NYPD Put Couple On 'Wanted' Poster For Videotaping Police

from the overreact-much? dept

We’ve had plenty of stories lately about police overreacting to people filming them — and multiple courts have ruled that filming the police is perfectly legal. Even the Justice Department has spoken out and warned police departments that they need to let the public photograph and video tape them if they want.

And yet, we keep hearing of new incidents of police going after people for filming them. Slashdot now points us to a story that takes that to a different level. It involves the NY Police Department creating a “wanted” poster for a couple who have been regularly filming them and posting the videos to a YouTube channel. While the poster did not technically say “wanted” it sure looked like a Wanted poster, and the couple worried that anyone who saw it would think they were sought for arrest. The poster did describe them as “professional agitators.”

After calling police about the posters, they were told that they had been taken down, but the police still have not explained why they created them in the first place.

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Comments on “NYPD Put Couple On 'Wanted' Poster For Videotaping Police”

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Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile) says:

Re: White Knighting - twice in one day - I'm tired

We already have The Pirate Party, MEP’s and local political officials. But We still need a president…
Pirate Mike for president – 2012 ?
Sounds like a good choice.

What’s it feel like to be on the wrong side of history, where pirates are proud and anti-pirates are shameful scum that hate culture ?
I probably “spun it wrong”
Spin it right and the Anti-pirates are proud, kind people.
cough…cough…not sneaky…cough…greedy bastards at all…cough…bullshit

iNB4 :
You might have better luck white knighiing if you had some armour. Or even just didn’t do it naked
Proof I am not naked, taken from my webcam.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Wow. Your unremitting truthiness has swayed me to your point of view. Even though your posts are filled with unsubstantiated accusations and drip with vitriol that would be better directed inward, you are definitely a force for justice and the American Way. Do you have a newsletter I can sign up for?

rallen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Professionally agitated?

I hate to say it, but the only things I’ve ever seen that affected police behavior, was having a seriously powerful state/federal authority breathing down their necks, ready to send them to “poke in the ass prison”, or really bad people with guns planting them in the ground. That’s it.

Law suites sometimes affect the politician leadership, but not always. It puts money in the pockets of the lawyers, who were or will be politicians themselves. They almost never actually affect the day-to-day operations of police officers. Any cop is quick to point out that the law that gets practiced in a courtroom usually has little relation to the law on the street. You can actually take that as gospel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Professionally agitated?

That would not matter.. They keep doing this and they keep getting sued. Why don’t they care? Simple they’re paying the lawsuits with TAX PAYERS MONEY.

They don’t get in trouble..
They don’t get fired..

Without some actual consequences that directly effects them this will never stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Professionally agitated?

I think I have a solution.
We need a bill that enacts new laws. We will call it the Civil Observation of Police Abuse or COPA for short.

The laws in this bill would be the following:

1) Citizens can stop and search police officers while on duty, to make sure they aren’t carrying anything they could use to plant evidence (e.g. drugs, a spare gun, etc.)

2) Citizens can place GPS trackers on police vehicles without a warrant.

3) Officers are to be fingerprinted and submit a DNA sample, which will be entered into a database maintained by the civilian community.

4) Officers are to go through a backscatter body scanner before entering another neighborhood.

5) In the event that officers will search a suspect’s property, officers will have to submit to a strip search and a cavity search before entering such property.

6) Any officer who is accused of terrorism by any person may be detained indefinitely in someone’s basement. Civilians are allowed to waterboard officers detained in this manner in order to obtain information.

7) 3 strikes plan: each time a civilian complains of an officer’s behavior, the officer will receive a formal notice, also known as a “strike”. After 3 strikes, the officer will be barred from carrying a weapon.

8) Officers or politicians who do not approve of this bill will be labeled child molesting terrorists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately, the poster would do more harm than good. Competent officers don’t need to be told not to attack people for taking pictures of them. Incompetent ones would think the poster was an actual wanted poster and head off to break into their house and beat them into submission.

Still, it’s a start. Needs to be generic, though. How about, “When people take your picture, smile and wave.”?

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:

“From what I can tell, the poster only states the street that they live in and warns the police to be careful in that area because these two people have a tendency to portray the police’s actions in a negative way.”

How in the name of all that’s holy is filming the EXACT actions of the police and posting them portraying the police actions “in a negative way?”

We need a new designation. Police State Apologist. We’ll call their messages PSA’s.

Travis H says:

Re: Re:

Yes, it did. Whoever posted this flyer (Likely a “Sgt. Nicholson” as he was listed as a point of contact for more information) needs to be properly punished. If it is Sgt. Nicholson, he needs to be immediately removed from the force for blatant abuse of authority, defamation, and suppression of Constitutional Rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

… needs to be immediately removed from the force for blatant…

Cop fighting to stay on force after conviction for felony assault.

?Convicted ‘kicking’ cop fights for job? by Tim White, WPRI, 5 Jul 2012:

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ? Convicted Lincoln Police Officer Edward Krawetz was a no-show on the first day of an administrative hearing to determine if he can continue to wear a badge.

The 12-year veteran of the force is fighting to keep his job after he was convicted of felony assault in March. The case is best known for video from a security camera at Twin River in Lincoln showing Krawetz kicking a handcuffed woman to the head.

Under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights… […more…]

Cop fighting to stay on force after conviction for felony assault??now that’s blatant.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Re: Re: Re: Hail the Sixth Amendment!

The 12-year veteran of the force is fighting to keep his job after he was convicted of felony assault in March. The case is best known for video from a security camera at Twin River in Lincoln showing Krawetz kicking a handcuffed woman to the head.

And there’s that handy Sixth Amendment again, which granted her defense the right to subpoena the security tape footage once they knew a camera was pointed at the area where the incident occurred.

Rabbit80 says:

Re: Re:

Translation – I ***’d out the numbers in the addresses and couldn’t make out Sgt Nicholsons cell number.

“Be aware that above subjects are known professional agitators that live at **5 West 1**th Street. Above subjects mo is that they video tape officers performing routine stops and post on Youtube. Subjects purpose is to portray officers in a negative way and too deter officers from conducting their responsibilities. Above subjects also deter officers from being safe and facticial by causing unnecessary distraction. Do not feed into above subjects propaganda.
Sgt Nicholson 30 Pct ??? cell ?-???-???-????”

robynwhatever (profile) says:


I can understand why the Police are camera shy, no video = no accusations of improper conduct etc. but unless we live in a secret police state and as long as the Police are public servants for Law and Order, they should be aired out. The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees every citizens right to free speech, not suppression or repression. The Police shouldn’t be so camera shy in our free country.

Violated (profile) says:

Well I don’t see a big problem in this story.

Their recordings were annoying the Police who decided to strike back at them. However this poster was unprofessional of the Police and it is good to see it was soon removed. The biggest issue here seems to be violating their privacy, including publishing their home address, then putting them at risk of assault due to the criminal looking theme.

We can learn from this that if you video the Police you may well get some objections. One can also wonder if recorded events can be seen in the correct context. So I can only feel that maybe the Police need to more welcome this community interest though some documentary like cooperation.

JBDragon says:

Re: Re:

I would see about Suing the Police!!!! The Police are Public Figures. We have every right to make sure they do their job correctly. You shouldn’t have anything to hide! On the other hand putting up what looks like a Wanted posted of people who did nothing at all wrong is a Invasion of Privacy!!! Posting there Address on it makes it even worse.

Put it this way, the Police don’t even put up posters of Child Molesters and their address up on posters!!! If anything that would be 1000 times more helpful to the people of the neighborhood!!!!

I can’t believe the police still have a problem with this when it gets thrown out of court in every case. But this is a new low of the police!!!

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Re: Amazing how the irony escapes them

“The poster did describe them as “professional agitators.” “

Ironic that policemen are getting paid to do this sort of thing.

I wonder if that poster might even be actionable. Calling someone a “professional agitator” who isn’t seems likely to qualify as defamation.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think this story shows why Techdirt gets things wrong.

When someone pirates something, it’s a “personal choice”. When someone takes a video, they are always working alone – with absolutely no agenda. Yet, when a single officer in a single precinct makes up a poster, it’s “the police” as a group who are broadbrushed.

“the police still have not explained why they created them in the first place.”

Why no identify who you spoke to? Why the broad grouping rather than the individualization? Oh wait, you want anyone in authority to be a cardboard cutout, a faceless operative of a large secretive group.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“when a single officer in a single precinct makes up a poster, it’s “the police” as a group who are broadbrushed.”

Absolutely, when the police don’t voluntarily take disciplinary action against this sort of behavior, on their own without public pressure, then they should get collectively blamed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…”the police” as a group who are broadbrushed…

Four Dozen Police Salute A Murderer

Nearly 50 Spokane police officers saluted convicted Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. in federal court as U.S. marshals led him away Friday, prompting Mayor Mary Verner and police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick to apologize for their actions.

A Yakima jury Wednesday convicted Thompson of using excessive force and lying to cover up his attack on 36-year-old Otto Zehm in 2006….

Some four dozen Spokane police officers and other supporters stood while someone yelled, ?Present arms.? The crowd then saluted Thompson; he smiled at the gesture and walked out, flanked by U.S. marshals, who had not placed him in handcuffs….

Of course, [former] Officer Karl Thompson wasn’t really convicted of murdering Otto Zehm. No, he just ?violated his civil rights?.

Immediately following Officer Karl Thompson’s conviction in connection with the brutal, videotaped beating death of Otto Zehm, Officer Karl Thompson served a weekend in jail. Then he was released. He has not yet been sentenced, and Officer Karl Thompson remains free on a signature bond.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…then they should get collectively blamed.

?Off-duty officers escort Sgt. Clifford out of jail? by Tim Blotz and Mike Durkin, KMSP, June 19, 2012

ANOKA, Minn. (KMSP) – Bail was set at $15,000 Tuesday morning for Minneapolis Police Sgt. David Clifford, the man accused of sucker-punching a Ramsey man for talking loud on his cell phone on a bar patio.


Prosecutors asked for $25,000 bail, citing concerns Clifford would be a flight risk. Judge Fredrickson noted Clifford has strong ties to the community, but was concerned about the seriousness of the allegations against him.

In making her case to Judge Fredrickson for a conditional release, Bass noted Clifford’s service as a Minneapolis SWAT team leader and refered to the presence of a number of off-duty ununiformed officers in the courtroom on his behalf. A half dozen of those men escorted him out of jail to the Goldberg Bail Bonds office accross the street.


This little escort incident reminded folks of the collective police salute for convicted officer Karl Thompson.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…when the police don’t voluntarily take disciplinary action…

?L.A. County sheriff’s official tells of jail brutality? by Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2012:

A former lieutenant says Capt. Daniel Cruz, head of the Men’s Central Jail, created an atmosphere of violence that encouraged misconduct and did not tolerate complaints.

The Los Angeles County sheriff’s captain who ran the Men’s Central Jail fostered a culture of brutality by protecting dishonest deputies and permitting his underlings to use excessive force on inmates, his former lieutenant alleged in testimony Friday.

Capt. Daniel Cruz even joked at the department’s annual Christmas party about hitting inmates, according to Michael Bornman, who is now a department captain. While toasting deputies at the party, Cruz allegedly asked a banquet hall-full of jailers: “What do I always tell you guys?”

In unison, Bornman said, the jail deputies ? many of whom were laughing ? responded “Not in the face.”

“That’s right,” Cruz replied, according to Bornman. “Not in the face.” Bornman said the slogan was an instruction to strike inmates on parts of the body where their blows wouldn’t leave marks.


Would it be ?disciplinary action? if someone was hit in the face?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Broad grouping? Funny you should mention that. The RIAA/MPAA have been using this to justify every single law and settlement demand that they’ve pushed out. Everyone is in some faceless pedomurderrorist organisation aimed at getting free music, movies, pornography and beer, which is why we need laws like SOPA so poor innocent CEOs can shutdown any attempt to parody or satirise them. It also hits the main demographics guilty of such anti-American behaviour the hardest – children, grandmothers, misnamed people, homeless people, disabled people, dead people, laser printers and iguanas.

You want everyone to be a dumb consumer at the behest of whatever laws the industry feels like dishing out, and the reckless enforcement of said laws. You broadbrush Techdirt. Why can’t people broadbrush people? Or do you have some super-special-secret patent and copyright on broadbrushing?

Michael says:

I think that a lot of the videotaping of police in NYC is encouraged indirectly by their ‘stop and frisk’ policy. Asking people at random to submit to a search is unconstitutional and works to eliminates trust between law enforcement and the public who pay their salaries. It also raises serious concerns about racial profiling.

Putting up a poster of people along with their names and addresses simply for videotaping the police while on duty is a thinly-veiled threat to others to dissuade them from performing the same actions. Apparently it’s A-OK when law enforcement and businesses do surveillance, including accessing over 1.3 million mobile phones without user consent, but not when a citizen does it to a cop.

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