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New Federal Appelate Court Ruling on Public Video of Police

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posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 12:40 PM
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First of all: I ask everyone reading this thread to understand I have no desire nor intention of this becoming a police bashing thread. If you wish to bash the police in general, please find one of the many other threads available that appear to be for that singular purpose.

Second, this is ATS. We are above the standard fray of the classic Internet discussion boards. Remember that, please. This is a sensitive subject, but in my opinion a vital one.

Background Thread: Police State - Illegal to Record On-Duty Police Officers

It appears the social momentum in recent years has been towards outlawing the videotaping of police in the act of performing their jobs... a seeming contradiction because during the same time period, the movement is to use dash-cams mounted on police vehicles as evidence in favor of the state. Now a ruling has come down from the Federal First Circuit Court of Appeals that appears to buck this trend.

From Jack Kenny reporting for the New American:

Declaring a First Amendment right to videotape police making an arrest in public, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has denied a police claim of immunity and allowed a civil rights suit against three Boston police officers to go forward. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of Simon Glik, a Boston attorney who was arrested on the evening of October 1, 2007 for using his cellphone to record police officers making an arrest on the Boston Common.

Glik's suit claims police violated his First Amendment rights by stopping him from recording and his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause. The officers appealed a district court ruling denying them qualified immunity from the suit. A ruling by a three-judge panel of the appeals circuit on Friday of last week upheld the lower court's decision.


Now, it is self-evident to me that police are charged with one of the most difficult jobs in America. They regularly deal with violent criminals that the rest of us (most of us anyway) would go out of our way to avoid. They are charged with upholding unpopular laws. And of course, no one can be expected to shine with dedication and integrity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from every conceivable angle. Not in the least do I expect that.

What I do expect, and what this court ruling seems to agree with, is that there is an inherent right to acquire evidence of possible crimes, even when that crime may be committed by police. A policeman is not a god; they are all besieged with the same human weaknesses and emotions as the rest of us. But then again, with greater authority comes greater responsibility, and the authority to make arrests must coincide with the responsibility to have one's actions scrutinized by witnesses.

I also expect the accused to have the same rights to evidence as the accuser, and thus if video evidence from a police cruiser dash-cam may be admitted, it is unfair and unjust to in any way prohibit the same right to those who may have legitimate grievances against the state.

I now wonder just how high this appeals procedure will go. It is already at the Federal level, so there is a possibility it could reach the SCOTUS. That would be an interesting development.

TheRedneck




posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Sorry, but no public figure should be exempt from any law that is applied to the general citizenry of this country. If you are employed by public tax money, then you should be held to the same set of laws you are there to enforce without question. No officer or any other public figure should get special law skirting privileges constitutional or otherwise.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:01 PM
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Yeah, I enjoyed the several other threads about this as well.
It just makes no sense how this poor guy in Illinois is still facing life in prison
for doing something that is supposedly not illegal.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:11 PM
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reply to post by Screwed
 


Well as I have said in that thread, with regards to that individual, maybe his case will also be flung out of court.

1st the Woman who was charged for recording a conversation between her and two officers who were bullying her into dropping her sexual harassment case, was flung out of court, and now this.

What will the Authorities come up with next to try and fringe on peoples rights to video or audio tape law enforcements officers who might be doing something wrong.

I think its about time the courts in the US slapped the officers of the law down and reminded them of their role in US Society.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by Screwed
 


Illinois (a bunch of Democrats) is one of two states that enacted a law that specifically states that filming police is criminal. All of the other filming police arrests are based upon wire-tapping rules.

Hopefully, the Illinois defendant can appeal based upon the Federal ruling.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:17 PM
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reply to post by SpaDe_

Assuming, of course, that historians have not been rewriting textbooks since I was in school....

The principle of no one above the law was the single most critical contribution of the Magna Carta to modern law, an acknowledgment that even the king was not above and was bound by the law. That would be the same Magna Carta that hangs in the hallowed halls of the SCOTUS.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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Has the US Supreme court ever ruled on cases such as this?

If not could this go all the way to the Supreme Court, and If the US Supreme Court ruled the arrests unlawfull etc. How would states interpret the ruling?



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by chuckk

A decision of Federal courts based on the constitutionality of state law is binding nationwide. You may well be right.

Let's hope so.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
reply to post by SpaDe_

The principle of no one above the law was the single most critical contribution of the Magna Carta to modern law, an acknowledgment that even the king was not above and was bound by the law. That would be the same Magna Carta that hangs in the hallowed halls of the SCOTUS.

TheRedneck


Too bad that principle has been long gone. Even probably before you were in school. Remember Nixon only getting impeached for wiretapping? He didn't spend 75 years in jail like that man in Illinois may. That's only one example of the millions to go by.
edit on 3-9-2011 by Nutter because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:25 PM
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The police use their cameras to try and prove people guilty, why shouldnt civilians use their cameras to be able to prove themselves innocent?

The reason they dont want it done is so they can carry on doing illegal things to innocent people and then it will be word v word and a judge will always think the police tell the truth.

They keep on telling us its ok if youve got nothing to hide, how about they have a taste of their own medicine?



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:32 PM
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Judge Kermit Lipez writing for the unanimous panel, wrote,


“Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’”




“Changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”

WBURBOSTON

I agree with this ruling. It is the correct ruling. However, since there is no real disincentive for police to stop arresting people for their first amendment rights, I don't see this as a big win for us.

Look at it this way. It was a lawyer who got arrested videotaping the police getting rough with a teenager. He had to spend his own time (4 years!) and his own money to defend himself. The police get paid to go to court and they don't spend a dime of their own money, the PUBLIC does. We pay for their lawyers and the DA.

If there is a fine or a civil suit from this case, the police don't pay a dime, the PUBLIC does.

So, what is the disincentive for the police to stop arresting people for this? There isn't one. They can continue to arrest people, drag them through court for a few years, lose the case, but in reality, they haven't lost a thing.

If a police officer doesn't want you videotaping them, they can still arrest you. The burden is still on you to defend yourself in a court of law. They know most people don't have 4 years and 100k to fight them on every arrest.

I'm still left wanting more. But I do applaud the court for doing the right thing in accordance with the law.
edit on 3-9-2011 by METACOMET because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:40 PM
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Here's the problem.
As I have learned first hand, the hard way,
even if all of the charges eventually get dropped or the case gets thrown out of court,
the police/the state still wins in a way.

If this were you, would it really be worth it.
Sure you won, but at what cost?
How long did you have to sit in jail?
How much money did it ultimately cost you?
How much of a strain did it put on your relationships??

Let's say you pay $1000 a month in rent.
You have a job which pays the bills and like every other American, you are living paycheck to paycheck.
You film the cops,they come over to talk to you, you tell them to mind their own buisness, they hit you with some trumped up charges including resisting arrest, you spend three weeks in jail before you get a bond hearing and your bond is set at $20,000 cash only.

You quickly realize that you aren't getting out until your court date at the earliest.
Meanwhile, since the phones in jail are collect call ONLY, you haven't been able to get ahold of your employer, so your job is gone.

You haven't been able to contact your landlord nor would you even know how to since they don't provide
a yellow pages in jail. You have been evicted and you don't even know it. All of your belongings have been sold at auction and you are now homeless.

Your car has been towed and is being held at a local impound and racking up a bill of $65 a day.

After spending three months in jail waiting for your court date to arrive, you are finally found "Not Guilty"!

You walk out of jail with

NO money
NO home
NO job
NO belongings whatsoever
NO car. It will cost you $5,400 to get your $5,000 car out of impound.

Yeah, you're the winner alright.
Thank God for our justice system finding you not guilty hu?
edit on 3-9-2011 by Screwed because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-9-2011 by Screwed because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by Screwed
 


That is how I see it. Although you would probably be released, your point is still valid.

The burden is still on the law abiding citizen, and it can be a huge burden, out of reach for most to correct.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:48 PM
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reply to post by METACOMET
 


Do the police decide to take people to court in the US?

I know in the UK, the police have to hand over the evidence to another body who then decides if the case is worth proceeding with.

This way any kind of vindictive prosecution is not allowed, also if a person is found innocent, all their costs are paid for. Same goes for anyone who is sued.



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 01:50 PM
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Additional comments here..........

www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 02:01 PM
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So if the cops take a man to court for doing exactly what they do to everyone else and the cops lose then the tax-payers get to foot the bill. That's a definite no win situation, but no doubting the cops should be thrown out of court in this case and have to pay for the entire case, shame that means the cops pay nothing but hand the bill to the tax-payers, and of course it would be worse if the cops actually win, another freedom taken away, more hypocrisy enforced, an innocent man goes to jail with a hefty court cost to pay to top it off.

All I can say is that America is leading the way in absolute corruption, and taking the world down with it, we need some unity and some balls to bring about a revolution that will remove the laws that see bankers profitting off war, cops profit off corruption, politicians being puppets of the bankers, and the list goes on. Some real leaders need to step up the challenge.

We are all pretty useless, 6 billion people ruled by a corrupt group of zionist bankers and we cant even unite to take them down. Complete and utter fail.
edit on 3-9-2011 by Haxsaw because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 02:04 PM
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reply to post by Screwed

If that is your concern, there are plenty of cameras available that are practically invisible. You can get watches that are video recorders, ink pens that are video recorders, sunglasses that are video recorders, etc., etc., etc. There is no need to confront the police with "Hey! I'm videotaping you and there is nothing you can do about it!"

According to this new ruling, the evidence obtained is now admissible in court. That's the difference. If you are harassed by police, the smart thing to do in any case is survive the harassment and use the law to correct the wrong. Now, assuming of course that this decision is not reversed, you have that option.

So the cop that pulled you over and for no reason you understood decided to taser you now will be in jeopardy of prosecution. Even if he is not personally out anything for his actions, his employer (the city/county/state) is. It doesn't take many such offenses for that person to be replaced, or for a new policy restricting such activities to be implemented. The same goes for the beatdown you witnessed, or the bribery attempt, or whatever.

Again, let me stress that I do NOT believe all police are involved in such activities. My concern is about the few who obviously are and the lack of the ability of the public to press forward with charges against them. That uniform worn by the police officer deserves your respect, and it is always better to resolve a problem at the source than to escalate it. A court will take into account, even with your taped evidence, your actions leading up to the event. Don't anyone think for a moment that simply presenting a video of a taser shot is going to resultin a guilty verdict; a video showing compliance from the moment of confrontation as well as an unwarranted taser shot may well result in a good court ruling.

Courts are there to right wrongs, not for revenge. Getting the bad cops removed from service rights the wrong; trying to get whatever cop you come across in trouble is revenge. Attempting to right a wrong might now succeed; attempts at revenge will only cause more unnecessary grief.

Always remember that the policeman in front of you is better armed, better trained, probably in better shape (donut addictions notwithstanding
) than you, and that he/she is an officer of the court and therefore carries greater weight than you do in that court. Do not try to bully the cops; you will not like the results.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 3 2011 @ 11:11 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 





What I do expect, and what this court ruling seems to agree with, is that there is an inherent right to acquire evidence of possible crimes, even when that crime may be committed by police. A policeman is not a god; they are all besieged with the same human weaknesses and emotions as the rest of us. But then again, with greater authority comes greater responsibility, and the authority to make arrests must coincide with the responsibility to have one's actions scrutinized by witnesses. I also expect the accused to have the same rights to evidence as the accuser, and thus if video evidence from a police cruiser dash-cam may be admitted, it is unfair and unjust to in any way prohibit the same right to those who may have legitimate grievances against the state.


Well said, and I'm glad the guy who filed the suit is an attorney. Since he would know constitutional laws better than the average citizen, I think this case will be much more difficult to sweep under the rug so to speak. If this attorney wins his law suit, it definitely will be a landmark case which will be used to justify going forward on other similar cases.

I find it strange how police can video tape arrests, and large metropolitan cities can install video cameras on street corners yet the public has no right to video tape public servants who are paid using our tax dollars. They work for us so they should be held accountable. Video taping authorities and politicians is a way for the public to enforce our own checks and balances on criminal activity by public servants. We certainly can't rely on our news media to hold them accountable like they should.



posted on Sep, 4 2011 @ 12:05 AM
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I don't expect a lot from the police. I understand they have a tough job, and I could even cut them some slack in some instances, but since they are LAW enforcement officers I expect them to KNOW the laws they are enforcing.

Too often the police overreact with claims of "resisting arrest," etc, when it is blatantly obvious this is not the case. I have even seen a person attempting to explain to the officer what was going on, but the idiot cop rules that the person is being argumentative and arrests them for "interference" or some equally outlandish LAW. Haha, what a joke.

The standards and requirements for police officers should be much higher, and maybe our tax dollars could be put to better use. Arresting a lawyer? Who wasn't doing anything wrong? LOL. They are going to wish they knew the law when this is all said and done.



posted on Sep, 5 2011 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by JiggyPotamus
 

One of the inherent problems with that is that NOBODY knows the law. There are 60 million statutes! It is impossible.

I love when people claim that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Well, yeah, it is. Since there isn't a living soul on earth that isn't ignorant to the law.



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