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Photography Is Not A Crime


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13 hours ago, fastyacht said:

A friend of mine spent 6 hours being interrogated for taking photos in 2002.

Long story short sued andcwon $40000 and donated it all to ACLU.

Holy hell you dug up an old post. 

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Vernon is top notch

They should have gotten closer.  The audio shows a lot of them telling him to stop but nobody DOING SOMETHING! Did anyone call 911 to report officer abuse?  The radio calls from HQ could have sto

Colorado Police Reforms Mandate Body Cameras, Strip Bad Officers of Lawsuit Immunity Their police reform bill does a couple of other good things too, but those are the most important ones.  

There are two documentaries I recommend. War Photographer and Restrepo. Natchwey is just plain one of the best ever. Restrepo is just amazing and heartbreaking. I forget the photog's name in Restrepo. Restrepo shows you what it's like for boys who get sent to fight and try to survive in a mortally hostile environment.

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7 hours ago, Chris in Santa Cruz, CA said:

There are two documentaries I recommend. War Photographer and Restrepo. Natchwey is just plain one of the best ever. Restrepo is just amazing and heartbreaking. I forget the photog's name in Restrepo. Restrepo shows you what it's like for boys who get sent to fight and try to survive in a mortally hostile environment.

We watched Restrepo

That is an incredible film.

- DSK

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On 12/4/2020 at 12:44 AM, Ishmael said:

You're still here!

We travel in totally different threads.

Only sporadically. There was an incident at my home club and I was checking back here to see if there was any news. 

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Camera-shy Chicago Cops try to block release of body cam footage.
 

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Chicago police burst into the apartment of an innocent woman based on a faulty tip and handcuffed her while she was naked, forcing her to stand in full view of male officers as they searched her home, newly revealed body camera footage shows.

Local news outlet CBS 2, which has been investigating wrong-door raids by Chicago police for the past several years, first aired the footage of the 2019 incident last night, despite an attempt by the city of Chicago to block the TV station from running it.

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Yesterday, after learning that CBS 2 had obtained the footage and was planning on airing it that night, the city of Chicago filed a motion to enjoin CBS 2 from running it, arguing it would violate the confidentiality order. The federal judge in Young's case rejected the motion on the grounds that CBS 2 was not a party to the case and not subject to the order.

CBS 2's investigation shows that the raid on Young's home was completely avoidable if Chicago police had done the bare minimum to vet the information on the search warrant. The warrant was based on a tip from a confidential informant, who had provided the wrong address for a man suspected of having an illegal gun. The suspect lived next door to Young.

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On 7/5/2020 at 8:49 AM, Polytelum Tom said:

Maryland authorities still continue to disobey Maryland law in the Lemp case

The shooter has been cleared of wrongdoing, but...
 

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The MCPD has not been a model of transparency in the months following the fatal shooting. It steadfastly refused to release body camera footage of the raid or even say whether it existed. It simply ignored several public records requests filed by Reason for footage and other records related to Lemp's shootings, contrary to Maryland public record law. It also illegally failed to acknowledge a follow-up records request for its responses to other requests seeking the same materials.

The Washington Post reports that there is no footage of the raid because "Montgomery County has a policy of not equipping front-line SWAT officers with body cameras, according to department records." The Post reported that MCPD Chief Marcus Jones said his department will expand its use of body cameras to SWAT officers.

 

If Bezo$' $peech is correct about that, it's insane. SWAT teams should be first to be required to wear and use cameras, not last.

But I kind of doubt it's true. As noted above, the ACLU and others filed requests for any body cam footage months ago and Maryland law requires a response within ten days. I still don't trust cops who don't like cameras, nor those who break laws about cameras.

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Is This Beverly Hills Cop Playing Sublime’s ‘Santeria’ to Avoid Being Live-Streamed?
 

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In a video posted on his Instagram account, we see a mostly cordial conversation between Devermont and BHPD Sgt. Billy Fair turn a corner when Fair becomes upset that Devermont is live-streaming the interaction, including showing work contact information for another officer. Fair asks how many people are watching, to which Devermont replies, “Enough.”

Fair then stops answering questions, pulls out his phone, and starts silently swiping around—and that’s when the ska music starts playing. 

Fair boosts the volume, and continues staring at his phone. For nearly a full minute, Fair is silent, and only starts speaking after we’re a good way through Sublime’s “Santeria.”

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Fair doesn't seem to be up-to-date on his social media copyright policies, however. 

In May of last year, Instagram clarified its policies on including music in livestreams, and began to advise people to only use short clips of music, and to ensure that there is a "visual component" to videos—"recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video," the company said. Instagram declined to comment on this specific video, however, a spokesperson told VICE News that "our restrictions take the following into consideration: how much of the total video contains recorded music, the total number of songs in the video, and the length of individual song(s) included in the video." Under that rubric, Devermont's video should be fine, since it’s just one song, and is purely incidental.

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That is: if this had only happened once, an officer coming up with an off-the-cuff, if slightly dodgy, plan to “hack” Instagram’s policy in order to skirt someone’s First Amendment rights would be eyebrow-raising for its ingenuity, if nothing else.

But the BHPD’s non-consensual Sublime listening party was not an isolated incident. There seems to be a pattern here.

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this is not the first time that a Beverly Hills police officer has done this, nor is Fair the only one.

In an archived clip from a livestream shared privately to VICE Media that Devermont has not publicly reposted but he says was taken weeks ago, another officer can be seen quickly swiping through his phone as Devermont approaches. By the time Devermont is close enough to speak to him, the officer’s phone is already blasting “In My Life” by the Beatles — a group whose rightsholders have notoriously sued Apple numerous times. If you want to get someone in trouble for copyright infringement, the Beatles are quite possibly your best bet.

As Devermont asks about the music, the officer points the phone at him, asking, “Do you like it?”

This would seem to suggest that playing copyrighted music as a deterrent to the First Amendment-guaranteed right to openly film police is, if not BHPD official protocol, at least a technique that has been deployed by more than one officer.

If Fair’s intent was to inhibit the ability to share video of inconvenient police interactions, it seems to have been unsuccessful thus far. Devermont has posted another, longer clip of the first interaction, music intact. 

And for now, both videos of the impromptu Sublime listening session remain online.

 

The Department says that this isn't part of their training or policy.

 

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Will the public ever see why deputies shot Andrew Brown?
 

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When deputies in Pasquotank County, Tennessee, shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. while attempting to serve a drug warrant, the whole event was captured on body camera footage.

So we should be able to see it and judge whether the deputies were in danger when they opened fire on Brown, who was behind the wheel of his car at the time of the April shooting. But thanks to North Carolina's extremely restrictive body camera laws, a judge is refusing to release the footage to the public and is even restricting how much Brown's family can see.

Brown, 42, a father of seven, was killed on the morning of April 21. Police say they went to his house with a search warrant looking for crack cocaine, based on information from confidential informants—circumstances that should at this point raise any number of red flags with the public.

Brown apparently attempted to leave the scene in his car. What happened next is not clear. The authorities say Brown's vehicle made contact with law enforcement officers twice as they tried to get him to exit his car, and then they opened fire. Seven deputies were involved, and Brown was shot five times, once in the back of the head, according to an independent autopsy. The deputies are now on administrative leave during the investigation.

So far, Brown's family has seen only a 20-second clip of the body camera footage. They claim it shows an "execution" and that both of Brown's hands were on the steering wheel when he was shot. They say the evidence shows he was trying to leave the scene, not strike the deputies.

The public has seen absolutely none of the footage, even though Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten has publicly called for it to be released.

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Without knowing anything else about him, it's good to see that Sheriff Wooten likes cameras and public transparency.

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On 7/11/2019 at 8:54 PM, Excoded Tom said:

Bad Cop Arrested In Florida
 

And another body camera pierces the blue wall.

This is why good cops like them and bad cops don't.

Guilty
 

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A former North Florida sheriff's deputy was convicted Tuesday of planting drugs on innocent motorists.

Following a week-long trial that included testimony from a dozen people who said they were framed, a jury found former Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Zachary Wester guilty of 19 of 67 criminal charges, including racketeering, false imprisonment, fabricating evidence, official misconduct, and drug possession.

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Louisiana Troopers Claimed Ronald Greene Died in a Car Crash. Body Cam Footage Shows a Deadly Beating.
 

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Greene did apparently lead troopers in a high-speed chase after they attempted to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation outside Monroe, Louisiana. The chase did end in a crash, but that's not what killed him. The car only suffered some minor body damage. The body camera footage the A.P. released Wednesday shows troopers approaching Greene's car after the crash, and as Greene attempts to tell the troopers that he's scared, they immediately start tasing him. He is forced down to the ground on his stomach, attacked, and tased repeatedly by the troopers even as he wails apologies.

Greene is handcuffed and then left on his stomach for at least nine minutes, something police use-of-force experts interviewed by the A.P. say cops are specifically taught not to do to avoid suffocating someone. The suspect is supposed to be turned to one side or put in a seated position. At one point in the video, Greene attempts to turn himself to his side, but one of the troopers uses his foot to force him back down on his stomach. After Greene's wrists and ankles are shackled, Trooper Kory York drags him briefly along the ground by his ankles.

There is plenty of vicious profanity, threats, and one trooper can be heard saying "I hope this guy ain't got fucking AIDS." The A.P. hasn't posted the entire body camera recording, but they've posted several different clips showing the extent of the abuse.

The A.P. didn't get the video due to a public release of body camera footage from the Louisiana State Police. In fact, the police still refuse to release any body camera footage and responded to the A.P. with a press statement that "premature public release of investigative files and video evidence in this case is not authorized and…undermines the investigative process and compromises the fair and impartial outcome."

That response might have had more credibility had the troopers not initially lied to the family about the circumstances behind Greene's death and if the state hadn't waited 474 days to open an internal administrative investigation to determine what actually happened. Local prosecutors declined to charge the troopers involved with any crimes, but did refer the incident to the Department of Justice, which is independently investigating the circumstances of Greene's death.

The family filed a wrongful death suit in May 2020 (three months before the Louisiana State Police would actually open its own investigation into Greene's death). Last September one of the troopers involved, Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, died in a single-car crash just hours after he had been informed he was going to be fired for his role in the incident. After Hollingsworth's death, the A.P. obtained an audio clip of Hollingsworth admitting in a phone conversation with a colleague that he "beat the ever-living fuck out of" Greene. York was suspended without pay for 50 hours.

Note that the discipline came not soon after Greene's death, but after Greene's family started making waves, filing a lawsuit and speaking out to the press about the contradictions in the official story versus what the evidence showed. They were allowed to see the body camera footage of the incident last year, and Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the footage would be publicly released after the investigation was over.

The entire incident shows why body camera footage can be so valuable. Yes, the emergency room report highlights the suspicious nature of Greene's injuries compared to the official police account, and yes the family was made suspicious when they saw that Greene's car suffered only minor damage from the crash. But absent body camera footage, would anything have come from those suspicions? It took over a year and a lawsuit for the Louisiana State Police to even start investigating its own troopers' behavior.

 

I wonder how the AP got hold of that body cam footage?

 

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What is it about Louisiana cops, people named Green, and cameras?

This Professor Shared Body Camera Footage of Cops Strip-Searching a Minor. Now, Prosecutors Want To Throw Him in Jail for It.
 

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The Parish Attorney's Office for East Baton Rouge is seeking to jail a professor after he shared publicly available body camera footage showing a traffic stop where five Baton Rouge Police Department (BPRD) officers strip-searched a minor and then entered the family's home, with guns drawn, without a warrant or consent.

Thomas Frampton, associate professor of law at the University of Virginia, acquired the video, which was originally obtained and published by Reason. The report attracted significant national attention, ultimately prompting a BRPD press conference on May 28, when the department defended the strip search but said a review was underway as it pertained to the warrantless home entry.

During that presser, Frampton received notice that East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney Anderson "Andy" Dotson III, Assistant Parish Attorney Deelee S. Morris, and Special Assistant Parish Attorney Joseph K. Scott III had filed an order to hold him in contempt of court and put him behind bars for up to six months. The request cites a Louisiana state law that prohibits disseminating "records and reports" relevant to juvenile court proceedings.

Such a proceeding doesn't exist.

In a June 2 letter to Dotson obtained by Reason, Nora Ahmed, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, notes that "there is not now (nor has there ever been) a 'matter or proceeding before the juvenile court' related to the events depicted on the videos." The government made the footage public in November of last year.

Dotson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The incident depicted occurred on January 1, 2020, when five BRPD cops strip-searched a minor and his brother, Clarence Green, then 23, because the officers allegedly smelled marijuana. After traveling to the Greens' household, they then conducted a warrantless search of the property. Green was indicted for illegally possessing a firearm, which he was prohibited from having while on probation for possession of oxycodone, according to incident reports.

He sat in jail for five months—until the state abruptly dropped the charges. Judge Brian A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana signed off on that request, but in a highly unusual move, he took the opportunity to berate the police for their "serious and wanton disregard for [the Green family's] constitutional rights."

Clarence's brother, who was 16 at the time and whose name has been redacted since he is a juvenile, does not and did not have any proceedings against him.

Perhaps ironically, Dotson's petition to jail Frampton invokes the "substantial amount of negative correspondence from the public" that BRPD has received since the footage's release—as if that were an apt legal justification to jail someone for sharing public information.

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This incident was first mentioned recently in another thread.

  

On 5/28/2021 at 6:38 AM, Excoded Tom said:

 

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A Safe Space for FL Cops
 

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A new bill in the Florida House of Representatives would make it illegal to approach a cop within 30 feet if the officer warns the person not to do so, effectively criminalizing the filming of law enforcement at any close proximity.

The legislation, filed by Rep. Alex Rizo (R–Hialeah), would make it unlawful to "interrupt, disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere" with a police officer within that radius. It would also criminalize "indirect[] harass[ment]." Whether or not someone crosses that line would be up to the discretion of the officer, and would be punished by a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

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"A blanket 30 foot no-approach zone is completely unmoored from any government interest in ensuring that citizens don't obstruct police operations—that would prevent someone from standing across a typical street from a police officer!" adds Cohn. "That is a profound threat to the First Amendment. If the police don't want to be filmed or observed, they should get out of the public service field."

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I hope this one goes nowhere.

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More camera shy cops

 
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The event began when Daltona Crudup allegedly hit an officer with his scooter, then fled into the Royal Palm hotel, Rundle said. Surveillance video shows the first responding officer pulling him out of an elevator, and Crudup could be seen lying face down on the ground with his hands raised. He is then handcuffed.
 
According to Rundle, the surveillance and bodycam footage shows Sgt. Perez and Officer Perez kicking Crudup. The video identifies Officer Perez as the officer who is seen slamming his head to the floor.
 
Khalid Vaughn, who is shown in the surveillance and body camera footage filming Crudup's arrest, is first seen inching away from an oncoming officer and is then tackled and later punched by Officer Sabater, according to Rundle. He is later punched again by officers Rivas and Serrano, Rundle said.
 
The state attorney said charges have been dropped against Vaughn, but the case against Crudup for allegedly hitting the officer with his scooter is going forward at this time.

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Charges dropped? WTF was Khalid Vaughn charged with anyway? The story is light on details, but it looks like he saw cops beating a guy and started filming. For the umpteenth time, that's not a crime.

 

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Camera Shy Cops in Louisiana
 

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Body camera footage show a Louisiana state trooper beating a black motorist with a flashlight over and over again, all over a traffic stop for "improper lane usage." The video was kept secret for years.

It's the second recent violent police encounter in Louisiana in which footage was kept concealed but was subsequently acquired and exposed by the Associated Press.

In this incident, Aaron Larry Bowman was pulled over by state troopers in May 2019 in the city of Monroe. The footage shows State Trooper Jacob Brown arriving on the scene, striding over to Bowman, who is already out of his car and on the pavement, and immediately beating him 18 times with a flashlight as Bowman screams that he's not resisting. Bowman was left with a broken jaw, broken wrist, three broken ribs, and head gash that required staples to close.

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That's all horrible enough, but there's also the matter of how Louisiana officials have been burying these incidents. The state police didn't even investigate the incident until Bowman filed a civil lawsuit almost two years later. The state police now say that Brown failed to report the use of force and deliberately mislabeled his body-camera footage. Bowman's defense attorney says he was told there was no body-camera video of the encounter.

The Justice Department is now investigating these incidents, and the A.P. reports that federal prosecutors are trying to determine what role, if any, leaders of the Louisiana State Police played in obstructing the truth. After all, Brown was not the only trooper on the scene, and official investigations into the troopers' conduct didn't begin until after civil lawsuits were filed. Sources told the A.P. earlier in August that head of the Louisiana State Police, Col. Lamar Davis, and his chief of staff attempted to pressure prosecutors not to charge any officers for Greene's death back in 2019.

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Uh huh. Who "told" him there was no body camera footage?

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8th Circuit says prohibiting photography is unconstitutional
 

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Ness   claims   that   the   ordinance   is   unconstitutional   as   applied   to   her photography and video recording of matters of public controversy for dissemination on the internet.  The City and Ness dispute whether the ordinance prohibits speech or merely proscribes conduct.  Even if we assume that the ordinance on its face does not aim at the suppression of speech, the ordinance operates to restrict speech in this case.

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Update from the Supreme Court:

Photography is a crime, even if some police policy says it's not, until a court specifically says it's not
 

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The Supreme Court has just refused to hear a case at the nexus of police abuse and the First Amendment, declining to consider a petition from a man who says his free speech rights were violated when a group of cops searched his tablet without a warrant and attempted to delete a video he took of them beating a suspect.

Officers with the Denver Police Department (DPD) cornered Levi Frasier in the summer of 2014 after they noticed he had recorded an altercation moments prior. The video showed a cop punching a suspect in the face six times while executing an arrest over an alleged drug deal—the man had a sock in his mouth that the cops thought was contraband—and it captured a different officer throwing a woman to the ground by her ankle when she approached the scene screaming. Upon noticing Frasier, DPD Officer Russell Bothwell shouted "Camera!" and the group proceeded to harass him for the footage. Frasier says the police implied they would jail him if he refused to produce the clip. "Well, we could do this the easy way or we could do this the hard way," Officer Christopher L. Evans reportedly said, pointing to his squad car. Despite Frasier's protestations, the police then confiscated the tablet and went through it without the owner's permission.

Those officers were given qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that allows a slew of state actors to infringe on your rights if the way they went about doing so has not specifically been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or the same federal circuit. It's a granular standard that has seen government officials get off for assaulting and arresting a man for standing outside of his own home, for shooting and killing a man who had been sleeping in his car, for beating a man after pulling him over for broken lights, for leaving an innocent man's home in ruins after conducting a SWAT raid on the wrong house, and for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without a prior ruling with identical facts, the victims in the above scenarios were not allowed to state their claims before a jury.

That standard is particularly egregious here, because the DPD enacted a policy in 2007 informing officers that the public has a constitutional right to film them on duty. But that wasn't good enough, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which ruled in March that the only permissible avenue for overcoming qualified immunity is to find that perfect court precedent.

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Those training guidelines will now "somewhat lose their force," says Anya Bidwell, a nutjob at the Institute for Justice, a nutjob firm. Cops have less reason to follow department policies if they know the federal courts will decline to hold them accountable for breaking those very rules. In shielding a group of rogue government employees, the court inadvertently weakened the public's First Amendment rights.

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The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th Circuits have all acknowledged a First Amendment right to film the police. Had those officers misbehaved in a location subject to one of those federal circuit courts, they would not have been so lucky.

And while the 10th Circuit acknowledged that DPD training invoked a constitutional right to film the police, the court danced around coming to any conclusion on that subject. "We do not consider, nor opine on, whether Mr. Frasier actually had a First Amendment right to record the police performing their official duties in public spaces," Holmes wrote, leaving officers in that jurisdiction free to violate the public's rights in the same way again without fear of recourse.

 

I agree with the quoted nutjob.

As noted in the Qualified Impunity thread, most cops really have little to no clue about the "clear notice" that court rulings supposedly give them.

I'll bet camera shy cops manage to learn about this decision, though. Screw that department policy that says citizens can film cops. Why pay attention to it when the courts clearly won't?

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Someone Filmed the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Jurors
 

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Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder revealed at the start of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial that someone had filmed the jury at their bus pickup on Tuesday morning. He assured the jurors the video was deleted and more steps will be taken to protect them.

"At pickup, there was someone there and video recording the jury, which officers approached the person and required [them]...to delete the video and return the phone to him. I've instructed that if it happens again, they are to take the phone and bring it here," Schroeder said.

"Something like that should not have occurred, I’m frankly, quite surprised it did," he added.

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Filming at a bus stop is not a crime. It's usually cops, not judges, who need to be told.

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On 6/8/2021 at 8:59 AM, Lochnerian Tom said:

What is it about Louisiana cops, people named Green, and cameras?

This Professor Shared Body Camera Footage of Cops Strip-Searching a Minor. Now, Prosecutors Want To Throw Him in Jail for It.
 

This incident was first mentioned recently in another thread.

  

 

 

The City of Baton Rogue made the footage public in the first place, then tried to suppress it by threatening to imprison Frampton.

The US district court judge wasn't having it.

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"In measuring 'the significance of [Frampton's] alleged criminal activity', the Court finds under the circumstances of this case, there was no criminal activity," writes Judge John W. deGravelles in a 92-page opinion published Friday. "Frampton released a Video that was in the public domain, belonged to his clients, and he released it on the instructions and with the knowledge of his clients."

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Indeed, the Green family reached a $35,000 settlement with the city after Clarence spent five months in jail. The government moved to dismiss its case against him, and a federal judge agreed—but not without first benchslapping the state for actions that could be criminal.

"Such an intrusion, in abject violation of the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects citizens against unwarranted governmental intrusions in their homes, may justifiably be considered to be a trespass subject to prosecution under" Louisiana law, wrote Judge Brian A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

The city of Baton Rouge insisted that it was Frampton who violated the law, by disseminating the video. But it was the city that put that footage into the public record in the first place.

DeGravelles thinks this was never really about prosecuting someone for breaching the law. Instead, he says, it was about revenge and skirting accountability. "The record is replete with evidence," he writed, "that the City/Parish would not have pursued this matter in the absence of its bad faith motive to retaliate."

 

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Wrong house in the stupid drug war again.
 

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Judge says footage shouldn't be made public. In May 2020, a SWAT team burst into the Raleigh, North Carolina, home that Yolanda Irving shared with her five children. For nearly two hours, the cops poked around and pointed guns at the family, searching the home and three of Irving's kids. "The entire family was terrified that they were about to be shot and killed," Irving's lawyer said in court this week. The cops were looking for drugs and money, one officer told Irving.

They had the wrong house.

Their search warrant listed her address but featured a picture of another place, Irving told the Raleigh News & Observer. "I never got an apology. I never got anything from the Raleigh Police Department," she said. "You have my kids scared. I am petrified.…On top of that, you are running behind my son with a gun. I could have lost him."

Now, Irving is fighting for the release of bodycam videos of the encounter. She and her neighbor—who was also detained during the encounter—have taken the matter to court with the help of civil rights group Emancipate NC.

"This footage and case provides a great opportunity for public assessment of no-knock raids, as well as the use of confidential informants," her lawyer, Abraham Rubert-Schewel, told a judge this week.

The raid on Irving's home was one of the last investigations involving Omar Abdullah—a Raleigh police detective accused of improperly arresting 15 black men in fake drug busts. Abdullah—and an informant who was involved in these busts. "The informant has since been charged with obstruction of justice, as prosecutors started to dismiss drug charges in those cases," the News & Observer reports. Abdullah was fired in late 2021, after more than a year on paid leave.

On Wednesday, Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins ruled that footage from the raid of Irving's home could be released to her attorney but could not be made public.

"These rulings are the game being played by the rules law enforcement creates and not in the best interest of the public or transparency," tweeted Emancipate NC. "Living people have just as much right as the dead to have the public see the trauma they suffer at the hands of police."

"The decision denying public release of BC footage is disappointing," said Rubert-Schewel. "We plan to ask the Court to reconsider."

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I'm glad that Yolanda Irving's lawyer can see the footage but agree with Emancipate NC that the public should see this stuff happen.

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Arizona House Committee Approves Bill To Criminalize Filming Cops on the Job
 

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The Arizona House Appropriations Committee on Monday green-lit a bill that would criminalize filming cops on the job in some cases, reinvigorating questions around the constitutionality of such provisions.

If passed into law, House Bill 2319* would make it illegal "for a person to knowingly make a video recording of law enforcement activity, including the handling of an emotionally disturbed person, if the person does not have the permission of the law enforcement officer" and is within 8 feet of the cop. The original text stipulated that it would be a crime to do so within 15 feet, but Rep. John Kavanagh (R–D23), the bill's sponsor, altered the radius in an amendment meant to assuage constitutional objections.

Whether it actually accomplishes that is up for debate.

"Can you be arrested for standing still while wearing a GoPro under this statute?" asks T. Greg Doucette, an attorney who specializes in criminal defense and free speech law. "It seems the answer here is yes, which would violate the First Amendment (since standing still isn't interfering with an officer's duties)."

The right to film government officials in public has been at the center of a slew legal challenges over the last few decades. And several federal appeals courts—including the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 11th Circuits—have ruled that it is indeed an activity protected by the First Amendment.

It was also established in the 9th Circuit—where Arizona is located—almost 30 years ago, in a 1995 decision where the court ruled that a cop violated the Constitution when he physically sought to stop a man from videotaping a public protest in 1990.

Yet Kavanagh appears undeterred by that precedent. He's not the only state lawmaker who has prioritized this sort of legislation. Arizona joins Florida in this pursuit; the Sunshine State currently has a bill on the table that would criminalize "directly or indirectly harass[ing]" police by approaching within 30 feet without the officer's permission. The legislation's vague wording would make it effectively impossible to legally film law enforcement on the job.

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I miss V Green. He knew that cameras protect good cops and only bad cops should fear them.

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Anti-Crime Checkpoints in Jackson, Mississippi, Blatantly Violate the Fourth Amendment
 

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"We're checking driver's license, proof of insurance," a Jackson, Mississippi, police officer tells Wayne Halcomb, a local resident who is waiting in a long line of cars at an anti-crime checkpoint. "Why?" Halcomb asks. "Have I committed a crime?" The officer, who has stopped Halcomb without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, is puzzled by his resistance but eventually lets him go after he repeatedly refuses to produce his license or proof of insurance. "Am I being detained?" Halcomb asks. "No," the officer responds, and Halcomb drives off.

"That's how you deal with checkpoints, people," Halcomb adds in his video of the encounter, which he posted on Facebook. The incident illustrates the intrusiveness of the blatantly unconstitutional traffic stops that the Jackson Police Department has been conducting in the state capital since last month in an effort to catch people with outstanding warrants. "People should be outraged at what happened," Halcomb told WLBT, the NBC station in Jackson. "I definitely recognize that I have white privilege, and I try to use my white privilege to shine a light on some of the issues going on."

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Good for him, but this might not be such a good idea if you appear to cops to need stopping and frisking for some reason.

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NYC Mayor Adams is a cop who doesn't seem to like cameras, my least favorite kind.
 

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Wednesday that bystanders filming the police too closely "is not acceptable, and won't be tolerated."

When he won the Democratic nomination last summer, Adams was seen as a moderate. A former New York Police Department (NYPD) captain turned state senator, Adams rejected calls to defund the police at a time when the idea had gained currency on his party's left flank. But Adams' term in office has not been a civil libertarian's dream. For example, despite criticizing the "stop and frisk" policies practiced under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Adams now plans to implement his own version.

On Wednesday, Adams appeared at the New York City Police Academy in Queens to announce his reintroduction of the NYPD's controversial anti-gun unit. In response to a reporter's question regarding citizens who want to "document what's going on," Adams responded forcefully:

"That is one thing that we are going to do: We are going to teach the public how to properly document…If an officer is trying to prevent a dispute from taking place and deescalate that dispute, they should [not] have someone standing over their shoulders with a camera in their face, yelling and screaming at them, without even realizing what the encounter is all about. There's a proper way to police, and there's a proper way to document…Stop being on top of my police officers while they're carrying out their jobs. That is not acceptable, and it won't be tolerated."

Adams also added, "If your iPhone can't catch that picture with you being at a safe distance, then you need to upgrade your iPhone."

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If their job is to stop and frisk people who are the wrong color to make sure they aren't exercising a constitutional right, perhaps they should be documented?

Or just stopped from doing that racist job, but that would mean backing off a tiny bit on gun control so is extremely unlikely.

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Camera-shy cops in Fresno
 

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The city of Fresno, California, has been trying to prevent citizens from documenting sweeps of homeless encampments in town. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is suing to try to stop this violation of First Amendment rights.

The ACLU NorCal complaint takes aim at an amendment to a city ordinance approved on February 28 that allows city officials to construct barriers surrounding homeless encampments when the city comes in and removes the camps. Under this amended ordinance, no person is allowed to cross the barrier without authorization from the city official or the contractor on site. Crossing the barrier without permission can result in a misdemeanor charge or a $250 citation. The ordinance also includes a clause that shields city officials or contractors from personal liability for any damage they do during an abatement.

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Dez Martinez, one of the plaintiffs in the case and founder of homeless advocacy organization We Are Not Invisible, often goes to encampment sweeps and covers them, uploading the recordings online, while also providing assistance to the homeless people involved. In one sweep Martinez went to, city workers began placing homeless people's belongings in unmarked black bags, promising to either deliver the belongings or store the items for safekeeping. Martinez pleaded for the workers to label the bags, but they did not do so. The belongings were only labeled after Martinez obtained a pen from one of the workers and labeled them herself, according to the complaint. 

The lawsuit argues that public observers like Martinez can compel city officials to act with greater care. One homeless person quoted in the complaint said, "These people would walk all over us without Dez. When she is there, she gets out her camera and they behave." In addition to that, "people have the right under the First Amendment to film officers conducting official business in public," Chessie Thacher, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU NorCal, tells Reason. 

Public scrutiny and fear of liability is essential for government accountability, and this new ordinance provides Fresno's government with a tool to hide their misconduct and avoid liability of wrongdoing, says Thacher.

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I suspect that acting without much (or any) care in removing these people is viewed as a feature, not a bug.

 

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Sheriff Villanueva launches criminal investigation into leak of use-of-force video
 

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he is launching a criminal investigation to find out who leaked security video of an incident in which a deputy knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for more than three minutes.

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“That is still an active case — it’s not supposed to see light of day until it’s concluded,” he told the station. “And the fact that The Times had not only the investigation, they had the videotape — that was stolen from the department, and by department members.”

“If the sheriff really did try to prosecute somebody for theft, under these circumstances, to me [it] would be: ‘Dude, you’re in L.A. County. Don’t you have more serious crimes to worry about than somebody leaking a video? And aren’t you really doing this because it’s embarrassing you?’” said Karl Olson, a lawyer who specializes in 1st Amendment and public records cases.

Olson said the individual who leaked the video would have a strong claim under laws designed to protect whistleblowers.

“The laws exist to encourage people to come forth and report illegal or fraudulent activity on the part of government,” Olson said.

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The sheriff denied an allegation made by Eli Vera, a former top-ranking department official who is seeking to unseat him, that he had been involved in the cover-up and had viewed the video at an aide’s desk within days of the incident.

Internal records show that at least one top executive above the level of division chief was aware of the incident early on. That could include Villanueva, Undersheriff Tim Murakami and three assistant sheriffs. Villanueva has refused to answer questions about who was made aware of the incident and what direction they gave.

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Doesn't like cameras or whistleblowers, do Villanueva qualifies as "bad cop" two different ways in my book.

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Florida Cop Convicted on Felony after Bodycam Video Proved he Lied on Arrest Report

and that bodycam video may never have surfaced without cellphone video.

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The police narrative fell apart after Green posted a cellphone video days after the arrest, exposing the lie. The story was picked up by the media including PINAC resulting in charges against the women being dismissed as well as the cop being placed on suspension.

Which helps explain why we're still seeing copyright abuse.

Camera-Shy Cops Hide Behind Disney Lawyers
 

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On April 4, in Santa Ana, officers responded to a report of a stolen car around 11 p.m. In a video of the events uploaded to the YouTube channel "Santa Ana Audits," the man filming approaches several parked police SUVs surrounding a car which he later identifies as a Porsche. Suddenly, after a period of filming, the sound of Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," from the Toy Story soundtrack, starts playing through loudspeakers, seemingly from one of the police vehicles.

As the playlist cycles through several other songs from Disney movies, neighbors come out of their homes and approach the officers, complaining about the noise. One of those is Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, a Santa Ana city councilman. Hernandez asks one officer, who is holding a cell phone still playing Disney songs, "What's going on with the music?" The officer indicates that the filming was "not letting us conduct our investigation"; when pressed further on why he's playing music, he gestures to the camera and says, "Because it'll be copyright infringement for him."

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While playing songs from children's movies may be less adversarial than grabbing someone's phone from their hands, the motivation is the same: to prevent themselves from being lawfully recorded while interacting with citizens. It still constitutes an abuse of power, and a violation of the public's trust. But it is also an example of the power to weaponize laws that apply too broad of a brush to certain issues. Incidentally capturing background music in a video is not a copyright violation, and it should not be treated as such by an overzealous algorithm.

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Why can't an officer investigate a stolen car while someone nearby films the (probably boring) work?

Cameras protect good cops, only bad cops should fear them. The cop was being a jerk and should have just done his job and ignored the citizen exercising his rights.

Still, I'm not sure how an algorithm can be "overzealous" nor how it could know whether music was incidentally captured or stolen and added deliberately.

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