[un]necessarily angry.com


June 11th, 2007


An 18-yr old in Pennsylvania was arrested on felony wiretapping charges. His actions that led to that charge? Videotaping a police officer during a traffic stop of a car that he was inside of.

I'll stop right there, because there is no need to mention any more details that than. Videotaping a police officer give a ticket to a car that you are inside = felony wiretapping. I ain't pass the bar but I know a little bit. A police officer is a public figure, and what a public figure says is, technically, on the record. If something is on the record, then it would follow that recording it is entirely within the realm of the law. That would, however, only follow if police officers obeyed the law themselves. And they don't. And that's fucked. And it's especially fucked for this poor kid in Pennsylvania.

I have personally watched a police officer tackle and arrest someone who's only crime was videotaping the police officers tackling and arresting other people. The charges, in that case, were "Interfering with a police officer" or some such nonsense. Essentially, the charges were "Turn your fucking camera off, we don't like accountability." And it appears to be the same charges in the Pennsylvania case.

Suddenly, cops have this opinion that because they enforce the law, they are above the law and can't be scrutinized. Power corrupts. And across the country small-time police forces are arresting people on trumped-up, bullshit charges because they have a badge. Personal grudge? No problem, arrest the person (That case may be a bit extreme, what with the outcome and all, but the point remains the same). And the point is, there's nothing wrong with demanding that a police officer do their job legally. And there is definitely nothing wrong with videotaping a police officer. In fact, it is standard practice at protests and rallies and other stupid events like them to have lots of people ready with video cameras for when someone gets arrested so that the arrestee isn't beaten to a bloody pulp.

It comes down to cops don't want someone looking over their shoulder, because then suddenly they can't be bad cops. And people don't want bad cops, so they look over the cops' shoulders. That would be fine, except that the cops can arrest the people and the people can't arrest the cops. What can people do? Go to the CCRB (Civilian Complaint Review Board) or some similar organization? Or internal affairs? Are those effective? No. Because the cronieism between the cops and those that are supposed to objectively judge them based on the filed complaints is so out of hand that the cops rarely get any action taken against them, no matter how illegally they have acted. And that's fucked.

When you give a regular citizen all kinds of power with no restrictions, they don't enforce the law, they become the law. They can become the arresting officer, DA, judge, and jury at once if they so choose, if no one's watching.

And here's a final thought on the topic for you, the cops are videotaping the entire thing anyway. And you don't have the option of arresting them on felony wiretapping charges nor do you have the option to not consent. But they can take away your camera and film and arrest you on felony charges for taking a different viewing angle of something already on tape? That's fucked.

04.22.23.pm, by unnecessarily angry
Categories: General, Mini-rant

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