Experience Stop And Frisk Thanks To This POV Video
from the a-mile-in-their-shoes dept
It’s not terribly often that two regular themes we discuss at Techdirt come together in an almost perfect way. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened recently with a story that combines the value of allowing citizens to record public servants, particularly law enforcement officers, and the complete travesty known as stop and frisk. While that program is perhaps most infamous in New York, the basis for it is a court case, Terry v. Ohio, and that has been the groundwork for similar law enforcement policies throughout the country. Included in that is the city of Philadelphia, where we are able to see and hear firsthand a stop by two officers that all began when someone said hello to a stranger. Here’s the entire video.
In case you can’t view or would just like highlights, two men were stopped by police, according to the officers, because they said hello to a stranger and people just don’t do that. So now we’re outlawing being polite? Outstanding. It gets worse from there.
“I didn’t accuse you of anything, can you hear? I said we could have got a call that somebody wearing the clothes that you’re wearing just robbed someone, that’s why we stopped you, so is that wrong of us?”
Well, gee, officer, in that completely hypothetical that you aren’t confirming actually happened, that would not be wrong. But that isn’t what was said initially. Instead, the stop occurred because of so-called suspicious activity that consisted of someone saying hello to another person. A stop due to a BOLO (be on the lookout) probably wouldn’t have started with questioning suspects about saying hello.
“You’re under investigation right now”
“Investigation of what? I was walking.”
“That’s not what I saw”
“I was walking.”
“You’re gonna be in violation if you keep running your mouth when I split your wig open.”
I’m pretty sure we have a right to remain silent, not a requirement to under penalty of a split wig, whatever the hell that is. Further, as the video continues with threats for taking the men in for “running” their mouth illustrates wonderfully how far outside the bounds of serving and protecting these two esteemed officers went.
If you can stomach the video all the way through, you end up hearing the officers admit these two gentlemen did nothing wrong and would be let go, offered up via an extremely patronizing admission that they’re “good guys.” Without the right to record, not only would the abhorrent actions of the officers be subject to review, but those more privileged in life like myself might not understand that complete humiliation and unfairness involved in randomly stopping people without any reasonable suspicion wrong-doing. Stop and frisk and its cousin programs need to go the way of the dodo now.