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Recording the Police 515

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the better-still-be-legal dept.
Bruce Schneier says "I've written a lot on the 'War on Photography,' where normal people are harassed as potential terrorists for taking pictures of things in public. This article is different; it's about recording the police: Allison's predicament is an extreme example of a growing and disturbing trend. As citizens increase their scrutiny of law enforcement officials through technologies such as cell phones..."
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Recording the Police

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:27PM (#34634356)

    Police deports your first post to siberia.

    • Re:In Soviet Russa (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @11:37PM (#34637536) Homepage

      Police deports your first post to siberia.

      Hey! My grandmother was deported to Siberia, you insensitive clod!!

      No. Really. I'm 100% serious. Not kidding at all. Her father was a bit of a hero during the earlier Polish-Bolshevik war - a little effort near the village of Ladycyzn (which I think is now in the Ukraine and called something else) where some big machine gun caissons had overturned so he went into the village to recruit some help and subsequently saved a good chunk of the Polish cavalry when they came high-tailing it back west in retreat. Naturally, as a totalitarian regime I suppose you wouldn't want that sort of guy around when you're occupying a country, retired or otherwise. Same for the family.

      I understand she totally freaked everyone out when she and her sister visited, showed up in town again 60 years later. Think "really tiny small rural nowhere farming village". But I digress. Carry on, gentlemen.

  • Rule of Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digsbo (1292334) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:31PM (#34634416)
    The arbitrary application of existing, irrelevant laws to cover actions which the powers that be find convenient to criminalize offers proof that the rule of law is dead, that people are afraid to speak and act against it, and that we now have rule by force. It will take conscientious effort by a large part of the population to peacefully reverse this disturbing trend.
    • Re:Rule of Law (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:39PM (#34634534) Journal

      It will take conscientious effort by a large part of the population to peacefully reverse this disturbing trend.

      But that is the rule of law. It only wouldn't be if you couldn't do that under the law.

      The rule of law also includes your right to question the actions of the police before a judge.

      And many jurisdictions have official boards of citizens who listen to complaints about the police and can cause much grief to the police hierarchy [google.com] if the rank-and-file are abusing their badges.

      But that doesn't stop perps who get their necks stepped on from shouting "police brutality!" even though they deserve it.

      • Re:Rule of Law (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:43PM (#34634614) Journal

        It stops being the rule of law and becomes the rule of man when you cannot punish the prosecutor for abusing his power.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Most citizen review boards are rubber stamps for the police leadership, exonerating police brutality and OKing police shootings.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          No kidding. Here in Omaha we had an independent police auditor. She had the audacity to actually do her job, and issued a report saying that the Omaha Police disproportionately pull over black people. The mayor promptly fired her and eliminated the position.

    • Re:Rule of Law (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:52PM (#34634736)

      Targeted application of laws which are not generally enforced should be the most terrifying thing in the world to you if you worry about a police state evolving. The general lack of enforcement means that the public is unaware and/or unconcerned about the law, meaning penalties can be stiff, and that violations are common because the general public doesn't know any better. The upshot being that nearly anyone the police or judiciary doesn't like can be thrown into prison for decades, which is practically the definition of a police state, and the scary thing is that it already exists in the good old US of A. The wiretap laws are hardly the most commonly used for this purpose, but the ridiculous penalties (can easily be 100 years in prison if you have multiple offenses) make it one of the most terrifying.

      • Re:Rule of Law (Score:5, Interesting)

        by NFN_NLN (633283) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:29PM (#34635174)

        Targeted application of laws which are not generally enforced should be the most terrifying thing in the world to you if you worry about a police state evolving. The general lack of enforcement means that the public is unaware and/or unconcerned about the law, meaning penalties can be stiff, and that violations are common because the general public doesn't know any better. The upshot being that nearly anyone the police or judiciary doesn't like can be thrown into prison for decades, which is practically the definition of a police state, and the scary thing is that it already exists in the good old US of A. The wiretap laws are hardly the most commonly used for this purpose, but the ridiculous penalties (can easily be 100 years in prison if you have multiple offenses) make it one of the most terrifying.

        Parent is absolutely right. I think the rule should be that ALL laws are applied in order of their severity at all times.

        If there was a stupid law about being drunk in public and everyone who walked from a bar into a cab got a ticket during that 5ft walk... I bet the laws would be changed in a hurry. Yet, as it stands, a cop can selectively apply these ridiculous laws to effectively harass anyone they want.

        The only way laws change is if the general public stands up to them. If they cherry pick people to abuse then they mostly go unnoticed.

    • How I handle it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:16PM (#34635000)

      Because of this, I will consider the police and prosecutors to be liars until proven otherwise.

      If the cop had to shoot a guy because "he was resisting arrest", the cop better have an unaltered video of it happening because I will consider him to be a liar without it. You see all these type of cases [wpix.com] in news where all the police cameras failed at the same time and it happens when the police used questionable force on a suspect.

      It's one sided. Only they are allowed to video and as a result, they can control which video is available.

      Until this horseshit of prosecuting citizens for recording of police ends, then as far as I'm concerned, the police are lying until proven otherwise.

      Someone gets their ass kicked by the cops, well there better be video showing that it was necessary.

      If the cops don't like it, then they can get another job. My local police are constantly turning applicants away so there's no problem replacing any cry baby cop who says "it's rough out there!".

      • Absolutely. A daily log of which cameras are malfunctioning should be kept. At the end of each day, that log should be handed over to a 3rd party for safe keeping.
        It should then be assumed that every camera not in that log was functioning, and that if it SHOULD have caught evidence then it did, and that the evidence has been destroyed. If footage of an incident is 'missing' it should be assumed that the party in posession of it destroyed it because it was unfavourable to them (and so make any chance of a co

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        You see all these type of cases in news where all the police cameras failed at the same time and it happens when the police used questionable force on a suspect.

        Every button on an officer's uniform should be a mini-cam. I'd be happy with them driving google cars too. They all can't fail then...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by digitallife (805599)

        Unfortunately your opinion doesn't matter to them. You cant hassle them and throw them in jail. You can't give them a ticket for whatever you feel like. You can't beat them senseless and claim they were resisting arrest. they don't give a shit if you think they are liars and should be fired. And they most certainly wont be fired because you think they should be.

        The imbalance of power and lack of checks is sickening.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:32PM (#34634428)
    .....in a public place." - SCOTUS. It applies to the cops as well. They have no reason to believe they should be unrecordable when they are out on the road or on the sidewalk. Besides: They record us all the time, with cameras installed in their cars and taping during confessions.
    • by Zumbs (1241138) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:37PM (#34634500) Homepage
      Furthermore, the police is given significant power over the citizens. Is it so strange that citizens want assurances that this power is exercised in accordance with the law? And that this includes watching over the shoulder of police officers on duty, exercising these powers? After all, power is known to corrupt if it is not held in check.
      • by theaveng (1243528) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:43PM (#34634612)

        I just heard on the radio today that cops arrested some Maryland Libertarians who were trying to collect signatures to appear on the state ballot. The LP members were asked to stop, and then when one of them whipped out a camera to document the unconstitutional limitation (the MD SC already ruled in favor of ACORN that petitioning is legal), the cops arrested them for assault.

        This is the second time. About two weeks ago a motorcyclist with a helmet cam was arrested when he posted a traffic stop on youtube. The cop had pulled a gun on the citizen w/o identifying himself AS a cop (he was plain clothes), and then the Police Bureau arrested the man after the Chief saw the video online. It seems Maryland is turning into a tyranny.

        • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:00PM (#34634830) Journal

          The sad thing is one day I might not be able to live in it. I am sliding more and more into a warrior's philosophy each day... I try to stay out of it, but one day I'm going to look around and realize I can't let things be the way they are.

          It doesn't matter. The whole impact of my existence is zero; if I die today it's fine. Never had a girlfriend, no kids, no need for that sort of thing; and I've completely rejected the part of society directly connected to me in the biological tree. and anyone tied to them usefully in the association graph.

          • by Elbereth (58257) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:05PM (#34636046) Journal

            Dude, what you're saying sounds very close to, "I am a ticking time bomb." It would behoove you to not state such things publicly, in a forum where posts can not be deleted. If I were an FBI agent, I'd start a file on you, just from that post. You sound like a potential terrorist, from the point of view of a government agent.

            And, for everyone else's sake, please don't stock up on ammo and fertilizer.

    • Not all cops know this law. [purdueexponent.org]

      The camera man wasn't in the cops face. He wasn't in the face of the emergency personel. This wouldn't have made it to youtube or the cover of our school's paper if the cop didn't act like he did.

      The police chief came out later and said the cameraman was in the right. But that doesn't prevent the cop from acting like an asshole the entire time. The cameraman was physically shaking from being intimidated.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:33PM (#34634432) Journal

    The link is to a stub article with no real content on Bruce's blog that just points to the real article:

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/07/the-war-on-cameras [reason.com]

    Bruce has useful articles sometimes but it isn't any more legitimate for Bruce to use his blog as gateway page to real articles than anyone else trying to scam hits for content that isn't theirs.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:22PM (#34635088)

      The link is to a stub article with no real content on Bruce's blog that just points to the real article:

      I disagree. His commentary about how privacy for the powerful decreases overall liberty while privacy for the common man increase liberty is a very succinct and insightful analysis. It may even be more important than the narrow topic of stupid legal tricks regarding the recording of on-duty cops.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:37PM (#34634506)

    The Chicago artist Chris Drew was charged with a felony and faces 15 years imprisonment for making an audio recording of his own arrest:

    http://www.c-drew.com/blog

    http://www.wellesparkbulldog.com/news/chris-drew-granted-a-continuance-in-free-speech-trial

    http://chilaborarts.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/why-is-it-a-felony-to-record-your-own-arrest-c-drew/

    • by micheas (231635)

      The Chicago artist Chris Drew was charged with a felony and faces 15 years imprisonment for making an audio recording of his own arrest:

      http://www.c-drew.com/blog

      http://www.wellesparkbulldog.com/news/chris-drew-granted-a-continuance-in-free-speech-trial

      http://chilaborarts.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/why-is-it-a-felony-to-record-your-own-arrest-c-drew/

      At least this was someone that was consciously challenging a probably unjust, unconstitutional law, as opposed to someone that was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      That said, I really hope the law is invalidated by the courts.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:38PM (#34634522) Journal

    Prosecutors are able to get away with these bad faith prosecutions because of a doctrine called "prosecutorial immunity". We need a way to hold these prosecutors responsible for their actions, that will require the abolition of prosecutorial immunity.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:47PM (#34634642)
      This is correct because courts have ruled in several states that recording a police officer in the process of a traffic stop or otherwise conducting his official duty on a public street is not a violation of the "all parties" wire tap laws, yet prosecutors keep bringing these charges.
      • by oracleguy01 (1381327) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:06PM (#34634898)

        This is correct because courts have ruled in several states that recording a police officer in the process of a traffic stop or otherwise conducting his official duty on a public street is not a violation of the "all parties" wire tap laws, yet prosecutors keep bringing these charges.

        I think it is kind of like the other crap in the legal system these days. As the little guy you might be 100% in the right but since you have comparatively very limited resources they bank on people being too afraid to having to spend tons of money proving their innocence. So they get to make it more or less illegal without the actual political blow back of making it illegal.

    • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:05PM (#34634886) Homepage Journal

      Generally speaking, prosecutorial immunity is a) applied to civil, not criminal, offenses, and b) does not cover acts that prosecutor knows or should know are illegal.

      What's needed is somebody, like Allison, to dig in their heels and push it and push it, until it gets to the Supreme Court, where he will win.

      And if you want prosecutors put in prison for abusing their power, vote for people who will do so. Make it your only issue, and get your neighbors involved, too. If you won't, because "it won't do any good," you're part of the problem.

  • by Kagato (116051) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:38PM (#34634526)

    Contempt of cop that is.

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:41PM (#34634560)

    ...this of harassment by the Detroit PD [examiner.com] which is the reason why our gov't officials want to make videotaping of LEOs [thefirearmsforum.com] illegal.

    Yet further evidence of our (as in US) slow slip into the grips of a police state.

    • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:58PM (#34634816)
      I kinda understand where the officer was coming from. There were some people loitering outside a gun buyback and buying guns. This in itself is not illegal, but if the owners of the property object then the loiterers can be asked to leave, or they can call the police and ask the police to make them leave. All normal. When the officer gets their CCLs that's pretty normal too, people loitering where they don't belong buying guns seems like probable cause. The problem is that the officer treated them like criminals instead of like innocent bystanders conducting a harmless transaction where they are not wanted. There was no cause for the officer to get upset with the questions being asked. The problem here comes from the police officers assumption that he is the law rather than the enforcer of laws, and sadly that is pretty common in these incidents. Once he had determined that the people there were within their legal rights he should have asked them not to loiter around there and wished them a happy holidays.
  • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:41PM (#34634570)
    I work with an ex police officer and he's pretty set against 'civilians' recording police, in his eyes its another way to get innocent police officers in trouble since a lot of the videos that have implicated officers in the past have lacked any context. This makes sense because a clip showing police brutality could be part of a longer incident where the suspect resisted arrest and tried to hurt the officer. I understand that in the heat of the moment a person who feels their life is in jeopardy may use force which seems excessive out of context. That being said, the same officer buddy is in favor of red light cameras, the nanny state, and airport scanners that see through your clothes. You can't have it both ways in a free and just society. You can't give the police the ability to watch everyone while denying the public the ability to watch the police. I think a better solution, that nobody in law enforcement would like, would be to put cameras on police officers and also allow the public to photograph them. That way in a court of law you have evidence that can provide context to any side videos in play. If the police officer is innocent he has nothing to fear from the surveillance, that's the line they have been feeding the public in general so it's fitting for it to fly back in their faces.
    • by marcop (205587)

      I think a better solution, that nobody in law enforcement would like, would be to put cameras on police officers and also allow the public to photograph them. That way in a court of law you have evidence that can provide context to any side videos in play.

      That assumes the video doesn't mysteriously go missing or the camera doesn't mysteriously malfunction during crucial moments. Both have happened before.

      The police can argue context and the benefit of the doubt can be given. However, some video is quite c

      • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:01PM (#34634836)

        That assumes the video doesn't mysteriously go missing or the camera doesn't mysteriously malfunction during crucial moments. Both have happened before.

        Right, but the aspect where police can record themselves is complemented by the public being able to record them as well. We need -both-.

        That way if the "public" produces video that casts the police in a bad light, the police can contribute their video that puts it into context. There is nothing the public will be able to record that that will harm an innocent officer because he'll have his own "alibi tape". And the argument against the public recording them goes out the window.

        Now your comment that police may withhold video that is 'damaging' to their position is bang on, but then we'll have the public recording to work from. And if the police camera that exonerates them "failed at that crucial moment"... the courts can sort it out, with an annotation that perhaps they should invest in cameras that "work better" for their own protection.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:53PM (#34634750) Homepage

      I work with an ex police officer and he's pretty set against 'civilians' recording police, in his eyes its another way to get innocent police officers in trouble since a lot of the videos that have implicated officers in the past have lacked any context. This makes sense because a clip showing police brutality could be part of a longer incident where the suspect resisted arrest and tried to hurt the officer.

      Then a court of law will sort it out.

      Your cop friend, frankly, sounds like a thin-blue-line, don't-mess-with-the-brotherhood asshole. He should realize that accountability is a *good* thing. Well, assuming he cared about cops actually being held accountable.

      I think a better solution, that nobody in law enforcement would like, would be to put cameras on police officers and also allow the public to photograph them. That way in a court of law you have evidence that can provide context to any side videos in play

      Absolutely! As you say, there is a *very* obvious solution to this problem: When a cop is involved in a law enforcement action, *the police record themselves*. Problem solved.

      But, of course, that would involve transparency, and cops actually, possibly being held accountable for their actions. And who really wants that?

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:54PM (#34634762) Homepage

      So it's the old "sure I kept clubbing him, but you gotta believe me, he resisted arrest twelve minutes before the camera started rolling" defense, eh?

    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:55PM (#34634778)
      Police brutality, by definition, is never warranted, regardless of context. Police exist solely to apprehend people, and the courts are used to administer punishment. And if a video is taken out of context, the courts will decide what to do. The idea that a recording might be misused as evidence in court is no reason to ban it entirely. This is likely why many police departments are starting to use surveillance devices on officers' uniforms and tasers, it protects everyone's rights involved. It only makes sense that a civilian be able to record any interaction as well.
      • There's a couple reasons:

        1) What force is appropriate depends on the situation. If you are standing peacefully, following all instructions, almost no force is appropriate. They can grab hold of you and handcuff you if you are being arrested, and guide you in to their car, but that is about it. Anything else is probably excessive since you are offering no resistance. However if you come at them swinging, well then a good deal more force is authorized. They can fight back to subdue you. Doesn't mean any amoun

        • by bware (148533) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:50PM (#34635904) Homepage

          You do have to account for human emotions. If you expect the police to be perfect inhuman robots that never react emotionally, then you are an idiot. So if someone punches a cop in the face and the cop hauls off and punches them, that has to be considered.

          That only works one way. If I react emotionally to a cop, I'm going to jail for a long time, and that's the best I can hope for. Nothing will be considered. Worst case, the thin blue line arranges for me to be beat either by cop or by inmates at the holding cell.

          So why is it that you only cut slack to the cop, who is trained, armed, and paid to be professional, and not to the citizen, who is none of those things, and will not get the benefit of the doubt?

    • by Entropius (188861)

      No officer should be convicted of anything based on a video taken out of context. If a video taken out of context shows a cop appearing to do something illegal when he's really not, then he can explain it to the judge and jury during his trial, and if his explanation makes sense, he will be acquitted. If the person who made that recording did so maliciously, then the officer can sue for libel.

      Why should the police have extra protections against false prosecutions beyond what every citizen has?

    • Has anyone stopped to ask why otherwise decent people would be posting videos that put the police in such a bad light? I have said this before, and I will say it again: there is no conspiracy amongst criminals to discredit the police, we do not live in a comic book world. These are ordinary people posting videos that make the police look like violent thugs; that means that ordinary people have a problem with the police.

      Personally, I do not think it is all that surprising that so many people have a pro
    • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @09:14PM (#34636648) Homepage Journal

      This makes sense because a clip showing police brutality could be part of a longer incident where the suspect resisted arrest and tried to hurt the officer. I understand that in the heat of the moment a person who feels their life is in jeopardy may use force which seems excessive out of context.

      NO. If a guy is shooting at police they have a right and a responsibility to do everything to stop him including kill him.

      Once he is disarmed, cuffed and on the ground, immobilized, rendered harmless, then any physical attack - kicking, punching, using a night club on him - IS POLICE BRUTALITY.

      Police do NOT get to exact revenge, they do not get to punish. They do not get to hit a suspect to "blow off steam" or release their adrenaline or frustrations.

      ANY video of an unarmed, restrained, immobile person UNDER CUSTODY being struck is a video of police brutality and IS IN CONTEXT. It doesn't matter what preceded it, even if the fucker just shot a baby in the head.

      It certainly is understandable that a person who just had his life in danger might react that way and lash out at a subdued attacker, but it's not legal, and it should not be tolerated because otherwise cops have become judge and jury and warden.

      It's called professionalism. It needs to be trained in, it needs come down from supervision, and cops who have undergone stressful situations need debriefing and even counseling. If a cop CAN'T handle that, and has to hit restrained person, then the job is not for them, period. They just don't have what it takes, or rather what we should demand it take.

      If you're a phone rep and you get a complete obnoxious idiot on the line who drives you nuts for an hour, you do NOT get to swear and scream at them to let out your frustrations. You take a few minutes after the call to cool off.

      Cops needs to be expected to be professionals held to a high standard, NOT just "the boys" who are basically OK hanging out playing with guns and protecting people but who get a little out of hand during stressful situations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:42PM (#34634586)

    A recent Canadian survey shows that people, while they overwhelmingly still support the police, do not support them as much as they used to.

    We have had several police abuses of power that came to light only because of video. The worst was the killing of a Polish man at Vancouver airport. Also we had the beating of innocent people during demonstrations at the recent G20 meeting in Toronto.

    An officer has been charged in one of the G20 beatings because video made it possible to identify him.

    The disturbing thing is that the police stood in solidarity with their brother officers in their own Mafia style code of silence. Only one officer could be found who was willing to identify those seen in the videos.

    It won't take too many more incidents before the population turns on the police. They have had the benefit of the doubt until now. At some point that will end. The police, if they knew what is good for them, should embrace video as a tool for cleaning out the goons who should never be allowed to wear a badge.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:56PM (#34635424)
      In a sense, the police represent the public face of the law itself. If people are losing their confidence in the police, it is because they are beginning to lose their confidence in the law being just. Here in the United States, I would hardly think that is surprising, given our enormous prison population and tendency to criminalize harmless behavior that large portions of the population engage in. I cannot speak for Canada, but in the USA, we imprison so many people that only Nazi Germany and the USSR have us beat -- we actually imprison more people now than China, all convicted under our legal system.

      The police do not want to be videotaped because after so many years of enforcing the sort of laws that created this situation, they know that there are people out there who want to discredit the police. The police know that their job is unpopular and they do not want the citizens to have the ability to make the police look bad. They know that they are not just going after bad people. They know that they are losing the support of the population, and that in many cases they are sent on patrol in areas where they have already lost that support.
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:44PM (#34634622)
    So the government can illegally wiretap its citizens with no punishment. But a citizen can be arbitrarily thrown in jail for recording a cop? This sounds like a story that would come out of the former East Germany. Not the United States of America.
  • Its not the video... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:46PM (#34634640)
    Its not the video recording that is the issue, it is the audio. There are states where you cannot record audio without both parties being aware of the recording. Believe it or not, this is done for your protection. Thus, if you are like the biker who got pulled over while using a helmet cam, my advice would be wearing a T-shirt that states by being in your presence you are agreeing to be audio recorded.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:52PM (#34634734) Homepage

    I believe the key to recording the Police is never to let Andy Summers solo for more than one measure. All the musicians went a little wild with the improvisations on the recent reunion tours and I think the songs suffered for the lack of restraint.

  • by just fiddling around (636818) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @05:59PM (#34634820) Journal

    There is a related opinion piece on Salon.com right now:
    The government's one-way mirror [salon.com]

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:01PM (#34634838)

    In many States, citizens possess the power of initiative, where laws can be presented directly to the people.

    A law that decriminalizes recording law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties or acting during their working hours (and immunizes the same conduct) is something, I suspect, that the general voting population would support.

    If you care, get out there, conspire with others and ACT. I guarantee that you will be surprised at your results.

    Look at what the no-tax freaks accomplished. It IS possible--don't let the naysayers with their weak arguments keep you down. Look at the crime victims' bill of rights that many states now have--those generally come from citizen activity!

    There is almost zero downside to political activism of this sort in the US. You won't get killed (like you might in some other country) and you are likely to face negligible negative consequences. The worst that can likely happen is that you will fail. But think of all that you will learn in the process: Media manipulation . . . public speaking . . . organization . . . logistics . . .. That experience will make you more effective the next time . . .

    And then you will be a politician, my son.

    Now, get off my lawn!

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:39PM (#34635826)

    In Maryland, the police recently got their asses handed to them.

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/crime/blog/2010/09/motorcyclist_wins_taping_case.html [baltimoresun.com]

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