Archive for July, 2010

Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse. Unless You’re in Law Enforcement.

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Part of a recurring theme. In addition to my prior post today, here’s a roundup of other photography/video stories in the news of late:

  • Earlier this month, Carlos Miller—who runs the Photography Is Not a Crime blog—was “banned” from Miami’s Metrorail system after guards from the firm hired to provide security for the system, and then Miami police officers, wrongly told him he wasn’t permitted to shoot video at the train station. Miller returned this week with his camera and a crew from HDNet TV. Things got violent.
  • The Washington Post catalogs a number of incidents in which police have arrested, harassed or detained photographers and cell phone videographers in jurisdictions where the law is quite clear on their right to record and photograph in public.
  • The New York Times photography blogger David Dunlap documents another incident.
  • Also from the Times, an incident in which a photographer was wrongly stopped by police from taking pictures at an Amtrak station. He was shooting for a photography contest sponsored by Amtrak.

The common thread in all of these stories is that the police were wrong on the law, and the photographers were right. If the photographers had been mistaken, they could be arrested and charged. Not knowing the law isn’t an excuse for breaking it. But when law enforcement officials don’t know the law, and wrongly prevent someone from photographing or recording, or even illegally detain and arrest someone, it’s a shrug and a sigh and we all move on.

I’m Pretty Sure There Isn’t an Ap for That

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Another arrest for shooting video of an on-duty cop, this time in Ohio.

When a deputy sheriff began questioning Melissa Greenfield’s boyfriend at a Delaware County truck stop, she began recording video with her cell phone.

She never thought that she, or her phone, could be viewed as a danger as she documented the activities of public employees in a public place.

“I’m a 115-pound, 20-year-old girl wearing a cervical collar with nothing but a cell phone. I was not going to harm any officer,” Greenfield said yesterday.

However, a sheriff’s sergeant saw the situation differently after Greenfield announced that she was recording video “for legal purposes and our own safety.”

Sgt. Jonathan Burke wrote that he repeatedly ordered Greenfield to place the “unknown” object in her pocket and keep her hands free. When Greenfield refused, she was arrested and charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest.

Burke wrote in his report that he feared that Greenfield could have been holding a dangerous object such as a “cell-phone gun”…

“Not knowing what the item in her hand was and having prior knowledge of all types of hidden weapons, including a cell-phone gun, I asked her several times to place it in her pocket and to keep her hands free,” Burke wrote.

Greenfield said that, while driving her to the jail, Burke said that it was “unacceptable for me to be filming his activities.”

“I wish I could be surprised,” she said, “but I’ve heard so many stories of incidents like this happening before. … There’s no law against videotaping police encounters.”

Emphasis mine, to draw attention to the utter inanity of Dep. Burke’s report.

Greenfield is right. There’s no law in Ohio against videotaping police encounters. Unfortunately, there’s also no punishment for cops who violate the rights of Ohioans who try to do it.Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis III is defending Dep. Burke and his cell-phone gun fears.

Greenfield says when she got the phone back, the video had been erased. Davis denies any of his deputies erased the video. Must have been a glitch.

Greenfield spent three days in jail. She pled no contest to the obstructing official business charge and was fined $20.

Cop Lies, Man Spends Five Years in Prison

Friday, July 30th, 2010
In 1999, Ted White Jr. was convicted of child molestation in a Missouri courtroom.   He would spend five years in prison before being exonerated and released.   What the jury in White’s first trial did not know was that the lead detective, Richard McKinley, who was investigating the allegations against White, was having an affair with [...]

Keene, NH Police Continue Conversation with Contributor

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
After the Civil Seven were arrested in Keene, NH the local police stopped by a few of the Night Caps which take place every night at 11pm.  Some of us took the time to engage the officers about police conduct, victimless crimes and more.  I am currently working on a video of this to publish, [...]

Committing murder “to ensure the safety of children”

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Last month, I wrote about the murder of Trevon Cole at the hands of AR-15-toting drug warrior, Bryan Yant, during a late night raid on his home. A Las Vegas police officer has been given a paid vacation after murdering an unarmed man during a drug raid. The police have tried to justify the slaying claiming [...]

Monday Lazy Linking

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Insight into the LEO mindset

Monday, July 26th, 2010
"When that drug dealing rapist cop killer was shot in the street, I tasted justice, and it tasted good,"

Sunday Links

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Meet the cops, go home in a box

Sunday, July 25th, 2010
It’s been two weeks since three Las Vegas Metro cops shot and killed 38-year-old West Point graduate Erik Scott as he exited a Costco store in the upscale suburb of Summerlin on July 10. So far, the incident has generated more questions than answers. If officials lock up the evidence so you can’t get the [...]

Rookie Miami police officer killed man in cold blood

Saturday, July 24th, 2010
Imagine this situation: a robber comes into your house and points a gun directly at you. He makes all kinds of demands for you and you follow each one to a T. He tells you to go into the other room and you follow the order and go into the next room. Just as you [...]