Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

This is a discussion on Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...00.html?hpt=T2 Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with ...

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Thread: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

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    Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...00.html?hpt=T2

    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.
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    There are a bunch of reasons why officers do not liked being recorded be it their own equipment or yours. And it has nothing to do with ethics. But should it be illegal? No, it should not be. Its not illegal for me to video tape you in public either.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    As far as I'm concerned, nothing an officer does on duty, or in the execution of their duties is "private". I think the best way to solve the problem is to keep propogating technology that allows cops to record their interactions, and then require it to be running at all times (for everyone's protection, officer and public). They are tax paid, public employees, so everything they do is our business. The problem with most of the stuff I've seen is that it is mounted to a vehicle with limited range of view and audio, or, the few wearable systems I've read about, are left to the individual officer to turn off and on.
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    In my opinion, you should be allowed to tape anything in public.

    The way I look at it, if I'm allowed to tape on my own property, then it should apply to public property because I pay enough taxes to support these public places.

    The "if you have nothing to hide" argument should apply to everyone, LEOs included.

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    I've seen the video. Honestly, I'd have probably rammed that guy with my bike. Plain clothes in an unmarked car, pulling a gun out and taking way too long to identify himself. It looked like road rage or a bike jack at first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSteve View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, nothing an officer does on duty, or in the execution of their duties is "private". I think the best way to solve the problem is to keep propogating technology that allows cops to record their interactions, and then require it to be running at all times (for everyone's protection, officer and public). They are tax paid, public employees, so everything they do is our business. The problem with most of the stuff I've seen is that it is mounted to a vehicle with limited range of view and audio, or, the few wearable systems I've read about, are left to the individual officer to turn off and on.
    Ahh... very careful with that line of thought. I understand where you are coming from, but you really need to think that through.
    Officers are privy to a lot of private information that doesn't not need to be public. Here are few examples;

    Lets say that the LEO's are called to your house because a concerned neighbor over hears you and your wife arguing. It's really no big deal, a typical argument that every couple has from time to time. You pick the topic you are fighting about. Now, the event is public record, subject to anyone who is simply curious as to what went on in your home the night the police were parked in your driveway. The will see you and your wife at a low spot, they will know what ever private information that was discussed what you were wearing (or not) etc.

    How about this; Lets say you are driving home from work. You get into a auto crash. Of course, LEO's are going to show up. Lets say you are a bit banged up, bloody nose, black eyed. Lets say you are so shook up, you are even crying like a child. (Don't say it will never be you, you'd be surprised who crys like a baby when it hits the fan) Do you want that to be public record too?

    How about if a family member dies unexpectedly? The public always has a morbid curiosity about death. Do you want the video images of your loved ones accident, suicide or other untimely death to be public record? How about the family's reaction of the news. Its all video taped for your veiwing pleasure.

    How about if the LEO is hurt or killed himself? We all love the sensational videos shown on trash TV and Internet of the fights. Do you think its fair that an LEO's family gets to watch over and over their loved ones death because of TV ratings? Its all public record now...

    Or how about the street interviews. Do you really think anybody is going to talk to the police about problems in the neighborhood if they know that they are being video taped and that the tape is public record? No, they are not. So much for being proactive.

    Now to some, my example might seem extreme. They are not. Each one of those examples happens everyday. That is a typical busy shift, mixed in with a lot of the petty runs in between.
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    I did not think he was in trouble for the video, I thought it was solely for the audio?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    How about if the LEO is hurt or killed himself? We all love the sensational videos shown on trash TV and Internet of the fights. Do you think its fair that an LEO's family gets to watch over and over their loved ones death because of TV ratings? Its all public record now...
    There are vids like that and a link was posted to one on here recently (the front sight ad). You always have to wonder how that must affect their families. I know I wouldn't like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Ahh... very careful with that line of thought. I understand where you are coming from, but you really need to think that through.
    Officers are privy to a lot of private information that doesn't not need to be public. Here are few examples;

    Lets say that the LEO's are called to your house because a concerned neighbor over hears you and your wife arguing. It's really no big deal, a typical argument that every couple has from time to time. You pick the topic you are fighting about. Now, the event is public record, subject to anyone who is simply curious as to what went on in your home the night the police were parked in your driveway. The will see you and your wife at a low spot, they will know what ever private information that was discussed what you were wearing (or not) etc.

    How about this; Lets say you are driving home from work. You get into a auto crash. Of course, LEO's are going to show up. Lets say you are a bit banged up, bloody nose, black eyed. Lets say you are so shook up, you are even crying like a child. (Don't say it will never be you, you'd be surprised who crys like a baby when it hits the fan) Do you want that to be public record too?

    How about if a family member dies unexpectedly? The public always has a morbid curiosity about death. Do you want the video images of your loved ones accident, suicide or other untimely death to be public record? How about the family's reaction of the news. Its all video taped for your veiwing pleasure.

    How about if the LEO is hurt or killed himself? We all love the sensational videos shown on trash TV and Internet of the fights. Do you think its fair that an LEO's family gets to watch over and over their loved ones death because of TV ratings? Its all public record now...

    Or how about the street interviews. Do you really think anybody is going to talk to the police about problems in the neighborhood if they know that they are being video taped and that the tape is public record? No, they are not. So much for being proactive.
    Point taken.

    Let me clarify my opinion.

    The record(ing) should exsist, I believe. The one made by police.

    That being said, there should be specific policies/laws developed that cover the information's release. It's primary purpose should obviously be for use in trials, etc. I read recently about an incident, (I don't remember the specific case/came up around the time the whale trainer was killed and everyone wanted the video) where a magazine wanted to publish images the police had of a fatality. What was decided by the judge, was that the reporters could view, but not duplicate the images for publication, after justifying the purpose that would be served by the article. Something along those lines, I believe, is an appropriate way to handle it. Smarter people than me would have to draft those guidelines.

    But again, it should exsist.

    As for anything a citizen is able to record of the police action, from a vantage point that person is legally able to occupy, it's fair game. The police shouldn't be able to charge the recorder with anything, unless their actions interfere with the police executing their duty.
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    I just realized (after viewing the article) that it states what I said in the body of it, lol.....
    If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

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    Here's the article I was thinking of above.
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/06/...iref=allsearch
    After rereading it, perhaps the answer is, the second party (the civilians) should own the right of release. It's public as far as the police are concerned, for the purposes of governmental transparancy, but can be privatized by the non-police persons (or next of kin).
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    Here is another angle to consider; What is one of the biggest causes of assault and/or vandalism? Its to destroy evidence of another crime. So do I want a evidence device attached to my body? Not a chance in hell.
    There are studies being done right now about this topic, and I'll bet my salary that the finding are the assault on a P.O. go up dramatically when the evidence is attached to their bodies.

    and just for clarification on my stance, if you are in public view, its fair game to be video taped. Other than that, pound salt, it aint going to happen.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Sixto, I understand you arguments. however, should we really criminalize videotaping LEOs? should this guardsman get 16 years in jail and have his home ransacked by a platoon of officers? If so, what happens to the major networks or those security cams that record everything in hotels/banks that may record officers in their job - does that now become a criminal offense? I think there is an element of keeping everybody honest when you know there is potential that you might be videotaped. I am still waiting for the video to come out of the costco shooting incident. video also helped clarify shootings like the BART shooting. I just hate to think that now potential evidence can now be criminalize in favor of crooked officers. I am not officer bashing here; I worked with feds/police officers in an official capacity in the past but there certain depts in the country that have a certain reputation of dishing out extrajudicial "punishment" not condoned by law. just my humble opinion.
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    'Should it be against the law for me to record law enforcement in action?' It's a simple nope from me. It's my opinion that I should be able to record anything happing in my line of sight, and at that time. Should I be able to setup situations for secret or covert recordings? Again another simple, nope from me on that one too.

    I have 24/7 video surveillance on my home, but only for the front. No real reason, just had some old equipment and decided to hook it up to the computer and VHS. I do like the digital voice recorder though, comes in very handy at times.

    There's a saying about this type of discussion and I'm sure it'll pop up sooner or later.

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    I don't think this soldier will see a day of jail time nor any kind of fines or consequences off of this. I think he is in his rights to tape what ever happened right then and there. Is is the smartest thing to do? Maybe not, but, maybe police officers should be required to have some type of markings on their vehicles if they are doing traffic stops. Save the unmarked for the real crimes. Don't know the extent of it but the officer also appears to have endangered the motorcycle rider in his pursuit of the other vehicle.

    At the extreme end of this scenario, I think the worst that should be allowed is the camera media would be viewed by the department and then released as long as it holds no content that could endanger another civilian or officers life if made public.

    This is still sort of a free country and if it happens in public then it should not be a crime to record it in public. Without the citizens watchful eye the police could very well over step their boundaries as they have before.

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