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), 7 Jun 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    I agree, but the fact that cops see video cameras as threats points to a pretty huge systemic problem here. If the system of recruiting and training police is capable of putting even a HANDFUL of police on the street who are so disconnected from the law and public rights that they think people should be prevented from filming them (prevented with a gun) then I am prepared to say the system is broken. Badly broken. When you then get high up police officials also making statements to the effect that police shouldn't be filmed, I'm willing to go even further and say yeah, cops suck and need to be completely re-thought as a social institution.

    It is not my job to make excuses for law enforcement, or to say "well, i'm sure they aren't all bad" - whoever is in charge of enforcing laws should be able to win the trust and respect of the public. That's THEIR job. If they repeatedly fail to do that by violating people's civil rights and demonstrating judgement so poor makes one question the very fundamentals of their training, then it's enough to make me join the rabble and say: fuck the police

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