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$57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the let-me-tell-you-what-a-wire-is dept.

The Courts 216

mpicpp sends this news from Ars: 'A local New Hampshire police department agreed Thursday to pay a woman who was arrested and charged with wiretapping $57,000 to settle her civil rights lawsuit. The deal comes a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the public has a "First Amendment" right to film cops. The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in Gericke's case last week that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

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216 comments

An interesting caveat (5, Insightful)

dr_canak (593415) | about 2 months ago | (#47185901)

" settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... "

But then this:

"...that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

Seems to imply that if the police had ordered her to stop filming or leave the area, then she could have been arrested had she continued.

So really, doesn't this just mean that Police will now simply order people to stop filming or leave the area in order to end the filming?

Re:An interesting caveat (5, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47185923)

Seems to imply that if the police had ordered her to stop filming or leave the area, then she could have been arrested had she continued.

No, this is a court ruling, when the court does not look at speculative circumstances of theoretical cases not brought before it. So what it actually means is that the ruling simply has nothing at all to say about a circumstance where the police give such an order, because so such circumstance was part of this case.

Re:An interesting caveat (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 2 months ago | (#47185961)

However, carving out that bit of scope was deliberate. Even though it was not part of the case they explicitly mentioned that it would not be covered, so implicitly they are indeed saying that if an officer had asked her to stop it would not be a 1st amendment violation.

Re:An interesting caveat (5, Insightful)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 months ago | (#47186065)

Exactly. You see that more often that hints are being given about circumstances that would have lead to a different outcome. Even in copyright trolling cases. Just the phrase "(hint, hint!)" is missing. So for instance it wouldn't be "Denied because it is unclear if the subscriber is the perpetrator" it becomes instead "Denied because no secondary evidence was presented where -for instance being the only adult male in the household- it could be presumed that the subscriber is the only one likely to have been the perpetrator, which would be enough evidence to grant the subpoena". As I said, only the "(hint, hint)" is missing.

If the police orders you to "stop filming" even IF YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO, you are still not following their orders. This ALSO applies to flight attendants. It doesn't matter ONE LITTLE BIT if the order was proper, you ARE guilty of not following it.

The CURRENT "proper way" of doing this is to follow their orders and then file a complaint at the station about the infringement on your rights. And yes, you won't have your videotaped evidence. And yes, police will likely retaliate. And no, the officer won't be immediately fired with cause. You lose.

No (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186277)

No. Just No. Good judges are precise. He was very specific about the circumstances for the ruling. He did not "carve out an exception" at all. He was specifying in discreet detail his ruling, so that the context was extremely clear. He was specifically not ruling on a case where the cops ordered someone to depart or stop filiming, so that this case would not be misused as precedent.

Re:An interesting caveat (5, Insightful)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 2 months ago | (#47186403)

in order for a police order to be enforceable, it must be a lawful order. A cop cannot order you to stop filming them performing their public duties, because doing so has already been established to be an individual right. It's practically identical to how a police officer cannot order you to answer their questions while you are being detained. They can lie to you about it (whole other argument there), but you do not have to speak at all during questioning. The only exception I know of is identifying yourself when ordered - but if you fail to identify yourself in a jurisdiction that requires it, you don't get arrested for refusing to obey a lawful order - you're arrested for failing to identify, a specifically and highly limited exemption to the 5th Amendment. If a cop arrests you for filming after he tells you to stop, consider yourself lucky - you were just handed a decent payday.

Now, it's not OK to shove a camera in his face, mind you - stay 50 feet away if you can (unless you're the subject of the original police action and are filming for your own safety) so they can't claim that they felt threatened or that it was a matter of the blanket excuse of "officer safety". As long as a reasonable person in the same situation would not feel their safety was threatened by your filming, then you're good to go.

oh, and IANAL.

Keep in Mind (3, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 2 months ago | (#47186603)

Keep in mind that this was in the First Circuit. (Liberal circuit, includes Boston, case law there based on cops trying to stop someone from filming *on Boston Common*). If you try this in Alabama, Nevada, or LA you are more likely to get the shit kicked out of you by the cops and then for them to arrest you.

Re:An interesting caveat (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47186069)

Except you've got a video tape of them up until that point and TFS mentions "for health and safety reasons"

What if you are in the middle of a riot, videotaping, and the police tell the rioters (and you) to disperse? Do you get to sue the cops?

The law tends to have caveats for a reason. If you look at the PDF, they talk about an officer at a traffic stop in a public place not having the right to expect privacy. The judgement she got is the best she could have hoped for, and the judge should be applauded.

Re:An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186225)

Do you get to sue the cops?

Yes, we shouldn't let the cops determine what is an "unlawful assembly". We have a right to film them no matter what. Don't be shilling for these bastards. You just sound like some liberal weenie.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47186249)

Why is it when people come out against having a police state, they always seem to advocate anarchy?

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186257)

I don't see any calls for anarchy here.

Re:An interesting caveat (2)

honestmonkey (819408) | about 2 months ago | (#47186599)

Well, you know what they say, anarchy is better than no government at all.

Re:An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186335)

You have a problem with anarchy? It should be the ultimate goal, not something to be afraid of. It would prove we are human, not just some animal doing whatever it can get away with. It is real self discipline. The desire for coercive authority is the evil here, not anarchy.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 months ago | (#47186411)

Anarchy cannot _possibly_ be stable. This was illustrated very well in Larry Niven's story at http://www.larryniven.net/stor... [larryniven.net] .

The inability of any social culture with more than a few members to function without an enforced hierarchy forming is well defined by the entire history of humanity, and even shown by observation of animal groups.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 2 months ago | (#47186565)

Cool! Stories to prove our point! Then I'm totally happy that you support anarchy and 100% self-determination based upon "Atlas Shrugged"...

Re:An interesting caveat (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47186491)

The problem is that millenia of evidence strongly suggests that a non-negligible portion of the population *are* essentially doing whatever they can get away with, and far more effectively and to greater damage than any simple animal. The failures are petty criminals, and the more successful ones become CEOs, bankers, etc. - the modern nobility. (Not that some may not be honest, but a few good apples don't redeem the bunch)

As such anarchy can not meaningfully be a goal. "Fixing" human nature could be a goal (though I have serious doubts about the wisdom of such an endeavor), in which case well-ordered anarchy could be a natural outcome, but seeking anarchy without first addressing the problems which make it untenable is foolishness.

Re:An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186033)

Bollocks. This is almost unarguably part of the ratio of the court. If it hadn't been, it could (in a court which sets precedent) have set a wider precedent.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47185927)

The police will more than likely create a training scenario for their officers that goes something like this:

"...then, inform the person with the recording device that he or she resembles a robbery suspect..."

Unrelated Carnac Moment: Someone will post that Don't Talk to the Police link on this thread.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

knightghost (861069) | about 2 months ago | (#47185957)

I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

Re:An interesting caveat (4, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 2 months ago | (#47185975)

I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

If the bystander had the full tape then manipulating it is evidence tampering and laws already exist to deal with this.

Although I am not familiar with the particular case I'm skeptical that a 'good police officer' exists and if that officer had ever done the common police tactic of deleting inconvenient police car video recorder evidence then prison seems poetic justice.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47186011)

I'm skeptical that a 'good police officer' exists

What the fuck are you smoking?? Good cops get railroaded out of departments all the time.

Re:An interesting caveat (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47186241)

Good cops get railroaded out of departments all the time.

Precisely the point.

Re:An interesting caveat (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 months ago | (#47186427)

So do bad ones, much more quickly in good police departments.

I do wonder what happened to this officer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] It should be used by the police as a training video of exactly how to handle people carrying rifles openly.

               

Re: An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186375)

I was rear ended once an I was probably slightly over the legal limit of BAC. I know the cop smelled it on my breath and he didn't say or do anything about it. That was a good cop. Real friendly all around.

Re: An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186535)

That's precisely the type of cop that ought to be removed from the force. If your BAC was over the limit you were lucky not to kill anybody. Drunk driving pieces of shit like you belong in prison until you learn to behave more responsibly.

Granted it's still the driver behind you that was responsible, but police shouldn't be looking the other way for drunk drivers.

Re:An interesting caveat (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 months ago | (#47186077)

I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

It's too bad that the police don't have access to the same advanced technology that normal citizens use to make recordings.

There is no excuse for police not having body-cams and dash-cams that signs and dates all recordings and are unalterable by the officers. (and they should have enough recording space/battery life to stay on during an entire shift so you don't end up with a situation like "Oh gee, we shot someone by mistake, but none of us remembered to turn on our cameras [sfgate.com] )

Then when a citizen's camera shows the police in a bad light, the police can counter with their own camera footage.

Re:An interesting caveat (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 months ago | (#47186107)

Then the police officer's lawyer did a bad job of defending him. If exculpatory evidence existed on the original recording, the lawyer should have requested it. If that portion of the recording no longer existed, the lawyer should have objected to the evidence being admitted AND made sure to make the jury aware that significant sections were not being presented. There are ways to mount a defense against such manipulation.

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186219)

Not when its the fed doing the prosecution. They don't have any ethical standards to follow like local prosecutors do. I always thought prosecutors were the good guys until I sat through a fed case were the prosecutor lied, blackmailed, threatened, harassed, and otherwise acted in every way against what we consider to be a fair trial.

Re:An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186273)

That sent a good police officer to prison.

I call bull on this one. I have never heard of a case where a police officer goes to prison.
Shooting a peaceful citizen will at most get him fired.

Re:An interesting caveat (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47186487)

That's odd because by normal procedures the bystander's entire video should have been made available to the police officer's defense attorney during discovery.

So either he had a spectacularly bad defense attorney or else the entire film wouldn't improve the officers position.

I advocate comprehensive, server uploaded filming by police officers while they are on duty. It's the best protection for the officers and the citizens.

Re:An interesting caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186557)

That would be ridiculous. I used to work security and the tapes you wind up with from surveillance tapes are a bit like what you would wind up with here. You get many, many hours where nothing at all is happening and you might well miss whatever it is that you're wanting to see because you're looking at a different monitor at the time.

Not to mention that this makes is really easy for anarchists looking to target police officers. Nor the logistical challenge of uploading that much data to a server while the officer is out on patrol.

There's also the issue of all the people they come into contact that don't necessarily want their images being put on a publicly accessible website.

The video should be available, but it's bad enough that random strangers are posting images of people they don't know for big data to slurp up and analyze, we don't need that happening with law enforcement footage as well. Footage that will include arrests where there's ultimately no conviction.

GP didn't say public or watch it (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47186615)

> you might well miss whatever it is that you're wanting to see because you're looking at a different monitor at the time.

Who said anything about watching 24/7? When an event like this occurs, the attorneys get the video from car #54 at 2:45 PM.

> Nor the logistical challenge of uploading that much data to a server while the officer is out on patrol.

Yes, that's true.

> There's also the issue of all the people they come into contact that don't necessarily want their images being put on a publicly accessible website.

Who said anything about a public web site?

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47186507)

So then why wasn't the cop recording the encounter? That covers a good cop's ass, and if you deny them the ability to *stop* recording, severely curtails the abuses of a bad cop, even if there are no conveniently civic-minded bystanders.

Re:An interesting caveat (2)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 2 months ago | (#47186519)

I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

I'm also skeptical of your story without a source. Cops shoot innocent people and at worst get administrative leave, it's rare that dirty cops get sent to prison much less a "good police officer".

Re:An interesting caveat (1)

richlv (778496) | about 2 months ago | (#47186551)

link to the case and video, please.

Re:An interesting caveat (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186235)

So really, doesn't this just mean that Police will now simply order people to stop filming or leave the area in order to end the filming?

Nope. The second TFA explains thusly:

"Last month, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals said citizens may videotape police officers performing their duties unless an officer orders them to disperse or stop recording for legitimate safety reasons . In its unanimous ruling, the court rejected arguments by Weare officers that they should be immune from liability, under a theory that allows government officials to make reasonable mistakes that do not violate clearly established constitutional rights or state laws."

So there has to be legitimate safety reason for the police officer to order someone to stop recording and disperse. Of course, that won't stop cops from coming up with a bullshit safety excuses to stop people from recording, but at least a person who's been arrested for recording can dispute that issue in a trial.

Nothing to see here, move along (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47185903)

"exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

So a simple "stop filming" or "go away" from the police, and THEN they can arrest you.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 2 months ago | (#47185915)

"But could you explain, officer, why you requested the woman to stop filming for apparently no reason, shortly before she alleges that you beat her?"

And I think the requirements are a bit higher than "asked you to", more along the lines of officially ordering you to, for a given purpose, because you're creating a nuisance or otherwise interfering.

It's not to say that they can't still stop you filming, but it all becomes a lot more suspicious when you use a police ability normally reserved for acts of horror or where you could tip a suicidal person over the edge to stop you filming what they claim is just a legitimate traffic stop.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47185959)

When would filming the police be a bad thing, ever? I don't get it. Don't give me "national security" bullshit because that is clearly always bullshit. I want to know a legitimate reason. And I'm not talking about filming victims or suspects in a sensitive situation. I seriously think it would be a good thing if the police would be filmed all the time.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47186213)

Try to find the full Rodney King video. Then compare it to what the media outlet broadcast - they tell two different stories. I'm not saying there wasn't police brutality in that case but I am saying that the video which inflamed the public and caused other people to be beaten to death was not truthful.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47186279)

I'm confused as to how that's a reason. Untruthful videos or ones that don't tell the whole truth doesn't mean that filming the police is a bad thing. Using that logic, you couldn't film at all merely because there is always some chance of someone creating a shoddy video.

So that's not a legitimate reason at all, even if I were to think that any legitimate reasons existed at all.

There is no reason (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 2 months ago | (#47186601)

for police brutality. That you seem to think so speaks volumes about yourself, and does nothing to change the facts that they were in the wrong.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 2 months ago | (#47186311)

"And I'm not talking about filming victims or suspects in a sensitive situation."

So, apart from the exclusions you consciously made....

The fact is that police being recorded by devices themselves - no, there should be no exception, with adequate oversight and HARSH penalties for even a minute on-duty without video record once they are in place.

But being recorded by the public - sorry, sometimes the police have to step in and say "go away". Whether to calm a riot and disperse you (notice one of these phrases is not "stop filming" but "go away"). Or to stop someone finding out their son's dead by some moron on YouTube uploading his murder.

But, over and above that, every time you treat the police like the enemy, some people in the police will treat you like the enemy too. I'm all for the police being made to record their actions, if nothing else than to cover their own backside when something like this happens. But to have a dozen people crowded around every arrest of a drunk on a Saturday night trying to film it - that's just inflaming a situation and making their job harder.

If you feel that YOU need to film a police officer, there's something inherently wrong with policing that filming won't fix. But if you want police to film themselves and be required to produce that in evidence upon a court order and with appropriate moderation to ensure it's necessary - that's an entirely different matter.

The last thing some cop on the late-shift pinning a nutter who's trying to kill him to the floor outside a pub needs is twenty people all clamouring in his face to get "the shot", uploading it to YouTube with their own commentary that misses off all of the previous chase and tags it as just "police brutality". But that does not mean he shouldn't have a camera on his person that he suffers sanctions for if there's no account for why it stopped recording.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 2 months ago | (#47186419)

But, over and above that, every time you treat the police like the enemy, some people in the police will treat you like the enemy too.

It's pretty much the other way around already.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47186537)

>If you feel that YOU need to film a police officer, there's something inherently wrong with policing that filming won't fix.

The thing is that there is unquestionably something wrong with policing in most of the country, and has been for some time. And filming it is the only way we have to collect evidence of that fact. Certainly the filming won't magically fix the problem, but it gives us a tool to prove that the problem needs fixing, and we can then rally the populace to demand that our government rein in their dogs.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47186043)

So a simple "stop filming" or "go away" from the police, and THEN they can arrest you.

No, that's not what happened here. The cops aren't technically allowed to tell you to go away if you're not breaking any laws (although a lot of cities have unconstitutional loitering laws which prevent peaceable assembly, and although a lot of cops in fact don't give two shits about the law) and the judge is just avoiding giving people a free pass to break laws in order to film the cops.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47186381)

I find it sad that anybody would ever stand up for the police in these cases. All authority, without a single exception, should be put under the Sword of Damocles. We must have and use unlimited oversight.

right... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47185911)

"exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

Now the cops will simply say "move along" before arresting you.

Re:right... (5, Informative)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 months ago | (#47185929)

There's more responsibility than that placed upon the police, which you would've seen if you'd done a 5-second search instead of just read a shitty slashdot summary:

"However, a police order that is specifically directed at the First Amendment right to film police performing their duties in public may be constitutionally imposed only if the officer can reasonably conclude that the filming itself is interfering, or is about to interfere, with his duties."

You can read even more (imagine that! read to educate yourself!) here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186049)

"However, a police order that is specifically directed at the First Amendment right to film police performing their duties in public may be constitutionally imposed only if the officer can reasonably conclude that the filming itself is interfering, or is about to interfere, with his duties."

Incorrect. The first amendment says no such thing, and lists no such exceptions. It doesn't even so much as imply it.

But I guess we've reached a point where people say, "Well, if it interferes with a cop's duty somehow, scrapping the first amendment is okay." But it isn't; not in a country that's supposed to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Re:right... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47186081)

Unfortunately, "interfering" is subject to the individual officer's opinion, just like "resisting arrest" and a thousand other subjective offenses. In court, it's your word against his. Guess who the judge will side with?

Re:right... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 months ago | (#47186509)

Well, in this case, the judge sided with the citizen, right?

Don't lose all hope in the justice system.

Judiciary is a separate branch from the police.

Re:right... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 months ago | (#47186649)

Judiciary is a separate branch from the police.

in theory, yes.

in practice, NO!

judges will trust the cops 99 times out of 100, over you.

they are ALL bad and ALL crooked.

we need justice 2.0 since 1.x is broken by design in this country.

Re:right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186591)

Another poster presented it more elegantly:
"Officer, could you kindly explain why you asked the filmer to stop filming prior to he ralledged claim of abuse?"

The "my word against yours" defense is likely to tip AGAINST the police officer when there is a video of the police officer preemptively destroying the visual evidence.

Re:right... (1)

CaptnZilog (33073) | about 2 months ago | (#47186659)

Unfortunately, "interfering" is subject to the individual officer's opinion, just like "resisting arrest" and a thousand other subjective offenses. In court, it's your word against his. Guess who the judge will side with?

You were "interfering" with the officers desire to shoot an innocent person and claim it was in 'self-defense'. Or their ability to beat the crap out of their 'suspect' for refusing to comply to their questioning.

right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47185931)

"Before the settlement, the appeals court had kept alive the possibility of a trial because New Hampshire law forbids the recording of police if the authorities order people to disperse for legitimate safety concerns."

So this implies at least they'll have to make up some "legitimate safety concern" which I'm sure they won't have any problem doing.

Did it come out of their pockets? (4, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47185925)

Did it come out of the fucking pockets of the individuals responsible? Because if it didn't, it's definitely not going to send the needed message...

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (4, Informative)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 months ago | (#47185935)

Maybe not directly, but it's coming out of the pockets of the town, which employs the police. So if you're the mayor or councilman or whatever, and you want to make sure chunks of your budget aren't flying into the hands of people being harassed by the police, you're damn sure going to tell the chief to tell his cops he's not arresting people anymore for filming cops. I have a feeling they'll get the message.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186057)

You're talking about officials who were put in office by the police union, they take orders, they don't give them. And they look at the budget as open-ended anyway, with taxpayers practically being an infinite pool of money

Re: Did it come out of their pockets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186289)

Gee, it took a lot longer than usual for the normal anti union bullshit to spring up this time. If unions could get there way as easily as the conservatives and libertarians always say around here living in this country wouldn't suck nearly as much for average working people.

Re: Did it come out of their pockets? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 2 months ago | (#47186395)

If unions could get there way as easily as the conservatives and libertarians always say around here living in this country wouldn't suck nearly as much for average working people.

Police and other government employee unions aren't the same thing as the Teamsters.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#47186101)

No, actually that doesn't happen. What happens is, the government runs out of money, and then resorts to what government always does when it runs out of money - raise taxes. They don't have to pay, so what the hell do they care? From their perspective, it's all imaginary anyway.

Not good enough (2)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 2 months ago | (#47185985)

The people responsible should be brought to justice.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186175)

It may not come directly out of their pockets, but guess which officer isn't getting promoted? That $57,000 was earmarked by the chief of police for a new anti-terrorist hover-tank, and now he's pissed.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (2)

dbc (135354) | about 2 months ago | (#47186209)

That requires a Section 1983 lawsuit, "Denial of civil rights under color of authority." Then you can pierce immunity and go after the personal assets of the goverment official. Getting a ruling like this one, where a federal court has stated quite clearly that people have a 1A right to film police is a key step. Now that it is clearly established that people have a 1A right to film, the *next* cop to get sued over this is wide open for a 1983.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186291)

It obviously didn't and so direct your outrage into action for change. All police departments need a citizen oversight committee stacked with regular folks from the community not members of police officers association. The committee needs full power to review police actions and records and actually fire officers not just make recommendations.

Re:Did it come out of their pockets? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 2 months ago | (#47186663)

It obviously didn't and so direct your outrage into action for change. All police departments need a citizen oversight committee stacked with regular folks from the community not members of police officers association.

Might not be a bad idea to bar any police officer or closer relative from being on such a committee at all.

The committee needs full power to review police actions and records and actually fire officers not just make recommendations.

Such "full power" would also include the ability to have police officers arrested and criminally charged. It dosn't make much sense to fine a crook's employer rather than prosecuting them.

The System is Corrupt (1)

ChilyWily (162187) | about 2 months ago | (#47185941)

If the government can claim that it's okay to record people in "public" (pun intended) without any concern for their privacy, so why is it not okay for this woman to record a cop? Such refusal to be video taped insinuates that something fishy was going on. If that cop didn't have anything to hide what's the problem with recording the incident.

Last month, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals said citizens may videotape police officers performing their duties unless an officer orders them to disperse or stop recording for legitimate safety reasons. In its unanimous ruling, the court rejected arguments by Weare officers that they should be immune from liability, under a theory that allows government officials to make reasonable mistakes that do not violate clearly established constitutional rights or state laws.

So if I claimed a made a reasonable mistake, would the same immunity be granted to me (an unwashed, private citizen)?

Re:The System is Corrupt (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47186023)

would the same immunity be granted to me (an unwashed, private citizen)

Dunno but a shower would certainly eliminate part of that problem. ;)

filming - the witness brain substitute that doesnt (1)

losedows (3685691) | about 2 months ago | (#47185953)

taking a video is nothing more than making a better record than what your brain can do. It's a way of preserving the witness. The types of people who object to that are the
class facist_controller_oppressive{
function (abuse) {
people at will + get away with it
}else{
divide and conquer
}
}

Re:filming - the witness brain substitute that doe (1)

sjwt (161428) | about 2 months ago | (#47186021)

The camera is very adept at lying, sometimes on accident..

Take number 18, he has a gun!
http://www.jeodot.com/here-are... [jeodot.com]

choice of lens and perspective can be imported as well.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci... [dailymail.co.uk]

Its harder with video, but it still happens.

Re:filming - the witness brain substitute that doe (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47186059)

sometimes on accident..

It's "by accident" (or, as the case may be, "on purpose"). Pet peeve, BTW (primarily due to living among Fundamentalist hicks and imbeciles for the past ten years).

Re:filming - the witness brain substitute that doe (1)

sjwt (161428) | about 2 months ago | (#47186149)

You're not being an ass about it, tis all good.

Re:filming - the witness brain substitute that doe (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47186575)

Which is good incentive to get multiple recordings. Let the officers record themselves, and the public do so as well, and it's extremely unlikely that you'll get a false agreement on the facts of the matter. You may however glaringly expose an attempt at an intentional distortion of the facts.

This needs to happen more often (3, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47185967)

With awards coming directly out of the police budget for that year - no fobbing off the penalty on the taxpayers.

Re:This needs to happen more often (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 months ago | (#47186027)

It is the taxpayers' money to begin with.

Where do you think the shortfall is going to come from? Either reduced services to taxpayers or higher fees (e.g. speed traps, bogus parking tickets, etc.).

Re:This needs to happen more often (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47186229)

If police malpractice awards come out of the police budget rather than the city council appropriating additional money, they are much more likely to change police behavior.

Re:This needs to happen more often (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47186401)

The officers involved should be made to pay restitution.

Re:This needs to happen more often (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47186035)

With awards coming directly out of the police budget for that year - no fobbing off the penalty on the taxpayers.

And who do you think funds the taxpayer budgets?

Under your scenario police departments will disband / lay off officers leaving an unprotected populace.

IMHO a bigger stick needs to be used to stop these sorts of abuses, but you're smoking crack if you think large awards out of department budgets are the answer

Re:This needs to happen more often (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47186253)

In these videotaping cases, police departments spend money dragging citizens though the courts on junk charges. Damages coming out of their budget would force them to prioritize, going after real crime first.

More likely the will seize property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186263)

They are not going to lay off anyone. They will simply seize peoples property under false pretenses and sell it.

Re:More likely the will seize property (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47186461)

Actually it might be a good thing if this happened: the public pushback would intensify against this insane power of property seizure without due process.

Re: This needs to happen more often (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186363)

How about we pay officers minimum wage, plus a "bonus" for completing the year without causing a lawsuit resulting in a legal settlement (equating to the difference in salary)? Perhaps they can get malpractice insurance to cover them for the risk - officers are professionals, aren't they? Or, shouldn't they be? If they go 10y without a claim, it should be pretty cheap...

This needs to happen more often (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186041)

Except what if taking the money from the police budget adversely effects the way the police do their jobs? What if these payouts from the budget force them to fire officers or generally make it so they have a harder time going after "real" crime?

Re:This needs to happen more often (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47186587)

Well then, they have incentive to fire the officers costing them money by abusing their power, don't they? Problem solved. Once they axe enough abusive officers they will have budget surplus, and can seek to hire officers that won't rack up big legal bills for them.

Re:This needs to happen more often (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186227)

All this will do is raise the departments speeding ticket quota for the following year:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/05/20/1752254/driverless-cars-could-cripple-law-enforcement-budgets

What It Is Really About (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186015)

Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation."

And now we get to learn what her suing was really about. Was it really about having her rights violated? Or was she just looking for a pay out? If she ends up dropping the charges at this point, I think we can all agree it was never about her constitutional rights.

Re:What It Is Really About (1)

hedrick (701605) | about 2 months ago | (#47186053)

This is a bit silly. Despite the disclaimer, how many people think the department doesn't realize they shouldn't do this again? I think the combination of the court judgement and a penalty is about all you're going to get.

I'm sick of people suing government (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 months ago | (#47186045)

While I agree there should definitely be some compensation to victims of government, I like to remind people that it's OUR MONEY! They get it from taxes we pay. Instead, we simply need other punitive measures. I am more inclined to fine the police actors directly. Having a fine placed on them would quickly resolve the problem and prevent MANY police from behaving badly. Additionally, in the event that there is police department cooperation and collaboration, actual criminal charges should be filed.

I just don't believe government should have THAT much more power than the average person on the street and should only be as equally armed.

Re:I'm sick of suing -- so Indict ! (1)

redelm (54142) | about 2 months ago | (#47186305)

Agreed that police misconduct is criminal. However, we have only ourselves to blame. A Grand Jury could indict misbehaving police as easily as any ham sandwich. Smeone just needs to take a complaint to them (write the foreman), they will investigate (subpoenae) as they see fit. But they uniformly decline.

Why is a good question -- I believe our population is very heavily propagandized. And not only by the obvious commercial interests. The local TV news focus on violence ("if it bleeds, it leads") conditions much of the law-abiding populace to desire greater police protection and so to tolerate misbehaviour.

Americans are Authoritarians (3, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 months ago | (#47186593)

The society is way more authoritarian than it was generations ago. Not that it ever was likely in the center.... except maybe at the beginning.

See http://politicalcompass.org/ [politicalcompass.org] for yourself. Now it could be the "ideal" is not in the middle or is a bit authoritarian but that is a side issue, the point is that the culture is authoritarian which is why the public is goosestepping along.

Our schools are raising kids to love the boot of authority... or at least to be used to it. Schools are more like prisons in many ways and the traditional amount of anarchy and chaos in school is being beaten down; even in the art,music,gym classrooms and for some schools the playground is even being put into "order" (if not completely eliminating recess all together which has been done where I am for elementary kids... then we wonder why so many are being called ADD and given drugs to keep them in their seats... while still giving them tons of sugar and caffeine...)

Look at peaceable assembly. That right is almost dead. We just think "order" is more important than our rights and even "peace" has alternate meanings now... You can't peacefully protest if you make noise or fill up public space (while still allowing others to transit that space) because that isn't "peaceful" enough! You have to be invisible and THEN it is ok... completely ineffective and even then 1st chance they have they will find an excuse to invoke "order" and do anything they wish to terrorize the population into never wanting to join in a protest again. Vote every few years (if you are white and not a college student) and shut up and lick boots in between. Only lobbyists should be getting attention between elections. etc.

Re:I'm sick of suing -- so Indict ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186619)

A Grand Jury could indict misbehaving police as easily as any ham sandwich.

I was not aware that ham sandwiches could talk, nevermind issue an indictment.

Re:I'm sick of people suing government (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47186367)

Police are protected from that sort of thing, and with good reason. The problem is, there's no equal and opposite protection for the people. Every town should have a Citizen's Police Review Board, and it should be equipped with teeth — namely, the ability to fire cops.

Re:I'm sick of people suing government (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 2 months ago | (#47186453)

Teeth is referring them to a grand jury after firing them with cause. Skipping the politically motivated DA's office.

Re:I'm sick of people suing government (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 months ago | (#47186405)

"I like to remind people that it's OUR MONEY!"

Then tell YOUR police to stop abusing people. It's YOUR fault this happens.

My gosh, Slashdot truly is dying. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186047)

I haven't visited Slashdot since January, when all of that crap with the beta started happening.

So today, after visiting for the first time in six months, I am faced with a damning reality: Slashdot truly is dying.

As I scroll down the front page, I see story after story with fewer than 40 comments. Some have less than 15 comments, even hours after being posted!

This is truly a shame, for we have very few alternatives today. Reddit is full of hipsters of the vilest kind. HN is a haven of abusive moderation, censorship, and Silicon Valley groupthink. Stack Overflow will just close any discussion that isn't a basic jQuery question easily answered by looking at its docs.

I knew it would happen someday, but I am saddened to see that we have come upon that time. Slashdot, once the greatest discussion forum known to mankind, has been decimated. I weep.

It's freaking North Korea not USA (2)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 2 months ago | (#47186233)

Organize some crowd-sourcing and buy one way tickets to North Korea for all police and government security forces.
They will be happy there: censorship, live ammunition and full regime.
Leave American people alone, "protect and serve" Kim Jong-Un instead.

filming = wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186327)

i thought wiretapping is the monitoring of telephone and Internet conversations by a third party, often by covert means. The wire tap received its name because, historically, the monitoring connection was an actual electrical tap on the telephone line.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

She is not a member of the press. i'm confused.

Re:filming = wiretapping? (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 months ago | (#47186503)

Defining the press is a powerful way to control the press. Not that it matters we've totally forgotten the end half of that sentence. Maybe they should have made it shorter and made another Amendment for it. Look at peaceable assembly... that isn't allowed; they trample that right all the time even if they can't invent an excuse of a single crime in the vicinity to invoke the all mighty "maintain order" unwritten trump card.

Double edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47186497)

The dash cams cops have are the same as hand held cameras by citizens. What if i demand the cops turn off their dash cam. what ever right that gives them to film me also applies to them.

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