Instapundit Glenn Reynolds on Why it's Important to Film the Police


The Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, daylights as a law professor at University of Tennessee and in his latest column for the Washington Examiner, he calls attention to the importance of watching the watchers with newfangled recording devices. Most law enforcement people are upstanding in executing their duties (and they welcome and sometimes even insist on surveillance). Then there's stuff like this:

Tiawanda Moore had made a sexual harassment complaint against a Chicago patrolman. When she was visited by police Internal Affairs officers who tried to persuade her to drop the charge, she recorded the audio using her Blackberry. Though the audio reflected rather poorly on the Internal Affairs officers, the response of the Chicago state's attorney was to act not against the offending officers, but against Ms. Moore, charging her with "wiretapping."

After the tape was played, the jury took less than an hour to return a verdict of not guilty.  "When we heard that, everyone (on the jury) just shook their head," said one juror interviewed afterward.  "If what those two investigators were doing wasn't criminal, we felt it bordered on criminal, and she had the right to record it."…

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, the right of citizens to record the police has been upheld by the United States Court of Appeals For The First Circuit in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe.  Passerby Simon Glik caught sight of three police officers arresting a young man. Hearing an onlooker shout that the officers were hurting the man, Glik turned on his cellphone and began capturing video. The police officers objected to being recorded, arresting Glik and charging him with violating the state's "wiretap" law by recording them without their consent, seizing his camera and memory chip as evidence….

Technology may be winning, but the real problem is that America has a class of government workers who believe that they are above citizen scrutiny, and who are prepared to abuse their powers to avoid that scrutiny.  The only solution for this is to punish offenders severely enough that others learn their lesson. 

Some have proposed a federal civil rights law specifically recognizing the right of citizens to record police, and including severe punishments for police and prosecutors who violate that right.  Frankly, it seems like a pretty good idea. Until then, however, we need to educate both police and citizens that photography is not a crime, even when those who wield government power, ostensibly on behalf of the citizenry, would rather not be photographed.

Read the whole thing here.

As the Reason cover image above suggests, we've been covering this issue for a long time. Click to watch "The Government's War on Cameras," which outlines your legal rights when recording the watchers:


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  1. “If what those two investigators were doing wasn’t criminal, we felt it bordered on criminal, and she had the right to record it.”…

    I hate this kind of logic. She had the right to record them because she has the right, not because what they were doing was illegal. If they hadn’t done anything wrong, would she be found not guilty?

    1. If they hadn’t done anything wrong, they wouldn’t have objected and there would have been no trial much less conviction or acquittal.

      I agree, however, that what she did should not be illegal. It seems to me that under the state laws applicable to her (unjust law if my surmise is accurate), she did commit an offence but the jury having heard the recording did not want to convict so they went looking for an excuse to acquit.

    2. Look at it this way, having had this experience the jurors may be more receptive to your argument in the future.

  2. “but the real problem is that America has a class of government workers who believe that they are above citizen scrutiny, and who are prepared to abuse their powers to avoid that scrutiny. ”

    Not to mention that cops really do not necessarily know what the hell they are doing.

    Plenty of them have no idea what the law demands, and I am not sure that they can ever be satisfactorily trained into that understanding.

    1. you could say this about people in ANY profession. but i realize for the anti-cop bigots, any thread is an opportunity to vent their emotion.

      1. Right, just like any other profession. Well at least the ones that have guns, batons, tazers, the ability to detain you, etc…

        1. Due to their privilege of using force, cops must be held to a higher standard, and should have no expectation of privacy when in uniform in public or in official actions.

          1. Since in many areas cops are considered sworn LEOS 24/7, never losing their powers, they should never have any expectation of privacy in any instance.

            1. I think you’re giving them too much credit. Not even the best cops can tamper with evidence, confiscate goodies, obstruct justice, shoot dogs, and beat people up 24/7.

              1. some do try

      2. anti-cop bigots


        Now you’re persecuted, good one.

        1. Now you’re persecuted, good one.

          But wylie, they’re an oppressed minority

        2. strawman noted

      3. When people have the power of life and death over you they should be held to a much higher standard than the average fry cook.

        1. everyone has the power of life or death over you.

          i suggest you read the law regarding self defense, etc. it applies to EVERYBODY.

          1. Yeah..try that with an agent of the government holding you at gunpoint and see how that goes..

            1. and *if* there was a self defense issue there, you might have a point

              the point is that in this country, unlike many others, EVERYBODY has the right to self defense.

              and hopefully soon every state will recognize the right to carry as well.

      4. Of course, the real problem is that ignorance of the law is only an acceptable legal defense if you are a member of law enforcement acting in your official capacity.

      5. Here, if you do three years in the military, you need no education at all to be a cop.

        If you do not do military time, you need a high school diploma or GED.

        This is not “anti-cop” bigotry. This is simple and verifiable fact.

        1. You need a high school diploma or a GED to get into the military too. Although sometimes a GED isn’t enough since there is a monthly limit on the number of new recruits who can enlist with one instead of a diploma.

        2. it’s also not anti-cop bigotry to understand that according to the FBI LEJ study referenced in my training, cops average an IQ of approximately 110, which is certainly higher than average, regardless of formal education

          some dept’s require more education than others.

          1. The department in Glik requires a high school diploma, GED, or military service. The cops in that case had no idea what they were doing.

            Neither observation is “anti-cop” or “bigotry.”

            1. did the cops in glik act contrary to state law or was it the wiretap law itself that the federal court found lacking?

              clarify that please

              1. Cops acted contrary to Commonwealth law. There was no interception as a matter of statute.

    2. “Not to mention that cops really do not necessarily know what the hell they are doing.”

      Some of them can barely read and write.

  3. there’s a recent (circuit iirc) court case that determines that people have a right to video-audiotape the police under the 1st amendment. note this does not apply to surreptitious recording (such as above), but it’s a start – judicial activism issues aside.

    every state should pass a law that makes it expressly legal for people to record cops (on duty) without their consent and vice versa. as long as it’s “official duty conversation”, iow cops in public, responding to calls etc. no “wiretapping laws ” should apply

    imo, these 2 party consent laws are odious in general, since they work against people’s ability to prove shit vs. he said/she said – whether it be sexual harassment, etc.

    no HONEST cop should fear such recordings. they should welcome them. also, cops should absolutely have a right to audiotape themselves as it protects them from false complaints. personally, i know far more cops that have been exonerated by same (where w.o the tape at best they could expect an unsustained complaint instead of an exoneration most likely) than have been proved wrong by same

    open, honest govt. requires that all have the right to record their encounters with police – both sides – the cops and the people they are dealing with

    interfering with this right should be a crime

  4. After the tape was played, the jury took less than an hour to return a verdict of not guilty. “When we heard that, everyone (on the jury) just shook their head,” said one juror interviewed afterward. “If what those two investigators were doing wasn’t criminal, we felt it bordered on criminal, and she had the right to record it.”…

    Wait, is this jury nullification? Because it sounds pretty racist to me.

    1. Hell yeah it’s jury nullification. There is no “recording a crime” exception to the wiretap law.

      Luckily, Chicago is not going to pursue this lest they get even more bad press.

      1. in SOME States there is.

        my state exempts recording (audio and surreptitious) FROM the law *if* certain crimes are being committed.

        can’t speak for the law in that state. you may be right that’s the case there. i’m just saying my state’s two party consent law makes exceptions for recording of certain crimes.

  5. simply put, cops should be able to record others (while acting in official capacity) they are dealing with and vice versa. period. NO consent or knowledge of the recording should be required.


    i personally know far more instances of cops being exonerated than convicted based on recordings. it benefits the honest cops and helps punish the bad cops AND the lying people who make false complaints.


    1. oh dunphy, you know there are no good cops.

    2. I think you and most other people have a different definition of “punish”.

      1. *than most other people

        1. Paid vacations aren’t punishment?

    3. If it is win/win, why are so many cops opposed to what you suggest? Are they not aware that it is in their best interest.

      Personally, I think good cops probably like to have interactions recorded and in the possession of the police, but don’t see a benefit to permitting citizens this right because there is no benefit. Cops are in the win/win situation right now.

      1. i think many cops are opposed to it because they see it as an additional burden. many people don’t want everything they do at work to be recorded, regardless of whether they are doing the right thing. would YOU want to carry around a video camera on you at work the entire shift and have everything you say and do recorded and archived?

        even if you were upstanding, most would balk at this.

        there is a benefit to having “citizens’ record in that (as i have personally seen) they often come forward with same to help exonerate cops.
        the disadvantage to “citizen” recordings is that if they are not seized at the scene (and my dept. generally prohibits us from doing so), *if* they benefit cops, the people can just not come forward and thus only come forward with the damaging videos.

        that’s *a* concern, but not controlling imo

        a perfect example (in a well known case) of “citizen” video helping a cop was the jaywalking incident in seattle where the woman assaulted the cop and tried to interfere with his arrest of another person and then he punched her.

        that video CLEARLY showed he was in the right, to the extent that she actually apologized to the cop and pled guilty.

        1. When a third-party “citizen” records, their primary concern is for justice to prevail. That is why they turn in recordings that help police.

          Now, people recording police where there are conflicting stories can have their recording confiscated into evidence or can be threatened with imprisonment under wiretapping statutes that are not applicable in an attempt to intimidate the witness, which is punishable if done by a defendant.

          Now, when will “citizens” be able to subpoena dashcam recordings, police surveillance or other recorded media in possession of the cops to even this playing field? If the goal of law enforcement were justice rather than prosecution, the answer would be “immediately.” As things stand now, the answer is “never.”

        2. dunphy, I have done my best to avoid the “Fuck-tha-Police” attitude that prevails around here. Even in an anarchist society, there would be defense agencies, and agents. Also, I sincerely doubt you are among those cops who abuse their power. I don’t think you’d come to H&R if that were the case. Frankly, I think if more cops were like you, we wouldn’t see half the police abuse bullshit that pisses us off.

          Having said all that, the ‘all-shift’ videotape thing is too-fucking-bad. People who work in restaurants or retail are often videotaped for nearly their entire shift, avoiding it only when they use the restroom. Given the power police currently have in our society, I’d have to say “too fuckin’ bad” if you want to avoid it. If it’s really getting on an officer’s nerves, he/she can go “take a dump”.

          Just so long as they don’t drag a suspect in with them.

        3. Every phone call I take from customers are recorded. So are any technical interviews I do with candidates. I’m left untouched otherwise. This is completely fine with me.

          That’s the scenario we’re talking about, unless you’ve got someone saying you should be recorded when you’re in the bathroom or talking to a coworker. Also, you’ve already got to wear a uniform. You can just put a camera on there and you wouldn’t have to carry anything.

          Also, as BP pointed out I was videotaped all shift (excepting bathroom breaks) for 4 years while I was in retail. Big deal.

          Disclaimer: I don’t think cops should be required to carry around video cameras. I do think they shouldn’t be allowed to stop people from video taping them without leaving public property.

    4. I’d believe that, i worked for a defense attorney and a lot of the clients were pretty much lying or wrong. the more recording, the better. a fair amount of what the cops do is generally catch dumb people being dumb, in my experience. the five-0 only need be afraid of the borderline ones.

  6. The people employ the cops with our own tax dollars, they are there to protect and serve, not be a paramilitary force. If an employer can record his employee on the job, which they can. then we as the employers of every single goverment official and worker have the right to film them. there is no expectation of privacy in public. PERIOD!

    1. …I think we’re getting to the point where cops will wear masks and have bar-codes instead of name tags. The Anonymous LEO.

      1. Ever see a nametag or badge with a number on a SWAT team member? I haven’t, and I’ve watched more than one SWAT training exercise and spent plenty of days at the same range as SWAT cops who were in uniform. The reason they give me for not wearing ID? It’s for the safety of them and their families.*

        *I waited until I was out of earshot before laughing hysterically.

  7. You absolutely have the right to record us. I have no problem with it and every officer I work with has no problem with it. Like dunphy said, recordings exonerate officers far, far more times than they convict them. That being said, the right to record does not include the right to physically get in my way, or stand in the middle of the street. You have the right to stand where anyone else can stand, the camera doesn’t give you special rights, just the same rights as everyone else.

    1. Even when you try to be reasonable, the pig comes out in you. You don’t get to define my rights, pig. Fuck you.

      I’ll give dunphy credit: he’s not 100% obnoxious pig when he comments. You are. You’re the kind of pig that no one wants at a party or for that matter anywhere, because you can’t be anything but pig.

      1. I’m not defining your rights, the Constitution is. It doesn’t say anywhere that people with cameras get special rights and are above the law. That’s the same thing you accuse us of, so that makes you just as bad.

        I feel sorry for people like you. You define other people based on one thing. If you did happen to see me at a party you would never know that I was a cop if I didn’t tell you. I bet I could tell after 30 seconds that you were an asshole though.

        1. I’ve never met a cop that wasn’t obviously a cop no matter how they were dressed, etc, so unless you’re a magical unicorn cop, I’d know instantly.

          The funny part is that you don’t know how obvious you are. Hey, tell us a story where you beat the shit out of some asshole who resisted arrest! That’ll make you not seem like a pig!

          1. Sure you would. No one has ever passed you on the street without you instantly knowing they were a cop right? It must be exhausting to be that paranoid.

            Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll all be gone soon. You’ll never have to complain about that traffic ticket you didn’t deserve again, because you’re special and rules are for sheep.

          2. that’s like saying you’ve never seen an instance of hair transplants that you didn’t know were transplants.

            it’s a logical fallacy (why am i not surprised)

            you notice the obvious transplants.

            you DON’T notice the unobvious transplants, thus you don’t realize they a re there and they don’t fall in your sample

            i worked “deep undercover” for a long time.

            trust me, i got a huge laff out of people telling ME how to tell if somebody was an undercover cop, when i in fact WAS one and they never caught on

            yes, lots of cops fit the cop stereotype you hold. just like lots of accountants do. but not all accountants wear pocket protectors and look like nerds.

            this is really such a stupid logical fallacy, that it;’s beneath you, epi.

            i may disagree with you sometimes, but you usually are not this dense.

            1. Agreed, it’s easy to spot the ones with the military haircut that wear boots and tactical pants even when they’re not working. You don’t notice the ones that are dressed in a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals having a beer at the local pub. No one has ever known I was a cop and they are always surprised when and if I do tell them.

              1. yea. one of the ways i was most effective undercover was when i was surfing. people simply didn’t believe a cop could be a good surfer and charge big waves.

                the stereotypes the ignorati hold help us in our job. we benefit from their stupidity.

                you are absolutely right. a percentage of cops (and heck, some non-cop wannabes) look like the stereotype you mention . heck, they walk around with their hands 8 inches from their sides, like they are wearing a gunbelt.

                those are OBVIOUS, so epi goes “cop”

                he doesn’t see the nonstereotypical cops AS cops – ever.

                we’ve got guys who like like full on computer nerds (and they are), guys who wear eyeliner at the club, women who look like supermodels, women who fight MMA and look like badasses, etc. etc.

                1. No Point Break comments?

        2. I’m not defining your rights, the Constitution is.


          The Constitution doesn’t define my rights. It defines the functions and (more importantly) limitations of the federal government.

          1. OVERRULED! You have only enumerated rights. If the Founders wanted you to be able to stand in the middle of the road, they would have enumerated as much in the Bill O’Rights.

            1. OVERTURNED ON APPEAL!

              The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


              The Ninth Amendment

          2. OK fine, the Constitution doesn’t grant you rights, it simply defines the parameters that the government must stay within when limiting those rights. Is that better?

            1. Yeah, that is better. Too bad that as an agent of the state you got it wrong the first time.

              1. Well technically I was right the first time, I just used a short hand version to say the same thing. The Constitution doesn’t directly define your rights, but it does define where your rights and the government’s ability to limit those rights meet. So what I said was true, from a certain point of view.

    2. You say “EVERY OFFICER I work with has no problem with it” in a thread where a woman was charged by the state for doing just that. Not to mention the dozens of You Tube videos showing police objecting to it, as well as a law on the books in Illinois saying that it is illegal to record police.

      So spare me your “enlightened” attitude and clean your house before lecturing the rest of us.

      1. Yes, every officer I work with, which includes about 20-30 people I interact with on a daily basis. Read the whole sentence before you express outrage.

        There are also hundreds of YouTube videos of officers being recorded who have no problem with it. Those videos only have a few hundred views instead of the hundreds of thousands of views for the other kind.

        All I’m saying is go ahead and record, but don’t be surprised when you don’t evoke the kind of reaction you’re hoping for and instead are met with indifference by those you are recording.

        1. same thing where i work. not to mention there is not a single case in my agency of anybody being fucked with for recording, not to mention our dept policy(recent) actually expressly prohibits officers from interfering with people recording us.

          as usual, the reasonoids think that the only “reality” is the negative instances they see highlighted in reason.com

          iow, if there are 1000 instances of NOT X

          and reason.com highlights the 1 instance of X (for every 1000 of NOT X)

          the reasonoid conclusion is that X is the reality.

          when often it is the extreme outlier.

          1. our dept policy(recent) actually expressly prohibits officers from interfering with people recording us.

            Really? An odd policy to actually have to promulgate, seeing as how your brother officers all believe that those recordings will be so helpful to them.

      2. Do we know where he works? You seem to have no basis in evidence to deny his claim.

        1. anti-cop reasonoid bigots laff at such pedestrian concerns as EVIDENCE!!!!!

      3. where a woman was charged by the state for doing just that.

        Not just a police problem, but a Justice system institutional problem. Police arrest, prosecutors charge, and judges allow. Each part of the system protecting the other parts, because, well, they’re in it ‘together’.

        It’s as if the differing levels of authority do nothing to check each others work.

        1. and at least in my state, the LEGISLATOR is the one behind disallowing recording w/o two party consent (note only applies to private conversations, though. not cop stuff)

          why is there such a law?

          because a lawmaker was caught in a compromising position and passed one.

          note also in any state, lawmakers could also pass a law expressly allowing citizens to record cops

          as usual, the reasonoids fail to “blame” the prime movers in most cases – the legislature

          1. expressly allowing citizens to record cops

            Hopefully you’re talking about clarifying existing legislation. An action is permitted until a law is passed stating otherwise. For anyone in authority to think otherwise is not good.

            And, as Apogee said, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Legislators, prosecutors and police all have a share. And voters for failing to correct the elected.

            1. legislators made audio recording w/o two party consent illegal in WA

              not cops.

              again, in WA we (my agency) have NEVER arrested anybody for recording that i am aware of.

              there was a case where a supervisor,, based on specious evidence, got a search warrant against another officer after believing the officer surreptitiously recorded him

              that officer won a BIG lawsuit against my agency.

              regardless, the prime movers in all this bullshit – from the war on drugs, to the (alleged) war on recording is – the legislature.

              imo, ANYBODY should be able to openly record. many states’ legislatures passed the laws that give cops the ammo, so to speak, to go against people who do so

              1. Your own personal anecdote goes to what I’m suggesting. Police do not have to interpret the law and act on it in the effort to protect themselves from evidence gathered by citizens. Your agency chooses not to, even though you think you can. It’s self-serving, and therefore the officers using that ammo are far from blameless.

                1. under WA law, it is illegal to make recordings of private conversations w/o two party consent.

                  other than that, recordings are LEGAL whether of cops or others.

                  our agency took the proactive step ofoutlining how officers should act when they encounter people video-audio taping us.

                  good for us

                  i didn’t say i think we can go after people who are recording, so that’s your (as usual) unsupported conclusion

                  i’m not even sure what your point is. the point i was making was that , in general, the fault lies with the legislature not the cops, although in SOME cases cops have acted egregiously and COUNTER to the law.

                  cops acting counter to the law is COPS FAULT

                  cops acting in concert with BAD LAW is LEGISLATURES’ fault


                  1. cops acting in concert with BAD LAW is LEGISLATURES’ fault

                    My point is that is also the cops’ fault. Those officers are choosing to act on an unconstitutional law. Agents of the state who violate constitutional rights, whether bad law has been passed to back them up or not, in my opinion, when they have a personal choice in the matter, share blame. They are arresting people for the sole reason that they are gathering evidence and they do not have to do so. They are individuals with discretion. That is my point.

                    1. bad law =/= unconstitutional law

                      yet again, you fail to make a logical argument

                      those are two different things.

                      furthermore, many laws that are later ADJUDICATED Unconstitutional are done so by slim majorities.

                      if you can’t even get a consensus from judges, it’s pretty ridiculous to assume a cop should know it’s unconstitutional

                      but again, you can’t even understand the difference between BAD law and UNCONSTITUTIOONAL LAW

                      hint: my state’s law against MJ possession is *bad* law.

                      it is not unconstitutional


                    2. I have not personally attacked you and would hope for the same courtesy. I apologize if I haven’t made my point clearly enough. Agents of the state who have discretion in application of law but choose to apply the law, the sole benefit in that instance not being to justice or the public good but for themselves, are not blameless. And bad law and unconstitutional law are not mutually exclusive.

                    3. hint: my state’s law against MJ possession is *bad* law.

                      it is not unconstitutional

                      A question for you Dunphy:

                      1833 Johnson v. Tompkins, 13 F.Cas. 840, Baldw. 571, No. 7416 (C.C.E.D.Pa.,1833)( On questions of slavery or freedom, the same rules of evidence prevail as in other cases concerning the right of property. A citizen of another state, whose slave absconds from him into Pennsylvania, may pursue and take him without warrant, using as much force as is necessarry to carry him back to his residence. And such proceeding is no offense against the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. If such opposition is made, or such order attempted to be executed, the master may use force in repelling it, and the officer who gives such order, and all concerned in its execution, are trespassers. No person has a right to oppose the master in reclaiming his slave, or to demand proof of his property. This right of the master to reclaim his fugitive slave results from his ownership, and right to the custody and service of his slave by the common law and by the laws of the state; and the constitution of the United States does not confer but secures this right.)

                      At the time, was it bad law or unconstitutional?

    3. So you will arrest the camera guy recording police abuse, and erase the data because he is “in the street” or standing where he is “not allowed” huh?

      1. That was at Steeliv of course. Dunphy would come with much more valid charges.

        1. it’s VERY rare that somebody recording actually interferes, but it does happen

          interfering is always illegal WHETHER OR NOT the person doing so happens to be recording.

          recording does not give one carte blanche to interfere, however there have been metric assloads of cops arresting (often pursuant to very bad law) people MERELY for recording NOT for interfering

          the right to record in public should be SACROSANCT.

          imo, people should ALSO be allowed to surreptitiously audiorecord cops acting in official capacity, EVEN IF “two party consent laws” forbid it.


          but NOBODY has the right to obstruct. a SMALL %age of recorders do so, but they are wrong regardless of whether they are recording or not

          1. but NOBODY has the right to obstruct.

            That’s why Kelly Thomas never had a chance. No bystander could have lawfully intervened, even if he wanted to.

            1. has it been determined yet that there was unlawful use of force in the kelly thomas case? i know *you* et al assume so. i wasn’t aware whether there was or wasn’t

              1. I think you missed the point, perhaps purposefully.

                1. i’m not sure i did. what was it?

                  1. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the preposterous notion that the six officers unnecessarily beat Thomas to death is fact. Anyone seeing what they perceived to be a man being mercilessly beaten (and judging by video of witnesses discussing the incident during and directly after, some did believe that), your contention that no one is permitted to interfere with law enforcement means that no one but other police officers could have lawfully stopped Thomas’ murder.

                  2. You gonna believe dunphy, a stalwart defender of the public trust, or some stupid “video evidence”?

                    Trained fighters can’t take repeated blows to the body and head from multiple opponents and keep coming at you, let alone a frail mentally disabled man. They beat him to death, on camera, for no good reason.

                    Sometimes context gets left out, sometimes things are not as they seem, but most times 5 guys beating an unarmed man to death is a crime, and punishment will follow. See, if you have 5 guys and the man is unarmed, then all you have to do is get 4 guys to grab his limbs while the 5th calls for the men in white coats.

                    1. what video evidence? i have yet to see any video evidence of the actual encounter? have you?

                      please direct me to it. i’d love to see it.

                      note i have never s aid the use of force was justified, btw. i have said i have not seen enough to conclude it was NOT.


                    2. Oh yeah the screams of pain, the 5 or so tasings, the screams for his father.

                      Yeah, just imagined that. Not like it was on fucking YouTube.

                    3. what video evidence? i have yet to see any video evidence of the actual encounter? have you?

                      Sometimes this stuff just writes itself.

                      Sometimes I think that you’re not really a cop, but a guy who hates cops.

          2. “but NOBODY has the right to obstruct.”

            Your argument crumbled right here.

      2. Not what I said, but nice try. Are you saying that someone should be able to stand in the street in the middle of traffic just because they are recording? All I’m saying is the camera doesn’t give you any extra rights that other people standing around don’t have. Are you disagreeing with that?

  8. LEO related threadjack, but I did not know that Mexican military and LEO personnel were conducting repeated operations within and overflights of South Texas. http://www.chron.com/news/hous…..154786.php

    Happy Labor Day.

    1. Ha ha. I wonder how long it will be before they find out that bribed Mexican (and/or possibly American) military allowed drug smugglers to bring in dope on those flights?

  9. Technology may be winning, but the real problem is that America has a class of government workers who believe that they are above citizen scrutiny, and who are prepared to abuse their powers to avoid that scrutiny.

    This has been the case of ‘government workers’ throughout history and around the world. The king’s men owe no duty to the people, but to the sovereign. IPhone upload direct to Youtube so that when your phone and memory card are “confiscated” (and tampered with) the evidence will be out of reach of the local cops.

  10. Some have proposed a federal civil rights law specifically recognizing the right of citizens to record police…

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  11. I have a real problem with this amendment proposal/civil rights law. By making a law you are saying that it would otherwise be illegal to record a public servant in a public setting. You are creating a dangerous precedent where if there isn’t a specific law authorizing something then it must be illegal. You would be flipping the constitution on it’s head and presuming that government is unlimited except by specific legislation.

    1. I agree. Activities should be legal unless otherwise prohibited by law. Legislation telling you what you CAN do sets the precedent of government granting you rights and that is a dangerous road. You have rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not given to you by politicians.

    2. this is false. just because some laws are passed expressly allowing X, it does not therefore ‘set a precedent’ that w/o same law it would necessarily be illegal.

      these sort of clarifying laws are not common, btw. most laws prohibit behavior, not expressly allow them, but there are examples where such laws are passed.

      the other option is case law. like i said, at volokh they are referencing a recent (circuit iirc) case decision that establishes a 1st amendment right to videotape/audiotape cops in public, although not surreptitiously (iow not the hidden microphone etc. but openly doing so)

    3. I think that precedent could be avoided buy writing the law to say that no government official may interfere with a citizen’s right to record a public servant in performace of their public duty. That way the law would apply to the police officers’ actions rather than the citizens’.

      1. it should apply to both. both should be able to record.

        i’ll ignore the whole “citizen” thang, that others gave me shit for. i’m above that 🙂

        1. You’re “above” replying to people who call you out for referring to normal people as “citizens,” or when other cops refer to us as “civilians”?

          Oh, gee, dunphy. Thanks for being such a good guy as to not respond to those of us who call you pigs out for calling us a different class of people than you are, what with your bullshit authoritah over us measly peons.

          1. troll-o-meter: .01

            1. I’ll take that as a compliment from you, pig.

      2. I can’t help but think of the debate over the bill of rights. Think about it, was the bill of rights really required? The constitution did not give the federal government those powers, so why was the bill of rights needed? It set the precedent that unless enshrined specifically as protected then the federal government could do it (vice limited to those specific areas enumerated in the constitution). I am torn as I’d hate to think where we’d be without the 1st, 2nd…. Amendments, but I still can’t help but think of the expansion of government into areas not protected by amendments.

  12. “The only solution for this is to punish offenders severely enough that others learn their lesson.”

    My hunch is that many libertarians might not want to see this principle broadly and consistently applied.

    1. The problem is not that this principle is not broadly and consistently applied (it is) but that it is broadly and consistently NOT applied to police officers.

  13. I should learn not to go to Balko’s blog.

  14. fwiw, seattle PD is considering personal video-audio camera setups attached to every officer.

    they are going through the details right now to see if they can implement it.

    and again, i know a lot of SPD cops. most WANT the cameras because it protects them

    1. I second that. I always make sure my camera and mic are on and working properly whenever I interact with anyone. Everything should be recorded.

  15. note the WA ‘s two party consent law says that if ANYBODY (cop or anybody else) records audio in violation of the law, it CANNOT be used in court.

    iow, it has a built in exclusionary rule, and it doesn’t just apply to cops

    fault?: the legislature

    (note again: this only applies to surreptitious audio recording , not recording cops doing stuff in public unless you hide the recorder)

  16. “Most law enforcement people are upstanding in executing their duties (and they welcome and sometimes even insist on surveillance). ”

    gillespie is willing to speak the truth. i bet most reasonoids would disagree. good for gillespie

  17. Three words:

    Institute for Justice (IJ)

  18. Now, a serious question from me: Cops are constantly bitching about the rising rate of police-involved shootings in America. They lament the inherent dangers of their profession job, and regularly call for more control over “civilians” because they want to go home at night. They are granted prosecutorial immunity from all sorts of crimes they commit and are able to claim ignorance of the law as a defense, yet deny the same luxury to others they arrest. They have the luxury of investigating themselves when questioned and regularly intimidate others who independently investigate their tactics.

    My question is this: when police dressed and acted like a constabulary as opposed to a military force, outfitted their cars normally as opposed to making them rolling tanks, and armed themselves reasonably as opposed to like a special forces unit, did we have nearly as many instances of violence by, against and generally involving the police?

    1. well, except for the fact that the alleged rise of shootings is little more than a statistical blip.

      iow, the year where it supposedly went up markedly was a year AFTER we had the pleasure of a statistically low year

      iow, the stats don’t support the thesis

      1. 59 officers killed by gunfire 2010
        47 in 2009
        40 in 2008
        66 in 2007
        51 in 2006
        53 in 2005

        im not seeing a pattern. are you?

        source: http://www.odmp.org


        1. granted, lots o ways to die besides gunz

          Trooper Michael Blanton was killed after stopping a driver suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol on the Gaskins Road exit ramp from I-64.

          Trooper Blanton was reaching inside the suspect’s car when the driver sped off, dragging him for several hundred yards before crashing. The car rolled over, pinning Trooper Blanton underneath. Trooper Blanton was transported to MCV Hospital where he later died.

          The suspect was apprehended a short time later by Henrico County police officers, who found him running on a nearby road. The suspect was charged with capital murder, felony hit-and-run, and other charges.

          On September 27, 2003, the suspect was convicted of second degree murder and eluding a police officer, but was acquitted of abduction. He was sentenced to 56 years in prison.

          1. Oh, you misunderstood my question, dunphy. I was wondering about “officer-involved-shootings,” not just the shooting of officers. Could you please explain to me the dramatic increase in officer-involved shootings since officers have been granted immunity and dress and arm themselves like a military force. Can this be attributed to the general public, or to the police being goons without accountability?

            1. i’m not aware there has been a dramatic increase.

              and i’m not sure a causal basis has been established as to those underlying factors.

              feel free to edumacate me.

              when were they ‘granted’ immunity?

              when did they start “dressing like a ” etc?

              i wasn’t aware there had been some sort of per capita substantial uptick in officer involved shootigns, but i’d love to learn if there has been.

          2. Yeah, I actually lived in Richmond when that happened. 56 years sounds about right.

            Now, wonder what the penalty for this motherfucker is gonna be? One ended up paralyzed for life, another was critical last I heard. The cop was on administrative leave.

            1. well, i have seen (yes, in cases of non cops) drivers with NO priors get as little as 1 yr for DUI homicide. i’ve seen extreme cases (multiple priors) get over 6

    2. What department is this that patrols in rolling tanks? I would like to know because I’m just driving around in a police interceptor crown vic, which I’m fairly certain will not stop any bullets. Is this really a military uniform? I’ve seen pictures of police from the 50’s and 60’s and it looks pretty much the same, button up shirt, badge, slacks… Unless you’re going way back to the 19th century maybe?

      Also where do we have immunity? I know it’s not in the city and state where I work, because officers are getting sued or going to jail all the time. Let me know where all this is going because I need to look into moving there.

  19. Officer, am I free to gambol across plain and forest foraging in the tradition of those living in a Non-State sociopolitical typology?

  20. City-Statists are constantly bitching about the rising rate of Indian-involved shootings in America. They lament the inherent dangers of their job, and regularly call for more control over “savages” because they want to go home at night. They are granted prosecutorial immunity from all sorts of crimes they commit and are able to claim Indians are subhumans as a defense, yet deny the same luxury to others they arrest. They have the luxury of investigating themselves when questioned and regularly intimidate others who independently investigate their tactics.

  21. Even when you try to be reasonable, the City-Statist Poodle comes out in you. You don’t get to define my rights, Poodle. Fuck you.

  22. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment… unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? ~Murray Rothbard

    Color coding helps libertarian cops to unleash on the right shade of bums too. Just beat heads with kinky hair. Or long. Doesn’t really matter, they’re whiggers even if they’re ostensibly the correct capitalist color.

    In short; racialist science is properly not an act of aggression or a cover for oppression of one group over another, but, on the contrary, an operation in defense of private property against assaults by aggressors. ~Murray Rothbard

  23. The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below.

    It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control?in everyday language, to make money?by destroying or taking the lives of those below.

    This is called production.

    If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below.

    This is called justice.

    ~Derrick Jensen

  24. “Sweep aside those parasites,” Atlas objectively Shrieks!

    With a shotgun “sweeper,” or just a good dose of baton shampoo, Ms. Rand? Or just your broom?

  25. Add one word, it all makes sense.

    If you want to know whose property, George Carlin has some insight:

    “I’m talking about the real owners!”

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