Should You Or Anyone Videotape Police Activity?
Should camera surveillance be used EVEN if the person being photographed does not consent? Walk into any large and/or small businesses and you are being photographed.
The biggest argument for recording an event is that the camera does not lie or forget. When combined with audio, the recording will even capture the participants attitude. When capturing an event the camera becomes a neutral party neither for nor against any of the participants.
For many years now businesses have been recording customers in their stores. These recordings have helped the police capture many an armed robber, credit card thief or shoplifter.
With this advance in technology the laws had to be changed to reflect our expectations of privacy. In short most laws (vary by State) allow video and audio recordings, 1) anywhere not expressly prohibited, 2) anywhere in public, 3) anywhere with the participants permission.
In recent years the police departments across the nation have begun a drive to pass laws making it a crime to record the police in their respective capacities as public servants.
The police cite public safety as the main reason they do not want you to record them even from a distance. Presently about 17 states do not allow the recording of public officials.
Man Faces Life In Jail For Recording Police
No one wants to be recorded breaking the law. Those that rob stores at gun point, shoplifters, rapist and murderers say that it should be against the law to record anyone without their permission. Law enforcement officers are now claiming this mantra for themselves. They do NOT want you or anyone putting on record the methods they have to use in order to punish citizens.
Law Enforcement Adapts
Law enforcement has had to become really creative in order to accommodate their mission. They have had to find ways to “control the situation” and yet not trample on a citizens constitutional rights which is why they always shout “stop resisting” even though no one is resisting. Accordingly, police have take several strategies. Firstly, the end justifies the means, and secondly, might makes right, thirdly, do not allow anyone to record anything said or done so that only my version can be heard in court.
Both of these strategies are incompatible with citizens rights as defined by our constitution. Hence the police officers reluctance to having their actions put on record.
Cop Detains Cameraman In Choke Hold for Filming Peaceful Protest
Other Video Titles From Police Willing To Do Anything To Keep You Safe
Seattle Cops Caught On Video Saying They Will Make Up Evidence
BAD POLICE: Cops Caught Planting Drugs To Make Quotas
Cop Caught Planting Evidence
"I will make up a charge and arrest you." Los Angeles County Sheriffs
Police Officer Threatens Man - Breaks Video Camera
How Police Compensate
Because of the constitution our law enforcement has had to resort to other means of capturing or punishing citizens. Sometimes officers will make up a charge, arrest a citizen then just before the court date have the charge dropped. However, the citizen has had to spend a night or two in jail and would have had to post bail and if the police are lucky the citizen will have even lost his/her job. A fitting punishment for a law breaker that police just can't seem to punish through legal means.
How Can Citizens Cope
Unfortunately we as a society need (require) a police force. But we need a police force that not only enforces the law but also knows how to follow the law. Police should not be allowed to mistreat citizens. They should not be allowed to resort to physical force just because they feel insulted or because a citizen did not comply fast enough with an order. They should not be allowed to use physical force as a de facto punishment.
There are a number of ways citizens can influence police policy and procedure. Keep in mind that the Chief of Police is not an elected official, neither is the Commander of the State Police. The Chief of Police is hired by the city council or city manager and approved by the city council. The Commander of the State Police is usually appointed by the Governor of the State. That is where change begins and ends. The vote is a powerful weapon.
If you are not happy with your police force or you suspect that the police do not obey the laws and follow the constitution contact your elected officials. If there is no change in police procedures then vote out the current officials and promise the incoming officials that they too can be a one term elected official.
As a citizen you have an obligation to uphold the constitution of the United States. In return the constitution gives you certain rights. Know that your constitutional rights cannot be taken from you without due process. Our founders were willing to hang in order for us to have these rights, our family members have gone to war and some have died to protect these rights. Surely standing up for you rights is not to much to ask of you.
Know that when you stand up for your rights you will be targeted by the police. You may even end up in jail for some made up charge. This is normal and you should not be alarmed.
1. The police should not be above the law. Know your rights and exercise them. If a policeman assaults you file charges. If a policeman unlawfully arrests you file a complaint.
2. Learn how to file complaints with the Department of Internal Affairs of your police department. Most complaints will not be investigated. But it does get your version on the record.
3. Meet with your councilperson or State Representative. Ask to file a formal complaint.
4. Elections are the time to make changes. Volunteer for the opponent of the official you want changed.
5. When asked to serve on a jury, do your duty and serve. Just remember to never take the word of a police officer over the word of a citizen. Both defendant and policeman have something to gain from being less than truthful. However the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a doubt. The word of a policeman is NOT beyond a doubt.
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