental agencies and employees that do something wrong.

We have departments that take an active role in going after citizens. The police department, the FBI, the CIA, etc… all dedicate their resources towards ‘going after’ and ‘serving’ citizens. None of them are dedicated to go after misbehaving government officials.

Sure, they can go after them, but that’s not their primary focus. Their primary focus is not to protect the citizens from its government.

The courts are designed to do this, but the courts role is passive. They only respond to lawsuits and allegations, they never initiate anything. and citizens often don’t have the resources to sue a government official or various government agencies.

We need a governmental agency that takes an active role in going after government crime and prosecuting it. It should ONLY be allowed to go after government officials and various government agencies, it should NEVER be allowed to go after regular citizens, because we have enough agencies that do that already. Allowing it to go after citizens would simply distract it from its primary focus, it should have no such authority to ever go after an ordinary citizen for anything. Only on-duty government officials and various government agencies.

The assumption, one that underlies our system, that an average government employee is somehow less likely to perform a criminal act than an average citizen needs to be scrutinized.

Thomas (profile) says:

It's the way..

it goes. The important thing for most cops is to catch criminals. Cops now tend to perceive all people defined in 3 classes: Cops, Criminals, and People who will become criminals in time.This is a huge change from 50-100 years ago when cops were there to help people.

Don’t forget that number of arrests and tickets are the way cops are rated for job performance. Helping people no longer counts.

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