M- Murder and Illegality of Recording Police Officers
My original topic choice for the letter M was murder, but after viewing this video clip, I decided to go with the illegality of video recording a police officer in public. How does this fit the letter M requirement?
The first video I watched occurred in Maryland, the second in Massachusetts and the third in Miami. HmmMMMM. I saw a pattern of M's. What sealed the deal, was the video of an Illinois man who faces 75 year for the crime of "eavesdropping", because he recorded the police in public. When the judge in that case announced the severity of the sentence is equal to a sentence for Murder, I felt drawn to the story and compelled to share it. Lastly, the man who provided me much of the footage I viewed and used from Miami, is named Carlos Miller.
So I think I have covered the reason why this story fits under the category or letter M
In Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois it is illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.
Video kind of long, but the first 60 seconds tells enough: Man faces 75 years in prison for recording a police officer without consent. That is as long or longer than most sentences in that state for murder.
Matt Lutton & Scott Brauer share news and pictures that they find interesting on their Photojournalist Blog
For further reading and to keep updated on the laws against recording police officers, read Carlos Miller's blog Photography is not a Crime.
Carlos Miller is a Miami Multimedia journalist who has been arrested three times for recording police officers in public. He was beaten by the police during two of those arrest, including one charge and subsequent conviction for Resisting Arrest, a conviction that was later reversed by a higher court.
Miller is in the process of fighting a third arrest, in which the Miami Dade police deleted his footage. The full uncensored video clip can be viewed on his blog.
Below is the raw and uninterrupted five minute clip of Carlos Miller's arrest. It is shocking. The police covered by shields in platoons look like Stormtroopers charging a bomber or terrorist, not a man they want to arrest for videotaping a police officer in public. What a waste of money, I mean look at the number of officers used to arrest one non violent, unarmed man. No wonder they deleted this clip from his camera. It is an embarrassment to the Miami Dade Police force.
Here is an update on the arrest of one Maryland man for recording the police. A judge ruled that the police and prosecutors were wrong to arrest and charge a man for taping his own traffic stop and posting it on the internet.
Thank god, this judge recognized the absurdity and illegal interference with a man's 1st amendment rights.
Click on the link to be directed to the sign up list of all the participants in the 2012 A to Z blogging challenge.
Have you added the official A to Z blogging challenge navigation button to your blog. The navigation button code can be found on Marcus's fiction writing blog and one of the many benefits is the ability to quickly navigate the challenge without having to scroll up and down a really long page.
Just remember when you look at the button on my sidebar that that it is not indicative of the actual number of blogs I have visited during the challenge. I just installed it a day or so ago so it does not reflect the number of blogs visited prior to April 12th. It is still really cool.
So, back to you... What is your opinion on whether or not is should be illegal for a citizen to video record a police officer in public. It you stumbled upon a clear incident of police brutality and you had your phone with you would you attempt to record it as it could later be offered as evidence in a court of law?
I was a prosecutor for twenty years and I worked very closely with a number of law enforcement agencies from the city and parish level to the state and federal levels and I have the utmost respect and admiration for law enforcement. They have a difficult job to do and their job is becoming increasingly more dangerous all the time. They risk their own lives to get criminals off the streets and they put their lives on the line every day in an effort to make our cities and towns, safer places to live.
Having said that, I also agree that you will find bad apples in every line of work and profession from school teachers to plumbers, to elected officials and law enforcement officers are not excluded or exempt from this statement. One bad apple does not make a rotten tree. On one hand, I can see how citizens shouting and thrusting video cameras in police officers' faces as they try to work a case can cause a disturbance. On the other hand, if not for the private recordings made by ordinary citizens then many cases of severe police brutality would go unnoticed, unreported and those police officers would continue to run rampant while administering their own kind of street justice.
What's your take?