Cops Caught Misbehaving During Pot Dispensary Raid Sue Police Dept. To Prevent Recording From Being Used Against Them
from the the-kind-of-stupid-only-the-amoral-and-entitled-can-deploy dept
The cops who were caught on camera insulting an amputee, disabling security cameras, playing darts and sampling THC-laced edibles during a raid on a pot dispensary are suing to prevent Santa Ana Police Department investigators from using the recording against them. (via Reason)
Here's one of the two videos the officers are seeking to suppress.
There is an almost incomprehensible amount of audacity and stupidity in the officers' lawsuit.
First off, through their lawyer (provided by co-plaintiff Santa Ana Police Officers Association), the officers claim the recording they previously weren't aware of was "heavily edited" by the owners of the raided dispensary and "misrepresents" what actually happened that day.
[Attorney Corey W.] Glave said Pappas has altered the video in a way to make the police look bad.This is just the beginning of the stupidity. Of course the edited video only shows the raiding officers' misbehavior. No one has any interest in regular, orderly police work. But the tape does not make the officers "look bad." The OFFICERS make the officers look bad. They're the ones that ate pot-laced edibles and offered to kick an amputee "right in the fucking nub."
“The attorney representing the drug dispensary intentionally has misrepresented what happened,” Glave said.
To put it in another context, the officers' claim of misrepresentation by videotape is roughly equivalent to telling your boss when he's firing you for showing up for work drunk that he's "misrepresenting" the situation by "editing" down your work history to the day you showed up drunk for work. What about all the days you showed up sober?
This argument is asinine. This claim that anyone other than the officers themselves made the officers look bad is the sort of blame-shifting usually seen only in small children and lousy employees.
It gets worse. So much worse.
The suit also claims the video shouldn’t be used as evidence because, among other things, the police didn’t know they were on camera.Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
“All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” says the suit.
Police officers have no reasonable expectation of privacy -- at least not while performing their public duties in a business open to the public. The only "expectation of privacy" here is an illusion created by the officers themselves, who thought they had completely disabled the store's security cameras. There's nothing "reasonable" about this "expectation of privacy." Sure, the officers "reasonably" thought they were capable of disabling a surveillance system. But an expectation of privacy doesn't spring into existence simply because the officers failed to do so.
The lawsuit follows this stupidity up with more stupidity.
The dispensary also did not obtain consent of any officer to record them, the suit says.The dispensary doesn't "obtain consent" from its customers, but it has every right to utilize security cameras. No business anywhere has to obtain the permission of the public before recording them in publicly-accessible areas. This includes cops, even though these cops seem to believe otherwise.
The officers are trying to bend part of California's recording law to fit their situation. But they can't do that because it doesn't apply to them.
All parties to any confidential communication must give permission to be recorded, according to California’s eavesdropping law. Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute, however, specifically excludes from its application any conversations made in public places, government proceedings, or in circumstances where the participants of the conversation could reasonably expect to be overheard or recorded.Again, just because the officers believed they had disabled all of the store's cameras doesn't give a publicly-accessible business filled with public servants a reasonable expectation of privacy. The officers were aware their activities would be recorded. That's why they disabled the cameras. So, any expectation of privacy they mistakenly thought they might have had when the raid began would have dissipated the moment they saw the cameras.
And finally, here's the most ridiculous assertion in this sea of stupidity, even though it is (in one way) entirely correct.
“Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” the suit says.True. If there had been no recording, the officers very likely WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT.
If these officers are unhappy with the recording's "portrayal" of their actions and displeased they're now being investigated by the department, all they had to do to avoid this was behave like professionals and not do the things they did during the raid. It's as simple as that. Everything else is the horrendously misguided whining of a bunch of entitled brats masquerading as officers of the law.
I cannot wait for a judge to get his or her hands on this filing. I am looking forward to the swift benchslap that is sure to follow. I sincerely hope the judge throws this case out before the defendants even have to file a response. Failing that, a motion to dismiss stating nothing more than "this is bullshit" should be all that's needed to end this debacle.