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Post Reply Should Video Recording Police Be Illegal?
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47 / M / Memphis, TN
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15

BambooSun wrote:


moonhawk81 wrote:

The trouble with recording an incident is that--unless you plan the incident ahead of time--you usually end up recording the after-effects of the actual incident rather than the incident itself. To wit, you usually miss the original action that prompts the reaction. Something has to make you decide to start filming--but since you weren't filming yet, you miss getting that on tape. So whoever watches your video is missing one of the most important elements of the story which the video purports to tell.

Because so many people fail to consider the above, and make assumptions based on what is clearly incomplete information, I must think that filming the police should be illegal.

And yes, before anyone claims to "discover" it, I am a police officer. My argument stands upon its own logic, not my position as a cop.


I agree with your analysis but disagree with your conclusion. The problem lies not in the videotaping, but in the biased media and the politicians who seek to promote themselves through exploitation and misinterpretation.


I must sadly agree that media bias and [other] deliberate exploitation and misinterpretation--not to mention blatant misrepresentation--are very legitimate problems. I wish I knew of a way to make them less pervasive.


GloriousHawk wrote:


moonhawk81 wrote:

The trouble with recording an incident is that--unless you plan the incident ahead of time--you usually end up recording the after-effects of the actual incident rather than the incident itself. To wit, you usually miss the original action that prompts the reaction. Something has to make you decide to start filming--but since you weren't filming yet, you miss getting that on tape. So whoever watches your video is missing one of the most important elements of the story which the video purports to tell.



That's very interesting and I never thought about that. I'll definitely keep that in mind the next time video recordings of misconduct/alleged misconduct appears on the news.



Thank you. Recognition of all possibilities is key in developing trustworthy opinions and reaching informed decisions.
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Posted 3/16/15
I really hope that doesn't get passed. I live in Texas, and if I saw police breaking the law, or anyone being horrible as a matter a fact, of course I'd want to record it, especially if he/she was beating the sh*t out of someone for no reason. I wouldn't post it online but bring it as evidence if needed for the victim's sake.
Video can also be used to dismiss someone as a suspect. I think cops should wear body cams so they aren't blamed for something they shouldn't be, too.
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Posted 3/16/15
I understand that there is concern that publication of videos depicting officers lethally engaging suspects has generated a spat of revenge killings against officers of the law, and I would assume that this is the rationale behind such a ban. However, one would also be concerned that a ban against recording officers performing official duties in public spaces the person making a recording has legal access to, and further are made in such a way as to not interfere with said official duties, would constitute a grave abuse of peoples' civil liberties and remove a valuable deterrent against police misconduct. Such recordings also offer a valuable benefit for officers who have not engaged in misconduct and which face accusations if they're offered up, so they really go both ways.

It's certainly a difficult issue, but I believe such recordings should continue to be allowed.
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Posted 3/16/15
Filming public servants in public places, or in your own residence, should absolutely NOT be illegal. When all the government spying scandals hit the scene I remember hearing them say "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about". Well that same logic should apply.
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Posted 3/16/15

Akage-chan wrote:


PhantomGundam wrote:]

You're comparing putting cameras in private places to using cameras on people who can kill in public and get away with it. That already invalidates your argument. Using cameras in a doctor's office would be a violation of the doctor's and patient's privacy. Using cameras in a classroom would likely disrupt the lesson unless the teacher randomly started killing students and someone started recorded. In which case, I'm sure the courts would gladly accept that as evidence.


Most doctors and even those in forensics know of ways to kill people without it being detectable, or any more so than could be explained through various means. So, no, my argument is not invalid, but yours is as having solid knowledge of how drugs break down in the human body would mean that it would be all too simple for a doctor to get away with it.



That wasn't even what I said made your argument invalid. You were comparing apples to oranges. You were saying we shouldn't record police (people who have the authority to use force in public) because we don't record people who might kill in private. By that flawed logic, we shouldn't have police at all because people will always commit crimes. What's the point in arresting people if there's always someone else breaking the law? You miss the point of recoding police. The point is to minimize damage. Just because one group of people might abuse their authority, it doesn't mean we should give up on monitoring all groups that can easily abuse their power. That's that kind of chaos you'd see in dictatorships with no one limiting their power.

Not to mention, your examples weren't so good either. I already addressed the doctor and classroom ones in my last post. Drunk driving results in a lot of deaths, but there's no reason to put cameras in the vehicles of every drunk driver. That would be nearly impossible and accomplishes nothing. When a drunk driver runs over someone, there's no mystery. You can tell right away the idiot was drunk and charge him for driving under the influence. When a cop kills someone, it becomes the word of a person in a position of authority vs the word of the dead victim. Witnesses can only be reliable to a certain extent and its the police themselves who handle the evidence. The killer cop can say any excuse they want to get out of trouble. When an ordinary guy kills or assaults someone, you can sit back and let the police handle it. When it's the police who are breaking the law, it's ridiculous to expect the police to be good guys and arrest themselves. Having video evidence is important in proving or disproving the officer's story.


Kageru77 wrote:

Filming public servants in public places, or in your own residence, should absolutely NOT be illegal. When all the government spying scandals hit the scene I remember hearing them say "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about". Well that same logic should apply.


Exactly. The government wants to spy on us but then they make it illegal for us to keep an eye on them? That only invites more suspicion and distrust. If an officer does their job right and keeps the peace rather than disturbing the peace, they have nothing to hide. They shouldn't be worried about anything. It's the ones who have bad records that are scared of being exposed.
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Posted 3/16/15

justanotherguy_2005 wrote:


PhantomGundam wrote:


justanotherguy_2005 wrote:

Body cameras on all uniformed police should be mandatory. Both for the good of the police and the citizens. They also need to find a way where the camera automatically begins recording at a certain point and shuts off at a certain point. Some kind of system so the cop just can't conveniently forget to turn on his body camera when something goes wrong.


It should always be on when the cop is on duty and turned off when they get off from work. That way it won't interfere with their private lives.


It would be nice but I think the main arguments against that is the cops right to having private conversations and bathroom breaks and stuff. They would need to be allowed to turn the cameras off at those times. That also presents a good opportunity to "forget" to turn them back on and stuff. I think there is also an issue with just the amount of hard drive space needed to keep those recordings for any length of time. I would assume these cameras are going to be good quality which means the space needed could be quite massive. I think the current plan for them is to just have police switch them on when they are responding to calls. I don't really trust it but it's a step in the right direction at the very least.


do they have a right to private conversation while on duty?
i think that is debatable, meaning i don't know.
one could also simply turn them off at agreed times, as for bathroom breaks, with some careful camera placement that shouldn't be that big of a concern, if it is, have central turn it off for the 5 minutes it will take.

in any case it should be mandatory by law to have such a unit operational while on active duty, forgetting shouldn't be an acceptable excuse.

you are right that data storage does become problematic if you want cinema quality video, not so much for functional video, gopro's deliver footage much better than many dash cams and do so for a measly 150mb pr hour after acceptable compression, any flash played video probably experiences worse during playback.
that means the average price for an 8 hour shift will be less than 2 usd in harddrive space if you buy a new harddrive for all of your data.
Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15

oodain wrote:



do they have a right to private conversation while on duty?
i think that is debatable, meaning i don't know.
one could also simply turn them off at agreed times, as for bathroom breaks, with some careful camera placement that shouldn't be that big of a concern, if it is, have central turn it off for the 5 minutes it will take.

in any case it should be mandatory by law to have such a unit operational while on active duty, forgetting shouldn't be an acceptable excuse.

you are right that data storage does become problematic if you want cinema quality video, not so much for functional video, gopro's deliver footage much better than many dash cams and do so for a measly 150mb pr hour after acceptable compression, any flash played video probably experiences worse during playback.
that means the average price for an 8 hour shift will be less than 2 usd in harddrive space if you buy a new harddrive for all of your data.


I think they do have a right. They are people too and I know I wouldn't like it if every conversation I have while at work was recorded. I may not be a police officer but I think every job should allow privacy enough for personal conversations and stuff. People have things on their minds that they like to talk about at work especially police with their partners and stuff. I can't imagine being forced to keep stuff in if it was really bothering me just because I didn't want everyone to know about it.

I agree about camera placements and ways around those other issues though. I was just stating that I think that is the main arguments being used against them in a lot of places. The argument of it being a danger to the cop is also being used but in my opinion if I am the type to target a cop in the first place I don't really need the cop to do something I deem wrong to make me go off and do something.

Forgot to add that while we see ways around the issues that are brought up the people in charge of implementing the system still like to argue about it and try to find ways on why it won't work just because they might oppose it.
Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15
Unless outright fabrication is a concern, I don't see the issue. The media will use what they have and as with everything, there is truth to be found in the middle of an exaggeration or twist.

Unlikely for the camera to capture erroneous data.
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Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15
hmmm I wonder why they would ban the act of recording the police... down south... where racism is prevalent... hmm... the tea is hot

OF COURSE IT SHOULD BE LEGAL then again eric garner's murder got caught on tape and the police still got off scot free so they don't even need to implement such an obviously racist idiotic 'law'
Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15
Officers performing their jobs in a public space don't have any reasonable expectation of privacy (same as anyone else) and people should be able to record them as long as they don't interfere. They are public servants after all, and given the power and deference they are given by the legal system and the Supreme Court pretty much making "protect and serve" optional they should absolutely be subject to scrutiny and public recording is part of that.
Posted 3/16/15
I'm against people causing a scene (especially those annoying demonstrations). These are short term and these people just go and jump on the next wagon that's on the road in no time.

Find better use of your time, such as helping the families involved fight for whatever justice they seek.
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Posted 3/16/15
Absolutely not.

This is the sort of behavior one would expect in a police state, not a democratic republic.
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Posted 3/16/15
If you are on your own or public property you can tape anything you want; unless you are directly obstructing the police in carring out their duty's. The American constitution should over rule state laws.
Posted 3/16/15 , edited 3/16/15

deer wrote:

hmmm I wonder why they would ban the act of recording the police... down south... where racism is prevalent... hmm... the tea is hot

OF COURSE IT SHOULD BE LEGAL then again eric garner's murder got caught on tape and the police still got off scot free so they don't even need to implement such an obviously racist idiotic 'law'


It's also not something that should be relied upon. The camera, what it captures is impersonal. It might even, despite helping your case, be a hindrance if you're not thinking about how the other side will take you down.
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