Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Citizens Given Video Cameras To Monitor Police

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the project-vigilant dept.

The Courts 434

atommota writes "After years of complaints of police misconduct, the ACLU is giving free video cameras to some residents of high-crime neighborhoods in St. Louis, MO to help them monitor officers. The ACLU of Eastern Missouri launched the project Wednesday after television crews last year broadcast video of officers punching and kicking a suspect who led police on a car chase. 'The idea here is to level the playing field, so it's not just your word against the police's word,' said Brenda Jones, executive director of the ACLU chapter. The ACLU has worked closely with the police to make sure they are aware of this program. This is in stark contrast to the recent Pennsylvania arrest for felony wiretapping of a guy who was videotaping a police stop."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What do you do it. . . (4, Funny)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611389)

What do you do if the cops say "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."?

Re:What do you do it. . . (4, Insightful)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611479)

While I do appreciate the funny mod, I was also being somewhat serious, if a cop has the authority to shoo you away from a "scene" and make sure you aren't taping him/her doing something, they can still get away with doing "bad things". I guess you just have to tape them covertly? I can also see all sorts of legal issues arising from this. . .good thing the ACLU is backing it up.

Re:What do you do it. . . (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611651)

if a cop has the authority to shoo you away from a "scene" and make sure you aren't taping him/her doing something, they can still get away with doing "bad things".
My first thought was "well cops don't have the authority to shoo you away from a scene," then I realized I was wrong.

Cops have the authority to disperse a 'crowd' so that they can maintain order. Failure to disperse = failure to obey a lawful order = arrest/taser/mace

Re:What do you do it. . . (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611739)

Given that it is the ACLU, they may be hoping that some police department will sue so they can have a judgment in court stating that videotaping police in public is just as legal as videotaping anyone else in public.

Re:What do you do it. . . (3, Interesting)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611905)

While I may have issue with the ACLU's selective view on the Bill of Rights (they refuse to acknowledge the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right), I must admit I give kudos to them for taking this up.

While I'm sure most law enforcement officers are good people, there are too many jack-booted thugs among the ranks, who view the Bill of Rights as a nuisance and a hindrance and/or are control freaks on a trip.

I find it extremely distasteful that the "felony wiretap" case was in my home state of Pennsylvania.

The ACLU and the 2nd amendment (3, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612095)

Actually, IIRC, the ACLU has come out and said that the since NRA defends the 2nd Amendment so conscientiously, they defer such cases to them. That's not at all the same thing as refusing to acknowledge it.

While I'm sure most law enforcement officers are good people, there are too many jack-booted thugs among the ranks, who view the Bill of Rights as a nuisance and a hindrance and/or are control freaks on a trip.

I agree with that sentiment 100% (both parts of it).

What's interesting is that this case seems to be pitting two things the ACLU fights for against each other. Due process vs. privacy (of the cops). I think they're making the right call here, but I still find that conflict interesting. (Just to play devil's advocate: how would you like it if someone taped most of your workday?)

In fact, you are screwed (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611995)

I had EXACTLY that occur back when I was 22 (sadly, that would be a LONG time ago) in Fort Collins, Co. I was a passenger in a 1 car crash. The driver was put in cuffs and a female cop started beating the driver. I stood a distance away but was telling her to stop. She told me to leave right then and there. I pointed out that would be leaving the scence of an accident, to which she replied yes, but that I was to be arrested one way or another. I chose for her to arrest me for "interfering with a lawful arrest". Once she had cuffs on me, she started to hit and kick at me. Once the 2'nd squad got there, she stopped. But of course, she had the 2 of us in cuffs, with me hoping mad. The interesting thing was that the DA dropped the charges for the interfering with a lawful arrest, but got me on some other items. Of course, had she not been beating on the driver, or had not arrested me in the first place, then the later items would never have occured. Sadly, last I heard, she and idiot (ernie telez) from FC were still working there.

The cameras are needed.

Re:In fact, you are screwed (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612141)

I'm surprised you did not file a complaint against the officers involved. I know I would have. And I can't see what you did that was wrong. You were trying to stop someone from being assaulted. I guess in the Peoples' Republic of America, that's a felony now too.

Huge penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611513)

In your butt! [goatse.cz]

Re:What do you do it. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611607)

> What do you do if the cops say "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."?

You keep taping until you fall face-down on the ground. Judging from the camera-shaped bump on your forehead, the camera broke your fall. You don't remember much about the night, so you agree that you were drunk, and you're grateful to get off with a night in the drunk tank and a misdemeanor public intox charge.

You're grateful because if you'd been sober, you would have been charged with obstruction of justice, interference with an officer in the performance of his duties, and resisting arrest. And the camera-shaped bruise would have been on the back of your head.

Re:What do you do it. . . (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611675)

What do you do if the cops say "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."?

Call the Black Panthers.

Tomorrows headlines (5, Funny)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611397)

Pawn shops in high crime areas, such as St. Louis, have an overload of camcorders for sale dirt cheap!

Re:Tomorrows headlines (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611499)

I was hoping for a boom in amateur erotica.

Re:Tomorrows headlines (4, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611849)

Be careful what you wish for. Have you seen the average American today?

I do believe... (3, Interesting)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611465)

...that while the ACLU is absolutely right in this context, the practical upshot of this is that many more folks in that community will become victims of Police "misconduct" due to their conspicuous wielding of cameras. And while fighting the good fight and filming anyway is great in the best of all possible worlds, that world isn't this one, and police officers know how to hurt you in real ways, not to mention the system of, ahem, Justice they represent is heavily stacked against someone who has a legit beef re: a police officer.

Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

Re:I do believe... (3, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611609)

While I agree that on a practical side, you are probably correct, I love that the issue is being forced. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, and that bridge will have to be crossed eventually. (well, short of a miracle)

By forcing the issue now, hopefully the issue can be brought to light and fixed, and the increase in police issues could hopefully be a temporary condition. By not doing it, things just stew longer and get worse. Hopefully, the sooner it is addressed, the shorter and milder the "dangerous increase in police issues" period could be.

Re:I do believe... (2, Interesting)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611785)

By forcing the issue now, hopefully the issue can be brought to light and fixed, and the increase in police issues could hopefully be a temporary condition. By not doing it, things just stew longer and get worse. Hopefully, the sooner it is addressed, the shorter and milder the "dangerous increase in police issues" period could be.

I couldn't agree more. My only thing is, I've been at protests that have ended up in arrests (and been arrested at same) and those were tame in comparison to the sorts of incidents where police officers act with complete impunity and abuse. Then, usually, after they finish abusing you, you get arrested and go through our joyful system anyway. My relatively tame experience, with its accompanying court procedural gauntlet upended a good six months of my life, and it only gets worse if the situation is actually 'serious', in the sense of allegations of abuse. It is a tough cost to bear, and while it has to be done by someone (as you rightly point out) I wish only that the cost to individuals trying to change things wasn't so life-damagingly steep. It is an idle (and some might say pointless) wish, and someone needed to, as you say, force the issue anyway, regardless of the police response.

I suppose it wouldn't be half as bad if our culture didn't treat people with criminal records as if they had leprosy. Convicts, like as not, need jobs and opportunities too in order to live. Deprived of those, where can they turn but back to crime? Most people, for this reason, are not willing to risk criinal charges in order to pursue a just cause. Wasn't ther recently a BS wiretapping charge against someone videotaping a police officer? Fighting charges like those costs good money, and you can still lose and end up with a record.

Re:I do believe... (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611977)

I guess my point is that, for this country to truly support freedom, this confrontation will have to happen eventually.

Traditionally, this is through a violent revolution or coup or similar. Civil War is about the worst possible solution, though, and if we can avoid it with some smaller conflicts now, that would be better for everybody.

Unfortunately, I don't think it will work - too many people are apologists for the police and the powers-that-be, too many people are profiting from the current situation, and the dominionists are actively trying to provoke the country. I really do fear this country will need to have it's Tree Of Liberty watered with the Blood of Patriots again, for this to really be fixed, just as Jefferson predicted.

It's worth this (and other) attempts at avoiding it, though.

Re:I do believe... (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612079)

Civil War is about the worst possible solution
Oh really? Care to elaborate? Would you prefer an all-out war against an invading force? Thermonuclear holocaust, anyone? Besides, shooting cops in the streets IS civil war. Your policemen are still people of your nationality.

Re:I do believe... (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612179)

A) It's "worst" in the sense that any all-out war is bad. Many many many people on all sides die.

B) Where, exactly, am I advocating shooting cops? I specifically said that filming them as a good alternative solution to try for now.

C) Yes, there is a mini-war going on in the streets. You could say I'm suggesting that a diplomatic solution could be found, and at least tried, before just jumping on the Bush-style "just bomb them back to the stone age" method.

Re:I do believe... (2, Interesting)

WarDog07 (743376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611661)

Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

Because who knows who out there that they didn't see is also recording?

I just wonder how many of these tapes that make into court will show the incident from beginning to end, or only the part that shows what the person who recorded it wants you to see... just like the evening news. Like with a lot of stores CCTV systems, when it comes time to grab the tape, and the store employee is accused of assaulting someone... all of a sudden they "forgot" to put a tape in that day.

It could be good or bad, cameras don't know how to lie.

Re:I do believe... (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612083)

Even if the tape isn't there to prosecute the offender, it is likely that it will still prevent some number of offenses (would you trust your boss to hide evidence for you?).

That sounds like a win to me.

Re:I do believe... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611689)

Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

Not as hard as it would be to confiscate and destroy *all* recording devices. If a significant number of citizens have them, then the cops can't be sure that somebody else isn't filming them beating somebody and confiscating their camera. And I imagine a judge would look rather harshly on a cop beating somebody and then destroying that person's own evidence of it.

This could create an environment where corrupt officials are afraid of citizens. That's awesome.

Re:I do believe... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611893)

This could create an environment where corrupt officials are afraid of citizens. That's awesome.

Totally agree. I was just musing about 'in the meantime' when they aren't and this sort of initiative causes flash events that in the short-term may get innocent people's asses kicked/thrown in jail.

Re:I do believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611729)

> Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

Oh, come on. Give the cops some credit.

Why would any cop take the risk to his career by wailing on you with his nightstick even if he then seizes and destroys the camera?

A professional cop would beat the crap out of your friend with your camera, both destroying the camera and ensuring that the physical evidence (dozens of camera-shaped bruises on your friend's unconscious body, and gobbets of your friend's blood all over your smashed-up camera) is enough to charge you with assaulting your friend with a deadly weapon.

Any questions, Citizen?

Re:I do believe... (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611731)

I'm sure my view won't be popular, but if it is so easy to be a police officer in a high crime area where the criminals have guns and have no problem shooting a cop, why isn't there a line of people waiting for that job. I've had a chance to work on police software in the past and had several months spent going down to the main district to verify reports. Needless to say, I did talk to other people while I was there, including some of the cops that work the lovely streets of Baltimore, Maryland. I wouldn't do that job for twice what I'm making now. The victims hate the cops as much as the criminals.

Want a solution, instead of video cameras, let the police just stop bothering in the high crime areas where no one really wants them. After the criminals have killed each other off, then the survivors might decide they want police.

Yes, blame the cops for doing the dirty job of trying to bring in people who are always willing to go down fighting, but we have to make sure we give every advantage to the crook over the cop. It's ok for the crook to hit the cop, but the cop can't hit back. How many of you would take the abuse and not return it? Next, how many of you have tried?

Re:I do believe... (2, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611851)

The victims hate the cops as much as the criminals.

And that is the problem.

The solution isn't to just "give up" on areas like that, it's to fix the police behavior (and political mess that's related).

Do away with the things people hate the cops for, like the War On (some) Drugs, idiotically stupid traffic enforcement, enforcement of morality, etc, and people will like the cops again. Do away with the abuses of power they have by quickly and publicly punishing those cops that commit the abuses, and people will like the cops again.

Yes, fighting violent crime is hard, but those that actually do go out and fight that good fight are generally well supported.

You could say the police are a victim of the political idiocy in this country, and forced to take part is such mess that hurts their reputation a lot, but the "I was just following orders!" defense was invalid in Nuremberg, and it's just as invalid here.

Re:I do believe... (1)

WarDog07 (743376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612229)

Do away with the things people hate the cops for, like the War On (some) Drugs, idiotically stupid traffic enforcement, enforcement of morality, etc, and people will like the cops again.

Having had the passenger side of my car caved in by someone on a cell phone (and coming out unscathed thanks to my seatbelt), I wholeheartedly support traffic crackdowns. Sometimes people need to lose a little money to understand how important some things are. As for morality crimes... do you want hookers turning tricks in your front yard? I suspect not. Do you want to live next to a dope house? If you're an addict, it's convenient...

Nobody hates the cops, everyone loves the cops, until they do something and we have to call them on it... Everyone loves seatbelt enforcement; they save lives, right? Until we catch you not wearing your seatbelt; now we should be out catching "real criminals." Policework is like fishing, you cast your line, and reel in the bites as they come, Big One or not.

The only victims I've ever had that hate me are domestic violence victims. DV's are almost as much trouble as juvenile arrests. Juvies, there's a lot of paperwork. DV's get violent quick...

It's like it dawns on them, "If my baby daddy go to jail, I ain't got no job, how'ma gonna eat?" (that's not a typo, it's a quote) Then they attack you, 10 seconds after they yell, "I want that mothaf***a in jail!"

Re:I do believe... (1)

Arslan ibn Da'ud (636514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611811)

Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

That's easy. But that assumes that the recording device (camcorder, cellphone, whatever), isn't also transmitting the data elsewhere. A wi-fi enabled camera-phone would pretty much nullify that option.

Re:I do believe... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611947)

I think you have a valid concern, but one of the few things more powerful in this world than the police/justice system is free communications. Once a few videos like this start appearing on the Internet, showing people who look like police officers beating people up, or better yet showing identifiable officers, then the higher authorities will have to take action, and it will have to be quick, obvious and decisive. Being seen to defend or condone this sort of behaviour is enough to get powerful people unelected/fired, and a popular backlash would also be hugely damaging to legitimate police behaviour, which would become much more difficult if the public stopped supporting it.

I'm guessing that in most places, the majority of police officers are just decent people trying to do a decent job as well as they can. The problem is the minority who abuse the authority for kicks or personal gain. If this is true, then it won't take long to either force that minority to behave, or to identify them and hold them accountable for their actions.

Re:I do believe... (1)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612005)

Besides, on a purely practical note, after the police finish beating the crap out of you and your friend(s), how hard is it for them to confiscate and destroy a recording device?

In an ideal world, police should be charged with tampering with or destroying evidence in cases where cameras are confiscated and the recording media destroyed. After all, that's what Joe Citizen would probably be charged with if the roles were reversed, right? If we could only be so lucky.

Things like this make me sick.

Who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611469)

Quite frankly I'm of the opinion that police officers should be allowed to beat the crap out of someone who leads them on a dangerous chase, endangering the lives of the officers and of innocent civilians. You can't even claim "innocent until proven guilty", since they obviously saw the person engaged in the act. Why do we spend so much time worrying about the "rights" of people who endanger the lives of others... To my mind you sacrifice your own rights when you choose to do something like that, and deserve a good beating.

Re:Who cares? (1, Troll)

CallFinalClass (801589) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611533)

Wow - what a stupid comment.

So, let's stage something where the cops "see" commisaro leading them on in a chase. Hilarity ensues...

Re:Who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611639)

Yes, because police have nothing better to do than set up elaborate framings so they can beat up people they don't like... Tell me, just how easy would it be to frame someone for leading police on a car chase through a busy area? Seems pretty hard to do... Also, how is my comment flamebait? Because you don't agree with it? Seems like calling someone's comment "stupid" falls more into the category of flamebait :P

Re:Who cares? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611797)

Not to mention the fact that the incident the ACLU is reacting to was caught, start-to-finish, on the local Fox affiliate's cameras. No framing necessary. KTVI caught it all on tape. The chase, the beatdown, the arrest, all of it.

And before anyone goes spouting a bunch of anti-Fox, right-wing-conspiracy crap, I'd like to let it be known that KTVI (Fox, channel 2, St. Louis) is about as "liberal" as local TV can become without being dismissed as leftist-whackjobs. I'm not sure how they stay a Fox affiliate.

Re:Who cares? (0, Flamebait)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611591)

I agree 100%. If a suspect runs from the police, they should be required to shoot them in the back if they don't stop when asked to.
That way, you'll have less dangerous car chases and foot persuits, as well as less scumbags walking the street.
Lets face it, innocent people don't run.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611721)

Yes they do you asshat its HUMAN NATURE to run when you're scared.

Re:Who cares? (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611763)

I agree 100%. If a suspect runs from the police, they should be required to shoot them in the back if they don't stop when asked to.

I realise you're being sarcastic, but this is exactly how things work [bbc.co.uk] in the UK. Of course he must have had something to hide, otherwise he wouldn't have run away would he?

Re:Who cares? (1)

WarDog07 (743376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611903)

That way, you'll have less dangerous car chases and foot [pursuits], as well as less scumbags walking the street.

But many more shootings, and no matter how good you are on the range... it's a whole different ball game on the street. I don't just mean people running, but cars, houses, etc that are beyond the "bad guy" that you didn't hit because firing while running/driving, with your adrenaline going, is exponentially more difficult. Shooting standing still in a stress situation is pretty freaking hard. It looks cool when people do that in the movies, but that's Hollywood.

You say the cops should be allowed to shoot someone in the back? When they are running through an empty field in the middle of nowhere? OK. When the bad guy runs through a school playground at recess? Probably not... because the risk of hitting a kid is way too high.

Innocent people don't run, at least not in my experience. People who run tend to be those that think their freedom is all they have to lose. They may be running from a 1st degree murder rap, $50000 in back child support, or th $50 bond loitering warrant they never took care of...

Re:Who cares? (1)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612147)

They may be running from a 1st degree murder rap, $50000 in back child support, or th $50 bond loitering warrant they never took care of...
...or that cop who beat the crap out of them last week for using a video camera at a crime scene.

Re:Who cares? (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612223)

Well obviously if there are people around you can't have police sending bullets all over. That's just bad!
That post is only 1/2 serious. I understand there are many implications for police every time they have to use deadly force.
I hate it that so many losers run causing more trouble for themselves and the cops.
What do I know...if I had the answer to social problems, I wouldn't be working in IT, ha!

Re:Who cares? (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611791)

To my mind you sacrifice your own rights when you choose to do something like that, and deserve a good beating.

That's all well and good. But do you deserve a beating if you didn't do anything wrong [workers.org] ? (I'd post a less inflammatory link, but the mainstream press articles are behind a pay wall - however the article does give the basic facts, and I'll note that one of the officers involved in the incident later resigned [masslive.com] over allegations of drug use).

Re:Who cares? (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612099)

And who gets to decide if you deserve this beating? Why, the cops who administer it. And what if your offense was "running your mouth", "not showing the proper respect", or "getting in the way"? What if you just happened to see something the cops would rather you not have seen, so they decide to "teach you a lesson"?

The police are supposed to be there to arrest those who break the law. Once a chase is over, the person who was fleeing is not putting anyone else in danger. And since there are laws against engaging in such a flight after committing a crime, there are appropriate punishments. And the responsibility of determining guilt and punishing anyone found guilty is exclusively that of the courts, NOT the police. If the police could do it, then we might as well let them shoot an alleged murderer in the head as soon as they find him.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612131)

You can't even claim "innocent until proven guilty", since they obviously saw the person engaged in the act.
Yeah, with police who never arrest anyone who's innocent, why do we even have courts?

Level Playing Field (2, Insightful)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611475)

I can see this now, similar to police cars having cameras mounted in them, new cars begin to offer mounted cameras as optional equipment. Perhaps this would be more useful than a DVD player in the backseat.

Re:Level Playing Field (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611531)

cars begin to offer mounted cameras as optional equipment. Perhaps this would be more useful than a DVD player in the backseat.
That's been available for years... as an alternative to a rear view mirror, for backing up large minivans (ah!) and so on.

And the inevitable... (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611481)

Cue the appearance of dodgy police videos on Youtube... with the Simpsons "Bad Cops, Bad Cops" soundtrack...

ACLU (1, Insightful)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611493)

This is why I am a member of the ACLU. I hope this project can expand all over the nation.

Re:ACLU (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611751)

And their belief that viewing of kiddie porn should be legal?

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611901)

can we go one god damn day without talking about kiddie porn?

Re:ACLU (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611915)

Not only is this an idiotic oversimplification, it also utterly fails to account for the spirit of the law as it is currently upheld; no childre are harmed by the viewing of said pornography. No crime has been committed by the mere sight of some moving pixels.

Keep your trashy right-wing "arguments" out of this discussion.

Re:ACLU (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612015)

Awwww... don't like my bringing up a valid point? The point is that when you support an organization, you support all of an organization. The ACLU is so caught up in ideology that it cannot see past it. It supports decriminalizing the viewing of porn. Even if you take the tact that "no children are hurt by viewing", you make a nice breeding ground for suppliers to exist. In case you are wondering, they also support the right of folks to sell the stuff as well.

The same is true with this "supply cameras to poor folks to watch police". In principal, great. I am very much against police brutality. At the same time, we have a problem with relations between the poor community (I live in one) and the police. A lot of this has to do with police behavior, but a lot has to do with apathy, and a general disrespect for authority in this community. The ACLU is doing nothing to help the situation.

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19612189)

What about thier free representation of Nambla when one of thier members, following thier doctorine, killed a little boy after raping him? Wonderful use of your ACLU Dues!

Re:ACLU (1)

Artaxs (1002024) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612117)

You sir, should consider turning off Faux News. The ACLU has the courage to stand up to a government that is stripping us of our basic rights, and that is why I support them.

Re:ACLU (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612205)

I love the assumption that I watch Fox News. Don't even watch TV. Don't listen to Fox Radio, don't browse Fox online.

Not even a Republican, sorry.

The ACLU is an organization so caught up in an ideology that they have gone off the deep end and have caused more issues than they have solved. I do agree with the ACLU's stances many times. Others they are way off. When you support the viewing and distributing of child porn, there is no way I can support the group.

So, please, clarify for all of Slashdot: do you personally support a person's right to view kiddie porn?

Some ACLU Chapters Ain't So Bright (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611495)

Half of those camcorders will be in a pawn shop or crackhouse within a week.
The other half will be stolen in burglaries/robberies (and the ACLU will defend the thieves as "expressing political speech", even if they kill their victims and the cops in the process.)

Good luck with that (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611505)

Re:Good luck with that (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612165)

They can hate it all they want, but they serve us, not the other way around. We tell them what to do, not the other way around. If, as a society, we want to tape the police, then they must accept it.

"to help them monitor officers" (5, Insightful)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611535)

As opposed to monitoring the criminals in their neighborhood? They're as much a plague on civil liberties as big brother.

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (5, Insightful)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611565)

i think the point is that criminals are already being monitored, but no one's monitoring the cops.

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611935)

if the criminals were being monitored, then they wouldn't be able to commit all the crimes and then the area wouldn't be described as 'high crime' areas now would they.

Besides, who are the ACLU giving these cameras to? Law-abiding citizens who live in these areas and are worried that the local scroats might have their civil liberties abused whilst they were committing vandalism, burglary and violent crimes against the person?

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19612145)

You're absolutely correct. If they were really worried about the civil rights of citizens in those high-crime areas, they would be helping to apprehend and prosecute the criminals.

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612051)

Police are not everywhere and can not (thankfully) watch everyone. If the crime rate goes down, we require less police officers.

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612169)

But lower crime will definitely NOT lead to less police officers actually being out there.
More crime = need more officers to combat this threat!
Less crime = need more officers to keep it this way!

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612209)

...and and even better point is that the police are the criminals in some cases. Which are exactly the cases this is intended to address.

Re:"to help them monitor officers" (1)

T_ConX (783573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611839)

Indeed. I'm all for holding the police accountable, but we have to ask questions as to what happened before the tapes started rolling. You never see the high-speed, red-light-running chase on the Rodney King tape, but it's still something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Marge: You know, the courts might not work any more, but as long as everybody is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.

Right... (0)

Xtense (1075847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611543)

Like we'll see citizens doing exactly that with their brand new camcorders. It's not like they'll run about with them all day just to catch some cops eating doughnuts. IMO, this is a waste of money (I'd put "taxpayers'" here, but this is just too cliche).

That, and I'd love to see this in the news sometime soon: a cop beating a guy for recording him while he was doing something... drastic... and destroying the cam.

Woo, a job well done.

Re:Right... (2, Informative)

darken9999 (460645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611601)

The ACLU isn't funded by taxpayers, so how is this a waste of taxpayer money?

Re:Right... (1)

Xtense (1075847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611669)

Whoops, my bad... ...

I still think it's a waste of money.

Re:Right... (2, Interesting)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612107)

Here in the UK, each police force's budget has a large amount of taxpayer's money earmarked for 'we don't admit any liability' compensation settlements for the inevitable cases where the police have been caught wrongfully arresting or assaulting innocent people each year. If this ACLU initiative deters police wrongdoing, it could easily end up saving the US taxpayer money...

Re:Right... (2, Interesting)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611679)

As someone who has given money to the ACLU from time to time, this is a GREAT use of my money. If it can catch some of the cops abusing the power of the gun that they wield, it's a huge win.

Also, similar to how concealed-carry weapons lower crime even for those who are not carrying, the knowledge that there's a lot of people out there ready to catch the police abusing their power can act like a great deterring factor, which is an even better win. Stopping the abuse before it starts is a much better solution.

Cameras may not help... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611571)

Cameras don't seem to deter the crooked cops in Las Vegas much. Then again, they did actually manage to take their victim to a place they knew the cameras mostly wouldn't see, and to post a guard near the doors so that any witnesses would be stopped before they saw anything... But you'd think an airport would be a difficult place to beat innocents. Seems not.

Soldier beaten at McCarran Airport Parts 1 & 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kiPuyssrko [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQb7Aw2utRk [youtube.com]

Re:Cameras may not help... (1)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611991)

This just made me sick to my stomach. But would have this gotten the attention that it did if he had not been a soldier? I have to wonder. Regardless, I hope those to officers end up on the unemployment line. Just because "policy" said it was ok doesn't make it right.

Having had the crap beat out of me by cops... (-1, Troll)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611575)

...basically for having long hair, I applaud the idea, but it won't work. They cuffed me before the beating began, so there would be no way for me to work a camera.

Re:Having had the crap beat out of me by cops... (4, Interesting)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611855)

Seriously? They beat the crap our of you because you have long hair? Or were they weary of you because of your long hair and shady demeanor? Did they really beat the crap our of you, or were they trying to subdue you using physical force when you failed to cooperate with them?

Stopping police brutality is a good thing, but we have to be sure it is REAL brutality. Now, I do not know your situation, but I have heard so many stories similar to yours. Many backed up by video evidence. When digging further into the stories, I often find either the police did nothing wrong, or they were antagonized to the point where even a saint would have problems.

I do belive the easiest way to stop police brutality is to be polite and cooperative. I have long hair and have a very suspicious demeanor, but when I get pulled over, I get treated with nothing but respect. I attribute this to me being polite and cooperate. Either that or I just happened to run into the only nice cops in my area.

Re:Having had the crap beat out of me by cops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19612065)

Seriously? They beat the crap our of you because you have long hair?

Maybe it was a ponytail.

Seriously, no grown man has any business having his hair in a ponytail. A beating is small punishment for such an inexcusable hairstyle faux pas.

Re:Having had the crap beat out of me by cops... (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612213)

That's not the idea. The idea is that someone else has a camera and videotapes the incident. It's also meant to be a deterrent. If the cops don't know whether or not someone is videotaping them, it will serve to keep them honest.

Make friends, not enemies. (5, Insightful)

xplenumx (703804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611593)

In addition to reporting any misbehavior by the police, I hope that the ACLU has enough integrity to also publicly commend any officer that is recorded acting responsibility in a difficult situation. A little positive reinforcement can go a long ways.

Re:Make friends, not enemies. (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611819)

Agreed, too few people give positive feeback, they only like to complain.

I hope they also keep the cameras running to catch any criminals. They're the ones who terrorize neighborhoods and then scare possible witnesses into keeping silent.

Re:Make friends, not enemies. (4, Insightful)

heresyoftruth (705115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611909)

In addition to reporting any misbehavior by the police, I hope that the ACLU has enough integrity to also publicly commend any officer that is recorded acting responsibility in a difficult situation. A little positive reinforcement can go a long ways.

I don't agree. I am a nurse. I have seen other nurses out there that steal narcotics, make dangerous medical decisions, etc. Those nurses suck, and make the rest of us look bad. I don't think I should be commended for doing my job right just because there are those out there that do it badly. I am not a cop, and couldn't speak for them, but if someone tried to commend me for doing the right thing, I would be a bit disgusted. That's like saying, "Thanks for giving your patients those pain meds, instead of stealing them." or the cop equivalent, "Thanks for making that arrest without beating that guy to death." People should not be commended for doing what they are required to do by the job, and what should be a socially accepted standard of moral ethics.

Re:Make friends, not enemies. (2, Insightful)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612009)

Thanks for making that arrest without beating that guy to death.
Almost. More like:

"Thanks for making that arrest without beating that guy to death as he repeatedly tried to stab you and kill and bite you and spit on you and kick you while you made the arrest."

There's doing your job, and then there's doing your job under horribly abusive conditions.

Cheers.

Re:Make friends, not enemies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19612067)

then there's doing your job under horribly abusive conditions

And when your job is to suck it up?

Nurses deal with shit (literally) too, do you commend them for cleaning out abusive people's bedpans?

Re:Make friends, not enemies. (2, Insightful)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611949)

Sort of like how prosecutors and police officers should publicly commend any citizens who do not break the law? It's not their job.

This is just asking for abuse (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611611)

What about privacy? Not of the police but of the person being stopped, questioned or possibly arrested?

With other folks taking the suspect's picture it is going to become common for these photos to make their way onto the web and into TV news. So you now have even worse situations with "Look who got arrested today!!!" even when no arrest was made.

Think about it - you are stopped by the police for going through a yellow light. No ticket issued, just a warning. Next day you find your very recognizable picture on some web page and half your co-workers think it is very funny. Of course the caption on the picture makes it seem like you are being hauled off to jail. Funny? Not when you have a public-facing job and people now believe you are "some kind of criminal." Even if all you do is work in a shoe store you are going to get canned if you spend more time explaining the picture than selling shoes.

If you are a public figure how much do you think a picture of you being questioned by the police would be worth? To tabloid newspapers? To your opposing candidates in an election? Think these pictures won't be sold because "oh these are ACLU cameras" - think again.

The only way this makes sense is with an underlying assumption that all police officers are violent thugs that need to be monitored constantly. If that is even remotely the case there are other ways of dealing with that problem than getting photographs and video of people being stopped or questioned by the police.

Re:This is just asking for abuse (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611789)

All police officers DO need to be monitored constantly. I would be completely for mandating that every single police officer has a shoulder mounted camera that is always one when they are on the job. When you give someone the level of authority that a police officer gets, you also need to increase the monitoring. If you get wrongly abused by a police officer, most people are rightly terrified to do anything about it. Openly monitoring the people with the authority to use force is the only method of preventing the sort of gross abuse that police officers are able to (and some times do) inflict.

As far as the privacy issues go, there are relatively few. Yes, someone could record you getting pulled over for a traffic stop and post it on YouTube. Personally, I would be far more worried about a drunken college video of me getting out then a video of a police officer hanging in my window as we politely exchange words and documents. Further, the nation has legal proceedings and a presumption of innocence, such that it is trivial to look up someone's police record and find out if they have actually be convinced of crimes. I would happily take a marginally embarrassing video of me getting pulled over for blasting through a red light, then I would NOT having a video of a police officer beating the shit out of me because my hair is too long or what not.

Re:This is just asking for abuse (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611841)

Think about it - you are stopped by the police for going through a yellow light. No ticket issued, just a warning.

Worse than that...if you are seen talking to the police for any reason.
You are a witness at a traffic accident. One of your helpful neighbors is filming the scene, with you face to face with the cop. The video shows up the next day. Depending on how it was shot and edited, it could look quite bad.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611853)

You're an idiot.

Re:This is just asking for abuse (2, Interesting)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611951)

...so basically you'd want to prevent the widespread use of video cameras, ACLU or otherwise?... a bit too late for that my friend, most police cruisers come with a dashboard camera....a good number of stoplights have cameras....if you live in the UK, the damn street corners have cameras. They're already everywhere.

Screw the ACLU (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611623)

I would use that video camera to videotape drug dealers and other criminals in my neighborhood. The ACLU will protect hate groups, PEDOPHILES, terrorists, and the police are somehow the enemy? Doesn't that group have strange priorities?

Also, NEVER DONATE TO THE ACLU. They will send you mail asking for more and more money. Even if you send them a letter saying stop sending me solicitations, they will continue to do so. I made the mistake of sending them $10 back when I thought they believed in the protection of free speech, not the protection of pedophiles and terrorists who hate America and what we stand for.

Plus wasn't some high level leader in the ACLU just recently busted for child pornography?

THIS IS NOT FLAMEBAIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611761)

This is just more proof of Slashdot being a haven for pedophilia and Communism. FUCK YOU. Research your facts before you mod me down to flamebait, you fucking faggots.

YOUR MOM IS FLAMEBAIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611847)

What a whore!

Excellent... if only.. (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611629)

This is a great idea, though unfortunately this would be illegal in many states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Not only would the tape be inadmissible, but you might end up in jail for surreptitious recording. It's happened...

OH NOES! MAH INFINITE REGRESS!!!1one!! (1)

commisaro (1007549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611687)

But who will monitor those who monitor the cops? Not to mention the need to monitor those who monitor those who monitor the cops! And don't even get me started on the dire lack of those monitoring those who monitor those who monitor those who monitor the cops!!!

A suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19611713)

Concerning situations when a cop insists that you shut your camcorder, I suggest the 'urinanalysis test of privacy'. Say to the cop: "I would like to relieve myself, right here, right now. You cool with that?"

Only if the cop says "Sure, dude, go ahead" there's a reasonable expectation of privacy and you should comply with the request to shut down your camcorder.

The Pennsylvania case is over (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611745)

The charges in the Pennsylvania case referenced in the posting have been withdrawn [cumberlink.com] .


From the article:

"When police are audio- and video-recording traffic stops with notice to the subjects, similar actions by citizens, even if done in secret, will not result in criminal charges."

The fact that this made the national news doesn't surprise me. This is Pennsylvania where our new state motto is:

Doing our best to become the next New Jersey.

If you've done nothing wrong... (1, Insightful)

nerdup (523587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611773)

you have nothing to hide. Right? Right?

Anybody Else (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611863)

If it were anybody other than the ACLU doing this, I'd be more in favor of it. I simply don't trust the ACLU to have my interests best in mind, nor have implemented it in an even, fair, or unbiased manner.

This might even be an attempt to antagonize and create incidents with the police over the whole video taping issue, rather than a valid method of checks and balances. It wouldn't be the first time the ACLU has done such things.

Nor was the incident cited in TFA the first time a citizen has gotten in trouble for video taping police against their wishes. Just a couple of years ago a man, in his home, on his property, using installed surveillance cameras covering his property, got arrested when he taped officers coming to his door. That's simply wrong!

Of course, if you can manage to get away with the actual taping at the time, anyone with a video camera and YouTube can make their case without the ACLU at all.

You might be a terrorist if: (2, Interesting)

LuxMaker (996734) | more than 7 years ago | (#19611883)

You attempt to "police the police".
You are a defender of the U.S. Constitution.
You are a lone individual.

http://www.welfarestate.com/pamphlet/ [welfarestate.com]

In other words, this program to record the police seems like a good way to get on the FBI's watchlist.

Speaking as a former STL dispatcher... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19612027)

I support this move because I hope it will prove more officers to be in the right than in the wrong. Working as a STL city cop is a wretched job. The low pay and low respect goes without saying. The police officers work in incredibly dangerous parts of the city and are in real danger to their lives. A crackhead will not hesitate to take an officers life. If an officer takes physical action to protect him/herself then I think the public should understand that. However, if the officer(s) abuse power (rare but it does happen) then I think the public should rightfully be upset. As it is now, the public is upset over either action because it is the "law's" word against the "innocent's". Officer's can and do get fired for protecting their own lives because the Police Department does not have the money to fight lawsuits.

As it stands now I can only worry that this will make St. Louis all the much more timid (and thus ineffective) in tackling its out-of-control crime problem.

America's Funniest Home Videos? (2, Insightful)

spamking (967666) | more than 7 years ago | (#19612041)

I can see it now . . . a brand new show in the time slot right after Cops. "America's Dirtiest Police Videos"

In my opinion, this has as much of a chance of protecting citizen rights as it does to hinder legit police activities and responses to emergencies. Cops start paying more attention to the cameras and neglect the crime/crimals they were called to investigate and put themselves and others at risk.

I'm all for accountability, but does the ACLU also provide similar equipment to folks so they can monitor/document actual crimes in their communities as well?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?