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Photographing Police: Deletion Is Not Forever

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the evidence-of-evidence dept.

Censorship 482

Geoffrey.landis writes "The courts have now ruled that the public has the right to videotape the police in the performance of their duties. Of course, that doesn't stop the police from harassing people who do so — even journalists, who sometimes have their cameras confiscated. As it turns out, though, they're not always very knowledgeable about how deletion works. I would say that erasing, or attempting to erase, a video of police arresting somebody illegally (How can a journalist be charged with 'resisting arrest' when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?) is a clear case of destruction of evidence by the officers. Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

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482 comments

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Privelege (5, Insightful)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211475)

If you can't be above the law then why be a cop?

Re:Privilege (0)

loustic (1577303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211521)

Because they need to be able to do it "for your security"...

POLICE STATE!!! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212273)

It starts as a state of MIND.

Re:Privelege (4, Insightful)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211553)

Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

Re:Privelege (5, Funny)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212057)

Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

By metacops, naturally.

Re:Privelege (5, Funny)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212227)

Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

By metacops, naturally.

But who metas the metacops?

Re:Privelege (3, Insightful)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212415)

Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

Arrested by who? Their peers who do not want to be videotaped either?

Internal Affairs...

Re:Privelege (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212065)

If you can't be above the law then why be a cop?

Cops aren't above the law. Bad cops think they're above the law. In the same way bad judges think that ruling on law allows them to create new law.

The role of the police is to be the enforcer of the law. The problem is, you have idiototards at police colleges now teaching that you're an enforcement arm of yourself, not to solve problems but to be judgmental of the law itself. Screw discretion...and to hell with case law.

It only gets worse when you get the left-leaners with their carefully crafted policies that ensure that you can have no discretion at all, and if you violate it. It becomes a "PSA"(services act) issue. Common sense? Not allowed, the policy says fuck and you in that order. You use it, it's job loss+jail time sucker.

Re: Judges ruling (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212191)

All judges make rulings on law. If the ruling take precedence, then it is in effect a new law. It is the basis of our judicial system. I.e. trial court, to intermediate appellate court, to highest appellate court.

It doesn't matter if a Judge is good or bad; new law through judicial interpretation is going to happen in our system. If the legislature doesn't like the ruling, they have the power to change the law.

Learn about our legal system; don't just think that only 'bad' judges make new law through rulings.

Disclaimer: I AM a lawyer; but I'm NOT your lawyer.

Re:Privelege (0)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212237)

Hilarious.

You criticize judges for "creating new laws" in one sentence and then proceed to defend case law a couple of sentences later.

Re:Privelege (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212131)

Why not fully comply with a Cop, format the card, take it home and run Photorec? ( http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRecPhotorec)
Undeleting isn't a crime :)

Re:Privelege (4, Interesting)

DnaK (1306859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212289)

It is scary how true your statement is. The one time the cops were on my side during a home robbery at my place, i got a ride home from a cop after getting my stuff at the station (we got the guy!) Well as we drive home he blows every stopsign and stoplight without turning on his lights, and i ask him "Is'nt that illegal?" In a very sarcastic tone. His reply, "Who is going to arrest me" And those are direct quotes. Another time i was pulled over for "driving on the median" and in the report it had said i was in the middle median (double yellow both sides) for over 300 ft. When in reality i had only had 2 wheels cross the double yellow line for less then 50 ft. I please not guilty in court, and asked for video evidence and claimed this was a lie. The judge ruled in cops favor, even though he was blatenly lying. I will admit i don't always follow the rules, the only other time i got a ticket it was totally justified, i was going 52 in a 35. I please guilty, but it was removed from record because of traffic school.

Two separate things here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211497)

he wasn't arrested for filming the police, he was arrested for disobeying a dispersal order.

I'm not saying whether that's right or wrong, and I am aware he is a member of the press (though with some claiming that ANYONE can be a member of the "press").

However, it's also possible for police to issue a lawful order to disperse that, if not obeyed, could result in arrest — alongside a charge of resisting arrest.

The individual was being arrested for failure to obey a dispersal order, which was exactly what the officer said, not for "resisting arrest".

Further, it's the submitter's OPINION that this person was being arrested "illegally". That's something the courts will now decide. The troubling part is that the video would probably be the key evidence in such a case, I agree.

Of course, it's pretty clear that he disobeyed a direct (and likely lawful) order to disperse, and whatever happens after that I sort of lose interest in. :-/

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211567)

So basically you're saying that as long as the police tell everyone to stop being witness to their criminal and unlawful acts, they are within their legal rights to detain those witnesses and destroy any evidence they may have collected.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211605)

No, what I'm saying is that it is possible for police to issue a lawful dispersal order to a group or area (not passing judgement on whether or not this one was, since I don't have all of the information), and you're not exempt because you happen to have a camera in your hand.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211737)

And I'm saying I disagree.

A dispersal order is supposed to be used by officers to difuse a potentially dangerous situation, or an unlawful or unsafe gathering (on private property, or blocking safety exits, for instance). If a cop is telling you that you have to leave only because he doesnt want you to witness his activities then he is wrongfully applying his authority and you are within your rights to decline his order.

If you start down the path of conceeding that you have to do what a cop says just because he said so, you have forfeited your freedoms gauranteed by our Constitution. And you're not likely to get them back.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211875)

The laws for when and under what circumstances police may issue a dispersal order vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They can indeed be lawfully used for mass public gatherings, on public or private property, even in cases where no imminent danger exists. In the case of some of the Occupy camps, municipalities justified removal on the grounds of the camps being a "public nuisance", or a public health hazard.

Clearly some disagree with these judgments, but once that judgment is made by a duly elected or appointed authority, police may lawfully clear the area. Those who disobey the order would be subject to arrest, and it's not the job of the police to discern whether someone may or may nor be press, affiliated with the camp, an innocent observer, etc. If someone is refusing to obey the dispersal order, they'll be arrested.

It's that simple. Again, this isn't a value judgment — just the facts.

Also, following the directions of law enforcement officers is required in many states and jurisdictions, and this isn't a new or recent construct. There are varying degrees, some of which include provisions for presenting identification and similar. It's your opinion, like the submitter's, that this is somehow "illegal". The rule of law doesn't work when individuals get to decide what applies to them on a whim.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212001)

In the case of some of the Occupy camps, municipalities justified removal on the grounds of the camps being a "public nuisance", or a public health hazard.

Safety. I mentioned that.

Also, following the directions of law enforcement officers is required in many states and jurisdictions, and this isn't a new or recent construct. There are varying degrees, some of which include provisions for presenting identification and similar. It's your opinion, like the submitter's, that this is somehow "illegal". The rule of law doesn't work when individuals get to decide what applies to them on a whim.

So by your reasoning an officer can show up at your home right now, and tell you to let him in. According to you, you must comply.

This is wholly false. You are protected by law. You have rights. You may legally and rightfully refuse this order from an officer when it voiliates those rights. That officer MUST provide a warrant issued by a court, or have probable cause to enter your home. Period. End of discussion.

Your stance is based on the fact that most people are ignorant, or complacent, or fearful, and do enforce their rights when challenged. The rule of law doesnt work when those enforcing it are above it.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212209)

Yes, but the example you gave is clear-cut: other than in exigent circumstances, one does not have to allow law enforcement personnel onto/into private property without a proper warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction.

The situation here of clearing an Occupy camp and issuing a dispersal order is anything but clear-cut. Assuming for a moment that it's possible this dispersal order was lawful, at least as far as it goes, why would you claim that they can't compel this person to clear the area as well? How, specifically, was the arrest inappropriate if this was a lawful order to disperse?

Now, if you're saying the order to disperse wasn't lawful, what's your basis for that, given that nearly all municipalities that have cleared Occupy camps have ensured that they at least have a justification for removal that can withstand some scrutiny? Again, without having sat in on all of the council meetings that resulted in this order, I can't comment for certain.

My stance is in no way based on the fact that people are any of those things you claim. But you don't get to decide on your own that something doesn't apply to you. This was not about a legal or constitutional violation (UNLESS the dispersal order was unlawful). There was what was very likely a LAWFUL order to disperse issued by appropriate authority, and this guy chose to say, essentially, "I'm not doing anything wrong," and refused to disperse instead of obeying the order. Well, 99% of the people in the camp probably weren't "doing anything wrong" at that very moment, either, other than being there. If I walked in just to "observe" the camp and refused to leave when directed by a police officer, I can guarantee you I would be arrested on the spot, no matter what I said.

Now we're getting to places where someone might say, hey, the "law" is made by those in "power", and these Occupy camps are just people trying to "take back" their power, so someone needs to stand up and fight the system, document the struggle, etc., etc., etc. Okay, fine. But if you're going to actively oppose civil society and the system of laws that are in place, regardless of from where they stem, expect that there will be consequences to those actions.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212355)

I believe we're in disagreement mainly because I didn't clarify myself in that I am no limiting my comments to this one case. There are cases in which a cop can lawfully ask people to disperse and those people need to comply. I mentioned that. But I adamantly disagree that just because a cop says you have to disperse it does not inherently mean that he has done so lawfully. Too few people peacefully challenge this because they dont want to deal with the consequences. And as that concession becomes more and more common, it becomes expected by both the citizens and law enforcement. The rights which we rely upon to remain free become effectively void in practice if not in law.

Re:Two separate things here (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212419)

Fair enough — and as someone else noted, I think we're in fundamental agreement here.

— wait, what's happening here? A rational discussion on slashdot?!?

Re:Two separate things here (1)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212313)

That officer MUST provide a warrant issued by a court, or have probable cause to enter your home. Period. End of discussion.

While your basic premise is sound, it is not entirely accurate. A law enforcement officer needs a warrant to enter a home, or other private space, uninvited except in cases of exigent circumstances [wikipedia.org] . Now, whether all officers are truthful regarding exigent circumstances after the fact may be debated but the law is pretty clear. We're talking US law, of course.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211883)

He isn't disagreeing with you. Why don't you read what he said? He acknowledges that these dispersal orders may be illegal, but their legality is not determined by whether or not you're filming the officers.

Re:Two separate things here (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211887)

Sorry to step in, but I think you guys fundamentally agree - daveschroeder is just saying that he doesn't know the circumstances and is happy to let the court figure it out.

Re:Two separate things here (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212011)

That's an accurate assessment. The reality is that if a police officer is issuing a direct order and you choose to disobey it, there will likely be consequences. Indeed, even if you think the police officer's order really is unlawful, you're probably still going to be detained or arrested if you refuse to obey it.

Even if one makes this argument from a moral/ethical perspective, in such frameworks there is still the notion that as an independent, thinking being, one has the ability to do anything that they physically can do — whether it's take a walk, kill someone, leak a secret, tell a lie, or disobey the police. The key is recognizing that the event can have consequences.

In this case, my only concern comes from the police attempting to delete imagery from the camera. The courts can now decide whether or not this arrest is legitimate.

Re:Two separate things here (3, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212091)

My concern is the overwhelming willingness to be treated unlawfully so as to avoid the consequences, and yet so little consideration is given to the consequences of allowing society as a whole to be consistently treated unlawfully.

Re:Two separate things here (3, Insightful)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212223)

In the military, you are only allowed to follow *lawful* orders. Following any other kind will result in personal consequences.

Re:Two separate things here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212031)

The only way to make the determination that a cops order to disperse was legal or not is in court. After you are acquitted of disobeying a lawful order by the police, the officer who gave the order can then be charged with dereliction of duty which involves some kind of suspension from service.

You are not a court and therefore can not make the determination that any persons actions are legal or illegal. You can only suspect if certain actions are legal or illegal which by no means gives you the right to ignore commands from a police officer without risking the courts decision on how lawful those commands were.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212159)

So then your conscience would allow you to watch what you believe to be a crime against your fellow citizen, and you would disperse simply because an officer told you to? I'd rather act on what I feel is right and deal with the consequences than explain away how I didnt stick my neck out for someone in need.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

Keith111 (1862190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212391)

A dispersal order doesn't really need a lot of reason behind it. If 2 or more people's gathered presence seems to lead to the liklihood of intimidation or harrassment or anything really they can issue one. It's a pretty nasty piece of power they have and probably should never have been given.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211877)

If you actually watch the video, it's glaringly obvious the officer is going to answer for this and never issued an order of any kind to the photographer other than to wait and be arrested. Miami will soon be paying for the photographer's vacation and some new camera equipment.

You might also note that her fellow officers (comments elsewhere, use Google) aren't exactly standing behind her. Quite the opposite. She's an embarrassment to their department.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212025)

No, what I'm saying is that it is possible for police to issue a lawful dispersal order to a group or area (not passing judgement on whether or not this one was, since I don't have all of the information), and you're not exempt because you happen to have a camera in your hand.

even if such an order was given, and even when it is lawful (which is short of a potential riot or other special circumstance probably isn't), police still don't have any right to destroy the video. The video is private property.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Informative)

Old time hacker (302793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211631)

The good news is that, in a court, if one party destroys evidence, the court is required to assume that the evidence is favorable to the other party. I.e. if the cops destroy a video, then the court assumes that it would be in favor of the defendant.

Re:Two separate things here (2)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212189)

The good news is that, in a court, if one party destroys evidence, the court is required to assume that the evidence is favorable to the other party. I.e. if the cops destroy a video, then the court assumes that it would be in favor of the defendant.

the court is not required to assume anything. It is just another piece of evidence that the court must consider in totality with all the other evidence when deciding how reliable a particular witness is. It isn't as cut n dry as you make it.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Informative)

kulervo (1597181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212361)

What you are talking about is Spoliation (seriously, that's the spelling), and it can be a jury instruction, where the judge tells the jury that they should assume that the contents of the destroyed evidence (tape, image, whatever) showed that the officer was doing whatever it was the photographer says he was doing.

It could be worked like this hypothetically: I take video of police brutality, some officers come over, rough me up, take my tape, and I yell out: "This is police brutality! I'm going to sue you! That tape is evidence!" If the cop then deletes the images, destroys the tape, etc, then he has committed spoliation. When/if I sue the cop, and depending on jurisdiction, I can either: a. File a motion for sanctions and fines because the cop destroyed the evidence; b. File a motion to have the judge tell the jury that they should assume that the tape showed the judge roughing me up; or c. File an civil complaint on the topic of spoliation alone, and then even if I lose on the battery case, I might still win on the destruction of evidence case.

Jurisdictions very, don't try this at home, try not to go out into the world with a machine that still uses tape (my hypothetical apparently took place 10 years ago). There is a decent and free law journal article on the topic in Illinois, and we are very much having the video-tape-the-police-discussion here. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1536805#%23 [ssrn.com]

Re:Two separate things here (4, Informative)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211723)

he wasn't arrested for filming the police, he was arrested for disobeying a dispersal order.

No, RTFA.

Miller was charged with a single count of resisting arrest. "Aside from a blatant violation of Mr. Miller’s First Amendment rights to record matters of public interest in a public place," Osterreicher wrote, "we do not understand how, absent some other underlying charge for which there was probable cause, a charge of resisting arrest can stand on its own?" "We believe that the recovered video of the incident will show that officers acted outside of their authority, in violation of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 and similar protections provided by Florida law," he wrote.

Re:Two separate things here (2)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211853)

"Yeah, we beat the shit out of him, but while we were hitting him and swung at a cop. So we arrested him for assualting an officer. "

Re:Two separate things here (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211979)

No, RTFA.

You have to glance at the news source... ars. It's a great tech rag, but they aren't very good journalists. If you look at the linked blog of the journalist in question (Carlos Miller - love his mug shot), [pixiq.com] you will see that he says:

The gist is that I was arrested for refusing to leave a public area, even though hordes of corporate journalists were allowed to remain, including one who recorded my arrest.

Re:Two separate things here (5, Interesting)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212255)

And if you actually research it further, you'll find that the only charges he is actually facing is "Resisting arrest". He wasn't cited for failure to disperse.

Funnily enough, he was actually asking the police if he could go to his car when one of the commanders started shouting "Arrestee! Arrestee!" and had him arrested. So apparently asking police to allow you to leave an area they have ordered you to leave is "disobeying a lawful order to disperse"... Much like being tackled from behind is "Assaulting a police officer" and lying unconscious on the ground due to a diabetic coma while cops kick you is "Resisting arrest."

Re:Two separate things here (4, Insightful)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211967)

Further, it's the submitter's OPINION that this person was being arrested "illegally". That's something the courts will now decide. The troubling part is that the video would probably be the key evidence in such a case, I agree.

Of course, it's pretty clear that he disobeyed a direct (and likely lawful) order to disperse, and whatever happens after that I sort of lose interest in. :-/

Obviously it depends upon the jurisdiction, but in most places police do not have the authority to order people to disperse except under certain special circumstances.

If we're talking about an officer who would actually DELETE THE VIDEO then I seriously doubt the order to disperse was lawful because it is that video which would prove in court that the order to disperse was lawful. The act of deleting the video reasonably implies that the motive behind the order to disperse was simply to prevent the video from being made. In most places, destroying evidence is not a valid justification to interfere with a persons liberty and order them to disperse and consequently the order itself was without a valid purpose and was thus unlawful.

police have no right to destroy other peoples private property at their own discretion.

Re:Two separate things here (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212079)

he wasn't arrested for filming the police, he was arrested for disobeying a dispersal order.

Read the article. That's not a true statement. Even if it were true, the photojournalist was trying to disperse by getting back to his vehicle

I'm not saying whether that's right or wrong, and I am aware he is a member of the press (though with some claiming that ANYONE can be a member of the "press").

First of all this isn't a case of an anonymous blogger claiming to be a journalist. He had both credentials and equipment that showed he was. Second being a member of the press grants special protections. The courts have ruled that members of the public can videotape police officers while they are in public so your point is moot.

However, it's also possible for police to issue a lawful order to disperse that, if not obeyed, could result in arrest — alongside a charge of resisting arrest.

Read the article.

Further, it's the submitter's OPINION that this person was being arrested "illegally". That's something the courts will now decide. The troubling part is that the video would probably be the key evidence in such a case, I agree.

If the police believe their arrest legal, why did they bother to attempt delete the evidence? Surely the videotape would have proven their case if the arrest was legal in their minds.

Of course, it's pretty clear that he disobeyed a direct (and likely lawful) order to disperse, and whatever happens after that I sort of lose interest in. :-/

You can't support an argument with the argument as evidence. "Surely the defendant on trial must be guilty. He's on trial. Only guilty people get tried."

Re:Two separate things here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212177)

A dispersal order will provide the police with additional powers to disperse groups of two or more people....

Re:Two separate things here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212185)

whatever happens after that I sort of lose interest in. :-/

Repeat after me: Baaaaaaaaaaa!

Answer Is Obvious To Anybody Who Pays Attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211519)

Because the police are utterly above the law.

Now, think about what happens when you make a bunch of people above the law and give them guns. Should we be at all surprised that the Police behave the way they do?

Why haven't these police officers been arrested? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211527)

It appears app the American rage was exported to the Greeks and the people of Poland, who stood up to ACTA. American outrage has been downgraded to camping in public places or really really aggressive drum circles.

Re:Why haven't these police officers been arrested (4, Insightful)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211749)

American outrage has been downgraded to camping in public places or really really aggressive drum circles.

Because here in the USA, if you do much more than that without really covering your ass, you become a "terrorist" and a guest of the government down in Gitmo. Dissenting speech is only "free" in theory here .. for all practical purposes, it might as well be illegal for all that you get to exercise it.

And never underestimate the teaching power of a public (and clearly nonviolent) drum circle in certain places at certain times .. ;)

Injustice Everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211543)

http://www.injusticeeverywhere.com/

Duh, if you're not a cop you're little people (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211547)

See Blade Runner.
The simple reason that police are not arrested for destruction of evidence is that the police enforce the law. And the police cover for each other when they break the law. Therefore the police are above the law.

I know you like to think you're living in a democratic republic where all are equal under the law, but that's just not the case. And the sooner you learn that, the better off you'll be.

Re:Duh, if you're not a cop you're little people (4, Informative)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211645)

The simple reason that police are not arrested for destruction of evidence is that the police enforce the law. And the police cover for each other when they break the law. Therefore the police are above the law.

Worth noting the difference between de facto and de jure here. The police are not above the law in a purely de jure sense as there is theoretically some degree of accountability. Practically speaking, in most cases, they are above the law to some extent in a de facto sense, because it's extremely difficult for ordinary citizens to make complaints against them stick in court.

(Although in most states, the state police do have oversight responsibility over local PD's, and the FBI has oversight responsibility over state and local police. Which is one of many reasons local PD's aren't fond of state police or the Feds. And one reason you do want to be able to find contact info for your state police and FBI in the phone book.)

Re:Duh, if you're not a cop you're little people (4, Interesting)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211679)

Hmmm I ponder...

If I make a company on another state, and my equipment belongs to said company... not only that but the equipment is constantly "broadcasting" to a datacenter (so deletions are never actually possible) ... can a savy journalist get the FBI involved since it's a cross-state crime where the local state officer tempred with property of an out-of-state company?

Re:Duh, if you're not a cop you're little people (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212375)

If I make a company on another state, and my equipment belongs to said company... not only that but the equipment is constantly "broadcasting" to a datacenter (so deletions are never actually possible) ... can a savy journalist get the FBI involved since it's a cross-state crime where the local state officer tempred with property of an out-of-state company?

Practically, it doesn't matter. Picking your nose is now a federal issue, thanks to the Commerce Clause. So you don't need to set it up in a separate state (and if you're using cloud services, you most likely are doing so regardless, especially if you're thinking DR thoughts).

What planet r u from? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211555)

Obviously - if you need an explanation as to why authorities and Governments don't follow the laws they enforce, you're not living on Planet Earth. Laws are only intended for those who can't defend themselves, or can't enforce the law on those who don’t obey it.

District Attorneys and cops... (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211557)

need to work together. That's why we don't see obstruction prosecutions.

Re:District Attorneys and cops... (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211615)

So conversely thats why we so many police brutality and wrongful arrest prosecutions?

because you live in a police state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211581)

get used to it yankie doodle dandy , your not free any more your property of the corporation...enjoy it as we fight in canada to keep free ....

Re:because you live in a police state (2)

Jesse_vd (821123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211889)

Ya right because our police are sooo much better!! Good ol' RCMP never gets their hands dirty right?
Oh wait...

Slouching toward Fascism (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211591)

Welcome to the former land of the free and the brave - should we ever again be worthy of that title, we'll let you know.

We know everything about you and where you live

Re:Slouching toward Fascism (5, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211779)

Was america ever worthy of that title? Slavery for the first part of the countries history, women didn't get sufferage until 1919. Blacks were still segregated until the 60's and by then there was the paranoia over the cold war with people getting accused of being a communist (so what if you are?). Perhaps after the wall came down for that 10 years or so people were fine and then 9/11 happened and the US went to a police state. Also when your country has one of the highest incarceration rates you can't really claim to be very free.

Re:Slouching toward Fascism (5, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212139)

Also when your country has one of the highest incarceration rates you can't really claim to be very free.

It's actually the highest. The highest in any place on the planet at any time in history.

Re:Slouching toward Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212179)

Yes. We had more freedom and rights than any other country on the planet. It's sad to say that this still might be the case. This country is a shadow of what it once was. The American Republic is falling.

Re:Slouching toward Fascism (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212291)

Was america ever worthy of that title? Slavery for the first part of the countries history, women didn't get sufferage until 1919. Blacks were still segregated until the 60's and by then there was the paranoia over the cold war with people getting accused of being a communist (so what if you are?). Perhaps after the wall came down for that 10 years or so people were fine and then 9/11 happened and the US went to a police state. Also when your country has one of the highest incarceration rates you can't really claim to be very free.

But to look at what you wrote a different way, we were making slow progress in the right direction. We weren't perfect, but we used to be striving to be increasingly free both in depth and breadth. That's what I miss, and I guess I'm not brave enough on my own to reclaim.

Re:Slouching toward Fascism (4, Insightful)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212341)

How does this garbage always get modded up? The US has only existed for 340 years, give or take. At the time of the first colonization, Europe had slavery as well. While America's past is not one to be proud of, it has made tremendous strides in a shorter timespan in comparison to other European countries.

Regarding the Suffrage Movement; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women's_suffrage [wikipedia.org] (New Zealand credited as the 1st, 2 US states allowed women to vote during the same year)

Regarding Slavery; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline [wikipedia.org]

Just these 2 issues alone show that the movements you say America took FOREVER to embrace, were embraced within the same century as the rest of her peers.

So quit being an elitist. It only makes you look worse than the American's you despise......

duh? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211599)

Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

You must be new here? they're cops , everyone knows cops don't like to arrest other cops. And DA's don't like to charge cops unless there's a public outcry. And their sergeants usually give even the dirtiest of cops "their full support", even when there is public outcry. Most of the time they just get some paid vacation for their bad behavior. It's no wonder it just doesn't stop. When's the last time you saw a cop get suspended instead of "placed on administrative leave"?

Because cops enjoy protected status. (4, Interesting)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211635)

That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?"

Cops get let off all the time, some examples: http://bit.ly/dWV5ab [bit.ly]
This cop is not suffering from dementia, they showed him on the TV afterwards walking, talking, and smiling. In addition, it is typical in VA to be held indefinitely if your are unable to stand trial, as VA has no insanity defense.

Remember the Katrina shootings: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/mistrial-declared-in-katrina-shooting_n_1239525.html [huffingtonpost.com]
After enough mistrials, the case will likely be quietly dropped as the public forgets. Shit it has been 7 years already.

Do I really need to mention the Rodney King riots?

Re:Because cops enjoy protected status. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212023)

Your comment isn't backed up by the article, five have been sentanced already ....

Learn your Katrina history (5, Informative)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212109)

Remember the Katrina shootings: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/mistrial-declared-in-katrina-shooting_n_1239525.html [huffingtonpost.com] After enough mistrials, the case will likely be quietly dropped as the public forgets. Shit it has been 7 years already.

Please don't make comments if you don't know what you are talking about! (oh, wait, this is slashdot...) And forget?? Where you live 'people' might forget but here in New Orleans we forget very, very little of Katrina. Officers that did the shooting have been convicted and sentenced. The mistrial you point out is for one officer who was on the cover up side. Dugue was not even involved in the shooting. Please don't spread ignorance. (and don't back-peddle saying it was the cover-up dude getting off. He's not off, there's just been a mistrial)

Re:Learn your Katrina history (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212395)

I don't have to back peddle, I have family that has lived and is considering moving back to the big easy. I know who has been convicted. Perhaps my blanket statement was sensationalist, and for that I apologize as I dislike sensationalism. But, the argument still holds. Here is a cop, that like many other cops who commit crime, is going to get of scott free, or if not get off easy.
And yes, I have no love for cops, but I hope the ability to film them in their misdeeds changes some things. My grandfather was shot and killed by an officer that had a known grudge against him. It was not a clean shoot by any stretch of the imagination, but being a small town, and my grandfather not being a peach (he was quite the drunken arse), nothing ever happened to the officer in question. It was just quietly swept under the rug.

Same reason DAs are almost never prosecuted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211675)

They're part of the system, and people in the system would rather allow some egregious behavior than ruffle the feathers of their co-workers. So DAs prosecute cases they know to be based on false evidence or even where no crime has been committed, police lie and break laws in the course of their job, and the only time it ever is in question is if the media storm is around it is big enough. This is why I almost always feel comforted when people protest police crimes that are glossed over, even when they themselves overstep their bounds. (I do not, however, support thugs or looters who take advantage of the situation.) Otherwise you get things this. [seattlepi.com]

Re:Same reason DAs are almost never prosecuted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211885)

Simply put, they're defended by "tough on crime" conservatives who think that the truth and the Constitution are overrated and that whiny "libtards" should just shut up and take their curbstomping so they don't have to waste their tax dollars defending their jackbooted heroes.

Most Commonly Encountered Criminal Organization (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211677)

It is examples like this that reinforce my belief that the police are the most likely criminals that I will encounter. When I read in the paper about police shootings, I rejoice inside. If they break the law, they are criminals. If the law does not hold them accountable for their crimes, then vigilante justice is the only justice we can get.

Crimes Code Origin (4, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211691)

Other than the basic tennents that we agree are fundamental crimes like theft, robbery, and murder a lot of the other behaviors that were criminalized were done in the interest of controlling the poor. The foundation of the anti-drug laws in America were all about fear of the poor, immigrant labor. Opium was originally outlawed simply because of the Chinese labor building the Union Pacific Railroad. Since more and more behavior is becoming criminalized and there is greater pressure on police to make arrests, we need ways of keeping government honest. The video as a standard of truth then becomes increasingly imporant in guarding a person's civil rights.

citizen's arrest? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211719)

I don't envy the person who'd try this, but American citizens do have the power to arrest lawbreakers. So who's got the balls to arrest a cop, and what would it take to do it?

Re:citizen's arrest? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211813)

About 4 years in jail.

Re:citizen's arrest? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211917)

4 years in jail? I thought it'd be more like 6 feet under.

Assuming your body is found of course.

More guns than they have (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211915)

You cannot arrest a cop. You can try, but he'll hit you with his billy club, or taser you, or shoot you, because he feels he's in the right and you're the perp, and nothing you do will change that. The more you try and arrest him, the angrier he'll get.

So, it comes down to numbers. He'll call for backup to take you down. You then need to have enough backup to take him and his backup down. So, they'll call for more backup, and it will simply escalate until it's a full-blown shooting war and the national guard is involved.

Ever see 5 police cars to pull over 1 guy? Ever see 30 cops questioning one dude in the subway?

Cops use overwhelming force to take down a perp. So unless you have a significant army at your disposal that can outgun, essentially, the entire police force, and possibly even the SWAT teams, the National Guard, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, you can't arrest a cop.

How'd that work out for those Branch Dividians?

It's quite simple... (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211741)

If the photographer/journalist committed a crime, then the photos/video shouldn't be deleted as it is evidence.

If they didn't commit a crime, then the photos/videos shouldn't be deleted since the they were engaging in a legal activity.

If a police officer (or worse, security guard) orders you to or seizes your camera to delete a photo/video you've taken, they are either destroying evidence, infringing on your civil liberties, or both.

Re:It's quite simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212369)

If it's a security guard with no police involvement at all, and without being a cop of some kind, you can tell them to fuck off - results varying - since they aren't cops and lack the authority of actual officers.

'resisting arrest' (3, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211759)

"How can a journalist be charged with 'resisting arrest' when he was not being arrested for anything other than resisting arrest?"
I believe that resisting arrest is an umbrella term that can apply by itself.
If a cop is legally pulling you over to simply check if you are intoxicated (etc) or just asking to talk to you on the street and you run away then legally you are resisting arrest even though you where not being arrested in the first place.

Re:'resisting arrest' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211965)

a Terry Stop is not an Arrest, you can refuse the Frisk, when they ask if they can search you, and you can leave at any time UNTIL they say that you cannot leave, at that point you are under arrest. (FWIW, arrest has nothing to do with handcuffs), If you attempt to leave after the LEO has stated that you cannot, then you would be resisting arrest.

Re:'resisting arrest' (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212373)

a Terry Stop is not an Arrest, you can refuse the Frisk, when they ask if they can search you, and you can leave at any time UNTIL they say that you cannot leave, at that point you are under arrest. (FWIW, arrest has nothing to do with handcuffs), If you attempt to leave after the LEO has stated that you cannot, then you would be resisting arrest.

You misspelled "PIG" as "LEO".

Re:'resisting arrest' (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212353)

So, then - what differentiates between one being in a state of resisting and not?

Because it sounds like one always is given your definition.

3G or whatever tethering? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211761)

You'd think in this day and age, someone would have a memory card that's really a 3G or whatever tether - as you take photos, the photos are sent to a server somewhere wirelessly

It doesn't even have to be "real" time at 10fps or anything like that - it could be done while the camera is idle or even a grip type of product with it's own processor and buffer and whatever to send it to a designated online "cloud" or whatever.

Anyone who says it can't be done has no imagination.

Re:3G or whatever tethering? (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211961)

www.eye.fi
Keep a laptop nearby and have all the media transmitted wirelessly to it.

As the public records more the laws have to adjust (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211797)

With most cellphones now having a video camera, it'll be more likely that police will be recorded during an incident. I'm sure most feel that this is legitimate and the courts say the same thing. Cops are going to have to learn to live with it. Hopefully it'll cut down on abusive police practices.

Head's hurting (5, Funny)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211807)

1 "You're under arrest"

2 "For what?"

3 "For resisting arrest"

4 "Arrest on what charge?"

5 "Resisting arrest." GOTO 1

?@#! Calls for an xkcd.

Re:Head's hurting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212239)

If I was a judge, any case that had the phrase "resisting arrest" in the report would automatically be dismissed.

Photojournalists already know the tricks (3, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39211865)

Most decent photojournalists know every slight of hand and trick in the book when it comes to keeping the material, especially those who are used to working in corrupt countries. A little sleight-of-hand and the cop is smashing a blank tape, confiscating a blank hard drive on a different camera, or ignoring the memory stick the report has under his tongue.

A new way to record the police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39211879)

A lot of activists are using UStream to stream the video of the questionable event to UStream servers, act like they delete the video on the phone when confronted by police and just reupload it on YouTube when they get home, sometimes fresh from jail. How would a cop know if you streamed it to UStream?

When I take pictures on my phone (0)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212005)

Any picture I take is uploaded. I do it because the app (www,photoshop.com) I installed has the option. If I was a news photographer, I would do this. They won't be using a phone but I have heard of SD cards that can do this.

Instant Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212111)

You know what we need? A camera that immediatly uploads a med-res version of what is shot/filmed in real time. Even if the high quality material is confiscated (together with the camera), the stuff that was filmed would still be alive. Oh, and some cop confiscating and probably doing stuff in addition he does not want out there as well.

I am not against policemen but I'm very for watching the watchers. If the modern technology allows "the people" to do it... why not?

Arresting arguments (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212113)

Arresting arguments, that is why the police is above the law

Am I the only one? (5, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212181)

Am I the only one who thinks, in this day and age of easy video & audio recording, that ANY interaction police have with ANYONE for ANY reason (in an official capacity or as "an off duty police officer" responding to something) should be required to be recorded by the police themselves or "it didn't happen"?

Traffic stops, parking tickets, entering homes - ANYTHING - get it all on video and audio and require that said videos be made available for all parties privy to that.

Were I in charge of the world, that's one of the first things I would do - require all law enforcement people to wear video and audio recording devices at all times, even inside of their offices etc.

It should be a no brainer that civilians should be able to record any interaction they have with police, of course. I can't think of a single reason why it shouldn't be.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212207)

Didn't the Brits try helmet cams on constables?

OEM challenge (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212241)

create a smallish video camera that includes a cell/wifi transceiver so that when it records the recording goes both to the local storage and N different "Cloud" services.

a LEO wants to try to prevent something from being seen?? OOPS its already on Youtube and N other services so now he needs to get a court order.

You're kidding, right? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212251)

Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal. Why haven't these police officers been arrested?

Dude, these are the police in the United States. Plenty of cases where we have police literally beating an unarmed, on the ground, man to death -- and on video -- and the killers aren't even charged. In the very rare instances when they have been charged, the juries let them off (which may explain why they're not charged.) In cases where a cop actually got fired, odds are very good that he'll be reinstated after his union or the other cops bring pressure to bear.

Don't forget: if a prosecutor is proven to actually fabricate evidence and destroy open-and-shut proof that you were innocent, he's totally immune from prosecution himself. Even if you're executed as a result of his malfeasance.

"resisting arrest" is not the same "arrest" (3, Interesting)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212301)

I'm just guessing, but I think "resisting arrest" is english, whereas being "arrested" is jargon. Being "arrested" is being detained by police on charges. Where as "resisting arrest" is simply resisting being stopped by police. Just a thought.

Remote Storage (1)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212305)

One way to get around the ability of the police to destroy evidence would be to have a low quality stream of the video saved in real-time to a remote device and have a person holding the remote storage device be out of sight. Either that or save a low-quality stream to a cloud service.

Dude, They're Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39212363)

Just delete the damn files and go home and recover them. It's not like a cop is going to ask you to perform a sector-by-sector wipe.

Illegal America (1)

JoeyJam (845213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212365)

Funny, John Stossel reported on this issue and noted all the BS bullying tactics the police use to sidestep the law, including the "dispersal", but it did not negate the fact they arrested someone on their own front lawn and property recording a police activity. This issue at hand is that they are public employees and on that basis they cannot be conducting "secret police" activities. This is prohibited in the Bill of Rights. When the press is involved, the police are most definitely compromising the Bill of Rights because the 4th estate is granted rights under from being censored and incarcerated illegally while reporting a public event. If videotaping or recording the police is illegal, then the recording is to be submitted as evidence in court and the police are committing the crime of destruction of evidence. Link to the Stossel video below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBiJB8YuDBQ [youtube.com]

Evidence (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39212387)

Destroying evidence is obstruction of justice. That's illegal.

It's a question of what constitutes "evidence". In an instance like this, we're pretty close to the dividing line.

Suppose, for example, that a heinous murder has been committed. The murderer has left his fingerprints on a ceramic coffee cup. Someone puts the coffee cup in the dishwasher, and the fingerprints are destroyed.

Is the coffee cup evidence or not?
  • Certainly it is, if it was identified and treated as such by investigators, for example by maintaining and documenting the chain of custody. If it was in an evidence locker and then mysteriously ends up in the dishwasher then we could talk about destruction of evidence.
  • Certainly it is not, if it's just one of the hundreds of coffee cups that the murderer has touched in the course of his lifetime. At that rate, the entire universe is evidence for something or other, and we mustn't destroy any of it.

It comes down to who gets to decide whether or not a specific item is evidence. In the first pass, that task usually falls to the police. Secondarily, it falls to the courts. Dozens of Perry Mason episodes notwithstanding, you can't usually just walk into the courthouse with a coffee cup and say, "This proves that the murderer was at the scene of the crime."

But interesting and significant exceptions do arise. In the case of Robert Dziekanski [braidwoodinquiry.ca] , a man who died after repeated Tasering while detained by police at Vancouver International Airport, a video shot by a bystander was confiscated by police and only reluctantly returned to its owner after intense media pressure. That video was treated as evidence by the inquiry, as were police emails that eventually surfaced. On the basis of this evidence, the inquiry concluded that officers deliberately misrepresented their actions during investigations into the incident and at the inquiry [www.cbc.ca] .

The authenticity of the video was not challenged. Ironically, this may have had something to do with the police having had it for some time [canada.com] in their custody.

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