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Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

Ockham

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Time said:
By Adam Cohen Wednesday, Aug. 04, 2010

Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video — which could put the officer in a bad light — up on YouTube.

It doesn't sound like much. But Graber is not the only person being slapped down by the long arm of the law for the simple act of videotaping the police in a public place. Prosecutors across the U.S. claim the videotaping violates wiretap laws — a stretch, to put it mildly.

These days, it's not hard to see why police are wary of being filmed. In 1991, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) beating of Rodney King was captured on video by a private citizen. It was shown repeatedly on television and caused a national uproar. As a result, four LAPD officers were put on trial, and when they were not convicted, riots broke out, leaving more than 50 people dead and thousands injured (two officers were later convicted on federal civil rights charges). (edit)

More recently, a New York Police Department officer was thrown off the force — and convicted of filing a false report — because of a video of his actions at a bicycle rally in Times Square. The officer can plainly be seen going up to a man on a bike and shoving him to the ground. The officer claimed the cyclist was trying to collide with him, and in the past, it might have been hard to disprove the police account. But this time there was an amateur video of the encounter — which quickly became an Internet sensation, viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube alone.
First, video taping police who are operating within the public and publicly, should not be a crime in any free society. Second, that the police are allowed to use their power to basically put those who video tape them - through hell - in an attempt to intimidate people to NOT video tape them, is insane. This is a clear abuse of power. The cop even pulled a gun on this guy who was simply video taping him. And, let's not forget, NY has had a few occasions where cops were video taped and followed - which documented them breaking the laws they are hired to enforce, because they wanted to get some donuts and coffee a la Jimmy Justice...

These police forces allowing intimidation and harassment need to have the **** sued out of them along with City Hall and the Mayor until it changes their behavior.

Read more: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME
 

Harry Guerrilla

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First, video taping police who are operating within the public and publicly, should not be a crime in any free society. Second, that the police are allowed to use their power to basically put those who video tape them - through hell - in an attempt to intimidate people to NOT video tape them, is insane. This is a clear abuse of power. The cop even pulled a gun on this guy who was simply video taping him. And, let's not forget, NY has had a few occasions where cops were video taped and followed - which documented them breaking the laws they are hired to enforce, because they wanted to get some donuts and coffee a la Jimmy Justice...

These police forces allowing intimidation and harassment need to have the **** sued out of them along with City Hall and the Mayor until it changes their behavior.

Read more: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME
There shouldn't be any restrictions on it.

If cops can legally lie to you, then you should be able to tape the confrontation.
 

jamesrage

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If they can video tape you then why should it be illegal for you do video tape them?Whoever made it illegal should lose his job.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Most departments have video cameras in their police cars that videotape interactions with citizens for use in court. I fail to see how citizens videotaping themselves is any different.
 

Ikari

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Absolutely not. The police can and should be video taped all the time. Who polices the police? The rest of us. There has to be a check on that power. But some places seem to not like it so much when their indiscretions are caught on tape. And in this particular case have tried to enforce a law that is obviously not being applied correctly. I would go so far as to say the police and DA who try to arrest people and try them for this crime should all be fired and barred from ever again holding a position of public office or duty.
 

digsbe

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It should absolutely be legal to videotape cops. If they have the right to video surveillance in order to find criminals then we should have the right to survey them with video equipment. Cops are still citizens who are under the law as we all are, they are not immune to committing a crime. It's disgusting to see that you can't video tape a cop.
 

The Mark

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Hell no.

It should be completely legal.

Might reduce those incidents where individual police (or in a few cases, whole segments of a police force) abuse their power.
 

Jetboogieman

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Hell no.

It should be completely legal.

Might reduce those incidents where individual police (or in a few cases, whole segments of a police force) abuse their power.
Yep. My point exactly.

However I would always say that citizens and cops videotapes should always be heavily scrutinized for any kind of editing and checked for context.
 

danarhea

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First, video taping police who are operating within the public and publicly, should not be a crime in any free society. Second, that the police are allowed to use their power to basically put those who video tape them - through hell - in an attempt to intimidate people to NOT video tape them, is insane. This is a clear abuse of power. The cop even pulled a gun on this guy who was simply video taping him. And, let's not forget, NY has had a few occasions where cops were video taped and followed - which documented them breaking the laws they are hired to enforce, because they wanted to get some donuts and coffee a la Jimmy Justice...

These police forces allowing intimidation and harassment need to have the **** sued out of them along with City Hall and the Mayor until it changes their behavior.

Read more: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME
Looks like Conservatives and Liberals have found some common ground here.
 

Jetboogieman

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Looks like Conservatives and Liberals have found some common ground here.
Ok. Someone cause discourse. Lets get uncle adolph or stalin or death panels into this thread, cause agreeing on something is unacceptable. :mrgreen:
 

Captain America

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Where's Caine when ya need him?

I say, "Hell yeah." Video tape 'em. They video tape you. They use video for evidence why can't we?
 

Redress

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First off, I do agree with every one, videotaping police should be legal. I just want to point out why I can kinda sorta see the other side. In this day and age, every one has access to video editing tools. As has been shown again within the last month, it is very easy to edit a videotape to give a false impression. Police have a hard enough job, and being expected to defend themselves from potentially edited videos is just making that hard job harder.

I repeat, this is just showing the other side, it's not the side I agree with. I think those problems are a necessary cost to freedom. All the above was meant to do is show that I can understand the problems with this, and that I can see their point of view.
 

Ikari

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Where's Caine when ya need him?

I say, "Hell yeah." Video tape 'em. They video tape you. They use video for evidence why can't we?
Heheh. I actually wouldn't think that Caine would have a problem with citizens videotaping cops so long as they did not interfere with the arrest or cop's duty while videotaping it.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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The ONLY thing an unedited video tape can do is a give an honest perspective of what was said and done, as far as the camera can see and the microphone can hear.

A cop doing his job in accordance with the law and his departmental regulations has little to fear from an honest video.

Of course it should not be illegal to video tape law enforcement at work.

With the one caveat that undercover cops should have their faces and identities protected.

Your routine traffic stop? No way in hell should it be any kind of crime to tape them. Or to put them up on the internet.

We've seen videos in recent times of cops shooting handcuffed suspects, and killing them.

We've seen videos of cops having screaming fits at old ladies who didn't pull over fast enough to suit them.

I WISH we had a video of that confrontation between the racist Hahvahd college perfessor and the policeman who was forced to arrest his bigoted arrogant ass.
 

Goshin

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Looks like virtually everyone, regardless of their ideology, thinks this one is total BS.

(Me too.}
 

Caine

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Where's Caine when ya need him?

I say, "Hell yeah." Video tape 'em. They video tape you. They use video for evidence why can't we?
There has been a whole thread on this in the Law and Order section. My responses are there.

But in general, I see nothing wrong video taping police officers, and find it retarded that someone would get charged for it.

On the other hand, video taping a police officer and getting in their way while they are trying to do their duties SHOULD be arrestable... not because of the video taping, but because you are getting in their way.
 

Caine

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Heheh. I actually wouldn't think that Caine would have a problem with citizens videotaping cops so long as they did not interfere with the arrest or cop's duty while videotaping it.
Dude. you posted this before my post. You are a mind reader.
 

apdst

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Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video — which could put the officer in a bad light — up on YouTube.
Isn't there a law in Maryland prohibiting the taping of another person, without that person's permission?

I seem to remember quite a few Libs getting all up-n-arms over O'Keefe busting those ACORN pimp-ho accomplices.
 

Opteron

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Hmm, I didn't know that it was illegal. Shouldn't this be declared unconstitutional by violating first amendment rights by somebody? It's kinda scary that it hasn't been done already.

Isn't there a law in Maryland prohibiting the taping of another person, without that person's permission?

I seem to remember quite a few Libs getting all up-n-arms over O'Keefe busting those ACORN pimp-ho accomplices.
I think the difference is that that is for private conversations in private places. It makes some sense, that in private you can't spy on somebody without telling them. But for public places I think you can photograph, videotape whoever you want.
 

JohnWOlin

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Yeah cops love their special privileges, and for every 10 good cops you have at least 1 that thinks they are the pimp and the law is the bitch. I say they should definitely be videotaped.
 

disneydude

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There has been a whole thread on this in the Law and Order section. My responses are there.

But in general, I see nothing wrong video taping police officers, and find it retarded that someone would get charged for it.

On the other hand, video taping a police officer and getting in their way while they are trying to do their duties SHOULD be arrestable... not because of the video taping, but because you are getting in their way.
That's one thing I respect about you Caine.....you are a cop with perspective and not one that believes in the "code of silence" from what I can tell.
 

spud_meister

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i think it should be illegal to video tape cops, they are doing whatever they can to catch criminals, and so what if it is illegal, it has to be done for the greater good.
 

The Mark

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Ok. Someone cause discourse. Lets get uncle adolph or stalin or death panels into this thread, cause agreeing on something is unacceptable. :mrgreen:
Hell yes!

I support brutal beatings and strict and harsh sentences for those who would DARE even take a picture of ANY cop with even a 30-year-old camera!!!

:mrgreen:
 

Orion

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Why not just make suing the police illegal? I mean, if they're making it illegal to obtain direct evidence, then there's no point in taking them to court anymore.

And yes, it's true, police dashboard cams are usually running, but they don't capture the full story, especially if you walk off camera. There are plenty of police that patrol the streets without cars too.

They are here to serve us, and we monitor THEM. That is how this system works. We check their power. We police the police, and obtain video evidence at our discretion.

The conservatives in Canada are trying to make it illegal to video tape officers too. It's now being called assault. Once the U.S. started doing it, the Canadian police started doing it. (Our police forces are often in exchange to trade skills and training.) I don't know how they can make such a law when clearly the majority of the public is against it.
 

Your Star

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It should 100% absolutely be legal to videotape the police while they are on duty. Police officers should have nothing to hide, while on duty.
 
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