Cops Fear Cameras: Is It Becoming Illegal to Video Tape Working Policemen?

From the way we shop to the way we socialize, the popularization of the Internet is changing the way we do everything, and it is also changing the way the public protects itself from the its supposed “protectors”, the police. It is becoming quite the popular trend to post on Youtube – and other popular sites like Facebook – videos of on-duty police officers acting unprofessionally, harassing the innocent, and, in some cases, breaking the law. Fortunately, the trend is exposing police corruption to the masses, forcing law-enforcement bosses to take action in order to stop and prevent such misbehavior. Unfortunately, several cops throughout the nation feel threatened by camera wielding citizens, and, in some states, it has become illegal to video record any on-duty police officer.

Wendy McElroy of Gizmodo, one of the web’s most popular tech-blogs, describes legal implications of recording on-duty pigs.

Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

In other words, if you happen to witness a couple of cops ruthlessly beating and sexually abusing a woman in handcuffs in the middle of the street and you happen to video tape the event, you could not use that recording in court against those cops in at least three states (of the 12 states that require all-party consent) unless the cops and the victim consent to being taped. Considering the obvious fact that criminals that break the law don’t like to be taped as they break the law, it seems highly unlikely that the citizens of those three states can protect themselves with their cameras whenever the police turn against innocent citizens. Cops in these states now have a tremendous ability to get away with tremendous injustices, which is why it is necessary to educate students in our public schools about the Constitutional rights they have when dealing with police (yet two Virginia high-school teachers were recently suspended for doing just that).

For an example of excellent citizen journalism in documenting police misbehavior, please turn your attention to the following video – posted on the personal website of Carlos Miller – in which LAPD officers tackle an unidentified cameraman after one of the officers needlessly trips a passing cyclist during a recent anti-BP protest.

Miraculously, the video made it onto YouTube, though it seems the dirty pigs tried to prevent this. We cannot let this behavior become the norm. The police must fear public retribution if they act out of line otherwise the public will continue to fear the police as it does now. In this beautiful age of technology, it has become common to implement cameras into everything from iPods to cell phones, and we must use these weapons to fight police corruption everyday. If you are an eyewitness to police corruption, please do your country a favor and record it. Then post it on the web for all to see. If you’re a true patriot, take it a step further and notify the media and the appropriate government officials about the incident. It’s time to put cops in their proper place.

7 Responses to “Cops Fear Cameras: Is It Becoming Illegal to Video Tape Working Policemen?”
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