Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
filming, miami beach, police



Miami Beach Police Tried To Destroy Video From Bystanders, Holding Them At Gunpoint

from the the-right-to-film-police dept

DannyB was the first of a few folks to send in the latest story of police massively (and dangerously) overreacting to people filming them in public. This case involves police in Miami Beach, who filmed a fatal shooting by the police. Apparently, the police didn't like such things being caught on camera and reacted about as poorly as you can imagine:
First, police pointed their guns at the man who shot the video, according to a Miami Herald interview with the videographer

Then they ordered the man and his girlfriend out the car and threw them down to the ground, yelling “you want to be fucking paparazzi?”

Then they snatched the cell phone from his hand and slammed it to the ground before stomping on it. Then they placed the smashed phone in the videographer's back pocket as he was laying down on the ground

And finally, they took him to a mobile command center where they snapped his photo and demanded the phone again, then took him to police headquarters where they conducted a recorded interview with him before releasing him.
Turns out the last laugh was on the police. The guy whose phone it was had removed the SD card from the phone, which contained the video, and had it in his mouth the whole time. The video itself is now available on YouTube. It's pretty intense (and NSFW with the sound on). It shows the initial shooting, and then all the way up to the point where the same police who just opened fire on someone else are pointing their guns at the guy doing the filming, as he sits in his car. I have no idea how he was able to get the SD card out and in his mouth before police seized the phone:
This is all pretty scary no matter how you look at it, and it's really troubling, yet again, to see such a brazen abuse of the law by law enforcement officials who think that it's somehow against the law to film their actions in public.

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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 8 Jun 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not actually advocating disbanding the police. But I am advocating the end of making excuses for them. Guaranteed rights are one place where extremism has merit - that's basically the whole point. Rights are absolute, or they aren't really rights at all. So when the police, an institution ostensibly dedicated to protecting our rights, regularly and routinely violates them, then they suck at their job.

    I'm not a political scientist. I don't have the experience or knowledge necessary to redesign the entire law enforcement system, and I don't have to. But as a citizen, when I see a government organization trampling on my rights as a matter of course, I have all the qualifications necessary to say: fuck that. If the police want to convince me that they can still do a good job, then I hope they try - but to me "police" now means "military formations banging their shields, marching down the streets of my city and dragging thousands of innocent people to jail, many of whom were just leaving a restaurant or walking home from work in the wrong time at the wrong place"

    That is police-state-grade stuff. The cops made up false laws and lied about them to the public. They opened up a special prison camp for the weekend. There are officers on video saying "this isn't Canada right now" and "you have no rights here" to peaceful protesters (those are actual quotes).

    So what possible motivation could I have for defending the police?

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