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  1. #1
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    Default Should videotaping the police really be a crime?

    Full article: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME

    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.

    Law enforcement is fighting back. In the case of Graber — a young husband and father who had never been arrested — the police searched his residence and seized computers. Graber spent 26 hours in jail even before facing the wiretapping charges that could conceivably put him away for 16 years. (It is hard to believe he will actually get anything like that, however. One point on his side: the Maryland attorney general's office recently gave its opinion that a court would likely find that the wiretap law does not apply to traffic stops.)

    The legal argument prosecutors rely on in police video cases is thin. They say the audio aspect of the videos violates wiretap laws because, in some states, both parties to a conversation must consent to having a private conversation recorded. The hole in their argument is the word "private." A police officer arresting or questioning someone on a highway or street is not having a private conversation. He is engaging in a public act.
    News coverage video:

    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNcDGqzAB30&feature=related"].[/YOUTUBE]

    Original video of the incident:

    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK5bMSyJCsg"].[/YOUTUBE]

  2. #2
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think this is one of those things which will become more and more widespread and nye on impossible to regulate, prevent or reign in.

    In the UK there's been a couple of incidents in which people, particularly young people, have filmed professionals on mobile phones or even just taken photographs and posted the material online sometimes unaccompanied by lies, sometimes with fairly serious lies, the teaching profession in particular has been hit hard with some people assaulted by strangers, social workers are another vulnerable group.

    Social workers have it real hard because I've known of groups of kids who've perhaps engaged in real serious reckless, risky behaviour, jeopardising their safety and that of other younger kids, possibly even taken a pop at an adult carer or social worker or hit them with a weapon, then their buddy gets some footage of what appears to be an adult screaming at a kid or knocking them on their behind and running off. How do you imagine that going down? Especially in a litigatious culture.

    This is just people going about their jobs and I dont think it should be viewed as an occupational hazard, although in saying that when I speak to people in a professional capacity or make records I always do so with a view to full disclosure, I dont engage in any doubletalk or behave in a way which will reflect badly on me personally or the profession I'm part of. When I make notes I imagine I'm going to be reading them back or letting them be read by whoever they are about or their carers or if need be solicitors.

    So maybe the cop could have conducted himself better but I dont like what I see here, if the guy was pulled over for a violation the attention has already been taken away from him, the police officer could have imagined his safety was going to be jeopardised with pics or footage of him posted to "Legitimate targets.com" or something like that, next thing you know he's out shopping or in a restaurant and someone takes a pop at him or slaps his kid.

    I reckon that the individuals who are in the role of authorities should be afforded the same protections, within reason, as any member of the public. Some of that can be good preventative interventions to govern the use of technology like this. A lot of people scoff or laugh at the propaganda airbrushing or photography of yesteryear, Stalin's disappearing of Trotsky from pictures of him with Lenin and the like as though they are now so sophisticated and not nearly as credulous but I really doubt that.

    We also live with the legacy of anti-authoritarian mutant messages, I'll explain what I mean by that, culture is transmited across generations but in the process it mutates, we're not all what the philosophers might call "reflective conservers of knowledge". So there's incredible ambiguity about authority per se, there's automatic assumptions of injustice, power is always guilty. Its a seperate topic altogether and I'll not go on about it but this is one of those ideologies with a small i which is totally pervasive and will colour anyones rewatching of footage or consideration of photos or recordings.

  3. #3
    XES 5231311252's Avatar
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    There are murderers and rapists who don't even serve ten years in prison and they want to give this man up to sixteen years? That's absurd and it disturbs me to know that such absurdity runs throughout this country's judicial system.

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    Klingon Warrior Princess Patches's Avatar
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    Ugh, There was a kid on my campus that got arrested (and got the shit beat out of him) by riot police. The police reported that he spooked a horse and that his injuries were from the horse kicking him.

    Later a cell phone video surfaces of 2 police beating him to the ground seemingly unprovoked, and a 3rd officer walking up and kicking him while he was curled up on the ground in the fetal position. The horse was NEVER near him.

    This will not fly in court. They're grasping at straws trying to protect police from shit they shouldn't be doing.
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    them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” -Neil Gaiman

    ~

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    Senior Member Fan.of.Devin's Avatar
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    Videotaping the police should not only be legal, we should subsidize it...

    I'm really tired of this rapidly worsening paramilitary shit in US law enforcement.
    Needs to end.

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    Senior Member Lucas's Avatar
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    Of course!
    How else will we stop those dastardly people who expose messed-up behavior inside our police departments? How dare they attempt to put our beloved protectors in a bad light.
    Last edited by Lucas; 08-05-2010 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Punctuation

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    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    No.

    That's all that needs to be said, really.

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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    I'm failing to see the point in the plain-clothes officer brandishing his firearm... Could he not have confronted the guy with his badge up instead? Not only is it a bit extreme for him to do this, but what the hell are other citizens in traffic going to think when what they see is just "some guy" running around with a firearm? Not too smart budy...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5231311252 View Post
    There are murderers and rapists who don't even serve ten years in prison and they want to give this man up to sixteen years? That's absurd and it disturbs me to know that such absurdity runs throughout this country's judicial system.
    Absurdity indeed... very absurd. I really like the word absurd for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patches View Post
    They're grasping at straws trying to protect police from shit they shouldn't be doing.
    Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fan.of.Townsend View Post
    Videotaping the police should not only be legal, we should subsidize it...

    I'm really tired of this rapidly worsening paramilitary shit in US law enforcement.
    Needs to end.
    Nice video selection. I remember hearing that song when I was a kid and there was a big controversy when it came out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
    Of course!
    How else will we stop those dastardly people who expose messed-up behavior inside our police departments? How dare they attempt to put our beloved protectors in a bad light.

  10. #10
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    A motorcycle is a dangerous weapon. I don't blame the cop for brandishing a gun especially when he never pointed the gun at the motorcyclist. Yeah, he probably should of said "state police" first thing, but in the heat of the moment I can understand him trying to get rid of the current threat to his safety before establishing his authority. Anyway he still says state police within 3 seconds of brandishing his gun.
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