More Watching of the Watchers

Last week I interviewed a law enforcement official for a forthcoming article on recording the police. In arguing that it should be illegal for citizens to record on-duty cops, this official said he couldn't think of a single example where video taken by a citizen bystander showed a police officer to have lied on a police report. There are plenty of such incidents, of course (just browse Carlos Miller's website), but here's one from just this week:

A Fort Lauderdale police officer has resigned after an investigation into a potentially unlawful arrest was taped on video camera by the suspect's girlfriend.

Jeff Overcash turned in his badge Tuesday, according to the Broward New Times after giving a statement to the PD's internal affairs detectives.

Overcash probably saw the writing on the wall as the evidence was stacked against him in the arrest of 26-year-old Brennan Hamilton, who may have been a punk, but was far less of a jerk than Overcash in April.

Hamilton had the 'cuffs slapped on him on a night out in downtown Fort Lauderdale after he asked Overcash for his badge number after the two got into a little disagreement.

Hamilton's girlfriend whipped out her cell phone and started shooting video of the incident, which showed a cocky Overcash commentating on the arrest while ushering Hamilton to his patrol car.

Hamilton asks several times why he was being arrested and Overcash could only come up with, "I told you to get lost."

The police report, written by Overcash, charged Hamilton with resisting arrest and disorderly intoxication, although the video never shows the suspect struggling and he doesn't appear to be drunk.

Here's the video:

If this had happened in Illinois, Massachusetts, or Maryland, not only would Overcash still have his job, Hamilton's girlfriend could well be facing felony charges and prison time for shooting the video that ultimately held Overcash accountable.

Speaking of which, libertarian activists Pete Eyre and Adam Mueller were arrested this week for videotaping police officers in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

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  • ||

    Just couldn't take the whole weekend off like the rest of us, eh Balko? Thanks for the healthy dose of Orwellian Asshole Rage to start my week. You never disappoint...

  • ||

    "What am I under arrest for?"

    "I'm not gonna argue with you."

    Sure sounds legit to me. Fuck these guys with a pepper spray-covered taser baton.

  • Yonemoto||

    This one happened in Ron Paul's home district. Let's see what happens.

    http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.co.....&sp=50

  • ||

    Nothing, as per usual.

  • ||

    OK, now that seems to make a lot of sense. Wow

    www.total-anonymity.es.tc

  • ||

    Well, it looks like my next cell phone will have the capacity for video.

  • Binky||

    They're not illegal ... yet.

  • Max||

    Bruce Schneier on private police
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/a.....olice.html
    Private security guards outnumber real police more than 5-1, and increasingly act like them.
    They wear uniforms, carry weapons and drive lighted patrol cars on private properties like banks and apartment complexes and in public areas like bus stations and national monuments. Sometimes they operate as ordinary citizens and can only make citizen's arrests, but in more and more states they're being granted official police powers.
    This trend should greatly concern citizens. Law enforcement should be a government function, and privatizing it puts us all at risk.
    Most obviously, there's the problem of agenda. Public police forces are charged with protecting the citizens of the cities and towns over which they have jurisdiction. Of course, there are instances of policemen overstepping their bounds, but these are exceptions, and the police officers and departments are ultimately responsible to the public.
    Private police officers are different. They don't work for us; they work for corporations. They're focused on the priorities of their employers or the companies that hire them. They're less concerned with due process, public safety and civil rights.
    Also, many of the laws that protect us from police abuse do not apply to the private sector. Constitutional safeguards that regulate police conduct, interrogation and evidence collection do not apply to private individuals. Information that is illegal for the government to collect about you can be collected by commercial data brokers, then purchased by the police.
    We've all seen policemen "reading people their rights" on television cop shows. If you're detained by a private security guard, you don't have nearly as many rights.
    For example, a federal law known as Section 1983 allows you to sue for civil rights violations by the police but not by private citizens. The Freedom of Information Act allows us to learn what government law enforcement is doing, but the law doesn't apply to private individuals and companies. In fact, most of your civil right protections apply only to real police.
    Training and regulation is another problem. Private security guards often receive minimal training, if any. They don't graduate from police academies. And while some states regulate these guard companies, others have no regulations at all: anyone can put on a uniform and play policeman. Abuses of power, brutality, and illegal behavior are much more common among private security guards than real police.
    A horrific example of this happened in South Carolina in 1995. Ricky Coleman, an unlicensed and untrained Best Buy security guard with a violent criminal record, choked a fraud suspect to death while another security guard held him dow

  • ||

    Max,can you point to any comments or posts from Reason staff advocating privatizing the police?

  • ||

    The government run police forces should all be competing privatized security forces paid for via voluntary subscriptions.

    You're welcome!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The government run police forces should all be competing privatized security forces paid for via voluntary subscriptions.


    And to what law do these privatized security forces submit?

    What legal recourse is there is someone hires a private security force to kill you, or to kidnap your daughter for rape?

  • ||

    Probably about the same recourse as you would have now with as a government function. Who is in charge? If it is a politician or government they will not be held accountable.

  • Max||

    That's a good point , Sage. I guess I just assume that you right-wing libertarians prefer privatized police forces. I see big problems with them. If you actually don't and think that policing is a legitimate government function, accept my apology.

  • ||

    "I guess I just assume" - Max

    That about covers it for most lefties - all assumptions, no real data.

    Policing is one of the areas that almost all libertarians view as a legitimate job for government; however, I think their could be a good argument for privatizing police at certain times and places.

    As for what laws they would be subject to, probably the same laws to which government police are subject. The primary idiocy of the left is assuming, as you admitted, that the public sector is somehow less corrupt or corruptible than the private sector. A cursory glance at history and the current state of affairs in the US and abroad can clearly debunk this assumption.

  • cynical||

    On the other hand, if a rent-a-cop fucks you over, no qualified immunity or thin blue line to protect him, and you can sue his employer into oblivion rather than have them pass the punishment onto their people.

  • Solanum||

    Private police officers are different. They don't work for us; they work for corporations.

    Edward, you owe me a new keyboard. The notion that the police work for us, the average citizen, actually made me laugh out loud.

  • Max||

    Yes, Solanun, you live in a police state where you're constantly in fear of your life. I hope they get you.

  • ||

    Yes and the assertion that police are more accountable for their actions than private guards made me laugh again. Is there any emirical evidence to support that or is it just an opinion?

  • x,y||

    If this had happened in Illinois, Massachusetts, or Maryland...

    The know your rights campaigns should do a bit on this. My initial recommendation is to copy the recording and send it to the police station and media outlets anonymously if possible.

  • hmm||

  • hmm||

    Adam and Pete need to learn to wire video and sound devices discretely in a vehicle. Otherwise next time Officer Friendly might find a stash of his own making.

  • ||

    this official said he couldn't think of a single example where video taken by a citizen bystander showed a police officer to have lied on a police report.

    But I thought if you weren't doing anything wrong, you had nothing to fear?

  • Officer Dean||

    See, to your untrained eye, what we are doing may appear to be untoward or "illegal", but because we're cops, we understand why we're doing what we're doing, so these actions aren't really wrong. But you're not a cop, so you wouldn't understand.

  • ||

    So, only law enforcement understands the law? I guess that the rest of us are just sheeple to be herded by the pigs.

  • Pete EYre||

    @hmm - Good call. We're talking with some fellow Free Staters who have more insight in this area. We're doing the logistics for our next project - http://libertyontour.com - now so hopefully we'll have a budget to make that happen.

  • zoltan||

    Hmm definitely made a good call. I too like seeing hot dudes' butts getting paddle-smacked.

  • hmm||

    Funding issues solved.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Was MARV driving by the Beau Rivage in Biloxi on January 25th around 3pm?

  • zoltan||

    . We finally learned what our charges were: felony wiretapping and resisting arrest for us both Pete also has felony firearm/ammo and VIN manipulation charges.

    Did I forget to mention, Happy 4th of July?

  • ||

    Is there any question but that the Oscar Grant / Mehserle trial wouldn't be going on if it hadn't been for people videoing the incident?

    If Mehserle is convicted, anybody who says video tape doesn't make a difference is going to look especially dumb, and if he's acquitted, an awful lot of people are going to have to do some pretty fast talkin' to prevent the riots...

    I've been paying quite a bit of attention to that trial, actually, and people arguing about it, and it's kinda funny, to hear people say things in defense of Mehserle, they sound like civil libertarians talking about presumption of innocence, etc. ...because just 'cause a cop shot and killed a suspect while he was laying face down on the ground doesn't mean he's guilty, you know? It's about presumption of innocence...blah, blah, blah...woof, woof.

    At the end of the day, everybody's seen the video of a cop shooting a guy in the back while he's laying face down on the ground being restrained... Everybody makes mistakes--how many civilian killers get off out of a murder rap by saying the gun went off by accident? I'm sure that happens--I can't imagine letting anybody off the hook for it though.

    That's what I love about video. Text on a page can never due reality justice. You can watch tape of a cop killing a guy laying face down on the ground! Why wouldn't that make a difference?

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcfOhRVs_oI

  • ||

    But let's talk about the real crime here-- the fact that, as a society, we've accepted "commentating" as a real word.

  • ||

    Thanks for orientating us to proper usage.

  • ||

    I'm in agreeance on that.

  • Joe_D||

    Is there an Android app that lets you record a video while simultaneously sending the it to, say, an email account? I know I can send it once the whole video is shot, but it would be nice not to have to worry about when to end the video so I'd be able to fiddle around with the sending afterwards.

    Thanks.

  • IceTrey||

    Qik.com

  • Joe_D||

    Looks great, thanks.

  • IceTrey||

    I think he says "You're under arrest for loitering".

  • Jeff||

    How on earth did you miss this one:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/19/1961.asp

    A cop pulls over a kid who was recording the whole thing and this was the conversation:

    Transcript of audio made by Brett Darrow:

    1:07
    Officer #1: How we doin? What's going on?
    Brett: Nothing.
    Officer #1: Why you parkin here?
    Brett: Can't I park here? It's a commuter lot right?
    Officer #1: Yeah, but we have problems after midnight time. People break into cars. You got any ID on you?
    Brett: Yeah, I do.
    Officer #1: Can I see it please?
    Brett: Did I do something wrong?
    Officer #1: Yeah you're a suspicious vehicle right now.
    Brett: I'm what?
    Officer #1: [Leans into the car and yells] You are a suspicious vehicle right now.
    Brett: In a commuter parking lot?
    Officer #1: Yeah you are cause we have car thieves in here. Yeah you're right.
    Brett: Cause I can park right here.
    Officer #1: You want me -- You wanna come out of the car? Come on out. Come on out.

    1:32
    [I exit the vehicle]
    Officer #1: Let me see your ID.
    [I give him my valid Missouri License]
    Officer #1: Let me see your insurance card for the vehicle.
    Brett: Did I commit a moving violation?
    Officer #1: Yeah you did, when you were coming in here.
    Brett: Really? What was that?
    Officer #1: Yeah, you wanna try me? You wanna try me tonight? You think you've had a bad night? I will ruin your ****ing night.
    [Officer starts to get close up to my face]
    Officer #1 You want to try me?
    [Officer is inches away from my face, screaming as I'm pinned between him and my vehicle]
    Officer #1 Do you wanna try me young boy? Do you want to try me tonight young boy?
    Brett: No I don't.
    Officer #1: Do you want to go to jail for some ****ing reason I come up with?
    Brett: No I don't.
    Officer #1: Do you wanna see who knows the law better, me or you. My experience compared to your young ass. Huh? Don't ever get smart mouthed with a cop again. I show you what a cop does. Do you understand me?
    Brett: Yes sir.
    Officer #1: Try and talk back -- Talk back to me again. I bet I could say you resisted arrest or something. You want to come up with something? I come up with nine things. Do you wanna try something?
    Brett: No I don't.
    Officer #1: Wait here.

    2:52
    Officer #1 Oh, while you were coming towards me you were swerving back and forth within the roadway. Okay? I might give you a ticket for that. You want me to come up with some more? When you turned in, you failed to use your turn signal, your right turn signal [Turn signal was used, see video at 0:06]. You wanna try me some more? Huh? Come on smart ass. Gimmie an attitude a little bit more. I bet -- I guarantee I can tow this car by the time I'm done with you. You wanna try me now? Gimmie a little more lip. [officer gets back up in my face] Come on boy. Come on boy give me some more lip. You're done?
    Brett: I don't want any problems officer.
    Officer #1: You're about ready to get it. You already start your ****ing problems with your attitude. Did we have a bad night boy? Huh? Answer me or I'll lock you up for failure to imply with a police officer's commands.
    Brett: Cause I'm not answering your questions about my personal business?
    Officer #1: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You want me to show you? You want me to show you? You want me to lock you up to show you I'm right and you're wrong?
    Brett: No I don't officer.
    Officer #1: You want me to show you the ****ing law.
    Brett: No, I mean I know Sean who used to work here. [A new neighbor of mine that used to work in the St. George police department]
    Officer #1: Sean who? You mean my buddy, my best friend?
    Brett: Yeah. He's me neighbor.
    Officer #1 Okay, he's my best friend. Oh good. Why don't you go call him and tell him you came in front of Kuehnlein and see what he says If you got lucky you'll walk away from me.
    Brett: I really don't want any trouble officer.
    Officer #1: What are you doin' with a camera hooked to your car seat?
    Brett: I have lots of cameras in my car.
    Officer #1: Why is that?
    Brett: And they upload to secure sources
    Officer #1: Okay. I don't really care about your secure sources. I've got one in my car. See that?
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: It's a secure source.
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: I really don't care about your camera system cause I'm about ready to tow your car. Then we can tear them all apart...
    Brett: Oh well, it doesn't matter. The videos not even in here.
    Officer #1: Okay, it doesn't matter, I really don't care about your video
    Brett: I'm sure the news will like it.
    Officer #1: I don't really care cause you're about ready to go to jail.
    Brett: I don't want to go to jail officer.
    Officer #1: I'm gonna show you you're about ready to.
    Brett: You're right officer
    Officer #1: Okay.
    Brett: I'm sorry.
    Officer #1: You think these security cameras -- I guarantee ya, mine and my boy mic is gonna tell a little different and your attitude.
    Brett: I don't want any problems.
    Officer #1: You started it. Why do you have an attitude? As a matter of fact, I was gonna come in here, see if you're okay. First of all we have people try to commit suicide in here. We have car thieves come in here. We have people break into cars here. I have enough probable cause to stop you. Okay?
    Brett: Okay officer, I'm sorry. I don't want any problems.
    Officer #1: What is your problem tonight?
    Brett: I just had a bad night officer.
    Officer #1: You know what? You don't take it out on me. You don't never take it out on a cop cause we will ruin your career and life and everything else you have coming before you. Okay?
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: What is your problem tonight?
    Brett: I had problems earlier, I just came in here to sit.
    Officer #1: You know what, that's all you tell me. You don't give me no problem with -- what did I do wrong cause I guarantee I come up with nine things. If you know Sean, why don't you ask Sean about me. Okay?
    Brett: What's your name?
    Officer #1 Sergeant Kuehnlein.

    5:31
    Officer #1: Do me a favor. When you do turn in here next time, use your turn signal.
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: Okay. And seriously if you are pissed off, you're impairing your driving. Okay? I don't know if you were talking on the phone or just not paying attention, you were honestly coming down the roadway not staying within your roadway. You were honestly going back and forth. I don't know what you were doing, but I go it all on tape. Okay?
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: I don't know if you were playing with something else, or paying attention to something else, I don't know.
    Brett: Alright.
    Officer #1: You need to be more aware. And when people pull you over, my job ain't to be P-ed off. Okay? My job is to conduct my career and my job. Okay?
    Brett: Okay.
    Officer #1: I don't have to have a reason to pull you over. First of all you're a suspicious vehicle in the commuter lot that's pretty much vacant and the commuter lot hours is after dusk, after 12 o'clock. Okay? You understand what I'm getting at? I know the law a little bit... How old are you by the way? 18?
    Brett: I'm 20.
    Officer #1: Okay, I was close. Okay. I think I've been around, as a matter of fact, I've been a cop almost as long as you've been alive. Okay?
    Officer #1: Do you understand what I'm getting at?
    Brett: I really don't want any problems officer.
    Officer #1: Do you understand what I'm getting at? I'm trying not be ignorant, but when you give me lip, I'm gonna give it right back to you ten times harder. Okay? You give me an attitude, I'm gonna give you attitude a lot harder. Okay?
    Brett: Alright.
    Officer #1: You understand what I'm getting at? I'm trying to honestly see what's wrong, why, with your attitude. You understand?
    Brett: Yeah.
    Officer #1: Okay. You seem... You ever been in trouble before?
    Brett: Yes.
    Officer #1: For what?
    Brett: Assault.
    Officer #1: To who?
    Brett: An off-duty police officer.
    Officer #1: A cop?
    Brett: I was assaulted by a police officer and a grand jury dismissed all the charges and the City of St. Louis paid me not to sue.
    Officer #1: Okay. You have a problem then. Is it, was it your attitude that night, probably? Or he just had...
    Brett: No.
    Officer #1: Or he just had...
    Brett: No, it was an intoxicated off-duty police officer that attacked me.
    Officer #1: Oh, it didn't happen while he was on-duty?
    Brett: No, He was off-duty.
    Officer #1: You need to honestly lose... Okay, where do you work at?
    Brett: I own my own company.
    Officer #1: What do you do?
    Brett: I'm a painter. I'm a paint contractor and I go to school.
    Officer #1: Okay. Let's say you're a painter. Okay. You were going to sit there a few minutes right?
    Brett: Yeah.
    Officer #1: We're gonna talk for a few seconds. Okay, then I'll let you go. If you don't have no warrants against you, I'm gonna run your name real quick. You don't have no warrants do you?
    Brett: No.
    Officer #1: Okay, lets say I come to your job or you come to my house, wherever you're painting and I start giving you attitude. What would you do? Would you get a little irritated about that? And probably not do a great job of painting or something? Am I right or wrong?
    Brett: You're right officer.
    Officer #1: No. Don't agree with me cause you want to agree with me now. Agree with me because, if I'm right, tell me if I'm wrong.
    Brett: I don't want any trouble.
    Officer #1: Here's my back-up you don't think I'm gonna do anything. We've got cameras and body mics.
    Brett: Well I don't know. You said you were going to charge me with resisting arrest and whatever else.
    Officer #1: Well yeah. I can come up with more stuff than you can.
    Brett: I'm just standing here.
    Officer #1: No, cause you kept flinging your hands. [My hands were held at my beltline the whole time]
    Brett: My hands were down here.
    Officer #1: At toward me. Nah, you were swinging up and down.

    8:30
    [Officer #2 walks up and #1 starts talking to him]
    Officer #1: He comes by me, coming down the road going in and out of the roadway within, within the lane. Failure to use a right-turn signal.
    Brett: Was I speeding too?
    Officer #1: Speeding. Do you understand I don't have to pull you over for speeding. Okay, It's your driving.
    Officer #2 He's got a camera in the car.
    Officer #1: It's to a secret link. I told him about our cameras too and our body mics. But anyway, the first thing he does is give me attitude about why I'm pulling him over. First of all, he's in the commuter lot after dark. I told him a lot of people try to commit suicide. Uh, people steal cars. People break into cars. He tried giving me lip and uh, he tried telling me all this stuff.
    Officer #2 Why does he have the camera?
    Officer #1: Cause he was assault right, but an off-duty drunk city cop so he put cameras in his car. I don't understand it. Anyway, that's him. But, now he's just agreeing with me just for the fun of it cause he had a bad day so he thinks he's gonna tell me the law why I can't pull him over.

    Officer #1: It's called... When you go home and you want to tell everybody, first thing you tell em, you were pulled over because you were a suspicious vehicle. In the State of Missouri, we have the right to stop anybody walking for a pat check, or stop a suspicious vehicle anytime. Okay? That was my probable cause. And this parking lot, as a matter of fact, what's this parking lot called? Officer #1: What did you just call it?
    Brett: It's a parking lot.
    Officer #1: What kind?
    Brett: A commuter parking lot
    Officer #1: Are you commuting somewhere? Are you commuting somewhere?
    Brett: How would you know that?
    Officer #1: Are you commuting somewhere?
    Brett: How would you know that?
    Officer #1: That's why I was coming to inquire about that, but you just told me you were going to sit here.
    Brett: You don't know if I was going to wait here for somebody to come pick me up.
    Officer #1: I asked you that, did I not.
    Brett: I don't have to say anything. I have the 5th Amendment right.
    Officer #1: Do you really?
    Brett: Do you know what the 5th Amendment right is?
    Officer #1 Do you know what impeding the flow of a police officers duties are?
    Brett: What's that? Go ahead, tell me.
    Officer #1: Whenever I ask you... If I'm conducting an investigat... This is called a field investigation, if you're impeding it, you're impeding it.
    Brett: You're saying, I can't refuse to answer your questions?
    Officer #1: They're not incriminating are they?
    Brett: You don't know that.
    Officer #1: Are they incriminating?
    Brett: Yes they are.
    Officer #1: They are?
    Brett: They could be.
    Officer #1: Then are you doing something illegal here?
    Brett: No I'm not.
    Officer #1: Then they are not incriminating.
    Brett: Yes, they could be incriminating. I have the right to privacy.
    Officer #1: What privacy? Not when you're out in public, you don't have the right to privacy.
    Brett: Yes, I do have a right to not tell you where I'm going or what I'm doing.
    Officer #1: Really?
    Brett: It's the 4th Amendment right.
    Officer #1: Really?
    Brett: Yes it is. Violation of my rights...
    Officer #1: I like this. You want me to tell you the law.
    Brett: Go ahead and tell me the law.
    Officer #1: If you fail to comply with my orders, my lawful orders, you have the right to go to jail. Failure to comply with a police officer.
    Brett: Your lawful orders to answer your questions...
    Officer #1: Yes, my field.
    Brett: Personal questions?
    Officer #1: What's personal questions? You're sitting here in a commuter parking lot at 2 o'clock in the morning, you understand.
    Brett: Okay, that's fine.
    Officer #1: You know what, I think I'm gonna bring you with me. Come on.
    Brett: Officer please.
    Officer #1: I think you're gonna come with me. Then you can try and sue me in grand jury and I bet you I win. Then I'll sue you.
    Brett: Officer I really... I just had a bad night.
    Officer #1: Well let's ruin your night. You want to show me attitude.
    Brett: No, no I don't.
    Officer #1: I want to show you the law. I want to show you the law. I'm gonna show you my law is right yours is wrong.
    Brett: Officer, I'm sorry. Like I said, I'm not trying to start anything. I've had problems with everybody tonight and I didn't mean to give you attitude. It's just one of those nights.

    11:46
    Officer #1: [Officer #1 looks at Officer #2] He's getting sorry now.
    I'm sure you've had the same nights.
    Officer #1: I don't take it out of people.
    Brett: I know, and I shouldn't either.

    Officer #2- [speaking to officer #1] He's got a scanner in his car.
    Brett: I've always got a scanner in my car.
    Officer #1: And by the way, that is technically a burglary tool cause you're scanning us while you're driving around. You're trying to see if you're gonna be detected. [The scanner was off]
    Officer #1: What do you do? Do you go look for trouble?
    Officers #2- [speaking to officer #1 while looking through my back window at a small hidden camera] That is a camera.
    Brett: I have multiple cameras all over the car.
    Officer #1: You have issues man. Okay?
    Brett: Alright, I'm sorry.
    Officer #1: I think I want to take you to jail just to prove you wrong. Do you have any weapons or anything on you I need to know about?
    Brett: No.
    Officer #1: If you would, turn around and place your hands on the car real quick. I'm gonna pat you down.

    [At this point the officer finds nothing and I am finally released.]

  • ||

    My God, that's infuriating.

  • ||

    I remember seeing something about that on CNN years ago. How old is this story?

  • hmm||

    2007 my neck of the woods. The cop was fired. The town is a one light municipality shithole.

  • zoltan||

    At least the police department was disbanded. I hope Brett Darrow (the guy whose rights were violated above) carries a gun with him at all times.

  • GMc||

    You serious about that Maryland stuff? Is there a law against videoing cops in my state? Christ. Forgive my ignorantia legis.

  • ||

    he should have interviewed me.

    i, and most of the LEO's i work with fully support the right of citizens to record cops AND the right of the cops to record citizens. it protects us from false complaints, and those we serve from bad cops.

    it's really that simpe.

    and in my state, it is entirely legal to tape cops.

  • ||

    We're i'm policing- in Australia- the whole recording thing seems to have been pioneered by police, who often carry MP3 audio recorders or small wearable video. It's impossible for us to stop private citizens from filming us in public in return, and it isn't illegal either. Mind you, a recording of an actual offence can also be seized as court evidence.

    I recently had the astonishing incident of a lawyer who lodged a formal complaint about my supposed threatening of her client. When I produced the audio recording to internals, she backed down and tried to lodge a new complaint, along the lines of 'how dare your officers record my client committing an offence'. Somehow, she still has a job, but I can't help but think she is depriving a village of an idiot somewhere.

    I don't agree with some of the things Radley has argued in the past, but he has is right on this one. In any case, legal or not, on-the-spot video or audio is here to stay. If you did it in North Korea we'd think you were a hero. It shouldn't be a problem in a western country.

  • Wicks Cherrycoke||

    So Mr. Balko found a cop who's never heard of a civilian video that disproved a cop's report or statement?

    This schmuck cop should talk to me. I'll tell him about the cases I've had disciplining police in which their statements were disproven by the DEPARTMENT'S OWN VIDEO CAMERAS!

    Like the cop who denied using excessive force when he encountered a civilian -- and forgot that the back-up cop had his car video running. Or the cop who beat a prisoner in full view of the internal video system -- and still denied what he did.

    If cops do this when they know they are being watched ...

  • ||

    In arguing that it should be illegal for citizens to record on-duty cops, this official said he couldn't think of a single example where video taken by a citizen bystander showed a police officer to have lied on a police report.


    You're lying. You know it, I know it, and you know I know it. Is this reallyt the best you can come up with you?

    If a cop and a crack whore testify differently about what occurred during the arrest of a third party, I'd give more credence to the crack whore.

  • ||

    It's time for a Tax Slave Rebellion.

  • ||

    "One cannot enforce the law by breaking it."

  • ||

    I saw the video and one thing confused the heck out of me. It seems Hamilton walked (some distance) to Overcash (who I think was standing beside his patrol car) who then handcuffed him. Why did Hamilton walk all the way to Overcash? Why was Overcash so far away from Hamilton?

  • IceTrey||

    Hamilton went to Overcash to get his name and badge number.

  • ||

    Kudos to Florida. If the cop had pistol whipped, and than tazed the lad to death, most states would have prosecuted the girlfriend and promoted the cop. Maybe those old geezers down there appreciate the constitution - since some of them were alive when it was being signed.

  • zoltan||

    Can anyone find info about setting up recording devices on your person or in your car?

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