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Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

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posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:40 PM
can you please cite current law written that video taping police is a crime?


posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:49 PM

Originally posted by indigothefish
can you please cite current law written that video taping police is a crime?


This is some of the incidents coming out of Boston, Mass about cell phones and people recording:

Police fight Cell phone recordings

Mass is 2 party consent state - Both parties have to consent to being recorded (audio). One of the incidents described in the above paper shows the officer asked if the cell phone had auio recording ability, which it did, and thats when they officer did his thing.

Do I agree with it? Nope - since it took place in public. However, the law is on the books, so it can be used in this manner, however innaprorpiate. Now that people have had action taken against them, it allows the law to be challenged in court.

Why Boston PD does not excersize common sense in this manner is beyond me. My only guess is they know a lawsuit is coming, and any actions to show the department made a mistake can further their potential liability. It still doesnt make it right though.

Mass recording Law

As a side note the Police spokesperson did make a good point about scene security. When we are doing our job, and we detain someone, we are at that point responsbile for that person safety (since they cant freely do what they would need to do to defend themslves from another person assulting them, out of control car on a traffic stop etc).

If a 3rd party decides to interfere, and we failed to take adequate steps to stop that, we can be held liable for any injuries / damage sustained to the person we have in custody. For what it is worth, if we go to arrest someone, and they resist and get injured in the process, a few things happen:

A review will be done to determine how the injuries were sustained
Were they unavoidable
Were actions within department policy, state law, and federal law (42 USC 1983 - Civil rights violation)

If the injuries are sever enough that require a hospital visit, and if the person is in police custody at the time, the department gets the hospital bills, and not the injured person.

Like I have said, there are a lot of variables we have to deal with, while operating in a realm that most of the population does not take the time to adequately understand.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 02:09 PM
If its not allowed for me to record a cop then they gotta get rid of the dash cams and body mics cause they don't have my consent to record if I don't have theirs. BTW usually when something bad happens that dash cam grows legs and walks away anyways.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by SilentStigma]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 03:00 PM
reply to post by Xcathdra

Agreed about no right to privacy in public. Personally, I feel that this should apply to everyone (LEO and citizen alike).

I don't remember mentioning driving? Agree there are rights and then thre are privileges.

Regarding logging with dispatch and various other forms of logging, recording by LEOs. There have been several cases where they have caught LEOs making false statements in their reports or committed other infractions. There have also been cases where they have shown LEOs did nothing wrong when the public thinks they did.

They are a good thing in my book - provided access to them is given.

My bottom line is this -

There have been many cases where video or filming have helped LEO's - either by offering proof of a crime or clearing the LEO of accusations of wrong doing.

That is a good thing.

There have also been many cases where video has helped citizens by proving either that they were not guilty of a crime or that the LEO had done something improper.

In my mind this is also a good thing.

Is it not?

I totally agree filming should always be done in a manner to never impact the safety of any involved.

Regarding the Rodney King thing - Local court acquitted them - but in Federal court Officers Koon and Powell were sentenced to (and served) thirty months in federal correctional camps for their actions.

From.. Rodney King Case - Chronology

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:23 PM
reply to post by Frogs

The thing to take into account with the release of dash cam / audio footage is it is evidence, even for a minor traffic violation. If someone makes an accusation against the officer, the video/audio becomes evidence, and vice versa. In my state if I stop someon for DWI I have to submit my dash cam / audio as evidece with my report.

I brought up traffic stops due to the fact it is the single most action we take above all others, which uses our dash cam / body mics the most. People have made comments about recording the officer during the stop. I was trying to point out that because you are stopped (detained) you dont really have any "right" to record what the officer is doing (If anyone wants a more in depth reason behind this I can give it a shot - just ask).

Here is an example of Dash cam footage being used incorectly by media (another reason releasing them only occurs after an investigation is over). Watch video 1 - watch it closely, and ask yourself what should happen to the officers involved. Once you decide based on the footage, whatch the 2nd video, capture by a second responding officer and ask yourself what should happen to the officer.

The media only ran with a portion of the first tape, with limited information.

If anyone has already seen these I ask you to refrain from commenting. This example has been used several times for training and observation / perceptions:

Dashcam Footage - Video #1

Dashcam Footage - Video #2

This is why I have no issues with people recording what we do. If anything, Law Enforcement should be held to a higher standard (within reason). From day 1 after graduation of a Police academy you are recognized (in almost all states) as an expert witness due to training. It is Law Enforcement that should say - Record all you want, I have nothing to hide.

I am curious what people think about the 2 videos above. Does it change anyones opinion about them?

Also, keep in mind that if you video record an incident where charges are filed, you yourself can be considered a material witness. If you refuse to come forward as a witness to a crime, you can be charged in most states for failing to identify as a witness. Also, as a witness, any refusal to comply with a subpoena to testify in court as to what you saw, can result in a material witness warrant being issued for your arrest. You can be held in jail until such time you go before the court and testify.

If you record a crime, your camera can be seized as evidence provided you are not a member of the press. You must be credentialed in order to claim media, and even that does not stop having footage seized by Law Enforcement if it contains evidence of a crime.

Hence, use common sense when doing these things. Sometimes people like to go where angles fear to tread.

As far as Rodney King, the Fedral Charges were the 42 USC 1983 - (Civil rights violation). While I dont agree with being found not guilty and State level, and being found guilty at the Federal level, thats pretty much what happened. While being a very violent encounter, they were withing policy and state law. The Feds got to use a different angle to charge them - violating Rodney Kings civil rights.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra] - My spelling sucks

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra] - Youtube issues

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra] - Dyslexic

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 09:36 PM
Cops should be forced to wear cameras and made to upload their video data at the end of every shift (with jail-time and or monetary penalties for those who hide evidence by failing to upload)

Any cop who has a problem with this is probably a crooked scumbag, the good ones won't mind at all.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 07:59 AM
reply to post by Xcathdra

Ok - looking the vids first. My honest 2 cents..

Vid1 - I have to admit it looks bad at first look. In looking closely a 2nd time I can see the guy has something in his right hand, but can't tell what it is. Either way, looks like he's "off" from his walk, (drugs, booze, mental) and is walking / lurching / staggering away from the leos when one opens fire. Admit - it looks fishy - I'd want more details.

Vid2 - We can clearly see the guy has a gun and even has it in a stance where he looks like he is ready to shoot someone / something. There is a brief struggle with a couple of cops. He breaks away and starts heading for what looks to be the entrance to an open convenience store with the weapon when the officer opens fire. Looks like this was likely a good shoot to me. I don't know if the officer(s) had avail a tazer or if it would have applied here. Either way - the guy had to be stopped. No issue from me.

The media - again, my 2 cents - the media are usually prone to slant things one way or another either for ratings or bias on an issue. Agree - that seeing it "on the news" doesn't always make it 100% true. Though many assume that it is.

The extra video in that one helped the officer. - and rightfully so.

I'll counter with this one - though I'm sure you've probably seen / heard of it...

Pogan said he told Long to stop to get ticketed for such infractions as taking his hands off his handlebars. Long kept going, and he testified he never heard any instruction to stop.

Pogan initially reported that Long steered into him and knocked him down, but a tourist’s video showed the officer striding over to Long and shoving him off his bike. The video has garnered more than 2 million YouTube views.

Pogan testified that he was trying to protect himself and never meant to misrepresent what happened.

Long, who wasn’t seriously hurt, was charged with attempted assault and other offenses. The charges later were dropped, and the city paid Long $65,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed

From... Ex-officer faces sentencing in NYC bicycle clash

..and the vid..

If not for the citizen vid the false statements by a rookie officer would have cost this guy dearly. In this case the vid helped the citizen - and (sadly) ruined a career that was just getting started. But, if not for the vid - the officer would have gotten away with lying on his report and the citizen would have faced very serious charges he would have no way of disproving.

The King thing - yes I hear you and agree that what amounts to a double trial for a crime is not right - it does happen to LEO's and non-LEOs alike..

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 10:02 AM
reply to post by Xcathdra

interesting, thanks for that find

so i guess to answer the original post's main question " should videotaping the police really be a crime? "

why not? you pay them essentially, as well as them WORKING FOR YOU, you should be allowed to view them complete their tasks dutifully and honestly.

you should be allowed to video tape police

ultimately, because there are 'crooked cops' out there, and video taping them will expose them.. as for the 'straight cops', well they should have nothing to hide

i can see how video taping unconsenting parties could be outlawed, but a loophole should be that cops should be able to be videotaped, and they should understand it part of their job function to be monitored not only by their superiors in their cop car cameras, but also by the citizens they are sworn to protect and work for, even if that means being video taped

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