We are told by cops – and the courts – that the rapidly metastasizing police state is “for our safety” (always for our safety) and that we shouldn’t worry if we’ve got nothing to hide – yet when police are on the receiving end of the same tactics they so urgently and even turgidly use against us, they tend not to like it so much.
Video and audio recording of their doings, for example.
Cops get annoyed when we video them but they video us routinely – even when we haven’t done anything illegal. For example, random “safety” checks. You’re on Candid Camera, like it or not. Cop Kiosks with those insect eye-looking bulbous cameras that you see on the ceiling at Wal Mart (and everywhere else) are sprouting up all over the country, especially in urban areas. That’s ok. After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, what are you worried about? Isn’t that what we’re constantly told?
We – the Commons – are not entitled to privacy when in public. But they – the New American equivalent of yesterday’s Sicherheitsdeinst or NKVD – are entitled to privacy – secrecy, even – as they perform their “public” duties.
If we are suspected of some offense, we can expect to be filmed and otherwise recorded and any such evidence will most certainly be used against us when we appear before the Volksgerichtshof.
But if we film them – even if the film is proof of criminal activity – it’s entirely possible “the law” will be more interested in persecuting the person who made the video instead of prosecuting the criminal cop.
For example, in Chicago, a woman who was being interviewed by a cop following a domestic violence altercation ended up (the woman alleges) being propositioned – and even groped – by the cop doing the “interview.” Tiawanda Moore later filed a complaint against the cop, but it was not pursued. What was pursued was Moore’s surreptitious recording of the incident on her Blackberry, the proof in support of her claims. She faces – hold onto your hat – 15 years in prison for this “offense.” That just happens to be the same potential sentence the cop would get if convicted for for sexual assault – an actual crime. Except he won’t be convicted because he won’t be prosecuted.
But Moore will be – aggressively.
In Illinois, wiretapping laws intended to protect the public from being illicitly recorded by cops without a warrant are being used to persecute the public over something very different indeed. For doing something (i.e., recording evidence of police misconduct) that could only be characterized as criminal by a regime that is itself criminal – and wants no competition.
Maryland is another state that gets its panties in a bunch when one of us films (or records) one of them. In the now-notorious case of Maryland motorcyclist Anthony Graber, state police executed a felony SWAT-style raid on his house and carted off computers and other equipment…. because Graber dared to film his own traffic stop and posted it on YouTube. The video caused a ruckus because it showed poor judgment – on the part of the cop who stopped Graber for speeding on his bike.
Earlier this year, two Prince George’s County Thugs-in-Blue beat the crap out of a clearly not-violent, not-resisting University of Maryland student. We know the student was clearly not violent and not resisting – and that the cops were thugs – because we have a video recording of the incident. Here’s the video:
This time, the Thugs-in-Blue (black, actually) were suspended. But probably only because the video evidence was so damning – and so public. If the Maryland Sicherheitsdienst had its way, that video would never have been made. Or it would be made illegal.
Officer Safety and all, you see.
Similar videos of over-the-top cops (and much worse) are literally all over YouTube and other online servers. They are the one and only way that average people stand any chance of rectifying a wrong committed by a cop. The system is completely stacked against us and in favor of them. Anyone who has been to traffic court is well aware of this fact. The cop’s testimony is taken as Holy Writ … because it is a cop testifying and cops are regarded as incapable of deceit by the system. A cop’s word against yours? Forget about it.
Unless you have a video or audio recording.
Graber’s video of his traffic stop shows us, in living color, how over-the-top things got (i.e., an off-duty cop, not in in uniform and not in a marked cop car, threateningly brandishing his gun). The PG video showed an appalled public a public beat-down they’d otherwise probably never have even heard about – or believed, if they had. Or which would have been a case of “Officer Safety” … had that video not existed.
Which is precisely why the cops want no such videos to exist.
Do you suppose Andy Griffith would have objected to Goober or any other resident of Mayberry filming him while at work? Andy probably would have expressed concern about the person doing the filming being bored to tears and wasting his time. But other than concern over boredom, he wouldn’t have cared because after all, what was there to see?
But the time of Andy Griffith – and Mayberry and cops and laws that served the public – is long gone. Todays cops understand that much of what they do doesn’t bear watching – not by the public, that is. They do have something to hide. They know that the more we see of them in action, the more appalled we will be – and the more aware we’ll be of the ugly times in which we live.
Throw it in the Woods?