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Seattle Hacker Catches Cops Who Hid Arrest Tapes

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the spd-getting-hit-from-all-sides dept.

Data Storage 597

An anonymous reader writes "In 2008, the Seattle Police illegally arrested security consultant Eric Rachner for refusing to show ID. After Rachner filed a formal complaint, he was prosecuted for obstructing, and the police claimed that videos of the arrest were unavailable — until Rachner's research uncovered proof that the police had the videos all along." It's an interesting story of how he figured out how the system in use by Seattle police automatically tracks deletion, copying, or other uses of the recorded stream.

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597 comments

Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945594)

Shouldn't the officers in this case be charged with obstruction of justice?

Re:Obstruction of justice (2, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945608)

I don't know if police officers, in the USA / in that particular state, can be charged with that. In my country, any citizen can, whether a civil servant or not. 't Would be a good thing, though, if it happened.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945758)

Police officers in theory are not above the law. They are supposed to be held accountable to the same laws as us. If they lied in an investigation and intentionally withheld evidence, they should be charged with obstruction of justice.

They arrested Rachner for obstruction of justice for not identifying himself. Every lawyer on the planet tells you never to talk to a cop for any reason. I'm not sure I agree with it, but I understand the logic behind it. However you can't just arrest someone for not talking to a cop.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945964)

You are incorrect. While the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that in Washington, people are not required to identify themselves to the police, this is not true nationally. You are not required to produce ID, but in most states you can be required to state your name.

Rachner impressively knew about this rights in Washington, but you should be careful to be as informed as he was before challenging the police in another state.

As for obstruction, I agree; the only obstacle is finding a prosecutor to enforce the law against the police.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946168)

Anyone interested can ask their local ACLU about the ID laws in their state.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946182)

You are not required to produce ID, but in most states you can be required to state your name.

Unless you live in Arizona and look Mexican. Well, not yet, but soon.

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946212)

+1

Papers please!

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946156)

They arrested Rachner for obstruction of justice for not identifying himself.

No, they arrested him for frustrating and pissing them off. They charged him with obstruction of justice as their means of retaliation in an attempt to legally justify his arrest.

Big difference.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946014)

Cops in the US can usually claim Sovereign Immunity. Which is one reason I dislike the concept so very much. (Even the Magna Carta had - in its original form - that sovereign immunity does not apply in cases of rights violation.)

I seriously doubt the cops will get punished, and quite possibly they'll never even have to stand trial. If there's an inquiry, it'll be internal and kept secret.

The problem is that, ever since the days of the Wild West, cops have seen themselves as absolute authorities with total power over the citizenry, the laws and the very facts of the case.

Re:Obstruction of justice (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946164)

Cops in the US can usually claim Sovereign Immunity.

Are you sure about that? IMNAL but I believe that sovereign immunity in the United States [wikipedia.org] is limited to the Federal and state governments.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945692)

And falsifying police document. Perhaps perjury as well, if the cops told this to a judge. This is one of those times when "making an example" is the right answer. Otherwise, wtf should we trust the police?

There's a better charge.. (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945836)

"Conspiracy to deprive a person of their civil rights under color of authority". That's good for a ten-year stretch in fort leavenworth, if you can get a federal prosecutor to pursue it.

-jcr

Re:There's a better charge.. (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945888)

The more I read the article (yes, some of us do), the more obvious that this is a systemic issue with the Seattle police dept, and this was a bonified SNAFU, (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.)

Re:Obstruction of justice (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945760)

So they can be sentenced to one month's vacation (with pay)?

Re:Obstruction of justice (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946206)

that sounds like a reward, not a penalty

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945788)

that is a good question - it seems like prosecutors are also complicit in the "circling of the wagons" - they also seem to make an effort to protect bad or dishonest cops, and I don't understand why.

Re:Obstruction of justice (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945972)

They protect the cops because the cops work with them and help them railro...er...get convictions.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945790)

No. They should be charged with making a false arrest. They should be suspended without pay until the trial is resolved, and someone should make sure they aren't put on the PBA payroll during that time. If they are found guilty, they should be fired. Not suspended, fired.

The individuals in the police department that refused to release the video of the arrest -- on false pretenses, by the way -- should also be fired.

Finally, the head of the police department in question should be fired.

Cops who abuse their authority are despicable.

Re:Obstruction of justice (-1, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945936)

This douchebag was wandering around with a group of thirty or so people, drunkenly smacking people in the face with foam golf balls and then heckling them. I'm not sying the cops were right, they weren't, but this guy is no hero.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946066)

No, ONE person smacked ONE person in the face with a ball, and he wasn't either party.

Not only wasn't he of that group, but the one who did the douchebaggery, didn't get arrested. The person they arrested for THAT (as opposed to refusing to show ID, and thus making it an illegal arrest) also didn't do anything.

The guy IS a fucking hero. Not because of what happened before, but because he was willing to fight the fight all the way to the end instead of simply caving because it was too much trouble.

Exaggeration (2, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946086)

This douchebag was wandering around with a group of thirty or so people, drunkenly smacking people in the face with foam golf balls and then heckling them. I'm not sying the cops were right, they weren't, but this guy is no hero.

If you read the article, it says one person hit a passerby. Not the guy in question here. In fact, it says he did not even resemble the one who had hit the passerby with the foam ball.

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946118)

One person got hit in the face by accident. With a foam ball. He got heckled for it and called the cops. Who then illegally arrested several people who didn't do the deed while the guy who actually did it later self identified and still nothing came of it. You're making it out as though they were some sort of drunken mob.

Re:Obstruction of justice (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946136)

This douchebag was wandering around with a group of thirty or so people, drunkenly smacking people in the face with foam golf balls and then heckling them. I'm not sying the cops were right, they weren't, but this guy is no hero.

No.

Some other guy smacked one person in the face with a foam golf ball, by accident.

The police arrested the wrong guy by mistake, for which he performed community service even though he didn't commit any crime.

They also arrested one other person because he legally refused to disclose his ID or open his own wallet.

The real problem is the police lied and withheld evidence that didn't support their case. That cannot be tolerated, and for that he is a hero.

Re:Obstruction of justice (5, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946208)

First of all, that doesn't matter. Even if he was in fact engaged in criminal activity, that doesn't nullify his civil rights. You can argue about how exactly violation of civil rights shuld be treated. You can argue about how exactly a liar covering for someone who violates civil rights should be treated. There is no validity to arguing about the behavior of the person whose rights were violated, however. If he was doing something criminal, then that makes police interferance with his rights even worse - because that would mean he'd likely have been able to walk away from criminal charges.

Second, your portrayal of his behavior does not match the facts presented. They were not "drunkenly smacking people in the face with foam golf balls". They were drunkenly playing with foam golf balls, and a person (which is different from "people") was accidentally hit (by someone who was not amongh those arrested).

Moreover, your claim that they hecked the "people" they hit requires proof. The police report said they were heckling the person that was hit, but it does not clarify what this means. The person who was hit with the ball was "only mad at the one guy" who hit the ball, which doesn't seem like it would be the case if any mass heckling of the sort you're portraying were going on. In fact, the person hit by the ball, based on his quotes, appears to agree that the police response wasn't justified.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946258)

It's the cops' job to determine if this actual douchebag was responsible. If they're not able to, they have no reason to arrest or detain him. The Washington constitution is much stricter on what constitutes justification for arrest. Douchebaggery by association is not a crime. He was arrested illegally, and the PD lied about the circumstances and evidence, possibly perjuring themselves. There may be innocent people who will be freed/have their records expunged because of this man's work. He is a hero for calling them on it, and catching them with what appears to be hard evidence.

Re:Obstruction of justice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945956)

Cops who abuse their authority are despicable.

No, people like you, who tie law-enforcement down with so many regulations that it becomes impossible to enforce the law, and who fail to show proper respect for the authority that police have over you, are despicable.

When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. It is that simple. People like you, and like this bastard who obviously had something to hide, make it real hard to properly enforce the law against real criminals.

Police officers will protect you, if you stop getting in their way.

Sooo Eeeeee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946034)

STF up PIG!

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946080)

Police officers will protect you, if you stop getting in their way.

Actually, they won't, and have sued to make sure they don't have to, even if you're roommate is being raped while you hide upstairs and call for help to 911.

http://royhalliday.home.mindspring.com/police.htm

There's no "justice". It's "just us". that's how MOST cops feel. It's not a few bad apples. The bad apples are the ones who look the other way or cover up behind the thin blue line when the worms are out murdering and railroading innocent people.

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946108)

Police officers will protect you, if you stop getting in their way.

And who says I want them to protect me in the first place? And how do they know *what* I want to be protected from?

Do I get a say in the matter?

What if I wanted to be protected from being hassled the moment I leave my house simply because I look suspicious to the average cop?

Re:Obstruction of justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946122)

When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. It is that simple.

You're a liar.

Re:Obstruction of justice (4, Interesting)

Yold (473518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945796)

They are police... so yes they should be charged... but I'm sure that "an internal review concluded that no police policies were violated".

This shit happens every day. NYPD stole hundreds of bicycles today [thisisfyf.com], this innocent teenager was arrested for "resisting arrest" [carlosmiller.com] after being mistaken for a burglar, and of course this is what happens [carlosmiller.com] when you videotape the police. We live in a police state, plain and simple.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946000)

We had a police officer in nearby Macon, GA that was fired years back for stealing a radio from a stolen car he was recovering. The idiot borrowed a screwdriver from a bystander. He was tried and convicted for it also. Talk about too stupid to live. That was when Macon was renowned for having the lowest paid cops in Georgia.

Re:Obstruction of justice (3, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946242)

And conspiracy. And fraud. And assault/threat.

The worst thing is that the taxpayer will pay for this while the cop gets off. The whole system is messed up because the police are not required to be champions of the law -- they are taught to make assumptions and are trained with perpetuated illegal methods by their peers of the same creed.

Re:Obstruction of justice (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946250)

When a DA or US Attorney won't pursue justice for you, I believe you can always file a civil-rights-violation lawsuit.

It still costs you money for the lawyer, but at least there's some recourse when the cozy DA/cops relationship gets in the way of justice.

PAPERS PLEASE (3, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945602)

The dream of cops, reactionaries, xenophobes, and fascist thugs everywhere...

What are the odds those cops got one of the few people left in their city who know their rights and have the means to defend them.

Re:PAPERS PLEASE (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945884)

Most people don't need to defend their rights because most people are smart enough to just do what the man with the gun and the arrest powers says. His buddy standing beside him who just said "Okay" and showed the cop his ID may not have been heroic, but he didn't have to spend the weekend in jail or hire a $3500 lawyer either.

Re:PAPERS PLEASE (5, Insightful)

entrigant (233266) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945976)

Most people don't need to defend their rights because they willingly give them away.

Fixed that for you.

Get enough people like you together... (5, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946076)

And pretty soon you have no rights left to give away.

A few bad apples (5, Insightful)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945670)

A few bad apples making the other 1% look bad...

seriously, why do cops always circle the wagons to protect dishonest cops?

Re:A few bad apples (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945720)

Maybe the number is waaaaay higher than 1%...?

Re:A few bad apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946194)

Or way lower (try reading what he wrote one more time, higher is better for us).

Re:A few bad apples (4, Insightful)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945740)

Not quite sure to be honest, it seems like they would be the first ones to want the slime off the force.

I mean if you can't trust the guy to be honest and fair out on the streets, do I really want this dude "serving and protecting" my community where I live?

Re:A few bad apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945770)

Its because they are a "Fraternal Order".....

Re:A few bad apples (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945892)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Code_of_Silence

Re:A few bad apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945934)

Ever heard of the phrase "The largest gang in America"?

Re:A few bad apples (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945946)

A few bad apples making the other 1% look bad...

I really wish I thought it was a ratio of 99% to 1%, but the lines are certainly not clear cut. I know quite a few cops. My brother used to be a cop. The profession attracts people with particular mindsets; the fearful, sadists, people with too much testosterone, people who are emotionally underdeveloped and who have seen too many action movies. When you're talking to 5 cops and 3 of them tell you the reason they went into police work was because they wanted to shoot someone without going to jail, well you've got to figure something.

...seriously, why do cops always circle the wagons to protect dishonest cops?

I don't know any cops who don't break the law regularly. The attitude I've witnessed seems to be that they are above the law, at least to some extent. Since they all break the law they all worry some citizen will get them fired because of it, so they can all sympathize when one of them is accused. They try to cover one another's backs and give one another the benefit of the doubt instead of objectively looking into it.

If there were a culture of discipline and more strict adherence to the law than is the norm, things might be different. That's not how cops are hired in our society though or how they are taught in their on the job training. I'd love to meet a cop who refused to speed when not necessary for the job because of the principal of upholding the law, but I suspect such individuals make up less than 1% of cops, rather than 99%.

Re:A few bad apples (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945948)

In this case, the dishonest part was "we don't have the videos." Which probably either equates to "Look, your case is over. I'm busy trying to save people. Go away." or "Frank in acquisitions said George in IT sent Lucy from internal to Gary in servers to get the tape you were looking for, and they said they don't have VHS tapes anymore. I don't know what VHS means, but we don't have it." Neither of these are particularly good reasons, but painting it as a conspiracy to protect these police officers from a technical call about a misdamenor seems a bit grandiose.

Otherwise, it sounds like a bunch of beat cops arresting drunk guys for being drunk, in an attempt to quiet down the streets. They left later that night, and had small charges filed against them that the county defender could have beaten. One person didn't buy an expensive lawyer, and spent a sunday cleaning up trash. It's not perfect. Its probably not the right call to pursue charges. But "dishonest?" Again, it just seems like some beat cops that wanted to break up a rowdy bunch of drunk guys with sticks before something bad happened. They overstepped their bounds a bit, but not a whole lot.

Make the attorneys aware that they can request the logs. Make the police know to take the video and log requests seriously. Done. Not really a big problem.

Re:A few bad apples (3, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946248)

Did you miss the part where the guy in the article spent half a year fighting the charges before the prosecutor simply dropped them?

There was a lot of dishonesty going on, more than "oh you can't see the evidence".

Re:A few bad apples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945954)

Because they don't know who in the precinct will respond to their next call for backup. If a cop's in big trouble, he'd rather not have someone who's pissed at him coming to the rescue.

So, they have one another's back, just in case.

Re:A few bad apples (3, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945962)

Seriously? Because few people outside the profession really understand what it's like to be a cop, and what it does to an individual. Much like combat units, they come to believe the only one you can trust is the person wearing the same uniform as you. Nobody else can relate to their experiences. (That's why they don't write traffic tickets to other cop's family members. When the shit hits the fan, and you call for help on the radio, you don't want to chance that another officer is still pissed off at you about the ticket you gave his wife.) They really don't want to believe that a member of their group is bad, and they know outsiders don't understand their world.

Re:A few bad apples (5, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946040)

How is that different from being a gangster...?

Re:A few bad apples (2, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946142)

Probably that the default position of the police is to trust, and that of the gangster is to distrust.

Re:A few bad apples (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946276)

Not from where I see it. The police have more in common with street gangs than profession of nobility and honesty.

They defend each other without question or inquiry into what's going on.
They commit crimes to cover the crimes of others-witness intimidation, falsifying reports, etc.
They commit crimes with each other.
They all wear similar clothing, use similar language and adopt similar body language and hand gestures.
They stake out turf.
They (at least attempt to) breed dependency-ie., what would the neighborhood do without us?

How many more isolated incidents from statistically insignificant "bad apples" does it take before people realize that this behavior is closer to rule and not exception?

Re:A few bad apples (4, Interesting)

waspleg (316038) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945988)

because they're hated by a large majority of the population ... until they're needed. both sides are right, who hasn't seen a cop, not in uniform, flip their lights on to run a red light (and no they weren't going to an under cover investigation)? i know i have. i've been repeatedly harassed by police for how i was dressed, both as a kid and as an adult, and done experiments along these lines. clean cut, white, and in jeans and a tshirt? no problem. put on a trenchcoat and grow a beard? you're a criminal, i've even been stopped and questioned by police i knew and worked with. i work with police regularly and have for a long time.

i've received parking citations for my car facing the wrong way from a cop who lived in my neighborhood and who i had pictures of his cop car parked the same as i did, facing the wrong way for the lane he was in. i have worked 3rd shift hotels and dealt with racist security teams who were also off duty cops, most of them extremely corrupt and definitely only wearing a badge for power and the 'respect' it garners them (fear would be a better word), and i did see some women want to fuck them solely because of this too.

there are also a LOT of dishonest cops who abuse their power. many (most?) of them are little more than state sanctioned and funded gang members. not all but enough to notice. i forget the exact quote but a friend once said there are two kinds, the corrupt power hungry kind who mostly got picked on in school, and the superman wannabe kind who thinks they're the moral police and are totally smug about their decisions, i have seen the latter even disgusted by other police they worked with and said so but, no they would NEVER under any circumstances turn each other in; it's more of a talk behind their back or pat them on the shoulder and ask them to stop kind of thing. both are dangerous, both abuse power, some more than others.

generally if you are polite, so are they, sometimes they're good to have around but they're pretty much always like restless invading armies, if they don't have something else to do they will turn on you very *very* quickly. maybe YMMV, i live in the midwest and have lived in the city most of my life and my experiences have been consistent with police for more than 14 years.

Why do geeks cricle the wagon? (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946018)

Look at the Hans Reiser case, or the Terry Childs case. On Slashdot we see tons of support for them, claiming they couldn't have done it, are being railroaded, etc, etc. They get consideration that people in other professions don't. A circling of the wagons.

It seems to be human nature.

Re:Why do geeks cricle the wagon? (2, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946274)

Actually, with the Reiser case a lot of people on slashdot and other places weren't rooting for him, most "pro-Reiser" comments seemed to be of the "I suppose it's possible that he's innocent because... ...and I sure hope that's the case" variety.

And this is hardly the Reiser case, this guy was innocent, the police lied about the footage and audio recordings, Reiser murdered his wife and eventually confessed.

As for the Terry Childs case, that's a pretty infected issue that's hardly over yet. My personal impression is that Childs was following the rules to the letter even though it should've been obvious that he was putting himself in a bad place...

Re:A few bad apples (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946084)

A few bad apples making the other 1% look bad...

seriously, why do cops always circle the wagons to protect dishonest cops?

Maybe because your statistics are grossly off.

Re:A few bad apples (2, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946106)

When criminal after criminal accuses you of brutality/rape/robbery/false arrest I can see why cops may defend each other.

I believe its a "crying wolf" issue mainly.

Re:A few bad apples (5, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946130)

A few bad apples making the other 1% look bad...

seriously, why do cops always circle the wagons to protect dishonest cops?

Just for the record, any cop who protects dishonest cops, is also dishonest.

Carefully parsed language (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945800)

The department responded: "These recordings are both past our retention period and can no longer be obtained. Please note that the majority of 911 calls and videos are retained for a period of ninety (90) days."

"They just flat out said they didn't have it," said Rachner.

Actually, that's not what they said. They said they can no longer be obtained. They didn't say they were destroyed. They didn't say *who* could no longer obtain them. Are they saying "You can't obtain them" (because it's past 90 days and that's our policy) or "We can't obtain them"? (because they were destroyed). The language is intentionally unclear. They *implied* that the recordings had been destroyed, and that the police themselves could no longer obtain them, but that's not what they actually said.

Either way, this is a good lesson for those /.ers who maintain that you don't have to show a cop your ID in the U.S. when asked (that you don't need "papers" in the U.S.). That may *technically* be true, but it can still cost you a weekend in jail and a $3500 legal bill if you actually pull that shit with a real cop.

Re:Carefully parsed language (2, Insightful)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946048)

They said they can no longer be obtained. They didn't say they were destroyed.

To play devil's advocate: how many people have called customer service somewhere to try to request something or get something done, only to be told that it can't be done (despite you knowing that it can be)? The letter he got back stating that it was past the 90-day retention period was probably sent by some drone at a desk, doing what happens every time I'm on the phone with customer service anywhere. Yes, it's possible that this was part of a police cover-up, and that possibility should certainly be investigated. But, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion.

[T]his is a good lesson for those /.ers who maintain that you don't have to show a cop your ID in the U.S. when asked [...]. That may *technically* be true, but it can still cost you a weekend in jail and a $3500 legal bill if you actually pull that shit with a real cop.

To expand on what the parent said: the police officer was dealing with a large group of drunks. Someone had called 911, claiming that they were assaulted by this group of drunks. The police officers were trying to round up everyone involved, figure out who was who, and figure out what happened (basic police work). Yes, the officer overstepped his constitutional bounds by detaining someone for not providing identification. But, like the parent said: if you want to be a drunk who revels in causing problems for the police while they're trying to do their job (problems that you have the constitutional right to cause, yes, but problems nonetheless), expect problems in return.

Re:Carefully parsed language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946170)

... it can still cost you a weekend in jail and a $3500 legal bill if you actually pull that shit with a real cop.

Which is another problem with cops.

Suprise, surprise (4, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945812)

ANY time the cops, spooks, politicians, corporations-- anybody, really-- claims to have "lost" the evidence, they are lying or they deliberately destroyed it. Like when the CIA, at the behest of Bush, just happened to lose hundreds of torture tapes after they'd been ordered by a court to preserve them. Like they did with much of the Abu Ghraib evidence.

Police in particular can NOT be trusted to police themselves. The few honest cops are often threatened by the rest. Rat on us and good luck when you call for backup...

Re:Suprise, surprise (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946192)

The biggest issue regarding our rights is that the executive branch has completely took over the judicial branch.

The judicial branch needs to start tossing those abusing power in prison instead of continuing to give them a free pass.

More too this story methinks (1, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945816)

It sounds like the cops got caught pretty red handed but I'm having a hard time buying that this douchebag was just politely refusing to show ID. They hit some guy in the head with some kinda nerf ball, which probably is no big deal but then heckled him to the point where he called 911. Now, the Capitol Hill is an area of seattle know for a large Gay community and Gay bashing hate crimes are far from uncommon there. He was also apparently drunk. The whole lot of them sound pretty belligerent in the video. Article seems a bit biased.

Don't get me wrong, the cops should be made to answer for their actions here too, but let's be sure not to paint this guy as some Rosa Parks of drunken nerf golf. Besides, he sliced the shot. :)

Re:More too this story methinks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945996)

He didn't slice the shot. RTFA.

FTA "Marcus Johnson of Los Angeles apologetically admitted in an interview that he sliced the ball that hit the victim. Police never detained or identified him, but he and others said Johnson was "in the thick of things" when police arrived."

Re:More too this story methinks (1, Insightful)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946002)

Mod this guy up. While I'm not for anything unconstitutional, there has to be something that the police can do to stop douchbags like this guy (if you don't think he is, you haven't read the article) from getting away with being a douche.

I'm sure I'll get many replies on what they could have done, which I don't mind. I'm genuinely curious, especially since I am not American.

Re:More too this story methinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946096)

How can you call another a douchebag when you don't even know the rights? I guess reading comprehension is a quality not all members of the human race get to enjoy. How is he a douche? He didn't fire the shot, all he did was refuse to state his name & I.D.

Re:More too this story methinks (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946028)

Maybe he needed to be jailed, I don't know. Obviously if the cops lied about evidence they need to be jailed.

Actually, not really (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946060)

Actually, if you RTFA, it wasn't him that hit someone in the face with the ball. Even the victim said he was only mad at the one person who did it, and it wasn't the subject of this article.

And he did really just refuse to identify himself and/or show his ID; it's all right on the recording in the linked article.

The issue here is that everyone is saying the cops are bigs, but in most jurisdictions, it is completely legal for a police officer involved in an investigation to ask an individual to identify him or herself. What is at issue is whether or not it is legal to arrest/detain someone ONLY for refusing to identify themselves if they are suspected of no other crime (the other issue here is that perhaps playing street golf/hockey is probably against some ordinance, but let's leave that aside).

This really isn't about "papers, please". It's about a law enforcement officer making a legitimate, legal request...not complying with an officer's legal request, even if you haven't yet done anything else wrong, is itself a crime in many jurisdictions. Unfortunately, it hasn't been (and still isn't) established whether or not and under what circumstances it is inappropriate in the State of Washington for a police officer to request an individual's ID.

I get a kick out of all the posts here laying into the cops. Typical, though, and not surprising.

Re:Actually, not really (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946252)

This really isn't about "papers, please". It's about a law enforcement officer making a legitimate, legal request

A legitimate request is "Get the hell off the streets before I arrest you for loitering or public intoxication". "Show me your ID" is not legit, and may not even be legal.

Re:More too this story methinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946176)

Actually, if you RTFA, you would know that this guy wasn't even the one who took the shot. Although he was belligerent (which isn't a crime), he did nothing wrong. The guy who took the shot didn't even get arrested.

He is our most recent example of a civil rights "Rosa Parks", where most people would be ignorant to their rights and / or couldn't afford a $3500 lawyer.

this is a good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31945842)

People, this guy might just be the beginning. If there's one thing we need right now is to make democracy controlled by the people again, to get rid of all the pseudo-aristocracies that have formed.

I for one welcome the new surveillance state! The one in we're the ones doing the surveilling!

Think about it: If we manage to put our entire state apparatus under constant surveillance, then all the corruption that was possible once becomes much more difficult. I imagine video feeds, e-mails, phone transcripts, bank accounts: Total transparency. Not the citizen should be the one to suffer under these burdens - it is the ones that we pay to do their jobs, that we elect to represent us, that should be under the inceasing scrutiny of the global citizens.

They should have been arrested, but not for that (2, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945846)

I'm glad that he went after the SPD, and didn't back down until he exposed their deceipt.

Additionally, he and his companions should have been arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, but not for refusing to ID himself. Oh, and the one that hit the other guy in the face with the foam ball should have been arrested for assault. They were all a bunch of hooligans, and a public nuisance.

Re:They should have been arrested, but not for tha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946078)

s/assault/battery/

Re:They should have been arrested, but not for tha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946146)

btw, deceit is not spelled like receipt...

Wow, what a waste of time and money (-1, Troll)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945864)

So they spent months, thousands of dollars in defense, thousands in city funds all over the fact that some drunk tool refused to tell the cop who he was?

Re:Wow, what a waste of time and money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946006)

So they spent months, thousands of dollars in defense, thousands in city funds all over the fact that some drunk tool refused to tell the cop who he was?

No, you moron. They spent that money because the police made an arrest under false pretenses, then tried to cover it up by lying about the presence of evidence.

Re:Wow, what a waste of time and money (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946042)

Really. In the good old days they would have just beaten his ass silly.

Both sides are guilty (0)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945878)

The cops are guilty of destroying evidence. The golfers are guilty of assault, public drunkenness, obstructing traffic, and other shenanigans. The cops were right to arrest these assholes for the charges listed here. (Not that you'll hear one peep of disapproval about these hooligans from any other Slashdotter.) The cops were wrong to obstruct justice and should be fired and prosecuted.

Re:Both sides are guilty (2, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946294)

I'll condemn them heartily. They should be arrested if they're causing real problems and don't immediately respond to police presence by quieting the hell down and dispersing. But once the cops decide to start arresting people, they'd better be damned sure they follow the law - because when they don't, they further undermine their legitimacy.

Show ID (-1, Flamebait)

nometacognition (1600833) | more than 3 years ago | (#31945960)

If an officer of the law requests to see your ID, you must present it. Don't be stupid, just show it. If you feel that is wrong, lobby your representative.

Re:Show ID (1, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946098)

If an officer of the law requests to see your ID, you must present it.

You are factually incorrect. You are not required to produce any form of ID on demand in the United States. The worst anyone can do is deny you entry or purchase, if it is based on ID or ID as proof of age/residency/etc/. The exception would be driving a motor vehicle on public roads, where you are required to be licensed and show proof on demand.

There is nothing to lobby your Representative about, because this isn't against any law.

Re:Show ID (2, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946144)

If an officer of the law requests to see your ID, you must present it.

[citation needed]

Slice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946004)

Its all about the right hand. You have to get that thing further to the right to avoid the slice.

Procurement Contract and System Specs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946030)

From the article:

Rachner didn't hack the police computers, but with attorney Stockmeyer's advice he spent several late nights starting in October poring line-by-line over technical aspects of the video and audio recording system. He examined the Houston-area manufacturer's contracts, specifications and procedures.

Rachner hit pay dirt when a procurement contract and system specs revealed that a computerized log is kept permanently on every video and audio recording, showing when anyone uploads it, flags it for retention, plays it, copies it or deletes it.

He also discovered recordings aren't regularly destroyed every 90 days, but are kept for a variety of reasons. While they can be destroyed after three months, that erasure isn't mandated."

I wonder if the police department lawyers are scrambling to get the procurement contract and system specs 'modified'.

Police Department: Damn Open Source Software!

Widespread abuse of power and corruption. (0, Offtopic)

hackus (159037) | more than 3 years ago | (#31946120)

It is all over the place. Watch the news.

American society is a ticking time bomb, 1 in 4 kids are now on food stamps, the unemployment figures have potentially reached critical mass of 21% where money comming in vs money going out only makes it a matter of time now.

Pick one:

1) Death by civil unrest.
2) Death by starvation and hyper inflation.
3) Death by war, which the power elite are already planning.

There is so much criminality running rampant now in our government no amount of voting I believe will change the outcome of the above three choices.

Due to the terrible weapons technology the power elite now control, owning a gun is essentially useless. If number one is pursued, millions will be squashed like a bug trying to apply the consitutional fail safe of bearing arms and destroying tyranny.

It is all going to end very badly and personally, my bet is on #3.

After the war is over, a new dark age for mankind will be the spoils for the victor.

-Hack

Seattle cops don't like video (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31946162)

Because they like to beat up 15 year old girls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl67FmVRjYs
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/401779_schene28.html
http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/01/former_deputy_paul_schene_says.php

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