- Oct 12, 2009
- Reaction score
- New Jersey
- Political Leaning
- Libertarian - Right
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