Boston Pays $170,000 To The Guy Police Arrested For Filming Them

from the don't-mess-with-the-first-amendment dept

Last summer, we wrote about a huge ruling in an appeals court concerning a guy, Simon Glik, who was arrested by Boston police for filming them as they arrested someone else. The court not only found that the arrest was a clear violation of the 1st and 4th Amendments, but that since police should have known the arrest was bogus, following through with it was a civil rights violation for which they could be liable for damages. Because of that, the city has now paid Glik $170,000 to settle the case he filed against them. Not surprisingly, the Boston Police also indicate that they’re working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again — because it could get costly.

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Comments on “Boston Pays $170,000 To The Guy Police Arrested For Filming Them”

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Paul Hobbs (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Rather than being disappointed by this, rejoice! Think of it as the taxpayers paying for the system to do its job, and hopefully police will now think twice before arresting someone just for filming them.

Better to pay one person $170,000 and prevent similar cases in the future than to have many folks being arrested because the cops got away with it once.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Good for him.

There’s no incentive to…

It’s great that this money is coming out of the budget but who is considering the next few steps at where the city is going to come up with this money?

The officer wasn’t fired.
The prosecutors may have lost, but this will come out of taxes.

And you still have no training in the law enforcement offices regarding this arrest.

There are more losers here than anything.

Aaron T (profile) says:

taxpayers on the hook

So the *taxpayers* are out $170K. Trying to figure out why the Boston PD has any real incentive to change… clearly bad publicity isn’t enough to fix problems in Oakland or Los Angeles, so I don’t see how a fine to a tax funded government entity would change things.

Now if there cops in question were held liable for their actions, that would seem to actually change things, but it seems highly unlikely that the DA would dare to prosecute them in todays political climate.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: taxpayers on the hook

If the problem is fixed early, I’m happy to just stick the department with liability rather than the officers.

If, somehow this were to go far enough as to stop potential officers from becoming officers, then we end up with a different problem.

Sure I am willing to stick the liability to individual officers AND the department, if real bodily harm or death occurs.

As it is, the department, now, seems to be doing the right thing to prevent this from happening.

Even though not binding on many other police departments, it may be a signal to them to better train their officers as well.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: taxpayers on the hook

“Sure I am willing to stick the liability to individual officers AND the department, if real bodily harm or death occurs.”

So violating someones rights, and false imprisonment, because there was no bodily injury is not cause for punishment?

I always see this:
“Not surprisingly, the Boston Police also indicate that they’re working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again — because it could get costly.” – Not because it is the right thing to do.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: taxpayers on the hook

I didn’t say no punishment. But not something that could end a career or financially ruin someone.

Yeah an arrest and violating the guy’s rights is terrible. And I’m glad he won. I would be horrified if he lost. But it sounds like the department is fixing the problem.

And the really bad officers who break the law in ways that result in bodily harm, yes they should be severely punished. Also, I do think officers should be held to a higher standard.

> Not because it is the right thing to do.

If the financial penalty fixes it, that’s better than nothing.

Hopefully the penalty was just the wake up call to make them recognize that it is the right thing to do.

DCX2 says:

Go after their pension

Instead of putting the taxpayers on the hook for $170k, why not penalize the pensions of every single person involved who allowed this to happen, from the officers on up through the DA that allowed the charges to go to trial.

Punish them in a way that will impact them and watch how fast they change their attitude.

FSK (user link) says:

Who Pays The Fine?

The fine isn’t paid by the policemen who broke the law. It’s paid by the general tax fund. It’s paid by the other taxpayers.

It’s pointless to sue the government, when a government employee does something wrong. The fine isn’t paid by the people who broke the law. It’s paid by the other taxpayers.

There’s no incentive for police and bureaucrats to obey the law. Even when they do get caught doing something wrong, the fine is paid by the general tax fund, and not the people who broke the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who Pays The Fine?

The problem is that police departments have Internal Affairs Divisions that are SUPPOSED to investigate and reprimand officers that act outside of the law. Often times they simply go through the motions and simply pass a “Move along. Nothing to see here.” sort of action in an effort to “protect their own”. If these officers cost the city enough money it will force the Internal Affairs Divisions to actually DO THEIR JOB instead of white-washing the misconduct of officers that abuse their power.

Anonymous Coward says:

So what disciplinary action was taken...

…against the public servants who knowingly and falsely arrested an innocent man?

Surely they must have been fired and blacklisted from public service for life: there’s no way people this brutal, this ignorant, this vicious, this absolutely clueless should be allowed to carry a gun and a badge.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Here's Another One

“Las Vegas police agree to pay $100,000 to beaten videographer” from the Mar. 21, 2012 edition of Las Vegas Review Journal.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reports: “The Metropolitan Police Department has agreed to pay $100,000 to a Las Vegas man who said he was beaten by an officer as he shot video from his driveway. … As Colling was driving away, he stopped his car, got out and approached Crooks. … He ordered Crooks to stop filming, and when Crooks refused, Colling beat him, according to the lawsuit.”

Thomas (profile) says:

Won't stop it..

The cops stil believe they have full right to stop anyone from photographing or videotaping them. They want to avoid another “Rodney King” incident by the simple expedient of making videotape of the incident not allowed in court.

I go to Boston now and then and I am very careful to avoid going anywhere near the cops. I don’t photograph/videotape the cops, don’t use drugs, don’t steal, and yet I avoid them like the plague. Boston cops are not to be trusted. Part of the problem is they have to deal with such serious criminals that it’s hard for them not to descend to the criminal level themselves.

F! says:

Re: Video works both ways

I totally agree. A helmet-cam on every cop, which has time & date stamp, GPS cordinates, officer’s name & badge number in the corner of the screen, streamed live to publicly accessible internet in hd. Also archived online no later than 24 hours later, in a database searchable by date, name, badge number, location, etc.

In the case of stalking/initiating a surprise raid, live streaming could be disabled temporarily, but available in archives immediately following.

This would protect the good cops and weed out the bad ones. Win-win.

Chris says:

Re: Re: Video works both ways

Yes, and a lot of departments do stuff like this. But, does anybody recall a recent case where a defendant made a request for said video and suddenly it couldn’t be found? Do you see the problem with leaving it up to the cops to do the taping? In particular case I believe the defendant was able to prove that the cops destroyed the evidence. The judge did his usually thing of reprimanding the cops but I don’t think anyone was punished. That would require the defendant to file a civil case, and like I commented above, their is a huge financial risk in doing so for the average citizen which pretty much guarantee?s the legal system won’t do it’s job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sad to see tax payers go this way, but it also puts pressure on the police to change its way or have the laws changed so they can start doing it legally.

That 170K will come from somewhere and the entire force could be punished, the government pockets are not what they used to be and they don’t have that kind of money anymore lying around, the little that is left is going to pet projects and others pockets, so I see this as positive, because I doubt the city will have the balls to increase taxes to make up for it.

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