If You're Going To Illegally Seize Citizens' Cell Phones, At Least Make Sure You're Grabbing The Right Ones

from the all-officers-involved-are-ordered-to-attend-'Remedial-Rights-Infringement dept

When cops behave badly, many suddenly develop an acute case of unconstitutional stage fright, often resulting in the immediate confiscation of any cameras/cell phones in the vicinity. If it’s going to come down to “our word against yours,” it helps immensely to have any contradictory “words” spirited away by Narrative Control, a branch of law enforcement that handles all cop “publicity rights,” as well as providing new interpretations and reimaginings of existing statutes.

Sometimes it works. The offending footage vanishes into the ether, resulting in a narrative standoff between the Upstanding (if Overenthusiastic) Officer of the Law and the Obviously Crazy and Dangerous Person Who Should Really Be Doing a Little Hard Time.

Other times, the smash-and-grab fails, and the citizens retain their footage, providing a more rounded narration that often reverses the roles. (Upstanding [if Overenthusiastic] Citizen v. Obviously Crazy and Dangerous Law Enforcement Officer Who Really Shouldn’t be Allowed to Abuse Anything Other Than a Demeaning Desk Job.)

Sometimes, though, the (attempted) confiscation of offending footage results in a surprising amount of schadenfreude. These moments occur altogether too infrequently, but when they do, a good time is had by all not attempting to confiscate damning footage.

First off, via Photography is not a Crime, comes the brief but surprisingly satisfying story of bullying tactics backfiring.

New York City police officers arrested a woman who was video recording them from a public sidewalk as they conducted some type of “vehicle safety checkpoint.”

The officers apparently stole a memory card from a camera, which turned out to be the wrong one, allowing us to view the video.

In the Youtube description, under the headline, “You stole the wrong SD card,” Christina Gonzalez said her boyfriend was also arrested.

“We were arrested while filming an NYPD checkpoint on a bridge between a soon to be gentrified Bronx and a quickly gentrifying Harlem. We were charged with OGA, DisCon, and resisting arrest. I was holding a bag of yarn in one hand and a canvas in the other. My partner had food in his hands when he was tackled. Even though their violent actions were unjust, we did not resist. Simultaneous with our “arrests”, the checkpoint was closed down.

We were held for 25 hours.”

If you’ll notice, both principals were charged with OGA (Obstructing Governmental Administration), in addition to the usual cop standbys, disorderly conduct and (of course) resisting arrest. The thing is, they weren’t obstructing anything, at least not according to the NYPD’s own Patrol Guide.

a. A person remaining in the vicinity of a stop or arrest shall not be subject to arrest for Obstructing Governmental Administration (Penal Law, Section 195.05) unless the officer has probable cause to believe the person or persons are obstructing governmental administration.

b. None of the following constitutes probable cause for arrest or detention of an onlooker unless the safety of officers or other persons is directly endangered or the officer reasonably believes they are endangered or the law is otherwise violated:

(1) Speech alone, even though crude and vulgar
(2) Requesting and making notes of shield numbers or names of officers
(3) Taking photographs, videotapes or tape recordings
(4) Remaining in the vicinity of the stop or arrest

Even if they were doing all of the above, it still wouldn’t add up to OGA. So, that’s a BS charge, as is the “resisting arrest,” but the latter seems to be tacked on to any arrest that occurs without any real crime being committed. It’s an offshoot of “contempt of cop, ” which basically means that not immediately shutting up and doing what you’re told is the same as resisting arrest.

Among all the fake crimes, a real crime did take place — an NYPD officer (allegedly) stole a memory card, most likely in hopes of “detaining” the offending footage permanently. But he grabbed the wrong one and now the actions of these officers is on public display and spreading around the web.

That’s illegal seizure FAIL #1. The second story comes courtesy of a lawsuit filed against the Galveston (Texas) police department. It starts out ordinarily enough. (Sidebar: there’s something horribly wrong with the system if I can state something is “ordinary” and have it contain the following events.)

Jarrett Anthony Neu sued Galveston in Federal Court.

Neu claims that Galveston police arrested him at 4:45 p.m. on March 11, without a warrant, at a Galveston apartment complex. He claims they lied about it in the police report. He claims they subjected him not only to threats, intimidation, insult and humiliation, but severe and cruel physical abuse and punishment by both physical beating and the repeated unnecessary and unwarranted deployment of a less-than-lethal Taser weapon on plaintiff. Plaintiff, who suffers from a pre-existing cardiac ailment, suffered permanent and debilitating injuries as well as permanent disfigurement and scarring at the hands of these police officers.

Someone should get rid of that “less-than-lethal” modifier attached to “Taser.” It’s been proven multiple times that it can be lethal, if deployed against a person with the “right” ailments or simply deployed repeatedly until the arrestee has sufficiently “stopped resisting.” (In these cases, the word “resisting” is often interchangeable with the word “breathing.”)

At some point during this “exchange of viewpoints” (or whatever the correct PD terminology is), the police noticed an impartial observer was recording the whole thing for posterity. So, they made the usual move to responsibly collect all evidence, especially the damning kind.

During this police administered beating, officers realized that a citizen was filming the beating via cell phone and the officers involved without a legal reason seized (the wrong) cell phone.

E for effort, guys. You almost had it. And without a warrant! Now, the Galveston PD has a cell phone, but the plaintiff’s lawyer has the cell phone.

Counsel for plaintiff has the cell phone that recorded the beating.

It would be nice to think the Galveston PD is kicking themselves for blowing a simple, illegal seizure of someone’s phone, but if the plaintiff’s story is anything to go by, they’re probably kicking someone else.

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Comments on “If You're Going To Illegally Seize Citizens' Cell Phones, At Least Make Sure You're Grabbing The Right Ones”

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94 Comments
Christopher Best (profile) says:

Meanwhile, in DC....

Members of Congress are SERIOUSLY CONCERNED about the sort of privacy implications people wearing internet connected cameras on their faces will have…

F. That.

The only way to fight back against abuse of power in America is documenting it. Pervasive surveillance of Big Brother.

Let the camera lens be a Fair Witness.

Rick Smith (profile) says:

Re: Meanwhile, in DC....

I have to agree. I believe that ALL people involved in any type of security work (police, private, military used in any capacity domestically, etc) should be required to were a device that records (audio and video) everything they do during their working shift.

This data should be retained for a minimum of 2 years and any person involved in any type of incident with the officer should be able to request copies of any of the records. And not just the ones they are involved with, any, in order to establish typical behavior of the person.

Additionally, if we are talking about a person that has to the ability to arrest someone, then a complete unedited copy of the the arrest must be submitted with the arrest. Failure to comply is an automatic acquittal for the arrestee and an automatic 30 day suspension (without pay) for the arresting person(s). And the punishment should increase if it continues until they are eventually terminated and put onto a list that prevents them from being employed an in position that allows them to arrest ever again.

Harsh and invasive? Yes, but that is because it just doesn’t seem like you can really trust any of these people any longer. Maybe you never could and technology has just awoken the public, but I certainly do not feel like these are the groups that I was taught to always respect and trust as a child.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes it seems she did go out to passively annoy where they should have really just told her to back off (if not f**k off).

It also seems to me that if a device has two SD cards then one of them is a clear decoy. This is a nice addition to fight unlawful seizure but clearly this is a sign that she aimed to get arrested.

With all that said she did not do anything wrong when she did not interfere in their work. I am quite sure that upholding the law does not involve charging people with false crimes when they could have handled her in a more social way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree, a lot of the people who record this stuff make their presence known and they make it obvious the cops are being recorded before the footage reaches the public. Just like with that last case where the cops confiscated camera footage and it got deleted.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130512/20494523050/bakersfield-ca-law-enforcement-follow-up-beating-possibly-intoxicated-man-to-death-seizing-witnesses-cell-phones.shtml

Supposedly it might be turned over to the FBI but the truth is, unless we put pressure for any cops responsible for doing anything wrong to be proportionally disciplined (proportional to how a normal citizen would be disciplined if they did the same thing, but a cop should, if anything, be more strictly disciplined) with jail time, fines, paying damages to the family, etc… chances are this thing will continue to stall and, after everyone forgets about it, nothing might be done.

But the fault lies with those making the recordings. One person calls the cops and tells them of the recording. The cops should have been notified of the footage only after it was available for all to see. People need to be smarter about this stuff and to be aware that, while you (should) have a right to record, reality doesn’t always work that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just like with that last case where the cops confiscated camera footage and it got deleted.

This Bakersfield situation is really bothering me.

The new attorney for the witnesses, Rodriguez, claims their expert didn’t find anything.

A forensic analysis of the second cellphone owned by Melendez proved to be no help, Rodriguez said. While it may have been possible to gather more information on another type of phone, the attorney said his expert was unable to determine whether any video had existed on Melendez?s phone the morning of Silva?s death.

Now, maybe it’s just ’cause I went to a good school, and have gotten to know some really sharp people, but I gotta wonder what kind of ?expert? couldn’t pull anything off of flash memory.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

On many phones it is not a SD card you can simply pop into a computer and duplicate the raw partition. You would have to desolder the flash chip to duplicate the data.

And no matter which method, you are counting on being lucky that the phone’s operating system did not reuse the same region of flash memory for something else. If it is deleted, the space occupied by the file is now fair game for reuse by the operating system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

exactly, if the memory has been overwritten, you would probably be unable to pull anything off. and overwriting the memory isn’t necessarily that difficult.

The phone should have never been forcefully seized before the person had a chance to make the information available to the press. For this alone the cops should be assumed guilty and they should be punished as if they were guilty of whatever it was the footage allegedly conceals. Police need to know that concealing evidence is no laughing matter and that they will be severely punished even if they are only found to have done something suspicious that suggests they may have concealed evidence. They should avoid doing suspicious activity like this altogether.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Which negates nothing. Even from your article

“Securely deleting a file is typically a tradeoff of
thoroughness (number of passes) and performance (time)”

The fact still remains, it’s impossible to recover an infinite amount of information. These people had a relatively long time to delete information, it would be relatively easy for them to delete it beyond reasonable recovery.

Wrongfully confiscating the evidence before the public had a chance to see it puts my ability to see it in the future at the mercy of law enforcement. For all I know they could have burned the original flash drive and gave the feds another just like it. Not to mention I have no idea if I can trust the feds.

As far as I am concerned the information went into a black hole, into the hands of law enforcement, the very suspects here. The public may never get access to the original flash drive again and anything law enforcement (the feds, the cops, etc…) say is automatically suspect.

My ability to uncover the truth should not have ever been put at their mercy. The person who shot the footage should have been allowed to keep it and make it publicly available. Law enforcement prevented this and for that they should be punished worse than if they were guilty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

and even if the flash drive is returned to the original owner I have no clue if it was the original returned and even if it was the original they easily had enough time to ensure that all data is lost. I am at the mercy of the feds here, I am at the mercy of their word, and that angers me to no end because it should have never happened that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Four of the witnesses have criminal histories. Melissa and Sulina Quair’s convictions for welfare fraud are especially damning because they involve dishonesty.

Otoh, if forensic analysis of the cellphone can establish that a video did probably exist on Maria Melendez’s cellphone, then we can look at when exactly it might have been deleted. And who might have deleted it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

In most of those cases the witnesses were acting self interested and were a party to their own fraud. In this case the witnesses are more neutral parties regardless of their backgrounds, unless they are connected to the person who allegedly got beaten (or the police). Four witnesses, that’s quite a bit.

“if forensic analysis of the cellphone can establish”

So I am

A: At the mercy of forensic analysis, which is a hit and miss thing.

B: At the mercy of those doing the analysis, the FBI, the police, etc… to be honest about their findings, assuming they are even honest about investigating anything. They all represent the same party, the government, and are all are a potential conflict of interest.

Or, the cell phone could have been kept with the person who allegedly shot the footage and, if there was footage, it could have been made public. The police prevented that. I am now at their mercy. This was true the moment the cell phone left the possession of the person who allegedly shot the footage. That by itself should be enough to warrant punishment, enough punishment to deter future confiscations like this even in cases where guilt occurred.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

I don’t care. What happened here is an injustice. They took the recording device and now they can’t provide me with sufficient evidence (the footage) necessary to prove their innocence. They should be presumed guilty until proven innocent and the burden of proof of their innocence needs to be high, as in providing me with footage. They’re guilty and I want murder convictions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

It should be unlawful for them to be able to confiscate evidence without providing substantial evidence that they didn’t tamper with it. The confiscation of the evidence should be recorded and the evidence should have very carefully been in the sight of a camera the entire time it was in the possession of the police with everything on the screen and all buttons pressed and the possession of any memory cards being within the range of camera until the phone is returned to its rightful owner. The footage of how the phone was handled needs to be made public. If there is even a second that the phone was not within the range of the footage, even the slight possibility that an object may have been switched (ie: one memory card with another), then murder conviction should be an automatic. Upon wrongfully confiscating evidence, when cops are a suspect, their guilt needs to be absolved with substantial proof. It’s too late now for them to provide that proof, it’s too late for anyone to provide that proof at this point. They have failed to provide the necessary proof of their innocence unless they can in fact turn up that footage and it proves their innocence which, it seems, doesn’t seem to be the case. They are guilty and I want murder convictions. Anything short of that is an outrageous injustice. I WANT MURDER CONVICTIONS!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:16 Re:

They had all these cops in the same area and not one of them had a close up camera of their own (ie: a car cam) recording this whole event? Yet they thought they could get away with taking someone elses camera unlawfully? If they really needed footage they should have had their own cameras recording the whole thing. Before taking anyone elses footage they had better make sure they have footage and enough evidence to prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. It is their responsibility. They failed here. There is no good reason they could not have had their own cameras, after all, they record us and provide footage when it’s to their advantage. They wrongfully took someone elses footage and failed to provide the necessary evidence to absolve them of guilt. I want murder convictions. It should be an automatic. No legal technicality can change the injustice it would be not to sentence them to murder.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:17 Re:

The cops put themselves in a very suspect situation and took absolutely no responsibility upon themselves to prove their innocence (ie: by providing their own footage) after killing someone. But they are quick to provide footage when it’s advantageous to them. and now they expect me to just accept their innocence. No no no no, it doesn’t work that way. I want murder convictions. This is an outrage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

and I have been purposely ignoring the evidence that did make it through.

http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/newly-released-video-allegedly-shows-fight-between-intoxicated-man-and-law-enforcement

This evidence certainly doesn’t absolve their guilt. No, it proves it. But even without this camera, there should be enough evidence otherwise to assume their guilt. The cameras being confiscated should result in even far more punishment than what they would otherwise receive even in the absence of the evidence that did leak out. That alone is intolerable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:16 Re:

and that footage right there shows exactly why when cops forcefully confiscate potential evidence of their wrongdoing and they themselves don’t/can’t provide the evidence to prove their innocence, they should be assumed guilty. Otherwise people like you would keep claiming they are innocent because their guilt can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That shouldn’t matter. They should be presumed guilty even if their guilt can’t be proven just based on the fact that they confiscated potential evidence potentially supporting their guilt and they failed to provide any evidence proving their innocence. That their guilt can’t be proven (assuming the absence of the above footage that did leak) is irrelevant.

The fact that the phone was forcefully taken and no footage released from it should presume guilt. I don’t want a forensic circus telling me that nothing happened. I want murder convictions. and I want huge penalties for the wrongful confiscation of evidence. I want it to be assumed that evidence proving their guilt was destroyed since no evidence proving their innocence was provided. The cops failed to provide it, they failed to bring their own cameras and they failed to provide the evidence from the confiscated camera of their innocence and the footage that did leak didn’t absolve them of guilt, it proved their guilt (the earlier is important, the later is not since their guilt should be presumed unless proven otherwise). I want convictions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You misunderstood me. The person making the recordings didn’t do anything illegal or morally wrong but they did do something unwise by trusting that the police officers would do the right thing once notified of the situation and that’s why it’s their fault. It was their fault for not ensuring that the video was on the Internet before notifying the police. The results of all this once the cops got a hold of incriminating evidence against them were very predictable, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence which, when cops do it, is perfectly OK (just not when citizens do it).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It was their fault that the public never got to see the video because they didn’t do what they needed to do to ensure that the video reached the public. Since the police destroyed evidence the law should assume they are guilty of whatever it is they may have attempted to cover up. The law should not be easy on them for destroying evidence, they should be punished even more than what they would have been punished had they not destroyed any evidence and turned out guilty. and the people must demand it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Since the police destroyed evidence the law should assume they are guilty

Right now, we don’t know that this alleged video ever existed on the phone. We have the new attorney, Rodriguez, telling us that he doesn’t know, and his expert doesn’t know.

On the one side of the ledger, we have?

In the video released Monday, the second phone ostensibly held by Melendez is visible at least twice, with a lighted screen showing an image.

While it?s probably impossible to determine whether video was being recorded at the time, it seems clear by the way the phone is held upright that the user is attempting to record video.

On the other side of the ledger, we have the change in representation. I don’t know why the old attorney for the witnesses, John Tello, is no longer representing them. Maybe everyone felt that Rodgriguez could do a better job.

Or maybe, just maybe, Tello caught a whiff of something he didn’t like, and didn’t want to be anywhere near putting perjury on the stand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Or maybe this whole thing could be a circus to cover something up, who knows.

Or John Tello could wind up as a witness.

“When I arrived to the home of one of the witnesses that had video footage, she was with her family sitting down on the couch, surrounded by three deputies,” Tello said.

Tello said the witness was not allowed to go anywhere with her phone and was being quarantined inside her home.

When Tello tried to talk to the witness in private and with the phone, one of the deputies stopped him and told him he couldn’t take the phone anywhere because it was evidence to the investigation, the attorney said.

(source: Californian)

Kind of unfortunate when someone’s attorney gets called to testify. Does John Tello have his own personal attorney? Or is Rodriguez representing him too?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

You’re not making any sense. Why would Tello need an attorney for doing nothing wrong? You still have done nothing to absolve the police of guilt and, if anything, your post supports their guilt.

What’s suspicious here is the fact that the phone was being quarantined until the cops had a chance to get a hold of it and erase evidence potentially incriminating them before any potential information leaked. That’s unacceptable. Given the current circumstances it would unjustly violate rule utility principles not to convict these police officers with murder. If we as a society do not convict police officers with murder under these circumstances then we have made it advantageous to guilty police officers under these circumstances to get a hold of evidence and either destroy it or put it through some investigative circus (ie: the FBI forensic analysis circus) than for them to allow the person shooting the footage to publicly release copies. No, we as a society should, as a rule, discourage this sort of unacceptable behavior (of wrongfully confiscating potentially incriminating evidence) and punish these police officers presuming their guilt. Anything less is an outrageous injustice. I want murder convictions. I want future cops to know that, under these circumstances, you better not take any evidence potentially incriminating you unless you first have very good evidence supporting your innocence (video footage). Some forensic analysis circus doesn’t count. This is an outrage. I want convictions here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

You do not, under any circumstances, murder someone and then take the footage to hide your guilt. That’s what the cops did here. Those recording the footage had no reason to lie. The cops forcefully took the footage because they knew darn well they were guilty. They should be responsible for having strong evidence (footage) proving their innocence and they failed to provide any. They took what they thought was the only incriminating footage against them (though they failed, apparently) and destroyed it. It would violate rule utility principles to just let them get away with this. As a rule we as a society need to make it known that, under these circumstances, cops have a huge burden to prove their innocence, a burden they have failed to meet. Otherwise future cops will have no problems doing the same thing. I want convictions. What the cops did here is wrong. They should be presumed guilty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Even if, as you said, the cops are innocent, which is highly unlikely, for them to put themselves in a situation where my ability to uncover the truth is at their mercy is unacceptable and warrants the presumption of guilt until proven innocent. Anything less is unjust. The moment the cops took the potentially incriminating evidence against them my ability to uncover the truth rests at their mercy. They can claim the footage never existed, though that’s very very unlikely. There is no good reason this person would lie about the footage they shot. They can essentially do what they want, some bogus forensic analysis circus could all be fabricated, and my ability to uncover the truth rests at their mercy. We, as a society, should as a rule presume guilt under these circumstances unless innocence is proven. Anything less encourages future cops to wrongfully take evidence potentially incriminating them and makes it advantageous for cops to do so. Unacceptable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

(That is, my ability to uncover the truth behind a potential murder rests at the mercy of the very suspects of murder thanks to the actions of those suspected who took the potential evidence. The very suspects of murder have taken it upon themselves to steal the alleged evidence convicting them of murder. Once that alleged evidence is in the possession of those suspects those suspects need to be presumed guilty until proven innocent. They now hold the burden of proving their innocence).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

(and the above mostly applies to cops, not necessarily everyone under all circumstances but certainly cops who, as people charged to deal with criminal situations, do have a responsibility of avoiding actions that could make them potential suspects by, for example, providing their own footage proving their innocence in cases that they confront someone and may need to defend themselves. They failed here, they haven’t substantiated their innocence. Under the current circumstances it would violate rule utility principles not to convict them of murder).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not that I support what the cops did, but it looks like they weren’t paying any attention to her until she started being a bitch.

Sorry, but ‘being a bitch’ is covered by freedom of speech. John Adams was a total bitch, he was a mouthy bastard who was obnoxious and disliked even by his friends, but especially hated by the Loyalists and Tories who comprise TPTB. The mouthy bastards of the world are the best ones to make the world a better place because they are so angry at injustice that it kinda makes ’em crabby, so they do the work to make things better. This is an American tradition.

The cops are supposed to protect and serve even people who are bitches. They’re supposed to know how to handle it, because they’re professionals who have been trained in interfacing properly with the public, even members of the public who do not like the police (often for good reasons, such as being good citizens who keep getting targeted by racial profilers, which can be very frustrating.)

When the bitches are properly shut-the-fuck-up, the rest of us suffer.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

I’m so sick to death of these morons and their desire to provoke police officers while they are doing their jobs. While I believe the police officers went too far overboard, I’m just sick of these so-called self-righteous “copper groupies” who are only out for one thing, and that is to antagonize these officers for doing their jobs.

While there are some circumstances of police brutality that videotaping does catch, this lady filming this is a complete moron. When you come across a best of bees, do you poke the bees nest to get a response? Hell no, you don’t.

Exactly what are you benefiting from by filming police officers? Are you a groupie? Then, join the police force. I’m certain you wouldn’t want police officers filming you while you are in your yard or inside your home. These are nothing more than attention seeking idiots who are looking to provoke the police into doing something that they don’t normally do.

Notice in the video how the lady filming it approaches the cop and asks “what happened”, to which the officer responds to her to go away. These officers didn’t react to her until she started approaching these cops. This lady is nothing more than a nuisance which the cops only reacted after the lady started to interfere with their jobs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“I’m certain you wouldn’t want police officers filming you while you are in your yard or inside your home.”

I wouldn’t. But they weren’t in their yards or inside their homes. They were in a public place in the course of their “duties.” If we can be filmed in public and have no expectation of privacy, then neither do they. There is no special privilege of privacy just because they are police officers.

If they weren’t doing anything wrong, then what exactly did they have to hide? That’s the real issue here.

DP says:

Re: Re:

Since when has been illegal to be an idiot or a nuisance? The fact remains that there was nothing illegal going on, even if the female did bait the police more than she should have. The police should be trained to handle harassment, without having to resort to trumped-up charges and/or theft and/or assault in retaliation.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

These officers in this video should be commended for the restraint they showed and only reacted after the young lady who was filming them decide to make her presence known by approaching the officer and then trying to interfere with his job.

Plus, the young lady who has filmed this has a history of provoking police officers, as has been noted on her own youtube channel by other youtube commenters.

She was deliberately looking to get arrested by the police.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m not able to view video at work. Did she interfere with the arrest? If not, and no laws were broken, she’s legally permitted to be as much a bitch and verbal antagonist as she wants.

However as one astute poster put earlier.. “reality doesn’t always work that way.”

Cops needs to be held to a higher standard of conduct than the public, because they have the guns and the authority to use them, and all the get-out-of-jail-free card. While plenty of “resisting arrest” arrests would seem to prove otherwise, berating a cop is not against the law, nor should it be.

Frankly, I think a whole mess of cops need to take some of those “fuck you fascist”s to heart.

McCrea (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I’m not able to view video at work”

She was fine at the start, but when she “paced” (walked along with) the male and then the female officer it was spooky behavior. Then she confronted them.

The cop asked her to stand “down there” rather than the 5 feet away she was when she was argumentatively questioning them. (Her first question was possibly legitimate, and she got a sufficient answer to it “Safety check”. Her second question “who’s safety is in danger” was subjectively argumentative. She refused to move and refused to give her ID.

I’m quite good here with the cops, again. I should have to recommend that a watcher stand at least 20 feet away (30 would be better), not pace around the cops, and not harass them with rhetorically questions, and lastly comply when the ask you to move away.

In this case, it might be sufficient to be concise. “She confronted the cops. She shouldn’t have.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

NYPD’s own Patrol Guide.

b. None of the following constitutes probable cause for arrest or detention of an onlooker unless the safety of officers or other persons is directly endangered or the officer reasonably believes they are endangered or the law is otherwise violated:

(1) Speech alone, even though crude and vulgar
(2) Requesting and making notes of shield numbers or names of officers
(3) Taking photographs, videotapes or tape recordings
(4) Remaining in the vicinity of the stop or arrest

You assert, ?she was argumentatively questioning them.? But isn’t that covered under points (1) and (2)?

You say, ?I should have to recommend that a watcher stand at least 20 feet away (30 would be better)? but isn’t that covered under point (4)?

You say, ?In this case, it might be sufficient to be concise. ?She confronted the cops. She shouldn’t have.??? and you didn’t add, ?and she’s lucky she didn’t get her head bashed in with a baton.?

AB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Precisely. Under normal circumstances (like back when police simply did their jobs) I might have ignored the officers actions simply because she really did ‘deserve what she got’. But I can’t believe the officer isn’t aware of all the camera issues and false arrests lately, and that means he needed to obey the law despite her provocation. Also, from a purely professional point of view, he should have simply continued to ignore her. Just as she was within her rights to be obnoxious, he was also within his rights to ignore her. Eventually she would have either given up and left or crossed the line and physically interfered (however trivially) with their work. Then – and only then – would he have had the right to act as he did. With the added bonus that the video would have supported him rather then her.

Like it or not, the police need to get over their collective camera phobia and get on with doing their jobs in a serious and professional manner. That would be the quickest and easiest way to put this whole camera thing behind us.

Btw, I wouldn’t like having her follow me around with her camera and attitude either, but if I turned around and punched her as quickly as the officer reacted, I would end up sitting in a jail cell for assault. It would take a LOT more provocation then that to make it justifiable. Is it really that unreasonable to expect an on-duty police officer to have even greater self control then an ordinary civilian?

Dreddsnik says:

Re: Re: Re:

” I’m not able to view video at work. Did she interfere with the arrest? If not, and no laws were broken, she’s legally permitted to be as much a bitch and verbal antagonist as she wants. “

No, she didn’t. But it is pretty clear the cops were ignoring her. Apparently that wasn’t the reaction the videographer wanted, so she began to pester them. Yes, Yes she didn’t break the law but it seems pretty clear that her intent was to get as close to the line as possible without going over in order to get arrested. We hate it when music and movie industry lawyers game the system for personal profit. This person seems to be doing the same thing. that only makes it harder for those who legitimated just want a record of the event that won’t disappear.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re:

So what if she was looking to get arrested?

Did she violate the law? This is a yes or no question. If the answer is “no”, they have ZERO grounds to confiscate her property or arrest her.

If the police officers can’t deal with some cranky woman, they don’t deserve to be police officers. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

This woman is doing us a favor. She is highlighting the police officers who don’t deserve the badge.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The images don’t get immediately uploaded to Photo Stream, at least not when you’re on a cellular network. If you take a picture and delete it soon after (as late as a few minutes after taking the shot) and delete it from your camera roll, it will not show up in Photo Stream. I do this regularly, as getting good results out of the HDR feature is still a bit of a gamble.

A non-amorous Cowherd says:

Someone should get rid of that “less-than-lethal” modifier attached to “Taser.”

“Less-than-lethal” is likely a misquote/misunderstanding on the part of the author of that Courthouse News article. I’m pretty sure the actual official designation is “less-lethal” which is a subtle but important distinction.

william (profile) says:

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Anonymous Coward says:

Yes she was being annoying and yes she probably tried to provoke the officers. This is however not the point. The point is that she succeeded where she shouldn’t have been able to. The point is also that I doubt there would be people like this if there weren’t a reason for it. As long as these cases keep popping up then I commend her and others like her, because we need them… we need every case like this to come to light and this might be the best and only way to do that.
If you feel sorry for the officers who aren’t complete twats, then maybe you should think about that as long as they let their colleagues get away with this behavior, they are themselves part of the problem and deserves to be questioned… even by a bitch.

Anonymous Coward says:

and these police officers are supposed to be members of ‘New York’s Finest’? you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me! how in the world is this sort of behaviour supposed to make anyone feel safe? and nothing will happen to them as far as disciplining is concerned because the police Chief and the District Attorney are of the opinion that no one has any rights and that everyone has to pay this price to combat terrorism. they are living in the wrong city, in the wrong country!

known coward says:

these cops are guilty of Treason to the US and should be dealt with accordingly

Everytime a cop abuses the law he is sworn to uphold, every time a public office holder takes a bribe, they are tearing down societies ability to believe in the truth and honesty of its officials. These people are guilty of Treason against the government by their selfish and cowardly actions. Everytime one of these things happens people trust their government less and less. Believe their government less and less, and learn that their government is not for the people, but for the governing class. Representatives of the people must be above reproach.

These people need to be tried and punished to the fullest extent of the law for their misconduct.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

These police officers were doing their jobs. It’s the hooligans who were filming these police officers who should have the book thrown at them by the judge for antagonizing these officers from doing their jobs.

And, despite what you may want to believe, police officers have been doing random sobriety tests for years, even before this whole mess started regarding videotaping police officers while they are doing their jobs.

I find it totally disingenuous that everyone is complaining about these cops doing their job and yet if they weren’t doing their jobs, everyone would be complaining about “where are the police when these crimes are being committed”?

It’s funny how too many Americans are so concerned with filming these police officers while they are doing their job and these same Americans seem to be wearing their morals and ethics on their sleeves so that when the police aren’t doing their jobs they make a 180 degree turn and ask “where are the police”.

Everytime I read about police arresting someone for videotaping them in public, I always notice how the police officers largely ignore these citizens who are videotaping them until these same citizens decide to take it upon themselves to approach these officers.

Are these people stupid? You’re going to approach an armed officer of the law while they are trying to lock down a crime scene or while they are trying to do their job and you want to interfere with them?

These are the same citizens who would stand out in the middle of the freeway, hoping that some idiot in a semi truck will turn their vehicle away at the last minute.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

lol

everytime I read these stories, no matter how obnoxious the person recording is [claimed to be]….

i put 100% of the blame/fault on the cop when these things happen.

these guys are walking around with a very easy to use tool capable of ending your life in a split second. if cops cannot keep their cool with someone filming them.. what do the same cops do when things get even more heated? beat someone to death?

rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What the fuck? It was a safety checkpoint. It worked perfectly.

On a more serious note, police are not gods, they have a job, they are supposed to know how to do their job, they get paid to know how to do their job, they exist to serve and protect and if they fail to uphold the core mission of their existence then they’ve failed.

There’s a bigger picture here. Stop smelling the flowers and pay attention. You’re not all wrong but you must admit that neither were the police all right.

Cameras and questions are valid. Violence as a response is not. Especially so when the “law” is, by default, skewed to the wielder.

Those “same citizens” are the ones going out of their way, as mere citizens, to address the wrongs of power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You are quite disgusting to listen to. While your talk seems to be all flowery and good guy Joe, underneath it is so rotten. You seem to be suggesting that we can’t have a police that can keep themselves from abusing the power they have, while at the same time doing their jobs?
So then what? Just lay down and take it, because otherwise no one is gonna come the next time we call?
It wouldn’t even be necessary or provoking to film these guys if they didn’t have a history of doing bad things… even killing without good reason.
If they did their jobs as they are supposed to, they would applaud the public, filming their work for court. Instead they confiscate and misplace.. to what? cover up their rightful deadly beating and arrest of a drunk guy?
Yeah like I am gonna take that.
And if that police officer arresting those people are annoyed and tired of people mistrusting him, then maybe he needs to look inwards and maybe realize that the mistrust is well placed and then help instead of covering up for his colleagues.
Finally I do respect police officers in general and i appreciate the job they are doing. But in that job, you can’t just be the hero sometimes.

AB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your previous post was reasonable, but not this one. I haven’t seen any comments here claiming she wasn’t ‘asking for it’. I wouldn’t even berate his reaction except for one thing: he reacted WAY to soon, and with WAY more force then was necessary! The other officers looked like they wanted to throttle her too, but none of them gave in to that desire. They just ground their teeth and carried on doing their jobs. If they were my police I could be proud of them for that. At least until they were given the opportunity to attack. Instead of joining him they should have been restraining him. That would have shown excellence. At the very least they should not have supported his actions. That made them no better then any vigilante mob. Any other group of citizens who reacted for those reasons would be in jail now.

If you want to try helping the police try encouraging good behaviour rather then defending bad behaviour. Don’t just sit around and whine about what others are doing, go video tape them doing good deeds and post those on YT.

Anonymous Coward says:

minor quibble- Tasers are like any weapon in that misuse can cause them to be lethal. They are called Less-lethal ( not less-than-lethal) because when used as you are supposed to use them, then they are not lethal, except in certain ( rare) circumstances. Tasering someone until they stop breathing is misuse of the Taser, same as using a gun to shoot up a bunch of people is misuse of a gun.

but yeah, the poilce were idiots.

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