The Police's War on Citizen Cameras Boldly Slogs On...

From NPR via Instapundit:

Consider what happened to Khaliah Fitchette. Last year, Fitchette, who was 16 at the time, was riding a city bus in Newark, N.J., when two police officers got on to deal with a man who seemed to be drunk. Fitchette decided this would be a good moment to take out her phone and start recording.

"One of the officers told me to turn off my phone, because I was recording them," she said. "I said no. And then she grabbed me and pulled me off the bus to the cop car, which was behind the bus."

The police erased the video from Fitchette's phone. She was handcuffed and spent the next two hours in the back of a squad car before she was released. No charges were filed.

Fitchette is suing the Newark Police Department for violating her civil rights. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union helped bring the lawsuit....

The story also quotes a former cop, Tom Nolan, who is now teaching at Boston University. Nolan is a critic of police who resist the sort of oversight that comes with ubiquitous hand-held recording devices.

"The police will get the message when municipal governments and police departments have got to write out substantial settlement checks," he says. "Standing by itself, that video camera in the hands of some teenager is not going to constitute sufficient grounds for a lawful arrest."

More here.

Read Reason's January cover story, "The War on Cameras" and check out the author, Radley Balko, talking about the "3 Worst Cases of Police Abuse That Came to Light in 2011":

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  • ||

    Nutpunch by committee these days, huh.

  • Some Call Me. . .Tim||

    Nothing says "we're sorry" like a substantial cash settlement.

  • ||

    At the tax payers' expense.

  • Some Call Me. . .Tim||

    Also gets the taxpayers attention.

  • ||

    yeah right. If only. :(

  • Spartacus||

    Not really. If that were true, there would be armed rebellion in Maricopa county by now.

  • ||

    """The police will get the message when municipal governments and police departments have got to write out substantial settlement checks," he says."""

    Not really true. NYC has paid out a lot of money, it hasn't changed much of anything. Well, they did have to place Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect on the side of patrol cars. But they thought that was a demand on the citizenry, not themselves.

  • ||

    You guys missed a real choice bit of stupid in that article. Get this.

    "They need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be," says Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.

    "We feel that anything that's going to have a chilling effect on an officer moving — an apprehension that he's being videotaped and may be made to look bad — could cost him or some citizen their life," Pasco says, "or some serious bodily harm."

    For their safety cops have to know that nothing they do to you will result in any consequences. I almost threw up when I read that.

  • J[o]h[nn]y Long[torso]||

    For their safety cops have to know that nothing they do to you will result in any consequences. I almost threw up when I read that.

    GOP Copsucker: "But, but, but, they're govt agents in snappy uniforms. That makes all the difference. Baby Geebus says to worship their clothing."

  • Joe M||

    Bullfuckingshit. Is she trying to claim there is a substantive difference between something "looking" bad and actually being bad in terms of office behavior? If there is, we need to iron out those details. Either way, the tapings shall continue!

  • NoVAHockey||

    Don't they teach these guys how to assess the scene? That's EMT 101, figure out what's going on and what potential dangers are, and then act. It's not the best analogy, but it seems like they teach them that everything is a threat.

  • sarcasmic||

    Everyone is a threat until they have submitted to searches and background checks to prove their innocence.

    That camera could be a weapon. The video could be used by terrorists to access police tactics.

    Being on camera can make people nervous. Do you want a guy with a gun who thinks everything is a threat to be further nervous?

  • TRTB||

    "Standing by itself, that video camera in the hands of some teenager is not going to constitute sufficient grounds for a lawful arrest."

    You have to at least be willing to say that you smelled pot in her purse.

  • ||

    It is a pretty piss poor cop who doesn't keep a drop weapon and a bad of pot ready to plant on a suspect when he needs it.

  • ||

    And this:

    Portantino's Assembly Bill 144 would make it a misdemeanor to display an unloaded handgun in a public place or on a public street in a city or in prohibited areas of unincorporated county land.

    Violators would be subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 and six months in jail.

    -and-

    Supporters countered that openly displaying handguns can startle onlookers, scare children and provoke violence, and that it sparks phone calls requiring police to monitor the situation, thus wasting valuable resources in a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

    "The last thing we need on our streets is more guns," said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco.

    Guns are scary, and they should kept away from the unwashed, uncredentialed masses.

  • ||

    Supporters countered that mixed race couples openly displaying affection can startle onlookers, scare children and provoke violence, and that it sparks phone calls requiring police to monitor the situation, thus wasting valuable resources in a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

    There FIFY

  • proegg antichicken||

    Well now, these laws are stupid. If you have a gun in public, not a crime, not worth any attention. If you have a gun in public and are screaming obscenities and chasing small children while pointing it I'm sure you have broken other laws and the public gun display one is unnecessary.

  • ||

    Uh, isn't this already covered by laws against brandishment? Since CA is not open-carry state.

  • ||

    I believe there are ways you can legally open carry in CA, but it's very convoluted and the cops are going to be even bigger dicks about it than they are in most states.

  • omg||

    CA is an open carry state.

  • Harry Callahan||

    A man's got to know his limitations.

  • ||

    ""Supporters countered that openly displaying handguns can startle onlookers, scare children and provoke violence, and that it sparks phone calls requiring police to monitor the situation,""

    So a gun on someone's hip is scary, and to get protection from that boogieman, they think it requires calling someone with a gun on their hip.

  • J[o]h[nn]y Long[torso]||

    Romans 13
    1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

  • ||

    That is an interesting one. It really goes to the point that Christianity is not supposed to be a political religion.

  • Spartacus||

    Of course, he who rebels against authority and is successful has some claim that now he has been established by God.

  • ||

    Funny how God is such a fair-weather fan.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Divine Mandate(tm) can be a bitch like that.

    Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone

  • Decentralize Everything!!!||

    I'd like to hear Fred Phelps' interpretation of this one.

  • ||

    Also:

    "I was pleased the support was significant and a number of my colleagues spoke out in support," he said. "We want to make sure law enforcement is protected and Main Street California is free from a proliferation of weapons."

    The bill would fine violators $1,000 for carrying an unloaded weapon in public.

    Officials at Women Against Gun Violence were "thrilled" with the bill's passage. Representatives said it marks the first step toward stemming what it called a tide of gun "normalization" in American culture.

    "We found open carry to be intimidating and part of an effort to mainstream guns in our society. People get used to seeing them and having them around; they become part of everyday life," said Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence. "By this bill passing, that's a step toward thwarting that effort."

    FUCK YOU, CONCERNED SOCCERMOM!

  • ||

    That gun you are carrying might just go off.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    She must enjoy being raped.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    We found open carry to be intimidating and part of an effort to mainstream guns in our society. People get used to seeing them and having them around; they become part of everyday life...

    So if guns should remain and object of mystery and fear, but the police are allowed, no, encouraged, to openly carry guns, does that mean that the Women Against Gun Violence want the police to wield fear and secrecy as weapons in addition to firepower?

  • ||

    Our four weapons are fear, secrecy, and firepower!

  • rather||

    I thought city city busses had video monitoring?

  • ||

    Believe it or not, there are people who defend every damn thing the police do, even when they are wrong. Such as talk show host Mike Trivosono in Cleveland.

  • ||

    Everyone is a threat until they have submitted to searches and background checks to prove their innocence STOPPED RESISTING.

  • ||

    "The police will get the message when municipal governments and police departments have got to write out substantial settlement checks,"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, RIGHT.

  • ||

    No doubt about it, the US has indeed become a "Police State" in every sense of the word.

    www.internet-privacy.at.tc

  • ||

    Radley Balko

    "Splitter!"

  • ||

    Fuck off!

  • The Front of Judean Reason?||

    Isn't that him over there?

  • ||

    Uh, isn't this already covered by laws against brandishment?

    Apparently, this is the Assemblyman's response to "intimidation" by gun rights advocates who have been recklessly sitting in the front of the bus appearing in public with holstered and unloaded handguns, causing consternation and emotional distress among decent, law-abiding townsfolk (such as himself).

  • L4F||

    I hate police cameras, is there any technology available to warn me of nearby cameras? Got to fight big brother.

    Chuck E. Cheese Sued for "Gambling".
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....bling.html

  • ||

    Except when you suck big brother's cock, right GREGOOOOOOO?

  • L4F||

    I do no such thing. Prove it!

  • Robert||

    But... The cops weren't even alleged to have been doing anything wrong when they were arresting the drunk. This issue doesn't seem as cut and dry to me as it does to you all. Wasn't the girl just being a little spoiled brat when she recorded the police? I mean she was just harassing the cops. Do we really want to establish a right to harass cops?

    I read about these stories regularly on reason, and it seems most of the time the recorder is just acting like an ass. I just don't know my own mind on this one. It seems silly that we should never allow cops to be recorded but it seems just as silly that we should endanger the lives of the police by allowing random bystanders to harass police officers that are just doing their job.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    O.K., I'm gonna say TROLL on good ol' "Robert" here, but I'll play anyhow, cuz I'm a bit bored right now.

    The cops weren't even alleged to have been doing anything wrong when they were arresting the drunk.

    (1) Well then what's the problem with videoing them? If they're not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide. Why do they care if someone videos them in a public place? Where have I heard this logic before? hmm...

    (2) Why does it matter whether they were doing anything wrong? Whether they acting properly or not, they're in public, visible to anyone. If you're in public, people can video you. Particularly if you're a (chuckle) "public servant."

    Wasn't the girl just being a little spoiled brat when she recorded the police?

    Erm, wut? "Spoiled brat?" First, I don't know WTF you mean by that, but let's say she was. Does that make her videoing illegal? Does that give the cops the power to detain her and take her cell phone? Here, I'll give you a hint: NO FUCKING WAY.

    I mean she was just harassing the cops.

    Standing several feet away, not getting involved, while quietly videoing what's going on at the other end of the bus constitutes "harrassing"? What fucking dictionary are you using?

    it seems most of the time the recorder is just acting like an ass.

    Where is the law that makes "acting like an ass" a crime, or empowering the police to detain you and take away your personal propery for doing so?

    It seems silly that we should never allow cops to be recorded but it seems just as silly that we should endanger the lives of the police by allowing random bystanders to harass police officers that are just doing their job.

    How the fuck does her videoing them endanger their lives? And who better than random bystanders to keep an eye on the police?

  • Robert||

    I'm not a troll, I'm working for crying out loud. I'm using harass in the sense of annoy (I think that's clear from the context). Are all of you are honestly contending that you wouldn't be annoyed by a random stranger videotaping you while you were working? You're right to argue that this young lady didn't violate the law but isn't that the issue at hand here? Namely aren't we discussing whether this should be illegal (I'm an agnostic)?

    Regarding endangering cops, I think we can all agree that cops sometimes have to use force when arresting someone. And can't we all agree that the line between necessary force and police brutality is a fine one? If we can agree to both of these can you see how it is possible that a cop concerned with being videotaped might be less inclined to use force and that the officer's reticence might lead to him getting hurt?

    As a side note, why the vitriol? I'm just asking a question. I mean honestly, "fuck off slaver"?

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Are all of you are honestly contending that you wouldn't be annoyed by a random stranger videotaping you while you were working?

    Yep. But if I was doing my work in g a public place I'd be shit out of luck.

    Moreover we are talking about men who have been given a special remit to harass and annoy their fellow citizens. Accordingly they should be subject to increased scrutiny.

    Does this make there job difficult? Yep.

  • ||

    Robert- Explain to me how, exactly, she was harassing the cops. Did she do anything that prevented them from making the arrest? How was this different than just sitting there watching? How did this endanger their lives? The real answer is that the passive recording from a seat on the bus did not have any affect on their ability to do what they thought to be their job in a lawful manner. Maybe it prevented them from beating up on the drunk, or conducting themselves in an unprofessional or unlawful manner, but there is nothing wrong with that.
    Unless the person with the camera is actively interfering, as opposed to just being where they had every right to be, they have the right to record what is happening in a public place. It sounds like this girl did nothing wrong, and that the cops were jerks, at a minimum, and most likely acting unlawfully.

  • ||

    Robert ? We're waiting for an answer, please.

  • aeronathan||

    "The police erased the video from Fitchette's phone."

    Which is why you should auto-upload to youtube ....

  • Shocked||

    She should file a theft report with the cops. Oh wait, that might not work out too well.

  • proegg antichicken||

    Do we really want to establish a right to harass cops?

    You think video in a public place is harassment? If you have to ask, then kindly fuck off, slaver.

  • ||

    It's amazing how a camera seems to spark police abuse. All the more reason to film them.

    http://sunshinereview.org/core.....-film-cops

    http://www.intellectualtakeout.....our-rights

  • ||

    Robert - I've been a patrol officer for 10 years. During that time I've been video recorded countless times and it had no impact how I acted. Know why? Because I'm a professional and I know how to deal with people. My experience is: Good cops will still be good cops even when recorded and bad cops will be forced to control themselves if they know they are being recorded. Where’s the negative?

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