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Thread: Videotaping thug cops in action can lead to trouble...

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Videotaping thug cops in action can lead to trouble...

    For you!

    If you witness police misconduct and record it as a video on your phone or camera, you won't be welcomed as a hero. In several U.S. states, you could be subject to a long prison sentence.

    In recent years, dozens of videos documenting police misconduct have been posted on YouTube. But prosecutors haven't generally punished the offending cops. Increasingly, they're arresting the individuals who posted the videos.

    The charge? Illegal wiretapping. Yes, wiretapping – what the NSA does with impunity and without a warrant is illegal for us to do when we witness police abuse.

    At least two states – Massachusetts and Illinois – make it illegal to record any on-duty police officer in any situation. It doesn't matter if the officer is in the process of beating someone to death. It doesn't matter if the recording is in your own home, and the police have just busted down your door in an illegal search. If you record the interaction, you can go to prison.

    In ten other states, "all parties" must consent in order for a private person to make a recording of a conversation or personal encounter. Since a police officer acting abusively isn't likely to give you permission to record the event, if you do so, you could be violating the wiretap statute – and be subject to a long prison sentence.


    In Illinois, for instance, a street artist recorded his own arrest for selling artwork without a peddler's license. He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

    Arresting police whistleblowers is a nationwide trend. And the courts approve. For instance, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man arrested for recording a police encounter. Defendant Michael Hyde used the recording to file a harassment complaint against police. Instead, he was convicted of illegal wiretapping. While he was sentenced to only six months of probation, he could have faced a much longer prison term.

    Cameras, in effect, are like guns. Point a gun at a police officer and you'll be arrested. Point a camera at a police officer and you'll be charged – and likely convicted – of illegal wiretapping.

    The fact that wiretapping laws are being used against private citizens is richly ironic, because they were enacted to protect citizens against government oppression. These cases turn that notion on its head because those trying to protect themselves or others from official misconduct ends up being prosecuted.

    Since we’re living in a surveillance society where the government continuously monitors our finances, our communications, and our movements, shouldn't we have the right to turn the tables and, in effect, "watch the watchers?" Yes, but police and the courts disagree.

  2. #2
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    I'll state it out right for everyone to see - those judges and prosecutors who help make those rulings should be SHOT. That's about all I'll say.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    I'll state it out right for everyone to see - those judges and prosecutors who help make those rulings should be SHOT. That's about all I'll say.
    It may come to that.

    This whole business is like the 21st century equivalent of a lettre d' cachet... that the system defends it - and prosecutes ordinary citizens for videotaping (even obviously abusive) cops in the performance of their public "duties" - as distinct from a private conversation between ordinary private people, which ought to require the consent of both parties... is just outrageous.

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    So you can video them? Without sound?

  5. #5
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    I say we have national video record a cop day!

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

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    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    In some States, only one person needs to be aware of a recording of a conversation, or of a video recording. I know I live in one. An I'm the one who knows about it...I was told this by an Attorney.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM View Post
    In some States, only one person needs to be aware of a recording of a conversation, or of a video recording. I know I live in one. An I'm the one who knows about it...I was told this by an Attorney.
    Between private individuals, I think it's right and proper that both parties consent to being recorded.

    But a cop is a public figure when on duty. He is filming and recording you without your consent - such evidence to be used against you, too, in court.

    It is outrageous and obscene for "them" (cops, prosecutors) to say you can't record the same proceedings for your own purposes - including to provide exculpatory evidence or evidence of police abuse.

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