I can’t remember the last time we went a solid week without a news story chronicling an unfortunate collision of cops and cameras. Every time I scan my feeds, there’s either a think piece on the legality of American citizens recording the police in public, or a specific report in which a confrontation between officers and a smartphone-wielding bystander turns either ugly or tragic.
Let’s set aside for a moment that A) recording the possible misconduct of a public servant occurring in public is not only perfectly justifiable but to be encouraged; B) the police must be held to a higher standard than most other citizens and “policed” accordingly; and C) making the recording of police officers doing their jobs in public illegal will do absolutely nothing to deter the practice. Let’s instead focus on the question each new story inspires in my mind:
Knowing at least half the people on the streets have a video camera in their pockets, why the fuck do some police officers continue to not only use excessive force, but also to accost, threaten and even assault the people capturing it — in front of other people, and other cameras?
Read the rest at Creative Loafing …
(image via truthout.org)
When the doorbell rang at 7:30 a.m. the morning after a night involving the Supersuckers, wildly abused bar-tab privileges and several nightcaps at St. Pete’s cool, modern Queen’s Head, I began voicing my disapproval long before I actually reached the threshold.
(I believe the shouted profanity started while I was still trying to pull on a recalcitrant pair of shorts two rooms away.)
When the polite female voice on the other side identified itself as belonging to a police officer, however, my demeanor did an immediate one-eighty. It’s always been that way with me — I’ve always considered being cool to law enforcement sort of a natural no-brainer.
My wife did most of the talking and listening to the officer while I corralled the dogs, but I got the gist. Apparently, sometime the night before — probably not long before or after I’d butted my last cigarette and we’d staggered inside — some jackass smashed out a window of the cruiser driven by the cop who lives next door. And while that sort of thing, and worse, happens all the time all over, the idea of it still struck me as crazy, disrespectful and evil — even more than, say, whipping it out and urinating on the shoes of any elected public official in the country.
I have been a vandal. A recreational drug user. An inebriated motorist. A trespasser. An underage curfew breaker, riding the curb at 7-11 and waiting for an adult with lenient views on minors and alcohol. Even, on a small handful of memorable occasions, a public fornicator. But I’ve never shared the view held by so many of my friends and peers that cops suck, period; that anybody who ever put on the uniform was avenging past social slights, or reliving high-school-jock glories, or simply grasping at any position of instant authority within their (implied) limited reach, or whatever.
Read the rest at CL …