NYPD Officers Expect Public To Be Stupider Than They Are; Justify Shutting Down Recording With 'iPhones Are Guns' Claim

from the you-can't-fix-stupid,-you-can-only-assign-it-to-desk-duty dept

When the appeal to authority fallacy doesn't work, try appealing to ludicrousness. That seems to be the M.O. in play here. NYPD officers arrested a bicyclist for running a red light, but that arrest wasn't effected until the bicyclist attempted to film the interaction. Here's all ten seconds of it before the cop shut the arrestee's impromptu shooting down.

Will Paybarah, the scofflaw in question, received this memorable explanation for the hasty neutralizing of his iPhone while sitting in the back seat of the unmarked squad car.
I was told by another officer while in the car that recording a police officer was illegal because people are using iPhones as guns and shooting cops through the camera lens...I told him that I have the right to be recording a cop and he said that there were incidents, specifically in uptown Manhattan where a kid shot a cop with his iPhone. Straight face. Very serious.
Now, it's true that recording footage is often slangily referred as "shooting footage," and that cops are increasingly on the receiving end of these types of "shootings." But there has yet to be any evidence produced that indicates phones and cameras are being converted into guns on any sort of mass scale or that these new hybrids are so common that this "fear" has a rational basis.

A kid may have "shot" a cop with his iPhone, but without any data to back up this claim, the only thing taking a hit was the officer's mistaken belief that public service is afforded an expectation of privacy. Cops telling citizens this sort of cop-centric urban legend to defend the trampling of the First Amendment indicates that they believe citizens are idiots.

Paybarah, meanwhile, spent 13 hours in lockup over a red light infraction. Well, not entirely. By the time the cop was finished effecting the arrest of the person holding the theoretically weaponized iPhone, charges of resisting arrest, obstruction and criminal mischief had been added -- charges that are just as malleable as cops' minds.

Cops walk or drive by plenty of people holding "weapons" in plain sight, all of them unlicensed and potentially deadly. An overwhelming majority of the public wouldn't even consider leaving the house without being "strapped," and yet, months and years go by without cops being shot in the face by iGuns. Perhaps the police chalk up this low rate of deadly incidents to their expedient neutralization of camera gun wielders. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and all that, and the cops can't be expected to protect the freedoms they'll take from you if they're constantly being "shot" by armed citizens.

Better safe than sorry -- that's the real intent of the Constitution. An officer getting home safe (and unrecorded) at the end of every shift is a far worthier goal than the vague rights pre-supposed to idiot citizens by a handful of amendments.

Maybe the cops should switch out their service pieces for deadly cameras -- you know, in order to keep up with "the streets" in the arms race. That way, the next time they get drunk and start shooting, the end result will be nothing more than a bunch of shitty Instagrams.


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  1. icon
    Rapnel (profile), 6 May 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: err

    Hm, I'd be of the opinion that it would appear that the officer was unreasonably executing a reasonable request. For the officer to be "reasonably" justified in touching another individual he must be reasonably certain that he's explained (or better, understands) the present circumstance. The officer committed an assault (his offensive, legally) for, apparently, no other reason than he could.

    So, yeah, the officer is unreasonably executing a reasonable request. Anger, determination and authority coupled with fuckall intelligent design where a superior officer would be quite clear, polite and reasonable in this non-combative setting. (can confirm, have been superiorally officered)

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