Crime

More Benefits of a Surveillance Society

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Anthony Abbate, a Chicago police officer who faces an aggravated battery charge for viciously beating a female bartender half his size because she told him he'd had enough to drink, was initially charged with misdemeanor battery, presumably until the bar's security tape revealed the full extent of his assault. The local Fox affiliate reports (below) that the police department's internal affairs division is investigating an attempt to cover up Abbate's attack, which occurred two years ago. Attempts to negotiate a plea deal have failed, so Abbate will take his chances in court. A review panel recently recommended that he be fired.

King's County, Washington, Sheriff's Deputy Paul Schene, who faces assault charges for beating a 15-year-old girl arrested after taking her parents' car on a joy ride, does not even have the excuse that the demon rum made him do it. The surveillance camera in the girl's jail cell shows her kicking off a sneaker at the entrance after being instructed to remove her shoes. Apparently the sneaker struck Schene in the shin, "causing injury and pain." You can see what happened next (but not here, because I can't get the damned embed code to work). One suspects the negligent sneaker removal was a pretext for punishing the girl's bad attitude. Travis Brunner, the deputy accompanying Schene, says she was "real lippy" upon being arrested, calling him and Schene "fat pigs."

Another recent example of unjustified police violence caught on camera (in this case, a subway rider's cell phone) was the January 1 shooting of an unarmed, subdued man by an Oakland transit cop, which Reason covered here, here, and here.  In the June 2004 issue of Reason, Declan McCullagh explored "the upside of 'zero privacy.'"

[Thanks to Gabe and Sage for the tips.]