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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday August 16 2014, @01:58PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the now-I-see-you dept.

Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that police in Ferguson, Missouri, arrested two reporters Wednesday night as protests over the police shooting of an unarmed teenager continued for the fifth day. The journalists, the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, were only detained for about 15 minutes before being released, but the incident provoked widespread outrage over the Ferguson police's increasingly brutal tactics.

Lowery wrote that armed officers stormed a McDonald's in which he and Reilly were working and demanded to see ID. They then told Lowery to stop video recording them, and finally they ordered the reporters to leave and claimed they weren't leaving fast enough. According to other reports, the Ferguson police also demanded that an MSNBC camera man and a local Fox News crew take down their cameras. Police hit the crew of Al Jazeera America with tear gas and dismantled their gear.

"The arrest and intimidation of journalists for documenting the events in Ferguson is particularly disturbing because it interferes with the ability of the press to hold the government accountable. But actually, anyone journalist or otherwise can take a photo of a police officer," writes Khazan. "Citizens have the right to take pictures of anything in plain view in a public space, including police officers and federal buildings. Police can not confiscate, demand to view, or delete digital photos."

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @02:30PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @02:30PM (#82072)

    ...make ALL the rules.

    Illegal or not, if you object or do
    not comply with their orders fast
    enough, you may get killed
    'in self defense' as a threat.

    Just film cops discreetly with
    camera phones at a far enough
    distance and upload the footage
    to some public website that
    appears on the front page of
    Google for a search for
    this kind of thing.

    How else are we gonna shine a
    light on 'bad cop' behavior
    without getting killed or
    injured while being arrested
    by them for doing this even
    if it is deemed legal in that
    state/jurisdiction?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by physicsmajor on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:07PM

      by physicsmajor (1471) on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:07PM (#82077)

      Rally behind a push to require every police officer to have a video cam on them. That never turns off. Contents can't be modified. That must have a carefully preserved chain of ownership and must be turned in and uploaded to a third party archive immediately following every shift. Retain them for 2 years or indefinitely if they pertain to an ongoing case.

      Penalty for noncompliance: Two strikes for all time, then immediate termination.

      We can get this implemented by the legislature. The men and women in blue don't have anything to say about it. Frankly, in this state, you could probably get it done via voted amendment to the State Constitution.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:16PM (#82078)

        That might actually cut down on the cute girl traffic stops. Of course it might make for an increase in traffic stop porn too.

        • (Score: 1) by weilawei on Monday August 18 2014, @11:46AM

          by weilawei (109) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 18 2014, @11:46AM (#82545) Homepage

          Make taking home video a felony, with immediate suspension without pay, pending an automatic investigation and trial, followed by mandatory prison time. If you have a (near-)monopoly on doing violence in the name of the People, you should be held to a higher standard. Additionally, there should be a strong chain of custody and privacy protections on video evidence. Once a complaint/charge (not sure what the appropriate level is; this will take fine-tuning) is filed, both sides should have full copies of the raw footage to prepare and present their case (and the video should never be excluded from court).

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM (#82081)

        Your idea has merit but an independent committee from
        outside the jurisdictions this is done in should
        coontrol/monitor everything transmitted to them
        offsite from the cameras with the officers. The
        members doing the actual recording/monitoring
        must be kept anonymous to avoid corruption and
        reprisals instead giving their results to the
        public facing committee for dissemination,
        analysis, and feedback.

        In this manner, the monitoring should be
        fair and impartial.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @06:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @06:20PM (#82102)

          Lines will automatically wrap upon hitting the right-hand edge of the reader's window.
          It's NOT necessary to put hard linefeeds within sentences.
          Indeed, it looks goofy.

          Some people compose their posts in a text editor and paste that into the S/N page.
          That also insures against the occasional glitch where your text disappears after clicking a button.

          -- gewg_

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:52PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:52PM (#82087) Journal

        In the case of Ferguson, the police are planning to wear body-mounted cameras but haven't implemented them yet.

        It's a good idea that has been gaining traction, but as you say, the implementation has to be very solid to prevent the measure from becoming a mockery. Battery life and cost are issues. Mandating retention of video can be problematic. I think most departments doing this are voluntarily introducing it, and could easily "lose" evidence or have a mysterious hard drive failure. Getting local or state governments to mandate the cameras will be politically difficult, and holding the police accountable for lost video is impossible without close media scrutiny.

        New Orleans Cop Turns off Body Cam before Shooting Man [photographyisnotacrime.com]

        Fortunately, smartphones are nearly everywhere. Regardless of whether or not police are wearing body-mounted cameras, citizens have a right and perhaps even an obligation to record them.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by HiThere on Saturday August 16 2014, @07:14PM

          by HiThere (866) on Saturday August 16 2014, @07:14PM (#82111) Journal

          The important thing is that they NOT be able to turn them off. That they NOT be able to edit the film. Sound recording is important too. And if they take them off or disable them, their evidence can't be used in court. Variation of "fruit of the poisoned tree".

          That still won't stop them from covering the camera while they beat someone up, but it might help a bit.

          Battery life isn't an issue if the police work from squad cars. The batteries can be charging whenever they are in the car. Mandating retention is necessary. And so is reasonable backup. So the retention should be managed outside the department, as well as within the department. Validating the backups is a real problem, as the "tapes" shouldn't be allowed to be seen without a warrant. Hash codes could probably handle this, though, if combined with a program that validates that the file format is readable and interpretable.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 1) by Nollij on Sunday August 17 2014, @12:16AM

            by Nollij (4559) on Sunday August 17 2014, @12:16AM (#82165)

            Enough battery to record for a full shift (let's say 12 hours, just to be safe) shouldn't be particular big. Glass records for 30 minutes on its tiny battery, and even a pack of 24 of those wouldn't be too large. A specialized design can be much smaller still. Police already carry a lot of specialty gear, so it wouldn't be a big issue. This way, they grab a fully charged camera at the beginning of a shift, and leave it on the charger at the end.

            Most important reason: This city already does it [washingtonpost.com], and complaints against officers are down 88%

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Sunday August 17 2014, @01:26AM

            by sjames (2882) on Sunday August 17 2014, @01:26AM (#82185) Journal

            Just treat missing audio/video as destroyed evidence. That is, the court assumes that it would have been favorable to the other party.

            That just leaves somehow making the video tamper evident.

            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:06PM

              by HiThere (866) on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:06PM (#82350) Journal

              A timing track that records UTC time should work for that. But you still need to ensure that they can't edit it.

              --
              Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18 2014, @09:41AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18 2014, @09:41AM (#82524)

          so "cop turns of body cam before shooting man",
          that should could count as evidence for an automatic murder charge,
          it shows premeditation

      • (Score: 1) by arashi no garou on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:01AM

        by arashi no garou (2796) on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:01AM (#82190)

        Having worked in law enforcement in the past, I can honestly say that most everyday cops would love to have personal recorders. The few at the department I worked for who were opposed to it when it was introduced were the "vice" cops, the ones working undercover cases. They were already exempt from the requirement anyway for obvious reasons, but they insisted it was a waste of time and money. The regular patrol officers were pretty much all for it, since it would not only prevent false accusations, it would also provide a complete record of their work day so their case files would be more complete and accurate.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by takyon on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:39PM (#82082) Journal

    Photography is Not a Crime blog by Carlos Miller [photographyisnotacrime.com].

    Cops around the country aren't getting the message. Recording cops and public officials is legal. Recording openly in a public place is legal. Challengers to the status quo are often arbitrarily arrested, harassed with the specter of 9/11, told that they are interfering with an active investigation by recording arrests at a distance, and asked to identify themselves when there is no obligation to do so. Some cops will go as far as assaulting videographers, claim that citizens are resisting arrest when they don't play along, and seize phones and cameras in order to delete videos. Citizen-operated drones have come under attack recently. Unwritten "policies" banning recording or drones are pulled out of thin air even when citizens are adhering to FAA rules.

    The reporters had it lucky. They had powerful media backing. Average joes can't always count on being released quickly or having charges thrown out. For that, there is the PINAC blog, which does its best to name and shame crooked police departments.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:28PM (#82089)

      > Photography is Not a Crime blog by Carlos Miller.

      That site has a very interesting document. It is a list of every time the police pulled the driver's license [photographyisnotacrime.com] info of a guy who regularly records the police.

      The document showed me a new kind of way for the police to abuse driver's license info. The "driver's license photo line up" (search the PDF for "DLPhotoLineUp") - the guy in the document had his DL photo used for about 20 "line ups." That's waaaay more than would happen to an average guy. That seems to be an attempt by the police to get witnesses to mis-identify the guy in a crime so that the police can plausibly arrest him. It lets the police shift responsibility for harassment to an unrelated 3rd party. It is a new kind of iniquity that would have never occurred to me, but in hindsight is obvious.

      > Average joes can't always count on being released quickly or having charges thrown out.

      Exactly. As asshole cops everywhere are fond of saying, "You might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride."

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tathra on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:43PM

    by tathra (3367) on Saturday August 16 2014, @03:43PM (#82083)

    they need to press charges for assault and battery, and anybody arrested or even detained for photographing/videoing police needs to press charges for kidnapping and illegal confinement. these cops are fucking criminals, its time we start treating them that way.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by dcollins on Saturday August 16 2014, @08:22PM

      by dcollins (1168) on Saturday August 16 2014, @08:22PM (#82126) Homepage

      Problem: To "press charges" isn't really a thing for civilians. Regardless of the desire of the victim, the decision to bring a criminal case to court rests in the hands of the district attorney, for better or worse. And they don't prosecute cops. The end.

      "If a person decides to press charges, he must report the event that occurred in as much detail as possible. The prosecutor will then review the information provided and determine whether to prosecute or not. Not every situation leads to an arrest or trial. Sometimes, the prosecutor will decide there is insufficient evidence to arrest the accused and take him to trial; other times, the prosecutor will determine the behavior of the accused did not meet all the elements of the crime and therefore no criminal sanctions are appropriate."

      http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-it-mean-to-press-charges.htm [wisegeek.org]

      Some people occasionally use this problem to argue for the allowance of hiring prosecutors and initiating criminal cases by private entities. I'm sympathetic, but can also see the possibility of widespread mischief on the part of the very wealthy.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:21PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:21PM (#82135)

        Then the people need to set up their own independent courts and arrest and haul these cops before these courts forcibly. Then they can have swift punishments the way they used to in Colonial times, such as chopping off hands.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @10:22PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @10:22PM (#82150)

          Yeah, because that will totally work.
          Nobody is gong to come stop those independent courts at all.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @11:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @11:10PM (#82156)

            If we don't reign in all these corrupt public institutions, vigilante and mob "justice" will be inevitable.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tathra on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:35PM

        by tathra (3367) on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:35PM (#82139)

        acquiescing is the worst possible thing anyone can do after being illegally harassed by police. start by filing your report and intent to press charges at a level above the perp - if its a city cop, start at county; if its county, start at state; if one level above refuses to act, go to the level above them, as high as you have to go. whatever you do, do not try to file at that officer's precinct, because then you're more likely to just get harassed even more while it gets swept under the rug. if you take it all the way up to your state's Inspector General (IG) or even all the way to federal and still no prosecutor is willing to do their fucking job, you can probably get them all for conspiracy and obstruction of justice as well.

        if all that fails and you still get nowhere, file a civil suit against the entire state. whatever you do, do not simply do nothing and acquiesce.

        at least in the military, we basically just have to say that we're going to write congress or talk to the IG and people square their shit away right away when they know they're in the wrong, so make it clear you'll go as high as you have to in order to get justice delivered to these felons.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:35PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday August 16 2014, @04:35PM (#82091) Journal

    This is a police department that apparently has never been subject to any sort of oversight or critique -- it's a case study on how to screw up public relations. And I'm glad of that, this lot sounds like a gang of thugs.

  • (Score: 2) by BsAtHome on Saturday August 16 2014, @05:53PM

    by BsAtHome (889) on Saturday August 16 2014, @05:53PM (#82099)

    The police force in an institution to serve the public from harm in social communities. When the police force starts to serve itself then you have lost more than you can imagine and every single person should stand up and ensure that any form of self-serving behaviour can not and will not be tolerated.

    The people in "power" easily forget who they serve. The only way to ensure they stay on track is to create public accountability. That also means that a police force cannot police itself and a third party, completely independent and without affiliations, must take that role. You can only trust the police force if, and only if you stop secrecy in the operation and make it transparent to all those who they serve.

    • (Score: 1) by Mr. Slippery on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:53PM

      by Mr. Slippery (2812) on Sunday August 17 2014, @02:53PM (#82283) Homepage

      The police force in an institution to serve the public from harm in social communities.

      The police force -- like every other aspect of government -- is an institution to serve the powerful and protect the privilege of the ruling classes. Any protection of ordinary citizens that occurs is a side-effect of their mission to protect the aristocrats.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:44PM (#82360)

        > Any protection of ordinary citizens that occurs is a side-effect of their mission to protect the aristocrats.

        That does not mean we can't push to make the reality more in line with the rhetoric.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18 2014, @09:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18 2014, @09:56AM (#82529)

      there are 2 kinds of law 'malum in se' and 'malum prohibitum'

      cops enforcing the first kind of law are peace officers, they are to be respected

      cops enforcing the second kind of law are enforcement officers, these are nothing more then the proxy for (special interest) mob rule, they are to be despised and feared

      the fact that 2 kind of officers are embodied in the same person is the reason abuse of force is allowed,
      we need to separate those 2 out

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @07:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @07:51PM (#82119)

    but it may not be a smart thing to do.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16 2014, @09:47PM (#82144)

    "The arrest and intimidation of citizens bearing arms is particularly disturbing because it interferes with the ability of the people to hold the government accountable. But actually, anyone can keep and bear arms," writes The Constitution. "Citizens have the right to bear arms in plain view in a public space, including police officers. Police can not confiscate, etc etc"

    Welcome to the club, media! How hypocritical they hold sacred the 1st amendment but are so complacent and even assist in pushing the agenda against the 2nd amendment.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Sunday August 17 2014, @06:24AM

      by isostatic (365) on Sunday August 17 2014, @06:24AM (#82221) Journal

      People use their first amendment rights to show the world what the american army (and make no mistake, your police force is an armed force) are up to.

      Where were the NRA when it came to defending the right of Michael Brown to not be murdered? Or the rights of Eric Garner to not be murdered? In fact when was the last time the 2nd amendment used to defend the american way of life? When you have a heavily armed force able to declare martial law, what good will your 9mm pistol do?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mendax on Saturday August 16 2014, @11:05PM

    by mendax (2840) on Saturday August 16 2014, @11:05PM (#82154)

    About a week and a half ago the there was a police action I witnessed. I don't know the details of the arrest made except that it involved Sacramento County sheriff deputies, City of Sacramento police, and California Highway Patrol, a wrecked police cruiser, a dented (probably stolen) pickup truck, an arrested perp, and a police chase because the arrest occurred in West Sacramento, which is not in Sacramento County or within the Sacramento city limits. I had my camera with me so I took pictures of the vehicles, the perp, and the police taking pictures of the scene.

    They didn't interfere with me, probably because I kept my distance, but they took pictures of me taking pictures of them. Interesting. Well, I can photograph the police and there is not much they can do about it but that also means they can take photographs of me taking photographs of them.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nollij on Sunday August 17 2014, @12:29AM

      by Nollij (4559) on Sunday August 17 2014, @12:29AM (#82170)

      There could be a legitimate reason for that - it's not a common thing to do, so they might have believed you to be a (potential) person of interest in the case, as opposed to just an interested bystander.

      • (Score: 2) by mendax on Sunday August 17 2014, @06:28AM

        by mendax (2840) on Sunday August 17 2014, @06:28AM (#82222)

        Agreed, and that is what I thought was their rationale, although it's quite unlikely that the perp decided to have his truck rammed by the cop right at the place I happened to be. It just may be standard procedure. Time to start walking around wearing a Guy Faulks mask... or invent a cloaking device, when taking pictures of the police.

        --
        It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
      • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Tuesday August 19 2014, @05:26AM

        by isostatic (365) on Tuesday August 19 2014, @05:26AM (#82926) Journal

        So they wandered over and asked "Hi, did you see the incident, could you give a statement", or something like that?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17 2014, @07:20AM (#82229)

      > but they took pictures of me taking pictures of them

      It is an intimidation tactic.

      When the public photographs them it is to make them more accountable to the public.
      When they photograph the public without reasonable suspicion it is a threat that they will abuse their power to hurt the person they are photographing.

      You can't prove that they had no reason to be suspicious of you, but the chance that someone who happens to be at the end-point of a chase that ended in a wreck (versus at the start point of the chase) had anything to do with the chase approaches nil.

      > but that also means they can take photographs of me taking photographs of them.

      Actually it does not. When they are on the clock they are not free to do whatever they want. I'm sure their department does not have a specific policy against photographing random people, and I'm sure that if they were called to account for it they would have plausible deniability as Nollij described. But they surely do have a policy against intimidating random people. It just one of those things that they can get away with because they haven't been effectively punished for it yet. Like the way they used to get away with warrant-less searches the phones of people they arrested.

      Watch this cop do it as soon as he gets out of his car. [youtu.be]