"You know what? You're gonna go to jail."
June 22, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Rochester, NY woman arrested for videotaping police from her front yard. Because cops have civil rights too?. Because "you have to stand somewhere while videotaping, right?" In this case, it's apparently obstructing governmental administration. Previously: [1], [2], [3].
posted by kanuck (398 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Victorian (Australia) police uniform is busy being revamped into a copy of the New York uniform. Stories like this make that bother me more than I feel is reasonable.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 4:57 PM on June 22, 2011


He clearly told her to make him a sandwich. She wouldn't have gotten arrested if she just went and made him a sandwich.
posted by Nomyte at 5:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


"The only person doing any harassing here is Mr. Allison, who was harassing our public officials with his tape recorder," Wiseman says. "They may have problems with some bad police officers in some of your urban areas. But we don’t have those problems around here. All of our cops around here are good cops. This is a small town. Everyone knows everyone. If we had a bad police officer here, we’d know about it, I’d know about it, and he’d be out. There’s just no reason for anyone to feel they need to record police officers in Crawford County."

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Are you aware of the dumbshit words coming out of your mouth, Mr. Wiseman?
posted by axiom at 5:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [40 favorites]


Not very often that Rochester gets onto the front page. I hope the judge slaps this down.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:01 PM on June 22, 2011


Stand up and fight this shit Americans, or kiss your rights goodbye.
posted by birdhaus at 5:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [40 favorites]


There’s just no reason for anyone to feel they need to record police officers in Crawford County

If the cops aren't doing anything wrong, then what are they even worried about, right?
posted by elizardbits at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [101 favorites]


Mazzeo says what can't be ignored is the danger police find themselves in on a daily basis and says the fact that she's on her property is insignificant.

What? How is someone with a camera on their front lawn adding to "the danger police find themselves in"? Can they issue an order to have me stop looking at them funny now, too?
posted by Hoopo at 5:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Things like this happen and people just don't feel safe with police anymore. It doesn't take much for the public trust to completely slip. Criminalizing what should be completely legal recording, audio or video, in public spaces (now from private spaces) only serves to erode whatever trust is left. A lot of people's knee jerk is that cops are not to be trusted.

Leaving Peacefest in Chicago on Sunday I heard someone call the police "cockroaches", I thought, cockroaches? Are you kidding? The police were cockroaches because they asked people to clear the park at 9 p.m., when the festival ended, as advertised. After letting people hang out for three days and smoke whatever they wanted with very little interference. Cockroaches though. But you can see why when stories like the above linked and that in the FPP are circulated. This is, apparently, how some police react to that erosion of trust, with an iron-fisted crackdown on the untrusting. Not good.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


what is his probable cause for entering her property? The fact that he doesn't feel safe? That's right up there with "it sounds like someone might be destroying evidence in there". There used to be lawyers out there like William Kuntsler who used to take up these cases and make them high profile as a warning to others who wanted to trample the Constitution. I guess they figured out they could get rid of all the radical lawyers by turning 3 years of law school into a mortgage.
posted by any major dude at 5:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


If a police officer is so insecure that he "doesn't feel safe" while being videotaped, then perhaps they're not psychologically capable of doing the job which is required?

Those cops LITERALLY need their heads examined.
posted by mikelieman at 5:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [26 favorites]


It's good to know that someone who is fearful of video equipment is allowed to wield a firearm.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [52 favorites]


I'm proud of her for doing what she did, regardless of why she did it, because it doesn't matter why she did it. She had every right to do it. The "Go into your house because I told you to" is nothing more than police state talk.
posted by Malice at 5:12 PM on June 22, 2011 [30 favorites]


Ah, I didn't hear about this. I used to live a few blocks from there. I just asked my old roommate to expand on the story and all he says is, "We live in a police state. Just another abuse of power by the RPD."
posted by MrFTBN at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2011


I'm proud of her for doing what she did, regardless of why she did it, because it doesn't matter why she did it.

Seriously. If it were me, I'd do it just to force the judge to lay down a precedent that the RPD has to follow.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


With the help of the ACLU, a man is countersuing after a similar arrest in Massachusetts.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


The "Go into your house because I told you to" is nothing more than police state talk.

Seriously, that's about when I'd invite over all my friends for a gleeful disco costume party where we reenact the George Michael video for Outside.
posted by elizardbits at 5:19 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Being a police officer is a hard, dangerous, and often thankless job. I don't envy them. So we give police a lot of license about what they can do as far as giving them some pretty generous interpretations of what they can do. That's the deal. Too often police officers don't get this. They think that because they can get away with doing something it is fine to do. That they are entitled to obedience. That they can enforce respect. Fuck that. They need to know that they are the ones endangering the lives of police officers. They are the one violating the spirit of a fucking truce. And by being officious petty tyrants they are jeopardizing the privileges that are there to save the lives of police officers who are actually in situations where something other than their egos are in danger.
posted by I Foody at 5:19 PM on June 22, 2011 [36 favorites]


Stare says what it all boils down to is this. “Lawful orders should be obeyed. I think the question is whether or not it was a lawful order."

Can a lawyer weigh in on this? When are people legally required to obey police orders (The moral issue aside)?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know half the country would support this fine man in uniform. He's a cop, and good Americans respect and worship authority.

This is where we've gotten. A law officer pulls this kind of shit and most people go meh.

How do we get back to our founding principles? Our real founding principles, not the made up bootlicking Tea Bagger version? Cops are employees, not bosses. Mayors and governors and congresspeople and presidents are fucking employees, not bosses.

Every time we allow them to just rule by fiat, we encourage them to do it again.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:23 PM on June 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


From the local news website:

"The fundamental question being debated here is this -- should she have been forced to follow a police officer's order or was she lawfully within her rights to remain on her front lawn?"

If you have to ask that question, you're probably going to end up with the wrong answer. If an officer of the law asks you to move off of your own property, they'd better have a very strong case for doing so. If a public servant doesn't want their activities to be recorded, go get a different job. You have a right to privacy as a private citizen, not as a government employee entrusted with the duties of a police officer.

And what do they say every time we protest police cameras in public areas? I guess we're not the only ones with things to hide.
posted by notion at 5:26 PM on June 22, 2011 [38 favorites]


We can complain about this kind of bullshit as much as we like, but if we ever stood a chance at actually ending this shit and turning things around, they would (and do) come down on you like a ton of bricks.

You're free to have free speech only as long as it's not going to change anything.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


When are people legally required to obey police orders (The moral issue aside)?

I'm watching the video and all I've heard from the police so far are requests - no orders. The officer repeatedly and clearly stated that he was merely "asking" her to go in the house. Even when he threatened to arrest her, he specifically referenced his request as having "asked" her, not having ordered her.

That cop should be fired.
posted by The World Famous at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2011 [27 favorites]


I remember when the Balko piece first came out and this statement appeared:

You have 960,000 police officers in this country, and millions of contacts between those officers and citizens. I’ll bet you can’t name 10 incidents where a citizen video has shown a police officer to have lied on a police report," Pasco says.

And then someone, I want to say someone on the blue, went through and dug up twenty incidents in one year where this exact scenario had occurred. And of course now I can't find the post. But yeah, if you have a moment, you do this country a great service by rolling tape on any police stop.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:31 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't actually care much for people who deliberately stand in their front yards videotaping police officers, often enough just so that they can get hassled and make a statement about the MAN. It's pretty juvenile and petty and doesn't actually promote civil society or engender trust.

So I don't have much sympathy for the woman as an individual, she pretty much got exactly what she was looking for.

However, that's far less unconscionable than what the police did - yes she set out to provoke a reaction, but yes the reaction that she was looking for was atrocious. Why do cops think that just because they've got a big shiny uniform and a big shiny gun that they're above the law? Pretty obvious psychology of course, but I hope and expect that the policeman who did this is severely reprimanded and sent off for a lot more cultural training. And the chief of police apologises to the woman (even though she was being a dick).
posted by wilful at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


How do we get back to our founding principles? Our real founding principles, not the made up bootlicking Tea Bagger version? Cops are employees, not bosses. Mayors and governors and congresspeople and presidents are fucking employees, not bosses.

I'm waaaay over on the other side of the spectrum but it seems to me a significant portion of the extreme right are intensely and deliberately mistrustful of any government authority, of any regulation, rule, or restriction. There can be lot of pride for our brave men and women in uniform, to be sure, but not when those men and women are enforcing seat belt, helmet, or gun laws (to say nothing of integrating our schools). Then you've got the folks who think taxes, money, driver licensing, etc. are somehow fundamentally unlawful. These people don't trust the government, implicitly or otherwise.
posted by Songdog at 5:34 PM on June 22, 2011


We might be able to trust our police officers more if people like this weren't constantly stealing their souls with these infernal moving picture contraptions! If more and more police are becoming soulless authoritarian automatons, we have only ourselves to blame.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Support your Local Police
For a more efficient Police State

-PKD
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:42 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


The obvious response is for everybody to just record cops on your cellphone EVERY TIME YOU SEE THEM.
posted by unSane at 5:45 PM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Songdog : but not when those men and women are enforcing seat belt, helmet, or gun laws (to say nothing of integrating our schools).

"One of these THINGS is nooooot like the others"... That you equate those four concepts speaks volumes to convey that you don't "get" why someone might reasonably object to the first 2.5 of them.

The first two absolutely infringe on my deity-given right to mangle my body, crush my skull and disfigure myself in an accident if I damned well want to. You can tell me all the statistics and gory details you want, but it simply has nothing to do with you, so butt out, end of discussion (and hey, if it really poses that much of a risk, those who don't wear either should tidily remove themselves from the gene pool, right?). And for the record, I say that as someone who does wear a seat belt. Yes, I consider it worth the nuissance; I really don't care if you want to wear one or not, but I will definitely defend your right to not have Uncle Sam waste your tax dollars telling you to "click it or ticket it".

The third, yes, to a degree this counts as a matter of public safety (though I would argue the same point from the opposite direction you intended), but it also counts as a matter of civics. We have the right to bear arms not for such mundane tasks as hunting or self defense or sport, but to overthrow the government when it becomes too oppressive... For example, when it becomes common practice for police to tell you that you need to stop witnessing their crimes and leave your own front lawn or go to jail.

And the last one... Yup, let's just brand all conservatives as racists and call it a day, right?
posted by pla at 5:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's not the people who tidiily remove themselves from the gene pool, pla, it's the fuckwits who mangle themselves and destroy their cognitive ability but stick around to be a drain on the public purse. Of course you wouldn't be one of those if you went through a windshield, woudl you?

I suppose if we got a chit from you such a person saying we could put you such a person in a bag and drown you such a person in a lake if that happened, I'd be OK with you such a person skipping the whole seatbelt thing.
posted by unSane at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


If a police officer is so insecure that he "doesn't feel safe" while being videotaped, then perhaps they're not psychologically capable of doing the job which is required?

I've heard this from police in several locales recently, most notably at the Toronto G20 summit where the cop felt threatened by the girl blowing soap bubbles. I think it's an adaptation they've learned to use to provide cover for blocking citizen watchdogs. Just say you don't feel safe & you can shut them down.
posted by scalefree at 5:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't actually care much for people who deliberately stand in their front yards videotaping police officers, often enough just so that they can get hassled and make a statement about the MAN. It's pretty juvenile and petty and doesn't actually promote civil society or engender trust.
Actually it's called not having the same worldview as you plaa. Way to go with the reasoned debate.

I'm with willful on this one. Staying inside, being quiet, and never protesting the destruction of their core liberties is the way most Americans promote civil society.
posted by notion at 6:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


wilful : Actually it's called not having the same worldview as you plaa. Way to go with the reasoned debate.

Insofar as I actually do believe in private property rights, correct. We have different worldviews. I apologize for calling you a troll, when I merely disagree that the police have or should have the power to say "boo" to a citizen legally occupying their own front yard. Have or should have the power to ban their employers (you and I) from observing and reporting on their own crimes-in-progress. Have or should have the power to "order" you to do a goddamned thing (other than to put your hands behind your back and bend over the hood) without the signature of a real live judge in their hands.
posted by pla at 6:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


pla, I wasn't arguing the merits of seat belt, helmet, or gun laws. The area of civil liberties is likely where we have the most political beliefs in common. I was responding to Benny's assertion that Tea Party conservatives tend to have bootlicking, subservient feelings about cops. I don't think that's true.

Nor do I think that all racists are conservative (or vice versa, for heaven's sake). My intended point was that people's feelings about the police may have more to do with their feelings about the rules the police are enforcing. But I don't think I said that very well, and it was probably a poor choice of example. I apologize for the implication.
posted by Songdog at 6:03 PM on June 22, 2011


For those who wish to participate in citizen watchdog monitoring while minimizing personal risk, I give you OpenWatch, a participatory citizen media project which uses mobile technology to enable public monitoring of authority figures while maintaining user anonymity.
posted by scalefree at 6:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Just so the rest of you recognize it in the future, MeFi, "trolling" means this. I really do no understand this statement--I do not see the response as anymore provocative than many other posts. I have to tell you, I favored this post because I agreed with essential elements of it. I certainly object, and condemn the polices action, but I also agree with much in the post. It us out of the mainstream o fmany of the responses but it certainly is not heretical, outrageous, or obviously soliciting an emotional reaction from other readers. Thanks
posted by rmhsinc at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2011


unSane : I suppose if we got a chit from you such a person saying we could put you such a person in a bag and drown you such a person in a lake if that happened, I'd be OK with you such a person skipping the whole seatbelt thing.

You even need to ask? Consider that permission granted, unconditionally, to everyone I know, everyone on MeFi, everyone on the planet! :)

If I end up drooling in a hospital bed for life, consider this me begging you, before the fact, to put me down.
posted by pla at 6:05 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "We can complain about this kind of bullshit as much as we like, but if we ever stood a chance at actually ending this shit and turning things around, they would (and do) come down on you like a ton of bricks.

You're free to have free speech only as long as it's not going to change anything.
"

That's what I always say about the "right to keep and bear arms" crowd (especially the "we'll need it in a revolution") -- if you were a real threat you wouldn't be there.
posted by symbioid at 6:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


SongdogI apologize for the implication.

No, no, re-reading it, I sound way cranky than I intended. I don't quite know what got me wound up tonight, but I need to log off for now. So please, accept my apologies.


I still disagree with wilful, though, but retract my "troll" comment.
posted by pla at 6:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The authoritarian powers given to the police during the 70s and 80s to quarantine so-called minority neighborhoods has inevitably begun to leak out in the last 15 years or so. Remember how controversial Fuck tha Police was when it came out? That's because shit like this was confined to poverty-stricken, mostly so-called minority neighborhoods. The only reason this sort of stuff is reaching public consciousness is because it has been happening to the middle-class. Being poor was/is essentially considered a crime. But now the middle class is starting to get the same treatment.

The problem is this sort of stuff is like a genie; once it's out it's impossible to put back in.
posted by milarepa at 6:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Let's all get together, black and white, liberal and conservative, drink illegal moonshine and videotape some cops!
posted by Songdog at 6:10 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just so folks don't get confused with the Maryland incident, Rochester NY is a port city, home to a major tech university, and Kodak's R&D center, which is megatitanic. It's metro area is the 51st largest in the nation, right after Salt Lake City, and ahead of Tuscon, Fresno and Baton Rouge.

These ain't no small-town cops. They should fucking know better.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I posted my previous comment before I read your comment pla, I swear! I'm not trying to pick a fight!!!
posted by symbioid at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2011


I've heard this from police in several locales recently, most notably at the Toronto G20 summit where the cop felt threatened by the girl blowing soap bubbles. I think it's an adaptation they've learned to use to provide cover for blocking citizen watchdogs. Just say you don't feel safe & you can shut them down.

Yes, precisely. It's like in football, when one player runs past another from the opposing team, brushing shoulders, and the guy drops to the ground, clutching his shoulder desperately, grimacing in great pain ... prompting a red card. It's not sincere; it's a tactic to get your opponent taken off the field.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'd like to see a case like this make its way up the vine to the Supreme Court. I'm curious how this case would be analyzed by liberal and conservative judges in light of the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:14 PM on June 22, 2011


I'd like to see a case like this make its way up the vine to the Supreme Court.

Ha ha ha. Have you seen the Supreme Court recently?
posted by unSane at 6:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Have you seen the Supreme Court recently?

No, they don't allow people to film them.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:16 PM on June 22, 2011 [41 favorites]


Can anyone here give a legal analysis of whether or not this woman was within her rights to stand on her lawn and videotape?

I'd be interested in the answer, whatever you think it may be. Seriously. I confess I didn't take criminal procedure, and know very little about this area of the law generally.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 6:16 PM on June 22, 2011


Have you seen the Supreme Court recently?

I have, and that's part of the reason why. I'd like to see how the conservative side uses the Constitution to say that you can arrest people with cameras on their own property for filming police; and how the liberal side will use jurisprudence to show that it's totally within a person's rights. And I'm curious which side Kennedy will fall on.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:19 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do cops think that just because they've got a big shiny uniform and a big shiny gun that they're above the law?

You've answered your own question.

You know, I get video'd everytime I enter the property of my company; there are security cams at all entrances and inside the building too. I don't particularly like them, but I can't actually say they prevent me from doing my job.

Neither can this douche.
posted by emjaybee at 6:19 PM on June 22, 2011


I am moved to remark on the poise with which that woman conducted herself. She was remarkably calm in the face of the potential use of force against her; this potential was actualized, and she still maintained her dignity. She was doing all of us a service.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 6:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was responding to Benny's assertion that Tea Party conservatives tend to have bootlicking, subservient feelings about cops. I don't think that's true.

Actually, I said authority, not cops, and I stand by the assertion.

God, guns and guts is still the overwhelming attitude. They may have a problem with government-run health care, but where's the outrage over the Patriot Act? They are against government meddling if the government allows abortion, but it's a whole 'nother can 'o worms if the government is prohibiting abortion.

People all across the spectrum can feel that way, of course. But the Tea Party, in particular, has an entire litany of made-up American history backing up their viewpoints.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:21 PM on June 22, 2011


Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

People are quite right being nervous about the cops when they can't use a camera from the privacy of their own property.

The only reason some cops don't want to be video recorded is because then they can't get away with the things they really want to do, which would probably get them suspended, fired, or end up in court.
posted by bwg at 6:22 PM on June 22, 2011


If you don't want to be videotaped doing your job, it's probably because you're not doing your job right.
posted by localroger at 6:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


There are numerous reference, in these posts, and others that confidence in the police/law enforcement is eroding, or should be, because of increasingly totalitarian tactics. I don't believe these perceptions accurately reflect he public's view. While there are clear socioeconomic differences in the trust and credibility of law enforcement the differences do not appear as glaring, or the lack of confidence so ubiquitous,as reflected in mefi. I am more than willing to see hard data to challenge this but I could not find it. In fact I found the contrary and some evidence that confidence in the police has been increasing since the 1970. A broader search of Google also did not immediately turn up data to support an increasing lack of trust or confidence.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I end up drooling in a hospital bed for life, consider this me begging you, before the fact, to put me down.

Phew! I'm glad you cleared that up, for a minute I was worried we might need to refer that hypothetical to the Death Panel
posted by Hoopo at 6:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fucking police state.
posted by kdar at 6:30 PM on June 22, 2011


The solution to this problem is to have more cameras recording police officers.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Without reading the article (my apologies) one difference between workplace security cams and videotaping is the latter has audio, and for some reason that I don't understand, making a talkie is somehow more restricted than a silent movie.
posted by zippy at 6:31 PM on June 22, 2011


for some reason that I don't understand

The law they are abusing in this case mentions only wiretapping, which is audio surveillance.
posted by localroger at 6:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just watched about 15 hours of a 135 hour TV program about a cruise up the Norwegian coast, with about 35 stops at different ports along the way. At each port the townsfolk turned out to wave flags and entertain the cruise ship and passengers. I saw ONE (that's right 1) police officer at one port. The rest of the ports had no police in view. If that was in this country you would not have been able to see the citizens for the police at all the ports. Just shows what a free country looks like.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 6:33 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There have been plenty of stories already where still photographs + police officers = no no.

It isn't a thing about talking. It is a thing about the radical difference in meaning a recording has over something merely described. More simply put: it functions as evidence and not anecdote.

Police officers know how a recording can make or break a case in court cases, they aren't stupid.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:34 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, I know folks have all kinds of strong opinons about cops and civil liberties and such but please keep it to a simmer in here.]
posted by cortex at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2011


I just wonder what these fuckwits will do when cameras get small, cheap, ubiquitous, and inconspicuous enough that you can't even tell someone has a hat or eyeglasses or sports water bottle that is also a cam. Written about first IME by David Brin in his novel Earth.
posted by localroger at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still can't believe that in some jurisdictions police officers aren't even required to videotape interrogations.
posted by smithsmith at 6:36 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, everyone who feels outraged and terrified: try to capture a photo of a police officer whenever you can. Just do it casually, don't be a dick about it. Like, there is a pretty flower you are taking, and a police officer, take a picture of both. It is a digital era, it is not like it costs you any. When you upload your photos, put your friendly police officer on the flickr, or tumblr or wherever it is you hip cats upload photos to. Maybe tag it with their name on it, especially if you can read his badge on your fancy high res camera. If you can extract their badge number, then that is even better! Put it on there. Who knows, maybe someone will suffer police brutality and be unable to identify the man until they come across your picture, thus helping secure their victory in a court case that would otherwise be futile.

Asymmetrical loss of privacy is infinitely worse than a total loss of privacy. Close the circle.
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:39 PM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


I think New Orleans is getting set to require cameras on everything cops do. Unfortunately we have good reason for taking such "extreme" measures.
posted by localroger at 6:40 PM on June 22, 2011


Yeah, this is really pissing me off. I've made my own stand for personal liberties. I'll tell you a little story.

About a year ago, a friend of mine asked me to drop her off at the bus station at 9:30PM to get an intercity bus. I told her the station is closed at that hour, and you have to wait outside in a not-so-good neighborhood, I'm sure as hell not dropping you off, I'll wait with you until the bus comes.

So I park my car about a half block away and I wait with her. She's a short black girl about 24 dressed in a weird anime-inspired hoodie with floppy Pokemon ears, and I'm a tall white guy in his 50s, wearing black jeans and a black leather jacket. So as we're standing there waiting, a cop from the downtown bike patrol rolls up. They hired some cops to patrol downtown on bikes to stop sexual assaults on coeds walking home. But they're a little off their turf here. A cop comes up to me, he's wearing a ridiculous outfit with a silly bike helmet, he's a foot shorter than me, and has a ridiculous porn moustache. I can hardly stop from laughing at him. He comes up to me and says, "Can I see your ID?" In a deliberately calm, almost offhanded tone, I flatly say, "no." He says I have to. I say that this state doesn't have any law requiring me to show my papers, this isn't a Terry Stop, I'm on the public pavement and I don't need to show papers. He insists I do. I insist I don't, I'd just looked it up after reading of some similar incident online. He says that I match the description of a wanted felon who was reported in this area. I said, "yeah right, what was his description." And the cop literally looks me from bottom to top, describing ME, "the suspect was wearing black shoes, black jeans, a leather jacket, a white shirt, short hair with grey around his temples, wearing eyeglasses." I said I didn't believe him, and that description matched thousands of people in this town. The cop insisted if I don't identify myself, he'll just take me to jail for obstruction of justice. I tell him if he does that, he'll look pretty damn stupid when they book me and find out you arrested the wrong suspect, for no legitimate reason. Cop gets up on his tiptoes (!!!) and puts his nose right in my face, and starts screaming at me, "I'm not backing down! You're going to show me ID right now!" I can tell he's just dying for me to take a swing at him, but I refuse to even get bothered, which seems to upset him even more. So I tell him, I'll compromise. I'll verbally identify myself but I will not show ID, and I tell him my name. He says that's not good enough.

Meanwhile, bike cop's partner is harassing my friend. She's freaking out, since she's from the inner city and I suppose she's been harassed by cops most of her life. She takes the cop down the block and shows him my car, the cop runs my plates, and of course it matches the name I gave the cop. Ooh I wish she hadn't done that, she wasn't required to, and it undermined my whole point. But oh well.

Despite me giving my name and it matching the name my car is registered under, bike cop refuses to back down. He keeps screaming at me, "I'm not backing down!" I basically dare him to arrest me, which would obviously be pretty stupid if I actually WAS a wanted felon, and he damn well knows this. I tell him, "well I guess you'll have to arrest me because I'm not going to show you my ID." He keeps glaring at me, at one point he gets up on his tippy toes again and is yelling in my face so close I can feel the spittle, and he bumps chests with me. I actually snort with laughter, which I can tell is not giving this short cop with an obvious inferiority complex, the feeling he wants, of dominating me. He insists I stay right where I am while he calls for backup. I tell him I haven't moved 1 foot for the last 10 minutes, I'm waiting for the bus with my friend and I'm staying here until the bus comes.

So as I wait there with 2 ridiculous bike cops glaring at me, my friend freaking out quietly, in a cool evening, over the next 15 minutes, 4 patrol cars and 10 officers arrive on scene. In fact, there's so many damn cops that when the intercity bus comes, it just drives off, thinking there's some major crime in progress. I steadfastly refuse to show my ID to every cop, including a couple who I know from chatting with them while on patrol downtown. Finally a sergeant arrives on scene. He says, "Oh, I know your family. Do you know 'Chuck ****?" I say sure I do, that's my uncle, my dad named me after his brother Chuck. He said, "Oh, you're Frank's son." I said, "of course, when I gave my full name VERBALLY, I said my middle name was Frank. That was my dad's name."

So now the cops are starting to get the idea, this bike cop has been harassing a completely innocent citizen, in fact, a son of a well known local businessman. The Sergeant asks me "are you SURE you don't want to just help us out and show your ID?" I said, "I most definitely do not. I didn't just do this so the City could squander police resources on a wild goose chase. I did this to stand up for my civil rights. I'm an employee of the State, it is my job to uphold people's civil rights, just like your job. And we take civil rights very seriously, you might remember our State Motto, 'Our Liberties we Prize..'" And to my astonishment, the cop finishes for me, "..And our Rights We Will Maintain." I ask if I'm free to leave, and he asks me to stay for a moment while he smoothes things out with Bike Cop. I tell him that he probably realizes that I feel like I deserve an apology, while I also realize I'm not going to get one.

The Sergeant goes over to Bike Cop, who starts yelling at him, "I'm not backing down!!" Well apparently he received orders to back down. I am free to go. Bike Cop glares at me again, puts on his ridiculous styrofoam helment, and rolls off. I give my friend a ride back to her place, she's jittery, but I'm not. She has to take the bus the next day.

Now this wasn't the last time I saw this cop downtown. I'm at the Public Library a few weeks later, setting up an early polling site, working for the County, I'm the Precinct Chairman. And under a newly passed State law, I am officially given police powers of arrest, and empowered to detain and arrest anyone who disrupts the polling place. And in the midst of this setup, while a designated County official is required to be present to watch us count the blank ballots, Bike Cop comes in and starts yelling and having a fit. He yells at the County official that he has to move the County Vehicle RIGHT NOW. I haven't seen who it was, my back was turned, and as I turn towards Bike Cop, he sees me and I can see him freeze, he's stunned to see me, and I'm wearing a big badge with my name written on it and logos for the County with CHAIRMAN on it. I start yelling at him, "Hey, it's YOU. I've had trouble with YOU before! We are COUNTY employees, we outrank you, you're just a CITY employee. You have no right to tell a County employee to move his car, he's required by State Law to be present right now. He'd break the law if he left. And under State Law, I have the power to arrest YOU, if you don't stop disrupting our polling site RIGHT NOW. I'll arrest you and call the Chief of Police if you don't leave NOW." And I pick up my phone and turn it on. Bike Cop looks at me with that deer-stunned-in-the-headlights look and stammers, "Y--Y--Yeah, y-y-you do that," and almost runs out the door. Ha!

Now the other pollworkers are like 80 year old retirees and they are stunned, one of them tells me I shouldn't talk to cops like that. And I say, "well I just did. That's my job as Precinct Chairman." After the polls are open and things are set, I told the County official my history with Bike Cop, he laughs and laughs.

So until we meet again, Bike Cop. You really ought to get some other job that doesn't involve dealing with the public.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [231 favorites]


Bike cops do have an attitude of need.
charlie, this wasn't Jacksonville was it because those will ticket you twice just to hassle you. Other then that never had a problem with a cop.
posted by clavdivs at 6:59 PM on June 22, 2011


Hell, in our neighborhood, talking on your mobile phone while driving is a ticketable offense (I actually agree with this legislation). Now, let me tell you how many times I wish I had been quick enough to snap a picture of the local police driving by, talking on their phones.

I know lots of great police officers, but I'm really, really, really starting to believe they are the small minority.
posted by tgrundke at 6:59 PM on June 22, 2011


charlie don't surf--From my point of view your story would have been much more compelling if you had left off the information about the policeman's height vis a vis yours, his mustache, his helmet, your coolness in the face of potential conflict and your father's business success. I am not sure what that had to do with your civil liberties but it makes a good story to tell to friends.
posted by rmhsinc at 7:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


He clearly told her to make him a sandwich. She wouldn't have gotten arrested if she just went and made him a sandwich.

He wasn't in the sudoers file, so this incident was reported.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


The point, rmhsinc, was to highlight the cop's differential in position. He was obviously a short cop with an inferiority complex and a gun, and desperate to prove that he was more important than a mall security guard (which is where most of the bike cops came from). But more importantly, he had no legal right to arrest me, and he had no way of legally forcing me to comply. The only thing he could do was try to bully me into compliance. Once he failed to make me cower in fear, he was determined to break me. He failed. Later on, when the law was on my side, I broke him. The point of mentioning my father (who is retired) is that the Sergeant knew him personally, and thus knew enough about my family to verify that I was telling the truth.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2011


A person should be free to stand anywhere in their yard and video in any direction at any time. She should not have been arrested, and that is ridiculous bullshit.

But can you not hear in her voice that she knew exactly what she was doing, right from the beginning? He asked to step back, and she started talking about her rights. It will not go as you might hope it will go in court. They will say "he never asked you to stop videotaping, he asked you to step inside while they were making a stop. He even explained why he wanted you to do this."

Whether they felt she was initially too close for safety or not, the cop ended up being douchey; and she was also douchey right from the beginning. Can you hear it? Even as she's being pulled away her voice is an odd mix of surprise and performance.
posted by rahnefan at 7:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


charlie, I think it might have been a better story if it didn't appear to end with "do you know who I am" as a punchline.
posted by pwnguin at 7:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And why exactly are rights somehow contingent on not being douchey?
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


an odd mix of surprise and performance

Ah. Justified Righteousness. Nobody recognizes it anymore.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re-read please. I think I clearly stated the arrest was wrong.
posted by rahnefan at 7:15 PM on June 22, 2011


Is there some weird US law about public videotaping I'm not aware of? (I'm asking honestly). From what I understand, in Canada it is perfectly legal to videotape or photograph people in a public space where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy. I read that on a photography forum once.

If that cop HONESTLY thought that the woman was a threat to him in any shape or form, then he is completely incompetent and unable to perform his duties. If not, well...
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:15 PM on June 22, 2011


Reminds me of The Office of Community Sousveillance - scroll down for the video. I think everyone should join in.

To the few people saying she deserved it for being a dick - I completely disagree, if it weren't for people keeping track of the police Simon Harwood would have gotten away with murder manslaughter, oh wait he probably will anyway.
posted by pmcp at 7:20 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But now the middle class is starting to get the same treatment.

What middle class?
posted by notreally at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK, another little story. I was driving to an sports event at a big stadium recently. Typically confused traffic setup entering the parking lot. I'm pulling up in the assigned lane when about 30 yards in front of me I see two cops, standing side by side. One is waving for me to proceed into the left lane. The other is holding his hands up for me to stop. I pull tentatively forward, and as I do so the second cop starts screaming: "Hey, you, I told you to STOP. STOP NOW! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Meanwhile, his partner is still waving me on. I pull forward a little further, whereupon the second cop starts storming over to me. I point through my windshield at his partner. He finally turns and sees, and I yell to him, "Your buddy was waving me on!" to which he responds, "SHUT UP!" and walks past to the next car.

I pulled ahead and proceeded to the parking lot, burning up at how I was treated. The thought had momentarily occurred to me to stop and take the officer's badge, but then I imagined he'd just escalate the issue and ultimately I'd be pushed up against the car and handcuffed for "interfering with an officer" while my wife and kids looked on, and I'd miss the game for which I'd just traveled four hours and spend hundreds of dollars.

It's still bugging me two weeks later. I think, overall, the cops have succeeded in achieving an untouchable level of authority in this country, especially since 9/11, all clothed in the flag and love of country. Citizens hesitate or fear outright to assert their rights. It's sickening, really.
posted by stargell at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


charlie, I think it might have been a better story if it didn't appear to end with "do you know who I am" as a punchline.

It didn't. It ended with "hey, I know who you are" from the Sergeant. But the point of the story was all about the police trying to force me to identify who I am, and I maintained I didn't need to because I am a innocent, law abiding citizen. And in fact, I was there to protect a friend at that very moment. I condensed my conversation with the Sergeant in the interest of brevity, but to clarify, I told him I swore an oath to the State Constitution just like he did, and I am bound to the same laws as he was, and I was obeying them.

Actually, if I wanted to end the story with a real punchline, I would tell you about how just I spent two months trying to get the Bike Patrol to arrest a guy I know who hangs out downtown panhandling, and know he's a crack dealer and a fugitive with a warrant. And they refused to arrest him, they refused to even ask him for ID.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:25 PM on June 22, 2011


Gotta do this: I was standing outside the secondary school where I worked as a teaching assistant, waiting for a bus, a few minutes before school let out. Two women bike cops were riding by, and I - smiled at them. Just my normal, friendly, not hitting on anyone smile I generally give to anyone I walk by. They were going to pass by, but then they stopped and one of them asked to see some I.D. (the other didn't say a word during the whole wretched experience). Like charlie above - I gave a polite 'no'. I answered some questions, explaining that I worked at the school Like Charlie, I was told they had a report of a suspicious character in the neighbourhood. I stuck to my (utter lack of) guns for a while, but I was getting some adrenaline going. The school let out, and a good crowd of kids then surrounded us.

I wish I had maintained my equanimity and stuck to the rights that have been won and preserved for me over the years, but, as the bus arrived, I succumbed and showed my i.d.

The next day, a socials studies teacher told me that 'you were the subject of my whole class today'. It seems the kids were about evenly split between those that thought I was giving those poor cops a hard time, and those that understood my reluctance to obey arbitrary orders from uniformed, armed officials. The cops certainly shored up the distrust that some kids already held for them.

I only wish I had toughed it out for the duration, whatever that turned out to be.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 7:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


This will be thrown out. As it should be.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:35 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sulla weeps.
posted by clavdivs at 7:36 PM on June 22, 2011


rmhsinc: "charlie don't surf--From my point of view your story would have been much more compelling if you had left off the information about the policeman's height vis a vis yours, his mustache, his helmet, your coolness in the face of potential conflict and your father's business success. I am not sure what that had to do with your civil liberties but it makes a good story to tell to friends."

internet wonk declares story "not compelling", derides details.
posted by boo_radley at 7:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


(Off Topic: My favourite part of MeFi is when people tell stories. Seriously. MOAR!) :-)
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the story is a fucking joke...is that a deriding derail boo?
posted by clavdivs at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Off Topic: My favourite part of MeFi is when people tell stories. Seriously. MOAR!) :-)

Seconded!
posted by -harlequin- at 7:42 PM on June 22, 2011


I spent two months trying to get the Bike Patrol to arrest a guy I know who hangs out downtown panhandling, and know he's a crack dealer and a fugitive with a warrant. And they refused to arrest him, they refused to even ask him for ID.
posted by charlie don't surf


Do you think he might have been a police informant?
posted by jamjam at 7:43 PM on June 22, 2011


That goes against New York's own 'Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation' statutes.
posted by machaus at 7:44 PM on June 22, 2011



OK. Just for fun. Say you are downtown waiting at a bus stop. Cop pulls over and starts writing a ticket. Say a guy is double parked. Now you hold up your cell phone and 'aim' it towards them but not actually taping. Cop asks what you are doing. You say waiting for bus. He says to stop taping him. You say you are not taping him. Where does this lead?
posted by notreally at 7:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you think he might have been a police informant?

Definitely not. I talked to a Sergeant, he said they arrested him before, and they wanted to arrest him and get rid of him again, but they had no probable cause to even make him show ID. Ooh!
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:53 PM on June 22, 2011


notreally: "Where does this lead"

You face-down on the pavement?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:25 PM on June 22, 2011


notreally: "Where does this lead"
A knee in the balls and a charge of "being a total smart-arse".
posted by coriolisdave at 8:30 PM on June 22, 2011


You face-down on the pavement?

Probably not. Probably a night in jail, a charge of "disorderly conduct" (for fun, check out how vague the statutes are in your town), and a conviction of same from a judge who trusts the police's embellished story over yours.

Oh, and an "accidentally" broken phone.
posted by LordSludge at 8:36 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like Cohen's version...

It's their ways to detain, their ways to disgrace,
their knee in your balls and their fist in your face.
Yes and long live the state by whoever it's made,
sir, I didn't see nothing, I was just getting home late.


--

When I was back in my home town (eastern WA, pop. < 9000) over memorial day weekend to visit my mother I discovered that the local PD had replaced their uniforms with camo bdu's. She calls them 'Commando Cops'. That weekend I saw several of them patrolling downtown with their serious expressions and slung M4's. For the 4th I'll be back again, I'll have to stop and take a picture.

My mother also related a story from earlier this spring. One night she heard a helicopter fly low over the house a couple times. A few days later a couple county sheriffs stopped by and asked if they could inspect the back room of the house. Being fairly amenable she let them and they went back and gave the shelves containing her tomato, cucumber and zucchini starts the once over, took a few pictures, thanked her and left. Now I'm pretty sure FLIR was involved and I'm pretty sure that's not allowed but I have no proof and my mom is never one to cause a fuss. I'm just thankful they didn't do a 'no-knock' inspection but I imagine they didn't have a warrant.
posted by the_artificer at 9:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will be thrown out. As it should be.

It will indeed, Ironmouth. Or at least I'd bet that way. She'll be in City Court Monday, so we'll see. But assume she's released. That leaves us with what? A cop who can frighten, arrest and inconvenience a citizen who comitted no crime. Now wanna take bets on whether he suffers any meaningful consequences? Maybe an offical warning and his buddies buy him drinks that night?

The mayor really kills me:

“I look forward to the results of Chief Sheppard’s investigation,” Richards said in a statement Wednesday. “I am not going to prematurely reach a conclusion about what happened or should have happened."

Because he can't watch the video? Jesus, now, I want (former mayor) Bill Johnson back.

Here is an indymedia account by one of the people with her, for what it's worth.

Good, BTW, is somewhat of an activist. She's already got some community service hours pending for being part of a foreclosure protest
posted by tyllwin at 9:49 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Said the Chief of Police: "I see an officer using great restraint, maintaining composure, acting professional, clearly giving very clear and concise orders to an individual who just simply didn't comply."

That's the problem in a nutshell. The police think that the only reasonable explanation for your non-compliance is that they weren't "clear and concise" enough for you to properly understand what they were telling you to do. As if citizens are dogs.
posted by Nahum Tate at 10:20 PM on June 22, 2011 [36 favorites]


notreally: "OK. Just for fun. Say you are downtown waiting at a bus stop. Cop pulls over and starts writing a ticket. Say a guy is double parked. Now you hold up your cell phone and 'aim' it towards them but not actually taping. Cop asks what you are doing. You say waiting for bus. He says to stop taping him. You say you are not taping him. Where does this lead?"

Depends... What color is your skin?
posted by symbioid at 10:23 PM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Nahum Tate - I ran out of faves, but just know that I faved that so hard.
posted by symbioid at 10:26 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


the_artificer - Regarding FLIR: I don't think they need a warrant for a flyover.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2011


If a police officer is so insecure that he "doesn't feel safe" while being videotaped, then perhaps they're not psychologically capable of doing the job which is required?

BINGO.

If you're a cop, and if a member of the public makes you feel "unsafe" in the absence of actual threats or violence against you, then you're the one doing something wrong. It is your job to accurately assess the situations you're in and the people you encounter. If you arbitrarily sense unspecified danger from random citizens, you are incapable of doing your job. If you don't know the difference between a passerby who's getting ready to make a grab for your gun and a bystander who just likes to mouth off about pigs and bacon, you fail at law enforcement.

If a member of the public threatens you or attacks you? You have the training, the skills, and the knowledge of available methods to hopefully get the situation under control. Use them. Use whatever force is necessary against a legitimate threat, and no reasonable person will fault you for it.

But if you feel unsafe because a bystander is videotaping you? If you escalate to bullying and/or unlawful orders because a citizen didn't cower for you? Turn in your badge and go play cops and robbers with the kids at the mall. You are a danger to yourself, to your fellow officers, and to the citizens you serve.

They need to know that they [the bad cops] are the ones endangering the lives of police officers. They are the one violating the spirit of a fucking truce. And by being officious petty tyrants they are jeopardizing the privileges that are there to save the lives of police officers who are actually in situations where something other than their egos are in danger.

Exactly. I've said the same thing on other threads. During my husband's career he was in dangerous situations that were directly caused or exacerbated by other cops more times than he can count. And this was in a small town with a low crime rate. I can only guess at how much worse the situation is in more densely populated areas.

But, I've also said this before too: The good cops are outnumbered. That may sound hard to believe, but it's effectively true. It's not that there are more bad cops by the numbers, it's that there are too many silent cops unwilling or unable for whatever reason to speak out. We've got to figure out a way to make more good cops feel safe in coming forward with their stories, but the fear of retaliation is very real. I wish I knew the answers. Until then, the police state marches on.
posted by amyms at 10:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Regarding FLIR: I don't think they need a warrant for a flyover.

That's an old article
Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001), held that the use of a thermal imaging device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant. Because the police in this case did not have a warrant, the Court reversed Kyllo's conviction for growing marijuana.
posted by the_artificer at 10:45 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't there a counter example where the energy emitted from the building was identified as on public ground?
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:49 PM on June 22, 2011


Thanks, good to know... not that the legality of the flyovers would actually change the behavior of the police... but still, good to know.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 10:50 PM on June 22, 2011


Just to play devil's advocate a bit here, I can think of a few non-evil reasons why police would not want video & audio recordings made during an arrest/investigation.

1. Recorded statements made by suspect. If an audiotape of an arrest is made which includes statements made before the suspect has been Mirandized, it could seriously jeopardize his case. (not sure how shows like COPS handle this, but presumably it's been addressed)

2. A "concerned bystander" who is conspicuously recording a felony traffic stop could incite others to believe that a potential "Rodney King situation" is emerging, and cause undue interference from 3rd parties.

3. Watching the watchmen: A police force is a public trust, and as such calls for higher levels of transparency. But I'm not sure that anyone else would be comfortable with "unrestricted anonymous surveillance of job performance" either. Dash-mounted cameras on squad cars are definitely a useful tool, but I suspect they're subject to a bunch of rules before they're allowed, something which most camera-phones have not been.

Both of these scenarios need addressing before we can condemn the situation outright, I think. In any case, the prudent thing to do is to obey the order first, and fight the injustice later. Just as the first amendment doesn't allow shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater, it seems that things have gotten to the point where pointing a video camera at a sensitive public situation might be cause for concern as well. As a photographer, I'm prone to believe that "if it's visible from public property, it's fair game," but as with any rule, there are exceptions, and the reasons are varied.

tl;dr It may not simply be a case of "police doing things they don't want seen."
posted by ShutterBun at 10:53 PM on June 22, 2011


But, I've also said this before too: The good cops are outnumbered. That may sound hard to believe, but it's effectively true. It's not that there are more bad cops by the numbers, it's that there are too many silent cops unwilling or unable for whatever reason to speak out. We've got to figure out a way to make more good cops feel safe in coming forward with their stories, but the fear of retaliation is very real. I wish I knew the answers. Until then, the police state marches on.

I don't think this is that fucking hard. Until the "good" cops start pushing back against their pervasively racist, sexist, homophobic colleagues, this is what we've got. (I get that this isn't going to be fun for the good cops. It's been way less fun for the racial minorities and the women and the queers, amirite.)
posted by desuetude at 10:59 PM on June 22, 2011


Use whatever force is necessary against a legitimate threat, and no reasonable person will fault you for it.

Cite?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:05 PM on June 22, 2011


This has nothing to do with "good cops" and "bad cops". Cops are trained to demand 100% compliance. They are trained to make life suck for anyone who doesn't comply 100%.
posted by Chuckles at 11:19 PM on June 22, 2011


I wish I had maintained my equanimity and stuck to the rights that have been won and preserved for me over the years, but, as the bus arrived, I succumbed and showed my i.d.

I wish more people would feel safe doing that, too. Unfortunately, the risks can be devastating
posted by ShutterBun at 11:22 PM on June 22, 2011


I hope everyone who commented in this thread or is reading comments watched the video.

We need to begin pushing our local, state, and federal legislatures to write laws which make false arrest, police intimidation, police harassment a civil and criminal offense which will open public entities such as cities libel for large settlements as well as open the offending and convicted officer to range of penalties like loss of job and jail time.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


This has nothing to do with "good cops" and "bad cops". Cops are trained to demand 100% compliance.

Maybe I can help: Those cops who demand 100% compliance where compliance is not legally required -- whether by ignorance of the law, by fragile ego, or whatever reason -- are "bad cops". "Good cops", on the other hand, obey the law.
posted by LordSludge at 12:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think this is that fucking hard. Until the "good" cops start pushing back against their pervasively racist, sexist, homophobic colleagues, this is what we've got. (I get that this isn't going to be fun for the good cops. It's been way less fun for the racial minorities and the women and the queers, amirite.)

I understand your exasperation, and I share it. But, unfortunately it is fucking harder than you think. My husband did push back, he got threatened, he pushed back harder, he was forced out. I can't go into detail, but we're trying to do what we can behind the scenes with entities who have more power to investigate the situation. Whether they'll taken action remains to be seen. This happened in a small department, the "chain of command" above the regular officers consists of exactly two people, both of whom have each other's backs. There is no union. There is no collective voice. Other officers privately express their support but won't jeopardize their own jobs. Fortunately, my husband has an outpouring of support from the public, which may eventually provide the catalyst for his story being taken seriously. We have not been silent, but it takes a more concerted effort than just one lone voice of reason.

This has nothing to do with "good cops" and "bad cops". Cops are trained to demand 100% compliance. They are trained to make life suck for anyone who doesn't comply 100%.

This has everything to do with good cops and bad cops. You are correct that cops are trained to demand 100% compliance. There is a distinction, though, in how good cops and bad cops apply that training:

Good cops know (and respect) that the citizens they encounter have civil rights. Good cops know that when they demand 100% compliance it better be for a lawful order and for a legitimate reason. Good cops don't feed their egos by making life suck for others. They derive their power and authority by building trust.

Bad cops, on the other hand, don't care that the citizens they encounter have civil rights. They view everything through an "us vs. them" lens, and the rights of others are merely an annoyance. Bad cops treat the citizens like an enemy that must be forced into submission. Bad cops retaliate against non-compliance and even perceived slights by taking pleasure in making life suck for others just because they can.

We need to begin pushing our local, state, and federal legislatures to write laws which make false arrest, police intimidation, police harassment a civil and criminal offense which will open public entities such as cities libel for large settlements as well as open the offending and convicted officer to range of penalties like loss of job and jail time.

Those laws are already in place in most jurisdictions, but the problem is that the arbiters and investigators are not always impartial. The police are policing themselves, and we all know where that leads.

The single best step that ordinary citizens can take, at least as a first step, is to demand that their city governments set up Citizens Oversight Committees made up of people from a cross section of social, racial, economic, political, and religious persuasions. Give these committees real power to investigate citizens' complaints and to help victims navigate the process of bringing criminal or civil charges against offending officers when warranted.

It may just be a pipe dream, but I envision advocacy on a local level where citizens can partner with good cops to hold the machine accountable. But, as some of you have stated (and rightly so) it's going to take a hell of lot more good cops coming forward. My husband is a small fish in a small pond. We need the big fishes to come to the surface too.
posted by amyms at 12:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]



If a police officer is so insecure that he "doesn't feel safe" while being videotaped, then perhaps they're not psychologically capable of doing the job which is required?

I've heard this from police in several locales recently, most notably at the Toronto G20 summit where the cop felt threatened by the girl blowing soap bubbles. I think it's an adaptation they've learned to use to provide cover for blocking citizen watchdogs. Just say you don't feel safe & you can shut them down.


More generally it's a pretext for any number of laws that provide a convenient excuse to arrest someone who is annoying you. In this case the alleged offense was Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree: “A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when he...attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference” (my emphasis).

Intimidation has a legal definition which generally doesn't require proving anyone was actually frightened 1 and can be infered from behaviour2. As is the way of these things these sorts of definitions rest upon what would affect a reasonable or ordinary person which grants a large degree of latitude hence their convenience for aggravated police officers.

The U.K. has Section 5 of the Public Order Act which produces 25,000 arrests a year3 and some truly farcical court scenes.
posted by tallus at 1:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Citizens should not only be permitted to film the police, they should be encouraged. They are ensuring that the police do not abuse the enormous power entrusted to them by the people. Filming the police should be a right enshrined in law, celebrated and perhaps even constitutionally protected.

If the police have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear - right?
posted by lucien_reeve at 2:46 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is remarkable the effects that the presence of a camera has on police officers. Last summer I walked south down a major street in my city on my way to pick up a few things at the grocery store. A block from my house I passed a line of idling city vehicles on the road, all sitting in one lane of this street. It seemed some roadwork was in the offing, but in fact the six city employees (five guys in hardhats and safety vests, one cop) visible were standing around chatting and drinking coffee.

Forty-five minutes later I was on the return trip. Still six vehicles idling, six city employees shooting the breeze and zero actual work going on. Given that the city had been banging the drum about the anti-idling bylaw, I turned after I passed them again and grabbed a quick snap with my camera phone to attach to an e-mail to my council member when I asked what was what.

The police officer put down his coffee and moved briskly towards me to ask me if he could help me with somethung; I explained the situation and asked if the anti-idling bylaw did not apply here. He told me that city vehicles are exempt for safety reasons and running their flashers with the engine off drains the battery.

I understood at once: they are needed on the backhoe on the far end because an inattentive driver might easily overlook the four large orange signs, the fifty or so orange cones, the fifteen orange barrels, the idling police car, the pickup truck, the cube van, the other two pickup trucks and the trailer but then spot the lights on the idling backhoe and thus avoid a collision. Can't mess about when it comes to safety.

Before I moved to this city a few months earlier, I admit I thought it was humdrum. Now I learn it is a major centre for performance art. Only dedicated Situationists would stage this tableau: six empty vehicles -- in a nice touch, most labelled as being from "Environmental Services" -- idling for hours. The message is not quite clear to me, but it is bold.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:42 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


So on the train this morning, one of the conductors called the cops to escort some jerk off the train. "I don't feel safe" was the line he gave on his walkie as he called it in, but he told the passenger seated behind me when she asked about it "That guy's a jerk." While I agree that the guy was a jerk (he was giving a fuss about getting a whole bunch of 1s after trying to pay for a 5 dollar fare with a 20), I don't like the idea that "I don't feel safe" was the excuse used to call the cops. "Refuses to pay" would have been fine.

Because I had started to read this thread before leaving for work, I taped the cops when they came an escorted the guy off. I did wonder if I would make it to work on time with my iPhone intact.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:04 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the article on reason.com
What if a police officer is harassing or intimidating someone in close range, such as during a traffic stop, or on an unpopulated street at night? Would it be a felony to record those interactions? What if the recording captures unquestionable lawbreaking on the part of the officer, such as a threat or a shakedown? "I’m not going to respond to any hypothetical scenarios," Cassilly says. "It just depends on the circumstances."

If this gets argued before the supreme court, hypotheticals... a lot of them... are exactly what will be used to test the validity of this argument.
posted by prepmonkey at 5:32 AM on June 23, 2011


I don't think this is that fucking hard. Until the "good" cops start pushing back against their pervasively racist, sexist, homophobic colleagues, this is what we've got. (I get that this isn't going to be fun for the good cops. It's been way less fun for the racial minorities and the women and the queers, amirite.)

Most cops where I live are black. I would not describe police officers as "pervasively racist or homophopbic."However anti-gay sentiments are more common than racism, imho.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:51 AM on June 23, 2011


A Google search:
Joseph Cassilly (Republican).
Tom Wiseman (Republican).

Color me surprised.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:03 AM on June 23, 2011


Just got around to watching the video: I cannot believe some comments above seem to have a problem with the girl's attitude, even going so far as calling it douchey. Un-fucking believable. She's downright civil in the face of overwhelming authority and scare-tactics. If you've never encountered hostile police you may be unfamiliar with how difficult this is.
posted by odinsdream at 6:39 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


odinsdream: "Just got around to watching the video: I cannot believe some comments above seem to have a problem with the girl's attitude, even going so far as calling it douchey. Un-fucking believable. She's downright civil in the face of overwhelming authority and scare-tactics. If you've never encountered hostile police you may be unfamiliar with how difficult this is."

I fucking broke out crying when an ass cop started yelling at me.

She's got more balls than me!
posted by symbioid at 6:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


How to invoke your rights with police officers while videotaping.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 7:54 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Two men walking from Denver to D.C. to protest Christian support for the Iraq war and their frequent encounters with police ordering them to produce ID and stop filming.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:02 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cops are trained to demand 100% compliance. They are trained to make life suck for anyone who doesn't comply 100%.

Really? Police officer's are routinely trained to expect 100% compliance from any random citizen with any arbitrary order they might choose to give, regardless of whether they're violating a basic civil right or observing reasonable expectations of personal privacy and security? So police officers are trained to view themselves as having more authority than the POTUS?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:03 AM on June 23, 2011


I did wonder if I would make it to work on time with my iPhone intact

Just a reminder to anyone who doesn't know about it; programs like Qik are free, work on most flavors of smart phone, and are able to immediately steam video from your camera to the internet so you have an offsite backup. If you ever are worried that you need to record something and are afraid that someone might take your phone/camera away and destroy/ delete the footage, this tool helps to remove that as a possibility.

It won't keep your phone from being destroyed, but it might provide you with backed up photographic evidence that anyone doing so might have been breaking laws or violating your rights.
posted by quin at 8:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Another good compilation, from an anti-war Christian 9/11 truther group walking across country. It's sure easy to ignore this stuff as long as you're not doing anything unpopular.
posted by odinsdream at 8:20 AM on June 23, 2011


Thanks, quin, for the link to Qik. My days of needing something like that were well behind me until I read this post and all the comments. Pretty groovy though.
posted by nevercalm at 8:51 AM on June 23, 2011


Exercising your constitutional rights (especially first amendment) is exhilarating. Everyone should try it at least once. (Note: commenting on metafilter doesn't count.)
posted by thescientificmethhead at 9:04 AM on June 23, 2011


Hostile? Asking her to go inside might have been outside of his bounds, but how is that hostile?
posted by rahnefan at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2011


Hostile? Asking her to go inside might have been outside of his bounds, but how is that hostile?

Threatening arrest seems pretty hostile to me.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:44 AM on June 23, 2011


But I'm not sure that anyone else would be comfortable with "unrestricted anonymous surveillance of job performance" either.

Ever been in a Wal-Mart?
posted by mikelieman at 9:59 AM on June 23, 2011


I understand your exasperation, and I share it. But, unfortunately it is fucking harder than you think. My husband did push back, he got threatened, he pushed back harder, he was forced out. I can't go into detail, but we're trying to do what we can behind the scenes with entities who have more power to investigate the situation. Whether they'll taken action remains to be seen. This happened in a small department, the "chain of command" above the regular officers consists of exactly two people, both of whom have each other's backs. There is no union. There is no collective voice. Other officers privately express their support but won't jeopardize their own jobs. Fortunately, my husband has an outpouring of support from the public, which may eventually provide the catalyst for his story being taken seriously. We have not been silent, but it takes a more concerted effort than just one lone voice of reason.

Sorry for your situation. That sucks. And yes, it takes more than one lone voice of reason. That's actually what I meant -- not that it would be easy for individual lone cops to push back, but that all of the good cops need to be pushing back against a diseased culture.
posted by desuetude at 10:02 AM on June 23, 2011


Hostile? Asking her to go inside might have been outside of his bounds, but how is that hostile?

A large guy with a gun, well-networked with other guys with guns, "asks" you go inside, and when you fail to comply he assaults you, binds you, and kidnaps you for an indefinite period of time, after which they may rob you for anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

That's not "hostile"???
posted by LordSludge at 10:34 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Straight Talk: Videotaping Police.
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2011


The solution to this problem is to have more cameras recording police officers.

Exactly.

And to have the officers videotape each encounter, so as not to be able to make false claims in their written reports.
Seattle considering body cams for police.

Should Cops Wear Body Cameras? [video | 01:44].

Butler County (KS) Officers get cameras on their uniforms.
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many years ago, I attended a talk given by the then Chief Constable of my local Police force. It was given in a student area and a section of the audience was fairly hostile. During q&a, the (at the time new) issue of CCTV arose and someone sarcastically asked how the Chief Constable would feel if there were cameras in the back of police vans. (this was before the era of widely-available cameraphones) Without hesitation, he replied that, were it affordable, he would be delighted to have multiple cameras in every van, car, interview room, cell, office and anywhere else police worked.

British police have blotted their copybook many times since, of course, but I wish more officers saw the issues as clearly as he did.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:16 AM on June 23, 2011


The reason cops don't want everything video-recorded is not by and large because they wish to commit egregious violations but because they are afraid that the small errors they make will make their lives impossible. For example, if they are giving evidence in court and get some detail wrong which is shown on a video tape, they are afraid it will be used to undermine their testimony, and (worse) that any small indiscretion (five minutes too long eating donuts) will lead to disciplinary action.

It's not like a regular job because pretty much everything a cop does is liable to end up in court. So it's not like you or I wearing a camera as we go about our daily lives.

Basically, the thought is that being a cop would be impossible without a little wiggle room. And videos remove that wiggle room.

I'm not sure how true that actually is but looked at from a certain vantage it makes sense. Unfortunately it then opens up a lot more than wiggle room for a cop who wants it.
posted by unSane at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2011


The War on Cameras
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2011


Basically, the thought is that being a cop would be impossible without a little wiggle room. And videos remove that wiggle room.

Given the critical role that very minute details of police encounters play in the question of whether an accused person goes free or is convicted and sentenced to life-changing consequences, I'd say the "wiggle room," under the U.S. Constitution, at least, ought to always weigh in favor of the accused, not the police.
posted by The World Famous at 12:24 PM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Basically, the thought is that being a cop would be impossible without a little wiggle room. And videos remove that wiggle room.

I get that you're playing devil's advocate, but here's my response to that line of thinking:

You're getting paid by the state. You have a monopoly on the use of force. You don't get any fucking wiggle room.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:36 PM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


That's fine but the consequence is that lots of guilty people will get off scot free. Most times the wiggle room is used to convict guilty people. That's the reality of law enforcement. Doing it by the letter is unbelievably hard and soul destroying.

I'm not arguing for the wiggle room, I'm just trying to delineate the consequences if you take it away, which would probably a huge recruitment/retention problem for L.E. officers, and the best ones deciding to take themselves elsewhere. The ones who were left would probably take an extremely conservative approach where they don't ever put themselves in a situation where they could be criticized, ie a hands-off approach.
posted by unSane at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2011


(I'm all for citizens recording cops as much as they like, anywhere and everywhere. I think it should be a statutory right).
posted by unSane at 12:45 PM on June 23, 2011


That's fine but the consequence is that lots of guilty people will get off scot free.

Yes, that's one of the many intentional, calculated risks inherent in U.S. Constitutional jurisprudence that is mentioned time and time again in Supreme Court decisions about civil rights.
posted by The World Famous at 12:47 PM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


And for the record, I say that as someone who does wear a seat belt. Yes, I consider it worth the nuisance; I really don't care if you want to wear one or not, but I will definitely defend your right to not have Uncle Sam waste your tax dollars telling you to "click it or ticket it".

What if it wastes your tax dollars? What if that person ends up crippled from an accident, and ends up in a state facility? What about his family having to take welfare payments? What about your car insurance rates going up (and everyone' else too) to copver the cost of his insurance payout. And you don't care?

America has become too much about individual rights at any cost - even the cost of social cohesion and collective responsibility. There is a fine linebetween individual rights, and individual responsibility.

As far as the the video-taping situation goes, the woman was within her rights to do the taping. Me? I would have moved off my lawn and back into my house and them continued taping. I know a few cops and have had lengthy conversations about this sort of thing. There are lots of cop haters out there; when you are in a neighborhood that has higher rates of crime, gun use, etc. - no matter the ethnic makeup of that neighborhood - it is harrowing to be exposed if you are doing street police work. Most of us have no idea or firsthand experience of that kind of work, so why do some *always* take the side of the person (like this woman) who refuses to honor a simple request of a police officer who is peacefully and respectfully patting down someone he considers to be potentially dangerous?

What underlie actions like the one this woman took is an essential (and often abstract, not even based in personal experience) mistrust of authority.

I don't think the woman deserved to be arrested, but I would not want her as a neighbor. I think that cops - by and large - help me to stay safe in my neighborhood. Are some cops rotten? Yes. Are some citizens screwed up? Yes.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:55 PM on June 23, 2011


The gulf between constitutional rights and the praxis of street level law enforcement is a black hole.

I'm not a cop but I've spent months riding around in the backs of cop cars and vans for one reason and another (as an observer, I hasten to add) and while I'm really not at all, I mean AT ALL, a fan of cop culture I had my opinions somewhat realigned by the experience.
posted by unSane at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're getting paid by the state. You have a monopoly on the use of force. You don't get any fucking wiggle room

That's the kind of attitude that helps to remove any "human element" from police work. Welcome to the land of Oz. And, what monopoly? Cops are in jail for abusing the law.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:00 PM on June 23, 2011


One other tidbit from cops I know: quoting law at them is liable to end ugly unless you are actually a lawyer. They really do like nothing better than to take down what they regard as a jailhouse lawyer.
posted by unSane at 1:01 PM on June 23, 2011


One other tidbit from cops I know: quoting law at them is liable to end ugly unless you are actually a lawyer. They really do like nothing better than to take down what they regard as a jailhouse lawyer.

My, what adults you know.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:04 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's fine but the consequence is that lots of guilty people will get off scot free.

Yes, that's one of the many intentional, calculated risks inherent in U.S. Constitutional jurisprudence that is mentioned time and time again in Supreme Court decisions about civil rights.


Exactly. It's by design. The idea that we're willing to accept letting the guilty sometimes get unpunished so that we can all live free from undue police intrusion into our lives is one of the most traditional and uniquely American features of our system.

"...the American legal system is founded on the idea that it is better to let a guilty man go free than convict an innocent man."

It's also a long-standing principle of English common law (as captured in Blackstone's formulation) that it's "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." Society, so the traditional arguments go, can survive letting the guilty sometimes go unpunished; individuals, contrariwise, can't necessarily survive being falsely accused of crimes and having the whole apparatus of our legal systems brought to bear against them.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are lots of cop haters out there

There's a reason for that.

What underlie actions like the one this woman took is an essential (and often abstract, not even based in personal experience) mistrust of authority.

Are you sure you want to be inferring the motivation behind this woman's lack of trust in authority? She's a local activist around here, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's had less than genial interactions with RPD. Some of them are pretty shitty.

That's the kind of attitude that helps to remove any "human element" from police work. Welcome to the land of Oz. And, what monopoly? Cops are in jail for abusing the law.

That "human element" allows officers to apply the law differently to people that they like. The break-lines here are usually age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2011


America has become too much about individual rights at any cost - even the cost of social cohesion and collective responsibility. There is a fine linebetween individual rights, and individual responsibility.

I agree with this sentiment in some contexts. In this one, not at all. The police are public servants--servants of the law--not our masters.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:13 PM on June 23, 2011


Hostile? Asking her to go inside might have been outside of his bounds, but how is that hostile?

This is completely disingenuous. An armed officer doesn't ever "ask" people to do things, certainly not in the same sense that, say, a civilian neighbor would be asking her to step inside. It's a completely different power balance. I feel like this is obvious, but I'll detail it anyway:
1. The officer is armed, hand on weapon.
2. Pointing a flashlight specifically, as training dictates, to visually confuse her and make it impossible to discern his movements
3. Using verbally aggressive tactics, again as training dictates
4. She clearly understands the point at which the officer switches from not noticing her to actually taking her as a threat. The

Beyond these specifics is the general power imbalance present during even the friendliest of police-civilian interactions.
posted by odinsdream at 1:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are lots of cop haters out there

There's a reason for that.


There are also reasons not to hate cops. It's not as easy as making assumptions in only one direction.

What underlie actions like the one this woman took is an essential (and often abstract, not even based in personal experience) mistrust of authority.

Are you sure you want to be inferring the motivation behind this woman's lack of trust in authority? She's a local activist around here, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's had less than genial interactions with RPD. Some of them are pretty shitty.


I'm not inferring anything. What I heard in the officer's voice was a measured appeal for the woman to move inside, away from the street, because the police officer said that he didn't feel safe. Are you aware that pointing a camera at someone, even if legal, without their consent, is an aggressive act? How about the impact of that aggressive act on the psyche of a police officer who is interacting with someone on the street that s/he deems might be harmful to the police officer, or others? How much stress did this woman want to add to the situation? What more was she accomplishing by taping from her front lawn, as opposed to taping from her front porch, or from inside her house? I think she was difficult to prove her point - seeing *only her own point of view*. She isn't the person having to negotiate someone on the street that may do her harm. Again, I would not want this woman as a neighbor. She comes off as "entitled" in ways that don't seem reasonable.

That's the kind of attitude that helps to remove any "human element" from police work. Welcome to the land of Oz. And, what monopoly? Cops are in jail for abusing the law.

That "human element" allows officers to apply the law differently to people that they like. The break-lines here are usually age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.


Yes, some police officers abuse the law - that's flat out wrong. In this case, I don't see it. I see a self-righteous person purposely continuing the aggressive act of taping a police officer from a distance that the officer feels uncomfortable with. The police officer is in the act of patting down a potential suspect. What happens if the suspect *is* dangerous and tries to commit mayhem, and somehow the woman becomes involved? It's a possibility. Street chaos can explode without warning.

Again, I think it's unfortunate that she was apprehended, but I support this particular officer in his action of apprehension. Do I want a neighbor of mine making police work in my neighborhood more stressful for that police officer, and possibly (yes, the possibility *did* exist), of further complicating matters if something went terribly wrong and she became physically involved in some kind of altercation because of her proximity to the scene? Absolutely not.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2011


So, it's not the recording that you think justifies her arrest, but her presence? In her own front yard? Huh.
posted by hades at 2:14 PM on June 23, 2011


I think it's unfortunate that she was apprehended, but I support this particular officer in his action of apprehension.

double think much?
posted by Shit Parade at 2:17 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you aware that pointing a camera at someone, even if legal, without their consent, is an aggressive act?

I'm actually aware that pointing a camera at someone is a passive act. By definition.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:18 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Beyond these specifics is the general power imbalance present during even the friendliest of police-civilian interactions.

Power imbalance? What about the power imbalance present when someone openly sells crack in your neighborhood, and does it with armed authority? What about the power imbalance present when someone purposely runs their car over your lawn and almost hits your kid and a few neighbors, and then tells you to shut the F*** up or you're gonna get your a** whipped "but good"? What about that?

Police officers are first and foremost human beings. They are in stressful jobs - way more stressful that most, not incidentally because this nutcase country has more than 200 million+ handguns floating around (probably not even that many squirt guns in America!).

Try living your life, day-after-day, dealing with criminals, miscreants, threats to your own life, etc. Try it on for size. Go on. Yes, some people who are in police work should not be there, but even those who are well suited are living waaay more stressful lives than you or I can imagine. On top of that, they have to encounter citizens who have *absolutely no respect for police authority* because they are spreading generalized assumptions gained from isolated incidents of police abuse to all police officers. This is a clear cognitive distortion that serves neither party well.

I hope this woman learns a lesson. If you are politely asked to move away from the proximity of a police action because the police officer - who is otherwise conducting a very measured street stop - doesn't feel safe, pay attention. Show some respect.

On the other hand, if you see a police officer unnecessarily beating someone into submission with a baton, or calling a citizen a racist name, or using what you consider to be out-of-bounds unnecessary force, by all means pull out your camera and start recording.

In this case, the officer was doing none of those things, and in my opinion, the woman showed very bad judgment.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:21 PM on June 23, 2011


no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will apologize for 'em.
posted by Shit Parade at 2:25 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you aware that pointing a camera at someone, even if legal, without their consent, is an aggressive act?

I'm actually aware that pointing a camera at someone is a passive act. By definition.


Really? "By definition?" By whose definition?

Try pointing your video or still camera at a bunch of kids unknown to you, in a playground where none of the parents know you.

Try taking a picture of a customer inside of any retail store in America.

Go ask your favorite entertainment star about the word "paparazzi". Go ask the late Princess Diana about the "passive actions" of having a camera pointed at you.

Go take a picture of someone you don't know (without permission) as they are exiting their car, in their driveway, on the way to the front door.

Go stand outside of a schoolyard and start shooting away as the kids take a lunch recess or are exiting school.

We are way beyond the days of early Ansel Adams photographic sensibilities.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:28 PM on June 23, 2011


the_artificer: "the use of a thermal imaging device from a public vantage point to monitor the radiation of heat from a person's home was a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and thus required a warrant."
That seems stupid to me. Your house gives off radiation in many different wavelengths and of different types, some of which are apparent with the naked eye, some of which you need specialized passive monitoring devices to pick up (but which are technically no different from cameras). I can understand that X-raying people's houses would require a warrant, but just picking up the radiation freely released into the public sphere?
posted by brokkr at 2:29 PM on June 23, 2011


Really? "By definition?" By whose definition?

All a camera can do is record. That's not aggressive at all. It may be illegal to record in certain places/contexts, but it's completely legal to record, from your own private property, a state employee performing their duties on public property.

She broke no law, and the judge is going to smack this down. The cop overstepped his authority and acted like a prick.

Oh and BTW, using language like: "I hope this woman learns a lesson." makes you sound a wee bit dickish.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will apologize for 'em.


no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will criticize 'em.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:39 PM on June 23, 2011


no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will criticize 'em.

And hopefully in those instances there will be video available to show that the cops acted in a completely professional manner.
posted by quin at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will apologize for 'em.

no matter what an officer does, there will be someone, somewhere who will criticize 'em.


What's next, "I know you are but what am I" level of conversation?
posted by Shit Parade at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you aware that pointing a camera at someone, even if legal, without their consent, is an aggressive act?

Nonsense. It is the very textbook definition of a passive act.

How about the impact of that aggressive act on the psyche of a police officer who is interacting with someone on the street that s/he deems might be harmful to the police officer, or others?

In the event that the allegedly- harmful person with whom the officer is detaining does actually do something harmful, why would the officer not want video documentation of that?

What more was she accomplishing by taping from her front lawn, as opposed to taping from her front porch, or from inside her house?

She was getting a clearer picture and audio. That's a lot more than a small, unclear picture without audio. And the officer knew that.

Again, I would not want this woman as a neighbor. She comes off as "entitled" in ways that don't seem reasonable.

She - and you, for that matter - is, in fact, entitled as a matter of law to perform video surveillance from her own property of the police.

Yes, some police officers abuse the law - that's flat out wrong. In this case, I don't see it.

That's because you don't seem to understand that the woman was absolutely legally and constitutionally entitled to do what she was doing and that the police officer's actions were clearly and plainly in violation of both the law and the arrested woman's inalienable rights. Now do you see it? Or do you just not understand what the law is?

I see a self-righteous person purposely continuing the aggressive act of taping a police officer from a distance that the officer feels uncomfortable with.

There is no law against self-righteousness. Nor is there any law against video recording a police officer from a distance on one's own property, regardless of how the officer feels about it. You said you don't see a police officer abusing the law, but then you reference the officer's feelings rather than the law? Come back when you can tell us what you think the law is before you try to tell us whether or not the officer was abusing it.

The police officer is in the act of patting down a potential suspect. What happens if the suspect *is* dangerous and tries to commit mayhem, and somehow the woman becomes involved?

What happens? This brave citizen gets video documentation of the whole thing, which the police can then use as evidence to support their side of the case, whether civil or criminal.

Power imbalance? What about the power imbalance present when someone openly sells crack in your neighborhood, and does it with armed authority?

It would be nice if someone created video evidence of that crime, wouldn't it?

What about the power imbalance present when someone purposely runs their car over your lawn and almost hits your kid and a few neighbors, and then tells you to shut the F*** up or you're gonna get your a** whipped "but good"? What about that?

It would be great to have a video recording of that, too.

They are in stressful jobs - way more stressful that most, not incidentally because this nutcase country has more than 200 million+ handguns floating around (probably not even that many squirt guns in America!).

But she didn't have a gun. She had a camera.

On top of that, they have to encounter citizens who have *absolutely no respect for police authority* because they are spreading generalized assumptions gained from isolated incidents of police abuse to all police officers.

But in this case, the police arrested a woman who did have and demonstrated respect for police authority but who nevertheless experienced, firsthand, police abuse. The officer did not ever - ever - order her to go back into her house. He only asked. And when he asked why she wasn't following his "orders," he again repeated that he had only "asked" her to go to the house. She responded politely and rationally to his request. She was respectful and did not escalate the situation in any way. The officer should be fired, period.

Really? "By definition?" By whose definition?

By every definition everywhere all the time. Recording with a camera is, by the definition of the word "passive," a passive act.

Try pointing your video or still camera at a bunch of kids unknown to you, in a playground where none of the parents know you.

If you're arguing that the police in this case behaved like a bunch of kids, I agree. If you're trying to draw a distinction between the actions of kids and the actions of agents of the United States government who are bound by the constraints of the Constitution, I also agree. The officer, who is bound by law not to act like a kid, acted like a kid. He should be fired.

Try taking a picture of a customer inside of any retail store in America.

Is it my own store? Because this woman was on her own property. Virtually every retail store in America videotapes everyone who comes into the store, including the police. But I don't suppose you think that's an aggressive act.

Go ask the late Princess Diana about the "passive actions" of having a camera pointed at you.

I didn't realize a camera pointed at her hurt her. I thought it was a concrete barrier that got in the way of the car she was riding in that happened to be driven by a reckless jackass who decided the way to avoid having the car photographed was to get in a high-speed chase. The paparazzi weren't standing on the lawn of their own house, were they? I mean, if any part of that situation applies to the present case, I'd love it if you'd tell me.

Go take a picture of someone you don't know (without permission) as they are exiting their car, in their driveway, on the way to the front door.

OK. People do this all the time. I've hired private investigators to do exactly that on several occasions. What's the problem?

Go stand outside of a schoolyard and start shooting away as the kids take a lunch recess or are exiting school.

Is there some law against that? If so, how is it equivalent to this case, where a woman was video recording the police from her own property?
posted by The World Famous at 2:59 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


All a camera can do is record.

Like all a gun can do is shoot.

That's not aggressive at all. It may be illegal to record in certain places/contexts, but it's completely legal to record, from your own private property, a state employee performing their duties on public property.

That's right, but exceptions occur, unless you think that citizens are always right in cases like this. I don't happen to agree that they are, and that good judgment on *both* sides has to be used.

Within the spirit of the law, exceptions exists. Hard lines, ideally, should not exist on either side. More work needs to be done to make cops more sensitive to civil rights, and to make citizens more aware of the difficulties of police work.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:11 PM on June 23, 2011


But in this case, the police arrested a woman who did have and demonstrated respect for police authority but who nevertheless experienced, firsthand, police abuse. The officer did not ever - ever - order her to go back into her house. He only asked. And when he asked why she wasn't following his "orders," he again repeated that he had only "asked" her to go to the house. She responded politely and rationally to his request. She was respectful and did not escalate the situation in any way. The officer should be fired, period

And if he would have "ordered" her back into her home, instead of respectfully requesting her to do so, no doubt there would be an uproar about that. She was parsing the police officer's request, playing the "my civil rights" card in an irresponsible way. *She was diverting the police officer's attention from his potentially dangerous encounter with someone who he thought might cause harm to himself and others*. Why is it that you and she don't seem to get that?

Also, notwithstanding your rationalizations about pointing cameras at people not being aggressive, every one of your examples stands on very weak ground. Paparrazzi are *known* for the aggressive, intrusive acts taken with cameras. Parents on playgrounds get really pissed if you try to take videos or stills of their kids, if they don't know and trust you. And so on. Denying these things does not help your case.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:19 PM on June 23, 2011


More work needs to be done to make cops more sensitive to civil rights

If only we had some kind of civil servant whose job it was to make sure that people adhered to these laws...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on June 23, 2011


They could police the government forces to protect citizens fromthe abuse of power. But what would we call such heroes?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:20 PM on June 23, 2011


Wait - I know! We could call them... POLICE!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:21 PM on June 23, 2011


All a camera can do is record.

Like all a gun can do is shoot.


Exactly. Recording is passive and shooting is aggressive. By definition.

That's right, but exceptions occur, unless you think that citizens are always right in cases like this.

Citizens are always in the right in cases like this. Every case where a citizen is not in the right is different than this one.

I don't happen to agree that they are, and that good judgment on *both* sides has to be used.

Good judgment on the side of the police is mandated by the United States Constitution. On the other side, good judgment is certainly important and a good idea, but it is not Constitutionally mandated.

Within the spirit of the law, exceptions exists.

What exception within the spirit of the United States Constitution do you think justifies violation of this woman's rights?

More work needs to be done to make cops more sensitive to civil rights, and to make citizens more aware of the difficulties of police work.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on both counts. Here's an idea that would help both to make cops more sensitive to civil rights and make citizens more aware of the difficulties of police work: Videotape the police all the time and let both the police and civilians watch those videos all the time. And fire the officer who arrested this woman (after all, his colleagues need to be made more sensitive to civil rights, as you said).
posted by The World Famous at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The police officer is in the act of patting down a potential suspect. What happens if the suspect *is* dangerous and tries to commit mayhem, and somehow the woman becomes involved?

What happens? This brave citizen gets video documentation of the whole thing, which the police can then use as evidence to support their side of the case, whether civil or criminal.


And what happens if the woman is hurt in a spray of gunfire created by assailants who are trying to "free" their buddy from police custody, or use her as a hostage in a violent encounter? Again, you are looking at this entire incident from a naive point of view - not from the point of view of the police officer who made an entirely reasonable request for this woman to move into her house and tape, if she wanted to tape. She is not that police officer; she was insisting on her "rights", rights that she *does* have, but that may be putting herself and others in danger. Who knows more about the real potential for mayhem in a situation like that than the police officers? How the request to move inside her home and keep taping if she wants, limiting her rights? I see her actions as selfish, and juvenile.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:24 PM on June 23, 2011


All a camera can do is record.

Like all a gun can do is shoot.


So then the issue here then is the thing that results from the action, be it recording or shooting. What a gun creates is a bullet travelling at high speeds, capable of ripping through tissue and flesh and ending a life. What a camera creates is an complete and totally accurate depiction of a point in time, capable of ensuring you take responsibility for the things you have actually done and are not held responsible for the things you have not. Just as its easy to see why one would need to be wary around guns, its easy to see why one would need to be wary around guns.
posted by Bobicus at 3:26 PM on June 23, 2011


*cameras
posted by Bobicus at 3:26 PM on June 23, 2011


I see her actions as selfish, and juvenile.

What law did she break?
posted by dirigibleman at 3:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



And what happens if the woman is hurt in a spray of gunfire created by assailants who are trying to "free" their buddy from police custody, or use her as a hostage in a violent encounter?


Vibrissae has a good point, what if a flock of seagulls, confusing her camera for food, attack her, their massive swooping down causing the police officer to be confused and agitated resulting in accidentally firing his entire clip, reloading, and emptying it again? I mean, won't someone think of how irresponsible this woman is being, because there are like, at least a dozen scenarios I can think of which could of happened, maybe, that would cause some problems. You know we can't let that happen, much better citizens follow any and all instructions by the police.
posted by Shit Parade at 3:32 PM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


And what happens if the officers are attacked by pterodactyls and the woman scares them off with the magic camera flash?

And what happens if elves appear and...

And what happens if we make up random shit in a lame attempt to grasp at any, slim, possible reason why government servants should be able to prohibit someone from filming them from our own yards?

Fascism excuses all abuses of power as necessary evils for own good. It's always a lie. This time, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:33 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good judgment on the side of the police is mandated by the United States Constitution. On the other side, good judgment is certainly important and a good idea, but it is not Constitutionally mandated.

This is exactly what gets innocent civilians killed. Implied in your argument is that it's alright to assume one's rights, even if that means increasing the potential to cause problems for law enforcement and maybe even getting oneself killed by unexpected, peripheral violence that occurs because of one's insistence on one's rights. What you're arguing for is a suspension of common sense, and an utter *disrespect* for even *measured* authority. She was politely asked to move inside, for a human reason (i.e. "I don't feel safe", as stated by the police officer.) Why did she deny that simply, human request. Apparently she assumed that the police officer must be doing something wrong. Why.

Oh, and I live in a community where cameras record every stop; I support that. I also support bad cops getting thrown off the force, but not that Rochester cop.

Last, that you agree with this woman's actions means that you are also making hidden assumptions about the incident. We plainly disagree. My bet is that the police officer will not be fired, and that the woman will be given a stern warning to obey polite requests to move a safer distance away from police activity on request. That's the outcome I predict. Of course, she will probably try to sue the City of Rochester, causing she and her neighbor's tax rates to climb if she wins. And, she will of course thank that same cop if (god forbid) he ever rescues her from mayhem, even if she is the one to cause it. Again, for emphasis, I would not ewant this person as a neighbor. She's trouble.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:34 PM on June 23, 2011


And what happens if the woman is hurt in a spray of gunfire created by assailants who are trying to "free" their buddy from police custody, or use her as a hostage in a violent encounter?

Then the police are shielded from liability both due to the government's failure to waive sovereign immunity and by the fact that there is a nice video recording of the incident showing that the police did the right thing.

Again, you are looking at this entire incident from a naive point of view - not from the point of view of the police officer who made an entirely reasonable request for this woman to move into her house and tape, if she wanted to tape.

So you're saying the officer lied when he gave his explanation for is illegal request and that actually he's a moron who was afraid that the scene was going to turn into a Bruce Willis movie and believed that the walls of the house were bulletproof? I really am naive, I guess.

She is not that police officer; she was insisting on her "rights", rights that she *does* have, but that may be putting herself and others in danger.

And the police do not have the authority to infringe upon those rights, period. Is there any evidence at all that she put herself or anyone else in danger? As you can see in the video, there was someone else there with her on her property, who took the camera and continued to record when she was arrested. Why wasn't that person arrested? Or did you even watch the video?

Who knows more about the real potential for mayhem in a situation like that than the police officers?

Are you making some sort of point about the police officers' authority to infringe on her rights or just talking?

I see her actions as selfish, and juvenile.

But you admitted above that the police officers' conduct in this case was analogous to the actions of a group of neighborhood kids beating up on someone who takes their picture. I was with you back then, remember?
posted by The World Famous at 3:35 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is exactly what gets innocent civilians killed.

Cite?
posted by The World Famous at 3:36 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, she will of course thank that same cop if (god forbid) he ever rescues her from mayhem, even if she is the one to cause it.

You watch too many Bruce Willis movies.
posted by The World Famous at 3:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is exactly what gets innocent civilians killed.

Cite?


Okay.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:38 PM on June 23, 2011


My bet is that the police officer will not be fired, and that the woman will be given a stern warning to obey polite requests to move a safer distance away from police activity on request.

It's not a request if you are arrested and charged with a crime for not obeying it.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Obey" and "request" don't really go together as words.
posted by The World Famous at 3:44 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


So then the issue here then is the thing that results from the action, be it recording or shooting. What a gun creates is a bullet traveling at high speeds, capable of ripping through tissue and flesh and ending a life. What a camera creates is an complete and totally accurate depiction of a point in time, capable of ensuring you take responsibility for the things you have actually done and are not held responsible for the things you have not. Just as its easy to see why one would need to be wary around guns, its easy to see why one would need to be wary around guns.

"What a camera creates is an complete and totally accurate depiction of a point in time". Yes, *from a certain perspective*, from a visual perspective that does NOT get into the mind of those being photographed. Your analysis is naive (said with respect) because you are not a police officer; you were not on the street that night; you didn't know the surrounding circumstances, etc. etc. You are making a universal assumption based on identification with the woman's motives. I am saying that there is more than a remote possibility that she was wrong. Of course, maybe the police officer was wrong. I think the former will prove to be the case, and that will give you another opportunity to reinforce your negative opinion about police authority in America.


I see her actions as selfish, and juvenile.

What law did she break?


She broke no law; she ignored a request from another human being (the police officer) who was conducting actions *on her behalf* (as a public safety officer) in checking on someone who that police officer thought might be a danger to that woman and her neighbors.

Repeated polite requests like the one made by the officer will be seen in almost any review commission *as an order*. She pushed her luck (and her safety, as well as the safety of anyone else that might have been hurt indirectly if events took an unexpected turn), and paid the price. Perhaps she will learn, but no doubt her actions will further embolden her behavior because she's a "local activist" with assumptions leading to actions that will probably keep her on the path of ignorance, instead of pursuing the path of understanding.

what if a flock of seagulls, confusing her camera for food, attack her, their massive swooping down causing the police officer to be confused and agitated resulting in accidentally firing his entire clip, reloading, and emptying it again? I mean, won't someone think of how irresponsible this woman is being, because there are like, at least a dozen scenarios I can think of which could of happened, maybe, that would cause some problems. You know we can't let that happen, much better citizens follow any and all instructions by the police.

Arguments of the absurd don't truck well here. Are you a police officer? Do you - or have you - lived with or seen their lives - close up. I have. Yes, police abuse does occur in America. Yes, The Patriot Act has made some police officers more bold in assuming that civil rights don't exist. I'm very, very upset about that.

However, after seeing this tape, and listening to both of the primary individuals involved - the officer and the woman - I come down on the cop's side. He was polite with his request - made several times - within the context of a stressful street situation. The woman - as I see it (clearly, my perception, influenced by experience and other preferences - which are different from yours) - acted with "righteous" defiance, refusing to comply even after repeated polite requests to "please go inside and tape from there". She was wrong, in my opinion. And, I would consider her a bad neighbor if I lived there, because her actions will cause a chill in police officer's who patrol her neighborhood. Police are human beings, too. Sometimes they make mistakes, and at other times they are put upon by citizens who are selfish and self-prepossessing in the extreme, like this woman.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:50 PM on June 23, 2011



You watch too many Bruce Willis movies.


Yet another wrong assumption. I guess it's habit forming.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:51 PM on June 23, 2011


She broke no law

Wait, I'm confused.

She broke no law.

So the officer was correct in arresting her for not obeying a "request". And the state was correct in charging her with a crime.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Help! I'm being filmed and need a cop!
posted by Vibrissae at 3:58 PM on June 23, 2011


Wait, wait. Maybe we've got this all wrong. Is there a dialect where "I don't feel safe" means "I'm afraid you're about to be killed in the hail of bullets that could rain down at any second now"? Maybe it's just a language barrier.
posted by hades at 4:00 PM on June 23, 2011


So the officer was correct in arresting her for not obeying a "request". And the state was correct in charging her with a crime.

Subjective call - made in the interest of public safety. I support the action of the police officer, and the state, if she is penalized (up to a small fine and a stern lecture from a judge). You plainly disagree. So be it.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:02 PM on June 23, 2011


I support the action of the police officer, and the state, if she is penalized (up to a small fine and a stern lecture from a judge).

Then she committed a crime.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, wait. Maybe we've got this all wrong. Is there a dialect where "I don't feel safe" means "I'm afraid you're about to be killed in the hail of bullets that could rain down at any second now"? Maybe it's just a language barrier.

More like an experience barrier. Most citizens are not even remotely aware how a simple police action - something as simple as a benign traffic stop - can flare up in a nanosecond to something that is life threatening to both police and nearby citizens. Work in that environment for a year or two and see how your radar, and assumptions, change.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:05 PM on June 23, 2011


Arguments of the absurd don't truck well here.

Oh, so you don't agree with the policeman, then? Cause arresting someone for not obeying a "polite request"? Absurd. Claiming "I don't feel safe" because someone is filming you? Absurd.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, that'd be "no" on the language thing? Then, for the love of god, why didn't the officer say "Ma'am, this area is not safe for you to be in right now. Please go back into your home."? I mean, that's what the officer told my dad (well, except for the ma'am, bit) when he drove past a house that had a bank robber holed up in it with police surrounding it.
posted by hades at 4:07 PM on June 23, 2011


Then she committed a crime.

I guess she did; I'm not a lawyer, but I'll bet that the state will find her behavior as violating the spirit and letter of public safety. Her interference could have cause herself, the officers involved, and anyone else nearly to suffer dire consequences if the distractions that she caused resulted in any way in a lack of focus by the police officers who were politely and quietly performing their duty.

The law is a purely subjective animal, created from tacit sources. Interpretation lies with the DNA of all civil code.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:10 PM on June 23, 2011


She broke no law; she ignored a request from another human being (the police officer)

She did not ignore the officer's request. Did you even watch the video?

Repeated polite requests like the one made by the officer will be seen in almost any review commission *as an order*.

Cite, please.

She pushed her luck (and her safety, as well as the safety of anyone else that might have been hurt indirectly if events took an unexpected turn), and paid the price.

The only person who jeopardized anyone's safety was the police officer who decided that harassing a woman with a camera was more important than addressing the actual arrest going on at the time.

Perhaps she will learn

Learn what? That the police don't care about her rights and will gladly stomp all over them no matter how polite she is? Yeah, I think she learned that one. I think that's why it's important for people to videotape everything the police do.

Yes, police abuse does occur in America.

Yes, we know that. There's a great video of it right at the top of this page. Even you acknowledge that the officer violated this woman's Constitutional rights and that she violated no law.

refusing to comply even after repeated polite requests to "please go inside and tape from there".

How is it that you think that people should be arrested for politely declining to agree to a police officer's polite request?

selfish and self-prepossessing in the extreme

Selfish? Seriously? Have you ever been arrested?

Subjective call - made in the interest of public safety.

What's the subjective call? You acknowledge that she violated no law. You acknowledge that the officer violated her rights. What do you think the legal basis was for arresting her? What's subjective call is there to be made here?

I support the action of the police officer, and the state, if she is penalized

Penalized for what? What law do you think she violated?

Most citizens are not even remotely aware how a simple police action - something as simple as a benign traffic stop - can flare up in a nanosecond to something that is life threatening to both police and nearby citizens.

Given your apparent experience in these things, then, why are you supporting the police officer who decided to arrest the polite woman with the camera on her own property rather than staying with the traffic stop and handling his actual job?

The law is a purely subjective animal, created from tacit sources. Interpretation lies with the DNA of all civil code.

What on earth does that even mean?
posted by The World Famous at 4:11 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, so you don't agree with the policeman, then? Cause arresting someone for not obeying a "polite request"? Absurd. Claiming "I don't feel safe" because someone is filming you? Absurd.

What's absurd is your co-opting the experience and intentions of the arresting officer, and making further unfounded assumptions about why he asked the woman to retreat to her home.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:11 PM on June 23, 2011


Her interference could have cause herself, the officers involved, and anyone else nearly to suffer dire consequences

Absolutely! If by "dire consequences" you mean "getting fired or imprisoned if they are caught on film infringing on someone's civil liberties."

But that's probably not what you meant, since you're defending their right to infringe on someone's civil liberties.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:14 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


making further unfounded assumptions about why he asked the woman to retreat to her home.

You're the one making up fanciful hypotheticals about his motivations. He said he did not feel safe with her standing behind him. If that was not his actual motivation, he was lying. Note, please, that the officer did not say that he felt threatened by the second person standing with the woman who was arrested and he did not arrest or even ask that person to go back to the house. He just arrested the one with the camera. Apparently people without cameras don't make him feel unsafe.
posted by The World Famous at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's absurd is your co-opting the experience and intentions of the arresting officer

I don't have to co-opt anything. The law does that for me. Even you admit that she broke no laws.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2011


Given your apparent experience in these things, then, why are you supporting the police officer who decided to arrest the polite woman with the camera on her own property rather than staying with the traffic stop and handling his actual job?

There were other officers present. I support his (their) actions.

The law is a purely subjective animal, created from tacit sources. Interpretation lies with the DNA of all civil code.

What on earth does that even mean?


That means that points of law have fine points of interpretation that can be teased out by a judge, or jury, and result in changes to said law. "Law" is a purely subjective enterprise. Start with Polanyi, then Rawls.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:21 PM on June 23, 2011


Even you admit that she broke no laws.

Correct, but I'm not the judge, or the jury - am I? I think what she did broaches the breaking of a law. Her actions *may* be construed as compromising the public safety by refusing to comply with the request of a police officer. I don't know. Obviously, that cop knows enough about the law to consider taking the action he did. I will bet that his action will result in an action taken against the woman, and not the other way around.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2011


You're the one making up fanciful hypotheticals about his motivations. He said he did not feel safe with her standing behind him. If that was not his actual motivation, he was lying. Note, please, that the officer did not say that he felt threatened by the second person standing with the woman who was arrested and he did not arrest or even ask that person to go back to the house. He just arrested the one with the camera. Apparently people without cameras don't make him feel unsafe.

If someone is endangering a police action, they become the focus of retribution. Her associate, for whatever reason, was not judged to be a threat. I wasn't there. I trust the officer, in this case. What I saw and heard on tape was several polite requests to move inside; she denied those requests, and now she's is waiting for bail. That's her fault. Will she own up to that? I doubt it. And so it goes.

Signing off this discussion (unless you want to take it to metatalk); we're beginning to repeat ourselves.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:27 PM on June 23, 2011


That means that points of law have fine points of interpretation that can be teased out by a judge, or jury, and result in changes to said law.

Right. And the police are most emphatically not among those who have the authority to interpret or change the law.

Correct, but I'm not the judge, or the jury - am I?

But if you were the judge or on the jury, you would acquit her of any and all charges? I'm confused. Are you siding with the police here or not? You can't say that this was not a bad cop if you admit that she broke no law and that the police violated her rights.

There were other officers present. I support his (their) actions.

So, in spite of what you believe is a significant danger that there could suddenly be a hail of gunfire which, you admit, could not possibly have come from this woman or her camera, you think that the officer was correct in abandoning the actual dangerous situation in order to arrest someone who he knew could not possibly harm him, while ignoring the person standing next to her? Why?

Her actions *may* be construed as compromising the public safety by refusing to comply with the request of a police officer.

Do you think she compromised public safety?

Obviously, that cop knows enough about the law to consider taking the action he did.

Why is that obvious? You and I agree that she violated no law. You and I agree that the officer's actions were unconstitutional and illegal - that he was, in fact, a criminal at the time that he arrested her. If he knew enough about the law to know that he was doing something illegal, why do you support him in his willful, knowing violation? Why are you on the side of the criminal?
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on June 23, 2011


His action already resulted in an action taken against the woman.

But, yes - juries are well known for "teasing" out new implications. Because there's always plenty of authoritarian apologists like you out there to keep redrawing the lines in the sand closer and closer to our front doors. Bully for you. I bet you'll feel vindicated if you are proven right, too.

Me? I won't be surprised. But I will be disgusted.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:31 PM on June 23, 2011


Police are human beings, too. Sometimes they make mistakes, and at other times they are put upon by citizens who are selfish and self-prepossessing in the extreme, like this woman.

Are you arguing that police shouldn't be held to a higher standard? They're just regular folks and, even with the extensive power they're given, they shouldn't be any more liable than regular folks?

Ignoring the gulf between a request and a request-but-actually-an-order, where do you draw the line between a reasonable request and an unreasonable one? Do you think cops should be allowed to 'request' anything of anyone even if it's not illegal or obstructing their activities?

Her actions *may* be construed as compromising the public safety by refusing to comply with the request of a police officer.

How, exactly?

I will bet that his action will result in an action taken against the woman, and not the other way around.

This happens all the time, and it's indicative of something that is not at all the same as suggesting the officer's actions were actually appropriate or even lawful.
posted by howlingmonkey at 4:31 PM on June 23, 2011


Police are human beings, too.

You know who else was a human being? That's right: Joseph Merrick.





also, Hitler
no - I'm not equating the two
no - I'm not saying all humans are Hitler
no - I'm not saying all cops are Hitler
no - I'm not saying Joseph Merrick was a cop
no - I'm not saying Hitler had Proteus syndrome
I'm saying "being human" excuses nothing. We're all human. And some of us are monsters.
no - I'm not saying Joseph Merrick was a monster....
*sigh*

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:43 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw and heard on tape was several polite requests to move inside; she denied those requests

As she was 100% within her rights to do.

and now she's is waiting for bail. That's her fault.

Given that she didn't break any laws, it's not her fault. She was standing up for her actual rights. The police officer was standing up for his completely imaginary ones.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:00 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, yes - juries are well known for "teasing" out new implications. Because there's always plenty of authoritarian apologists like you out there to keep redrawing the lines in the sand closer and closer to our front doors. Bully for you. I bet you'll feel vindicated if you are proven right, too.

I'll bite. You have (unfortunately) labeled *yourself* are by calling me an "authoritarian apologist". I'll let you think on that for a bit and will desist from making assumptions about your entire person based on an anonymous Internet exchange.

As for feeling vindicated if this woman is punished, I will not feel vindicated; I will feel that the whole thing was such a waste of time, caused primarily by someone (the woman) who will use any case that goes against her to further reinforce her rather odd (even dangerous) assumptions about public authority. She will continue to be supported by all those that agree with her; thank god that people like her are in the distinct minority here in America. I will say for the 10th time that I would most definitely not to be living with that woman as my neighbor; she is her neighbor's worst enemy, with her righteousness overwhelming any sense of proportion or perceptions that don't resonate with her general obtuseness.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:02 PM on June 23, 2011


I will feel that the whole thing was such a waste of time, caused primarily by someone (the woman) who will use any case that goes against her to further reinforce her rather odd (even dangerous) assumptions about public authority.

What assumptions are those?
posted by The World Famous at 5:09 PM on June 23, 2011


You have (unfortunately) labeled *yourself* are by calling me an "authoritarian apologist".

There was a typo in here that makes this statement unparsable for me. Sorry.

Also, I'm surprised that you would take exception to the term "authoritarian apologist." Fact: The police are authoritarians. Fact: You have been in this thread an apologist for their actions. It's not an opinion thing, Vibrissae. That is the position you have taken in this debate. If that fact makes you uncomfortable, I humbly suggest that you might want to take another look at your poision. The label, at least so far as this thread is concerned, is an accurate one.

people like her are in the distinct minority here in America

Yes. Sadly, these days, people who insist that the authorities abide by the laws that govern them do, indeed, appear to be in the minority in America.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:11 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You would think having a worldview identical to the Stasi would give someone pause for thought, but apparently not if you're Vibrissae.
posted by smithsmith at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2011


another look at your poision

Amusing typo. Meant "look at your position," of course.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:13 PM on June 23, 2011


You have (unfortunately) labeled *yourself* are by calling me an "authoritarian apologist".

There was a typo in here that makes this statement unparsable for me. Sorry.


My point was that you said something about yourself by making such a grand assumption about my whole person, based on knowing nothing more about me than what I've written.

Also, I'm surprised that you would take exception to the term "authoritarian apologist." Fact: The police are authoritarians. Fact: You have been in this thread an apologist for their actions. It's not an opinion thing, Vibrissae. That is the position you have taken in this debate. If that fact makes you uncomfortable, I humbly suggest that you might want to take another look at your poision (sic). The label, at least so far as this thread is concerned, is an accurate one.


"You said "the police are authoritarians". I disagree. Police officers are also known as "public safety" and "peace" officers. That one would choose to assume that the police are, themselves, universally, authoritarians, says more about the person making such a statement than it does about the police.

Remember, the law, in a democratic society, is consciously formulated by the citizenry through elected representatives. That one would consider the law "authoritarian" says more about the person making that claim, than about the law, or those who are elected, appointed or hired to carry it out, project its use into culture, or protect us against citizens who would break laws.

There is an attitude among many Americans that the police are tyrants, in general. This is a mistaken assumption, and the petty so-called "heroic" attempts by women like the one who is the subject of this post do more long term harm than good in our culture.

I am not afraid of the police; I trust the police. I have found myself being angry with, and upset with, police actions in this country from time to time, and even in my own experience, but I refuse to generalize those experiences to all police officers.

There is, essentially, a kind of reaction formation around authority in a lot of people who "watchdog" the police. These people are often so sure of their motivations that they assume and use the power of their assumed authority as citizens to wreak havoc on the police and other agents who carry official power. This represents a kind of tragedy of the commons, relative to the erosion of trust in our culture. Authority works both ways. Projectors and receivers have to, at bottom, trust each other. I would not trust the woman who has been detained as someone to count on in an emergency. She was, in my opinion, rather cowardly in her actions, as she impeded a police operation and refused the polite requests of a public safety officer - stating all the while that it was her "right" to do so. Thankfully, "rights" when carefully thought through, don't work that way in our culture, for the most part.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:49 PM on June 23, 2011


You would think having a worldview identical to the Stasi would give someone pause for thought, but apparently not if you're Vibrissae

One would think that reading opinions on the Internet would be met with some filtering, relative to projecting one opinion to encompass the whole of the person who made said opinions. Unfortunately, in your case, this filtering component appears to be missing - at least in this case (giving you the benefit of the doubt). If we met over a cup of coffee, face-to-face, you might feel differently.

Thus are born extreme prejudices and extreme judgments that have little to do with the person being judged. If you make judgments like this on a regular basis, you might be surprised to find out that you, too, would be typed as an authoritarian personality by those that are skilled in making such assessments. This may go right past you, but think on it for a bit, and let it sink in. Then, think twice about associating someone you have never met as a hypothetical member of, or sympathizer with, the Stasi. You made me laugh out loud, though, thanks!
posted by Vibrissae at 5:58 PM on June 23, 2011


You're arguing at cross-purposes, though. On the one hand, you now want to paint the policeman as a "public safety" and "peace" officer. Just enacting "the law, in a democratic society.... consciously formulated by the citizenry through elected representatives."

On the other hand, you have been arguing that even though this woman was breaking no laws, that she should have submitted to a request from a figure of authority, although she was under no legal obligation to do so, and that her legal defiance of authority is justification enough for her detention, and should result in her receiving some form of penalty. Please explain to me how forcible submission to authority outside of the law can be defined as anything other than authoritarian? Again - I submit that these are simple facts. Whether you agree or disagree on what should or shouldn't have happened, the police actions were authoritarian, by definition, and you have repeatedly defended those actions.

And you would probably be very surprised at the extent to which I am not anti-authoritarian.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:05 PM on June 23, 2011


If we met over a cup of coffee, face-to-face, you might feel differently.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were hitting on me.
posted by smithsmith at 6:16 PM on June 23, 2011


Vibrissae, I didn't want it to come to this, but there's something I must tell you.... I am an FBI agent and I am requesting you leave this thread immediately and log off your computer for your own safety. I apologise, but I can't go into details regarding the nature of threat (needless to say it has to do with the radiation coming from your screen). Note that failure to comply could result in your arrest and prosecution.
posted by smithsmith at 6:21 PM on June 23, 2011


Uh... smithsmith: You might want to throw a disclaimer in there somewhere. Impersonating an FBI agent could get you into actual trouble. Yeah, yeah - we're just joking around on the Internet. And we know the authorities would never abuse their power by applying actual laws that way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:25 PM on June 23, 2011


On the other hand, you have been arguing that even though this woman was breaking no laws, that she should have submitted to a request from a figure of authority, although she was under no legal obligation to do so, and that her legal defiance of authority is justification enough for her detention, and should result in her receiving some form of penalty. Please explain to me how forcible submission to authority outside of the law can be defined as anything other than authoritarian? Again - I submit that these are simple facts. Whether you agree or disagree on what should or shouldn't have happened, the police actions were authoritarian, by definition, and you have repeatedly defended those actions.

I thought I made it clear that my thoughts about whether she was breaking the law didn't matter, and that the subjective element behind the police requests will trump her "right" to carry on only 10-15 feet from where the police were operating (scroll down the article). What I think doesn't matter. What I hope is that a subjective judgement will be rendered that finds her at fault, and she learns a lesson - a lesson that might someday save her or another person's life.

Are you aware that a skilled knife-wielder can close a 20' gap before most trained police officers can remove a holstered firearm? Most police officers are exhorted in training to keep onlookers more than 20' away from a police action or crime scene, for reasons of their and the public's own safety. Knowing the distances involved, and that it was nighttime, my sympathies are even more with the officer. How does he know what else the woman had in her hands? Might that be why he was shining his flashlight on her? Try operating the same theatre that police officers operate in, night after night - especially in questionable neighborhoods. In my opinion, this woman is clueless, and irresponsible.

We disagree on the character of the actions. I see the police officer's actions as one requesting "safety". I see the woman's actions as aggressive, operating under the guise of "exercising her rights".
posted by Vibrissae at 6:27 PM on June 23, 2011


Good point, IRFH.

If anyone missed it I was being satirical.
posted by smithsmith at 6:28 PM on June 23, 2011


If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were hitting on me

Now, that's an interesting turn of events. Perhaps we can end this discussion by moving in together, to be continued after we've tired of living together - say 7-8 years hence?
posted by Vibrissae at 6:29 PM on June 23, 2011


Are you aware that pointing a camera at someone, even if legal, without their consent, is an aggressive act?

Bullshit.
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I hope is that a subjective judgement will be rendered that finds her at fault, and she learns a lesson - a lesson that might someday save her or another person's life.

What lesson, specifically?

How does he know what else the woman had in her hands?

With his eyes, presumably. If you were a police officer, how would you know what someone holding a camera up at eye level has in their hands? I would guess that he could have, I don't know, asked her?

Might that be why he was shining his flashlight on her?

Not a chance. If he wanted to know whether she was holding something other than the camera, he would have asked her. Moreover, he most certainly knew before he arrested her that she wasn't holding a knife or other weapon. So why'd he arrest her again? Because she politely declined his request, as was her legal right.

I see the police officer's actions as one requesting "safety".

Yep. He requested safety and she gave him safety. And then he arrested her for no good reason, in spite of the fact that he had already established conclusively that he was safe.
posted by The World Famous at 6:44 PM on June 23, 2011


Are you aware that a skilled knife-wielder can close a 20' gap before most trained police officers can remove a holstered firearm?

Which is why the correct course of action if you are a trained police officer and see a man walking across the street carrying a pocketknife is clearly to draw your gun first, then close the gap and shoot him before he can turn to face you.
posted by hades at 6:45 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


my thoughts about whether she was breaking the law didn't matter

Not in the overall conversation, perhaps; but you and I were discussing whether "authoritarian apologist " was a fair characterization of the position you have been taking here (I've never said anything about what you may be like outside of this one conversation), so your thoughts - your position - is as important within this conversation as anything else we might have to say about it.

the subjective element behind the police requests will trump her "right"

When subjective judgements of armed authority figures are allowed to "trump" the legal rights of the citizenry, that is, by definition, authoritarian.

You "hope... that a subjective judgement will be rendered that finds her at fault, and she learns a lesson."

You are arguing for extra-legal protections for authorities to subjectively ignore the law when they find it inconvenient.

That is the position of authoritarian apologist. If you find that an uncomfortable position... I don't know how to help you with that. It's your position, not mine.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:49 PM on June 23, 2011


Of course, she will probably try to sue the City of Rochester, causing she and her neighbor's tax rates to climb if she wins. And, she will of course thank that same cop if (god forbid) he ever rescues her from mayhem, even if she is the one to cause it. Again, for emphasis, I would not ewant this person as a neighbor. She's trouble.

You really, really don't deserve to live in a country founded on the kinds of rights that are being violated in this video. I mean this very sincerely. The kind of society you desire is not the kind of society we strive for under the Bill of Rights. Your views are cancerous and despicable.
posted by odinsdream at 6:50 PM on June 23, 2011


You are arguing for extra-legal protections for authorities to subjectively ignore the law when they find it inconvenient.

That is the position of authoritarian apologist. If you find that an uncomfortable position... I don't know how to help you with that. It's your position, not mine.


Again, you're arguing from assumption. I'm arguing in the direction of public safety, as defined by an individual - in this case the police officer - who is in a better position to know than Emily Good what is "safe" in this situation, and what is not. I trust the police officer in this case. I see Emily Good, assuming through her perversion of "rights" making public safety more difficult.


You really, really don't deserve to live in a country founded on the kinds of rights that are being violated in this video. I mean this very sincerely. The kind of society you desire is not the kind of society we strive for under the Bill of Rights. Your views are cancerous and despicable.

Gee, another personal attack from someone who appears to paint personal opinions about others with a very broad brush. Do you even begin to realize that you have the cancer of "authoritarianism" written all over your comments? I'm very sorry for your opinion, and, ironically, find within it the very lack of tolerance for diversity of opinion that you accuse me of. If anything is cancerous and despicable to diversity of opinion, it's the kind of thing you just wrote. Wishing you well...
posted by Vibrissae at 7:11 PM on June 23, 2011


This is a foundational right that's being violated here. I will not simply allow you to blithely argue that the woman deserves some kind of punishment because you happen to not like her attitude, despite completely agreeing with everyone above that she was not, in fact, violating any law.

My comment is specifically not about you as a person. It's about your views, as expressed in your comments. That's entirely fair to discuss here.
posted by odinsdream at 7:14 PM on June 23, 2011


Are you aware that a skilled knife-wielder can close a 20' gap before most trained police officers can remove a holstered firearm?

Which is why the correct course of action if you are a trained police officer and see a man walking across the street carrying a pocketknife is clearly to draw your gun first yt , then close the gap and shoot him before he can turn to face you.


And you project this kind of egregious and despicable intent to all police officers? You project the criminal actions of a bad cop onto all other cops? Think hard about what you're suggesting, and what universal fallacies your projections are leading to.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:21 PM on June 23, 2011


This is a foundational right that's being violated here

Yes, the foundational right to public safety. Funny thing is I haven't heard anything about the officer's rights here, or the rights of others that may have been violated if this traffic stop went suddenly wrong and Ms. Good found herself in the way.

My comment is specifically not about you as a person. It's about your views, as expressed in your comments. That's entirely fair to discuss here


Fair enough. Within the tenets of the culture we live in, opposing views are not meant to be corrosive, but seen as an opportunity for dialogue. We plainly disagree on this issue. I trust the outcome will be the one I predicted, and neither Ms. Good's neighborhood, nor our democracy will be any worse of for that. Maybe next time Ms. Good is asked to tape police proceedings on the street from the safety of her house, instead of the potential chaos of the street, she will pay attention. I'm happy to have her tape the proceedings, but she needs to understand that she is not in charge in certain situations, and her "right" to tape those proceedings do not trump the right of a police officer to maintain control of a potentially threatening situation, or further complicate the scene if unexpected chaos ensues. Of course, that's not the way you see it. Se la vie.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:33 PM on June 23, 2011


Again, you're arguing from assumption.

No, I'm not. I'm arguing from your words, which I quoted extensively. So either you are misstating your opinions (which we all do), or your opinions are contradictory in a manner that is not as obvious to you as it seems to me. To reiterate:

subjective element behind the police requests

This means "the policeman's viewpoint, from which he based his request." Did you intend to imply something different, here?

will trump her "right"

"Trump" means to win a trick at cards. "Her right" means her legal right, as provided by the law. Did you intend to imply something different, here?

the subjective element behind the police requests will trump her "right"

Policeman's viewpoint trumps law.

That's not an argument from assumption. That's a literal interpretation of your words. Authoritarianism. Extra-legal protection for police. Subjective police viewpoints trump rights. People who insist on their rights over the subjective viewpoints of the police should be taught a lesson.

Again - it's not an insult, it's a fact: this is an authoritarian apologist argument. On it's face. Using nothing but your words and dictionaries. No assumptions about you at all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:35 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


She could have had a tiny knife hidden behind her iphone!
posted by etherist at 7:40 PM on June 23, 2011


I'm happy to have her tape the proceedings, but she needs to understand that she is not in charge in certain situations, and her "right" to tape those proceedings do not trump the right of a police officer to maintain control of a potentially threatening situation, or further complicate the scene if unexpected chaos ensues. Of course, that's not the way you see it. Se la vie.

In the interest of civil discourse I'm going to ask that you please stop putting the word "right" in quotes. You're obviously under the impression that her right in this case to stand on her own property and film public space is somehow not a real right, or conditional on circumstances. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of rights that you're displaying. Please stop playing around with the quotation marks.
posted by odinsdream at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2011


Vibrissae, I know you have not broken the law, but I am requesting as a human being that you leave this thread not just for your own safety but the safety of others who have a right not to be offended by your views (what if someone reads them, becomes depressed about the direction their country is heading and suicidal).
posted by smithsmith at 7:49 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not an argument from assumption. That's a literal interpretation of your words. Authoritarianism. Extra-legal protection for police. Subjective police viewpoints trump rights. People who insist on their rights over the subjective viewpoints of the police should be taught a lesson.

You can read into what I said at will, or parse to your heart's content. Call me authoritarian, if you will. It simply doesn't matter to me. Yes, subjective law can trump rights, like the right to shout "fire" in a theatre. I support that trumping of the right to free speech because harm may come to others because of it. Is that authoritarian?

What matters to me is that that police officer in the situation was the "expert"; he is a paid public official entrusted with the training and tools to determine how far away someone should stand when he (or any other officer) is performing their duty in the street, or elsewhere. He politely asked Ms. Good to stop taping because it made him feel unsafe. She resisted, then tried to engage the officer in a discussion which he clearly did not want to need to focus on, as he and his fellow officers were in the midst of their potentially dangerous duty. I hope we soon find more civil code written into law that will protect people like Ms. Good fro themselves; they will have the right to record police proceedings, but from a distance that doesn't endanger themselves, or others.

The point that's important to me is that Ms. Good, by her own camera's recording, from my (and probably her future judge's) perspective was seen as impeding a police officer from performing his duty in a way that that officer saw as optimal - after repeated requests (polite requests, including the measured decision to walk Ms. Good to the patrol car, under arrest). What's important to me is that she will be in fact seen as impeding a police officer in the line of duty, and that she won't do it again.

btw, you will note that the officer never said that she could not tape him in the line of duty. She was told that she couldn't do it from a certain distance. If agreeing with that police officer makes me an authoritarian from your perspective, so be it. From my perspective, I see your defense of this woman's actions as authoritarian - in that you seem to believe that the authority embedded in our constitution gives anyone the right to challenge public authority, at will, without consideration of the safety of surrounding others, or the safety of the authority himself (or, herself). In essence, you and Ms. Good seem to feel that your right trumps the rights of others - even if those others are expert, and you are not. You want to use individual rights as a bludgeon to satisfy your anti-authoritarian leanings (in this case). From there, you want to project your own authoritative preferences on to those you disagree with by parsing their out as authoritarian.

The kind of authoritarianism I am referring to represents an authoritative intolerance for anything but the rights of individuals over groups. I see that as a primary misreading of the wisdom embedded in a collective society that evolves via dialogue, and a very immature rendering of democratic principles as they apply to public safety. I would also label such actions as irresponsible, almost in the extreme, because they put those who have such a warped view individual rights in a place where they begin to project their feelings to all those who are in authority.

I see this as a huge problem, as much of a problem from the right as from the left - with "authority" abused by both sides - individual and institutional.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:59 PM on June 23, 2011


I know you have not broken the law, but I am requesting as a human being that you leave this thread not just for your own safety but the safety of others who have a right not to be offended by your views (what if someone reads them, becomes depressed about the direction their country is heading and suicidal).

Smithsmith, if you or someone you know is made suicidal by this dialogue, I would urge you to forthwith, immediately, get yourself to the nearest emergency room - and I mean that with all my heart. Further, anyone so disturbed by anything written here is free to avoid reading it.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:02 PM on June 23, 2011


I'm going to make a confession, here. I'm not entirely averse to some of what Vibrissae has been saying here. I have had friends in law enforcement and in the military, and I would never want them to come to harm, especially if they were being actively interfered with in their duties.

But make no mistake - since public safety and upholding the law is exactly their duty, they have an extraordinary responsibility to perform those duties legally, honorably, and in a manner that doesn't erode the very foundation of the public trust.

On quick preview, I see that I suddenly have a lot to respond to. Uhh... let me just post this and read. Back in a few.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:02 PM on June 23, 2011


Funny thing is I haven't heard anything about the officer's rights here, or the rights of others that may have been violated if this traffic stop went suddenly wrong and Ms. Good found herself in the way.

Yes, actually, you have. The police officer does not have the right to privacy on a public street, and neither does anybody else. The police officer does not have the right not to feel uncomfortable on a public street, and neither does anybody else.

The key thing to understand here is that if the traffic stop suddenly went wrong and Ms. Good found herself in the way, it would not be her fault that someone else shot her. If someone else found themselves in the way, it would not be Ms. Good's fault, either. (It's really not that difficult to figure out whose fault it would be.)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:13 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


the foundational right to public safety

Please point out where this is enumerated.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:16 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The police officer does not have the right to privacy on a public street, and neither does anybody else. The police officer does not have the right not to feel uncomfortable on a public street, and neither does anybody else.

The police officer does have the right and duty to infer or explicity claim that something that an onlooker just 10-15' away is doing might impair public safety or the safety of the police officer - even if the onlooker is just standing there minding her own business. The video watchdog always loses in that scenario - and rightly so. I don't want cops second guessing about who has the right to invade safe perimeter around a traffic stop or crime scene. She could have backed up to her porch or gone inside her house and continued taping. I completely support that. Nothing wrong with taping the police. She didn't, and thus caused her own travail.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:22 PM on June 23, 2011


impeding a police officer from performing his duty in a way that that officer saw as optimal

Being able to discharge his duty in a way that he, personally, sees as optimal does not automatically trump everyone else's rights.

The more charitable interpretation: instead of paying attention to the task at hand (the traffic stop), the police officer allowed himself to be distracted by a non-threatening bystander who was not violating any laws.

The less charitable interpretation: he just didn't want to be taped.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:25 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The video watchdog always loses in that scenario - and rightly so.

[citation needed]
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


the foundational right to public safety

Please point out where this is enumerated


Where is public safety not implied as a right of citizens, and a responsibility of government to guarantee? You show me; I'm not going to parse the Bill of Rights for you. This woman, in the opinion of the arresting officer, was impeding public safety by creating a potentially dangerous situation that the officer implied was "unsafe" - for his own reasons. And, no matter what Ms. Good thought, she should have complied. Why didn't she continue taping whilst moving back to her porch, or into her house? Seems like she was determined to have her own way - like she was determined to impose her authoritarian interpretation of individual rights (i.e. "I matter, nobody else does") into the scene.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:29 PM on June 23, 2011


The more charitable interpretation: instead of paying attention to the task at hand (the traffic stop), the police officer allowed himself to be distracted by a non-threatening bystander who was not violating any laws.

Why are you challenging the police officer's interpretation of the event? Are you a police officer? Do you know about protecting police engagement perimeters? Or, would you like to test your theory and repeat Ms. Good's selfish mistake? Please explain
posted by Vibrissae at 8:31 PM on June 23, 2011


VIBRISSAE, STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD. NOW.
posted by unSane at 8:38 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


You, first. Good evening...

Continue on metatalk, if you want.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:44 PM on June 23, 2011


Okay - looks like traffic finally cleared up, so I'm going to do this quick. That means no spellcheck, and probably I won't make any sense, and I'll probably be wrong about everything I say. But what are you going to do, right? Gotta quit some time.

You can read into what I said at will, or parse to your heart's content.

They're your words. You posted them here. I assumed you intended for us to read them, take them on their face, and respond in good faith as if you stood behind them. Is this not correct?

Call me authoritarian, if you will.

Actually, unless you are in a position of power, I wouldn't call you an authoritarian. Authoritarians wield extra-legal power. I said that you were an authoritarian apologist. Because you were and continue to make the case for authorities to wield power in excess of that provided for by the law based solely on their subjective expertise. That is, literally, the definition of authoritarianism.

Yes, subjective law can trump rights, like the right to shout "fire" in a theatre. I support that trumping of the right to free speech because harm may come to others because of it. Is that authoritarian?

No, it isn't. In fact, this statement leads me to suspect that you really are mostly just miscommunicating. There is no legal right to shout "fire" in a theatre. Freedom of speech is not absolute. In fact, there are many laws restricting speech.

I hope we soon find more civil code written into law that will protect people like Ms. Good fro themselves; they will have the right to record police proceedings, but from a distance that doesn't endanger themselves, or others.

I find that to be an entirely reasonable hope. I agree. That said, so long as such a law does not exist, the police are bound by their oaths to work within existing law to perform their duties. If the courts determine that they did so, perhaps justice has been served, or perhaps the bar has been lowered. I suspect we might just have to disagree on that point.

you seem to believe that the authority embedded in our constitution gives anyone the right to challenge public authority

Yes, I do believe that...

at will

Depends...

without consideration of the safety of surrounding others

Definitely don't believe that...

or the safety of the authority himself (or, herself)

Depends (primarily on whether the civilian is potentially in danger from the authority and whether the authority is within their rights. For example, in the case of warrantless, no knock home entries, I believe a homeowner is well within their rights to shoot right up until the officers identify themselves. I hate to see it go down that way, but that's part of the price we pay for militarizing our "peace" force. But that's a lefty rant for another day).

In essence, you and Ms. Good seem to feel that your right trumps the rights of others - even if those others are expert, and you are not.

Expertise is not law. I believe that law trumps the "expertise" of civil servants, yes sir, I do. Because upholding that law is the one and only point for that expertise. That is the job.

you want to project your own authoritative preferences on to those you disagree with by parsing their out as authoritarian

I did not write the constitution. I did not write the law. I did not swear to uphold the law.

The kind of authoritarianism I am referring to represents an authoritative intolerance for anything but the rights of individuals over groups. I see that as a primary misreading of the wisdom embedded in a collective society that evolves via dialogue, and a very immature rendering of democratic principles as they apply to public safety.

Again. I did not write the constitution. I did not write the law. I did not swear to uphold the law. The groups you're so worried about protecting? They're the ones who created all these laws and institutions, including the ones sworn to protect them. These laws were created specifically to protect the individual from the tyranny of the majority. It is why we have the form of government we have - a representative democracy. You are basically arguing against our very form of government.

---

Holy crap! Six new comments have sprung up before I could finish this one. I'd love to read every word, but I have to get on the road. Let's just assume that somebody has managed to refute my every point with artistic finess. I surrender. Good night.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:45 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You seem to be aware that authoritarian is a dirty word to most people, similar to fascist, or nazi, and are therefore quick to apply it to your oppenents and avoid having the label apply to yourself. But you sing the label from every pore such that it seems a futile effort. The fundamental principle behind libertarianism is that in the edge cases the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the collective. The fundamental principle behind authoritarianism is that in the edge cases the rights of the collective outweight the rights of the individual. To defer to authority and expertise over individual rights is to be authoritarian. To respect the interests of public safety (the safety of the collective) over the rights of the individual is to be authoritarian. You can claim that we are unreasonable to prefer the rights of an individual over the rights of the collective (as we most certainly would be, if we were arguing that one's individual right to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater), but regardless of what is and is not moral you are clearly, clearly on the authoritarian side of this debate. To say that it should be illegal to yell FIRE in crowded theater, or that it should be illegal to deny your business's services to people of a certain race is to argue from the authoritarian perspective. To say that it should be an arrestable offense to disobey a "request" (because obey and request are not two words that go together) from a figure of authority and to claim it not to be an authoritarian perspective is laughable.

Personally, your claim that the woman was threating the collective's rights weighs false, and so I find myself siding with the libertarian position. I agree that this woman was being a dick, and deliberately causing the officers grief. But, given the constantly encroaching "protections" that destroy our privacy and our freedom that are being pushed on the American people, I am extremely interested that the right of people to freely engage in "civil annoyance" be maintained.
posted by Bobicus at 8:48 PM on June 23, 2011


And, no matter what Ms. Good thought, she should have complied.

There is so much that is wrong with this statement.

Why are you challenging the police officer's interpretation of the event?

Because I've seen video of it.

Are you a police officer?

No, and I don't need to be to know that Ms. Good was wronged.

Do you know about protecting police engagement perimeters?

No, and I don't need to to know that Ms. Good was wronged.

Or, would you like to test your theory and repeat Ms. Good's selfish mistake?

I have no real desire to drive to Rochester to try this. Practically speaking, Ms. Good made a mistake, but the police officer made a mistake when he arrested someone who had committed no crime. (The taxpayers of Rochester and Monroe County, out of their own self-interest, should try to stop their employees from making mistakes like this.)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:51 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you project this kind of egregious and despicable intent to all police officers?

No, it's just that what you said up there about a skilled knife-wielder closing a 20 foot gap is pretty much exactly the same argument that supporters of the officer in that incident trotted out to defend his actions. Williams was within 20 feet, therefore he was a threat and could justifiably be shot dead. Officer Birk didn't feel safe in his situation either. It's just a matter of degree between their argument and yours, in that you're not justifying a fatal shooting, just a questionable arrest. (And, you know, Williams actually had a knife, while Good had an iPhone.)
posted by hades at 9:54 PM on June 23, 2011


The funny thing is that it seems some of the cop apologists here are forgetting that the cop had at least TWO OTHER colleagues helping him do his duties, who were able to keep their eyes on the woman and more than able to step between him and the woman in order to ensure that he was covered while doing his traffic stop. There was no threat of danger and no reasonable expectation of danger from the woman. Maybe, just maybe, if he were ALONE during the stop I could sort of possibly give him the benefit of the doubt because he was concerned for his safety, but he clearly was just being a dick because he could.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


so long as such a law does not exist, the police are bound by their oaths to work within existing law to perform their duties. If the courts determine that they did so, perhaps justice has been served, or perhaps the bar has been lowered.

"perhaps justice has been served". Seems like you want it both ways.

I suspect we might just have to disagree on that point

Bingo!
posted by Vibrissae at 10:22 PM on June 23, 2011


>VIBRISSAE, STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD. NOW.

You, first. Good evening...

Imagine that unsane is a cop, and now you're being assaulted, bound, kidnapped, and robbed by authority because you wouldn't back down from a simple ego duel.

And you're supporting this?
posted by LordSludge at 10:31 PM on June 23, 2011


You can claim that we are unreasonable to prefer the rights of an individual over the rights of the collective (as we most certainly would be, if we were arguing that one's individual right to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater), but regardless of what is and is not moral you are clearly, clearly on the authoritarian side of this debate.

It always makes me laugh when certain persons in a debate go on to first initiate labeling of the other. There is no more authoritarian act than trying to label, or put someone in a box, so that one can then justify one's own quiver of pot shots against one's opponent. It's a pretty transparent and weak maneuver in debate.

So how about this? Ms. Good took an authoritative stance against the police officer, based on her perceptions of rights (essentially, "f*** you Copper! I'm not moving from my front lawn no matter what you say, or no matter what you perceive to be a threat to your safety, because that's my right!. The police officer took an authoritative stance against Ms. Good, based on his reading of a situation that Ms. Good has not one iota of experience in - and based on his right to make a polite request to move away.

I'm betting that the courts will see her in favor of the police officer's authority, so the next time Ms. Good wants to be disruptive she can do so at her local city council meeting, where she can run down some hapless elected official, or when one of her neighbor's dogs take a pee on her lawn , instead of challenging the politely delivered requests of a public safety officer who put his life on the line when he walked out the door that evening. Show some respect Ms. Good - indeed, an ironic name for someone with a seemingly complete absence of manners, not to mention common sense.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:33 PM on June 23, 2011


" I'm betting that the courts will see in favor of the police officer's authority" (for clarity)

G'night...
posted by Vibrissae at 10:35 PM on June 23, 2011


Try living your life, day-after-day, dealing with criminals, miscreants, threats to your own life, etc. Try it on for size. Go on.

Ummm, we all do this. If we didn't, we wouldn't need a police force. ZOMG, try living among the miscreants and not having the authority and weaponry to lock up suspected miscreants!
posted by desuetude at 10:49 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


hay guys wat di i miss
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:25 AM on June 24, 2011


her perceptions of actual rights

FTFY
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:53 AM on June 24, 2011


Events like this keep being repeated again and again, with predictable arguments on the Blue.

The bottom line for me is that the cop overreacted; the trigger was the "You know what? You're gonna go to jail." statement (perfect title for this post), which translates as "I'm tired of you not listening to me, so I am going to abuse my power over you, which if you resist only makes things worse for you."

And his "I don't feel safe" line?

Well, neither does this woman, or anyone else who gets arrested for no reason.
posted by bwg at 5:38 AM on June 24, 2011


If you're going to project the hypothetical "She might have made the situation less safe or had a knife or something" on her actions, then it's perfectly reasonable to project the hypothetical "Perhaps The Cop was going to beat up the motorist, or plant drugs, or rip him off"...

In that case, I'm all for taping the potentially dishonest cop to KEEP HIM HONEST.
posted by mikelieman at 5:41 AM on June 24, 2011


one more dead town's last parade : Because I've seen video of it.

THIS, so very very much!

Whichever side of the issue someone supports in the abstract, this specific situation pretty much provides its own contextual raison d'etre. Our knowledge of what "really" happened doesn't come from Officer Trustworthy's official story, backed up by our faith in his integrity, unassailable character, and reputation; it comes from the naughty criminal who dared to stand on her own front lawn and record the encounter - A recording that proves the cop either an outright liar, or dangerously delusional with paranoid tendencies.


Vibrissae : I'm not moving from my front lawn no matter what you say, or no matter what you perceive to be a threat to your safety, because that's my right!

Except, whether offensive or stupid or just rude on her part, that statement inconveniently happens to hold true.
posted by pla at 5:54 AM on June 24, 2011


There is no more authoritarian act than trying to label, or put someone in a box, so that one can then justify one's own quiver of pot shots against one's opponent. It's a pretty transparent and weak maneuver in debate.

It's pretty clear at this point that you actually don't understand what the definition of authoritarian (and thus authoritarian apologist/follower) is.

I humbly suggest you read Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians, which is conveniently available as a free PDF. It explores the subject from a social sciences perspective with real-world studies and data to back up the definition. Here's a snip from the introduction:
The second reason I can offer for reading what follows is that it is not chock full of opinions, but experimental evidence. Liberals have stereotypes about conservatives, and conservatives have stereotypes about liberals. Moderates have stereotypes about both. Anyone who has watched, or been a liberal arguing with a conservative (or vice versa) knows that personal opinion and rhetoric can be had a penny a pound. But arguing never seems to get anywhere. Whereas if you set up a fair and square experiment in which people can act nobly, fairly, and with integrity, and you find that most of one group does, and most of another group does not, that’s a fact, not an opinion. And if you keep finding the same thing experiment after experiment, and other people do too, then that’s a body of facts that demands attention.
...
The last reason why you might be interested in the hereafter is that you might want more than just facts about authoritarians, but understanding and insight into why they act the way they do. Which is often mind-boggling. How can they revere those who gave their lives defending freedom and then support moves to take that freedom away? How can they go on believing things that have been disproved over and over again, and disbelieve things that are well established? How can they think they are the best people in the world, when so much of what they do ought to show them they are not? Why do their leaders so often turn out to be crooks and hypocrites? Why are both the followers and the leaders so aggressive that hostility is practically their trademark? By the time you have finished this book, I think you will understand the reasons. All of this, and much more, fit into place once you see what research has uncovered going on in authoritarian minds.
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 AM on June 24, 2011


"During a public meeting to discuss support for Emily Good and issues on police accountability, the Rochester Police Department appeared at the Flying Squirrel Community Space to harass and intimidate attendees."

"Several people received tickets alleging they had parked more than 12 inches from the curb. The fine was marked as $35. Throughout the evening the police continued to circle the streets surrounding the Flying Squirrel."

Just your basic police intimidation tactics.
posted by adipocere at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


So how about this? Ms. Good took an authoritative stance against the police officer, based on her perceptions of rights (essentially, "f*** you Copper! I'm not moving from my front lawn no matter what you say, or no matter what you perceive to be a threat to your safety, because that's my right!. The police officer took an authoritative stance against Ms. Good, based on his reading of a situation that Ms. Good has not one iota of experience in - and based on his right to make a polite request to move away.

You really, really don't understand what rights are, do you? I can't offer much reading to help with that.
posted by odinsdream at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"During a public meeting to discuss support for Emily Good and issues on police accountability, the Rochester Police Department appeared at the Flying Squirrel Community Space to harass and intimidate attendees."

"Several people received tickets alleging they had parked more than 12 inches from the curb. The fine was marked as $35. Throughout the evening the police continued to circle the streets surrounding the Flying Squirrel."


Oh btw, if there are any other Rochesterians still reading, the Flying Squirrel is great and you should come hang out sometime.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:18 AM on June 24, 2011


Try living your life, day-after-day, dealing with criminals, miscreants, threats to your own life, etc. Try it on for size. Go on.

I'm confused. When you refer to "criminals, miscreants, threats to your own life, etc.," are you referring to police officers who violate the law by threatening deadly force and unlawfully arrest people? Because there was only one criminal miscreant with a gun in that video, and it was the cop.
posted by The World Famous at 9:59 AM on June 24, 2011


ShutterBun writes "Recorded statements made by suspect. If an audiotape of an arrest is made which includes statements made before the suspect has been Mirandized, it could seriously jeopardize his case. (not sure how shows like COPS handle this, but presumably it's been addressed)"

Miranda does not protect a suspect from statements made before being Mirandized. If there is a recording though cops can't just make shit up.

ricochet biscuit writes "I understood at once: they are needed on the backhoe on the far end because an inattentive driver might easily overlook the four large orange signs, the fifty or so orange cones, the fifteen orange barrels, the idling police car, the pickup truck, the cube van, the other two pickup trucks and the trailer but then spot the lights on the idling backhoe and thus avoid a collision. Can't mess about when it comes to safety. "

This is actually a concern. My father had some twit run into the back of his wrecker at an accident. The wrecker had its beacons running as did the half a dozen cruisers, fire trucks and ambulances attending the scene that said twit had to drive around to reach my father's truck. Cops get hit all the time at roadside stops which is why some departments now talk the driver from the passenger side and why pretty well all cops park their cars in such a way as to shield themselves from traffic.

My dad says the most dangerous thing he used to do is stretch a cable across the road. It was a pretty common technique where he was working as the highways were raised up by building them on top of the fill excavated to create ditches. So the road surface ends up 5-10 feet above grade and the ditches are 5-10 feet below grade. One would drive down the opposite ditch and string the cable down into the ditch to recover a car that left the road. The fear was that some nut would drive through he road block and run into the cable causing all sorts of mayhem. Maybe decapitating the driver.

Vibrissae writes "Implied in your argument is that it's alright to assume one's rights, even if that means increasing the potential to cause problems for law enforcement and maybe even getting oneself killed by unexpected, peripheral violence that occurs because of one's insistence on one's rights."

This is exactly right. It is perfectly fine to assert your rights even if it has "the potential to cause problems for law enforcement". Heck it is OK to assert your rights even if it is indeed causing problems for law enforcement. Many of those rights are specifically designed to make things difficult for cops (EG: right to consul, right to not self incriminate, the right to require a warrant for searches).
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]



This is exactly right. It is perfectly fine to assert your rights even if it has "the potential to cause problems for law enforcement". Heck it is OK to assert your rights even if it is indeed causing problems for law enforcement. Many of those rights are specifically designed to make things difficult for cops (EG: right to consul, right to not self incriminate, the right to require a warrant for searches).


Yes, thank you. Right to require a warrant is a great example. In Vibrissae's world, the exchange should apparently work as follows:

Cop: Knock knock, we need to search your house.
Civilian: Do you have a warrant?
Cop: Listen, I don't feel too safe with your backtalk. I need to search your house to make sure you aren't hiding anything dangerous to my safety or the safety of your neighborhood.
Civilian: I don't consent to a warrantless search.
Cop: Alright, I'm going to need to arrest you because I feel unsafe with your backtalk. Let's go.

* Civilian is arrested and removed from the scene. Cop searches house unimpeded.

Apologists everywhere: The civilian was flaunting their "rights" and shouldn't have been impeding police work. They have a tough job to do and could have been shot at any moment.
posted by odinsdream at 11:00 AM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Events like this keep being repeated again and again, with predictable arguments on the Blue.

I think the issue is that the goalposts keep moving. Ten years ago the blue had a post about a police shooting after a police officer was allegedly by dragged by a car. Two and a half years ago, we had a post about a man being shot in the back while lying prone on the ground and held down by others. Now we have a post about a woman being arrested in her front yard because she was "not listening to [the arresting officer's] orders."

In each case, the nominal reason for the authority's action is similar. Ten years ago, the defense made sense -- someone being dragged by a car is at the risk of life and limb. Two and a half years ago, it was much more dubious. Time how long it is from when the officer turns his flashlight and his attention to the woman; it is clear that while looking at a woman in a nightgown from a few feet away for over a minute, the officer still cannot rest easy that she isn't carrying a weapon and she had best be detained. But then, as he says, "that doesn't matter."

As tallus notes above, the charge here is "second degree obstructing government administration" -- for the charge to stick, it seems the prosecution must prove that an armed police officer with backup was intimidated by a woman in a nightgown. If a police officer is this timid, he should look for a different job.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2011


From Cory Doctorow:

Rochester police use selective enforcement of parking laws to harass attendees at a meeting in support of Emily Good
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:57 AM on June 24, 2011


Not From Cory Doctorow's webjack of Indymedia:

Police Harass Community Members Attending Meeting in Support of Emily Good
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why are both the followers and the leaders so aggressive that hostility is practically their trademark? By the time you have finished this book, I think you will understand the reasons. All of this, and much more, fit into place once you see what research has uncovered going on in authoritarian minds.

There you go, Odinstream, with more "definitions" of who I am. See how that makes you feel better? That way it's easier for you to devalue my arguments. btw, my profession takes me into the cognitive sciences. If you think that authoritarianism doesn't live in liberal circles, I have news for you. There is a LOT written (and researched) about metaphorical filters in the brain - real physical pathways that determine more than you think (and how one reacts - not only in general terms, but in specific situations). There is so much residual and active authoritarianism in Ms. Good's (and her more rabid "followers") actions that it's tragic, because they think just the opposite of themselves. Sad, really - and tragic for the kind of cohesion that a democratic populace should strive for.

What I see here is mostly intolerance of the officer's stated request. I find that exceptionally interesting, from the point of view of very good research on metaphorical filters in the brain. Essentially, there is a knee-jerk reaction to defend Ms. Good by you and others and completely discount the police officer's request, or even emotional set during the encounter. I find it interesting that you see aggression in the officer, and not in Ms. Good. You might give that some thought as you continue your "research".

You really, really don't understand what rights are, do you? I can't offer much reading to help with that.

It appears that we differ on the subject of individual rights in a democratic culture. Your take appears to be a knee-jerk defense of Ms. Good's behavior - you appear to see only her side of things. I see Ms. Good's behavior as reasonable, to a point. Where she goes too far is insisting to remain within 10-15 feet of a police stop after being requested to move away. She seems to feel that her camera is not a distraction to the police officer, and seems not at all to show any empathy to the officer's request of wanting to feel more safe. In fact, several people on this thread have gone on to say that the police officer's exhortations were insincere. I find that most interesting, and revealing. Again, this points to a certain kind of authoritarianism that none of your "social science" researchers (especially the ones that aren't using fMRI studies to understand what goes on in people's brains under duress - and I'm sorry to say that that's MOST so-called social "scientists")


It is perfectly fine to assert your rights even if it has "the potential to cause problems for law enforcement".

I completely support civil disobedience to the point of arrest, and other actions that are freely engaged in to help change laws and improve justice. Ms. Good's actions represent none of that. Instead, they represent a very selfish act, by insisting that her rights trump the safety of others; that her rights permit her to ignore the polite request of an officer who says he feels unsafe; her self-prepossession re: whether the police officer's exhortations are "sincere" or not.


Odinstream: The civilian was flaunting their "rights" and shouldn't have been impeding police work. They have a tough job to do and could have been shot at any moment.

Your example about a house search mixes apples and oranges. This is not the same thing, and I would resist myself if I encountered such a situation. This is what I'm trying to get at re: "reading into" context (in the case, on the street, during a police stop). Ms. Good was asked to move back; she didn't. She could have continued taping from what the police officer claimed was a safe distance. She was rude, uncooperative, and put herself and opthers in potential danger if things had gotten chaotic.


As tallus notes above, the charge here is "second degree obstructing government administration" -- for the charge to stick, it seems the prosecution must prove that an armed police officer with backup was intimidated by a woman in a nightgown. If a police officer is this timid, he should look for a different job.

Yet another example here of someone reading into the mind (or trying to) of the police officer, without benefit of *any* police experience; without benefit of knowledge of any intervening activities that may (or may not) have been taking place that evening, in that neighborhood that may have been dangerous; without knowledge of what concerns the particular police officer had - legitimately had within the context of his training and experience.

Remember, the police officer asked - very politely - for Ms. Good to move back. She didn't.


Police Harass Community Members Attending Meeting in Support of Emily Good

Harass? Who is harassing whom? It appears to me that Ms. Good (and known pain in the a** in Rochester was harassing a police officer. - I have two Rochester friends (very liberal folks, btw) writing me about this incident). She and her self-righteous friends (who call themselves liberal, but are really just a bunch of troublemakers who dismiss the rights of all authority figures - be they school superintendents, mayor, city council members, teachers - you name it! - they always find a way to "find something wrong with them authority figures". Go ask around Rochester if you really want to take it to that level.

A police officer said in "ticketing" video claimed that it was a "neighbor request" to enforce the parking rules. But I guess that those neighbors must be "authoritarian", too, right?

In sum, the action taken by Ms. Good is going to be seen as obstruction, and she deserves a fine and reprimand. The next time she wants to tape an on-street police proceeding, and is politely asked to move back to a distance (not to discontinue taping, which I would not support), she will comply, or she will be arrested, again. Some people do learn the hard way; there's a lot of magical thinking going on with Ms. Good, and many of her supporters. They think by just saying that something is so, that it is. They think that just because someone speaks with authority within the context of a situation that they have been trained to act with authority, that they are abusing authority - even though said training leads the police officers to insist on a certain modicum of order potentially dangerous circumstances.

What's at stake in encounters like this is not the erosion of individual rights; rather, what's at stake is the erosion of trust caused by a certain knee-jerk reaction brought by members of the press and certain citizens who see (through the mist of their unresolved hatreds for authority figures) the "Stasi" coming to reality in America. Knee-jerk anti-authoritarianism poisons the well of trust in a delicate balance of democratic action and power.

Yes, power in a democracy is always in delicate balance; we are moving out of balance in many ways - in ways that often disturb me (i.e. Patriot Act abuses, with local police power sometimes going over the edge because of a feeling of non-retribution). These things worry me.

To sum up, what worries me just as much are the self-entitled types like Ms. Good who wear at trust between citizens and police - and other authorities. I hope she learns a lesson, but I fear that no matter the outcome, whether Rochester drops the case or not, she will be seen as a "local hero" among her small coterie of her angry, anti-authoritarian cohorts. Another reason why I would in no way, especially in the neighborhood within she resides (that I happen to know, quite well) would I want her as a neighbor.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:16 PM on June 24, 2011


I think the term "copology" or "copologist" would be a fine addition to the lexicon, e.g., "Yeah, he kept going on about how she was somehow obstructing police work by recording a police officer. You know, a typical copologist."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:31 PM on June 24, 2011


Copper-o-philiac
posted by unSane at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2011


I'm fairly sure she's equally happy not to have you as a neighbor, Vibrissae. Which makes two of us.
posted by unSane at 4:44 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vallejo man arrested for filming arrest from his garage (they were arresting the wrong people as it turned out)

High school student arrested for filming cops on bus
(they released her but wiped the video)

LulzSec docs show Ariz. cops' unhealthy obsession with iPhone


Nothing to see here. Move along. And turn that fucking camera off.
posted by unSane at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2011


I think the term "copology" or "copologist" would be a fine addition to the lexicon, e.g., "Yeah, he kept going on about how she was somehow obstructing police work by recording a police officer. You know, a typical copologist."

Ah, yes, using the power of definition/classification of the other, to place one's antagonist in a box, for examination, further definition, and psycho-dynamic surgery. It's so much easier than coming to mutual understanding around difference - don't you think?

Have a great day! I'm sure it will be far more pleasurable than Emily Good's day. And, try not to copy her antics (they don't rise to the level of tactics); they're really not productive; they don't increase your democratic rights, or mine - not one iota. Ms. Good is not even a footnote, really. (except here, where occasional knee-jerk reactions to this kind of thing deserve a measured response).

Signing off for today. Wish we could have taken this to metatalk, as requested earlier, but se la vie.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2011


I feel that Good was disingenuous. A jury might be inclined to agree.
posted by clavdivs at 5:04 PM on June 24, 2011


Eh, FWIW, I'm glad to see the pro-citizen vs. pro-cop argument played out here. It's (mostly) relevant.
posted by LordSludge at 5:05 PM on June 24, 2011


to what, opinion?
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on June 24, 2011


I'm fairly sure she's equally happy not to have you as a neighbor, Vibrissae. Which makes two of us.

If I was her neighbor, I would put a sign up in my window supporting the action she just brought down on herself. As for you and I, let's just say that I'm not into making snap judgements about people for what they say here. Have a good day!


Vallejo man arrested for filming arrest from his garage (they were arresting the wrong people as it turned out)
In this case, I heartily support the citizen; disciplinary action should be taken against the officer Very different than what happened in Rochester.

High school student arrested for filming cops on bus
(they released her but wiped the video)

Clearly a transgression of her civil rights; the officers should be disciplined. Again, different than what happened in Rochester.

LulzSec docs show Ariz. cops' unhealthy obsession with iPhone

Nothing to see here. Move along. And turn that fucking camera off.


Lulzsec published private information about another citizen's physical address; that's actionable. AZ police enforcement is way over the top, and needs monitoring.

So? What does any of this prove other than that police abuse exists in America. Welcome to reality! That said, the Rochester incident is decidedly different.

One last thing: it would be interesting to know how many of the rabid supporters of Emily Good no this board - and in other places - support the right of individuals to carry handguns, and/or support the right of individuals to buy and purchase any gun that is legally made available to them through the open marketplace, here in America.

A further note: in Europe, a place where I feel very much at home, and far safer than in America, it is generally forbidden to take unsolicited pictures of even standing policemen, for fear that those photos may be used by certain individuals to target said policeman (or woman) at a future time, or to spy on their presence. Certainly, police abuse exists in Europe, as well, but there seems a far more balanced approach to police authority there, than here. In some ways, it seems that the idea of individual rights in America has taken on a more individual "selfish" tone, with no sense of the impact of individual rights - if pushed to the nth degree - on collective rights. I see this as a cultural artifact of a nation that has become increasingly less empathic of others, including authority figures.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:12 PM on June 24, 2011


Seems like there are two distinct rights questions here that are getting conflated:

1. Whether a cop can order you about on your own private property if it's an arrest scene or whether it's legal to ignore them. (Many followup questions: Are there special restrictions with an arrest scene? How does one define an "arrest scene"? How can a citizen know a scene is an "arrest scene" under right her rights are temporarily restricted?) I really have no idea what my rights are in such a case. Any ideas?

2. Whether it's legal to video-record a cop in public.

Seems to me the first question has gotten buried by the second, and the first is pretty interesting in its own right.
posted by LordSludge at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2011


it would be interesting to know how many of the rabid supporters of Emily Good no this board - and in other places - support the right of individuals to carry handguns, and/or support the right of individuals to buy and purchase any gun that is legally made available to them through the open marketplace, here in America.

I wouldn't consider myself a rabid supporter, but yes - I do support the gun rights you listed.

As for the European thing: glad I live in America.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:17 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]



Eh, FWIW, I'm glad to see the pro-citizen vs. pro-cop argument played out here. It's (mostly) relevant.


Lordsludge: That's not quite accurate. What "pro cop", except in this scenario? These things are always, always, situational, and very seldom black and white. In fact. in the past I have taken personal legal actions against individuals in official authoritative positions who crossed lines that violated my legal rights. However, in this scenario, I defend the police officer. Ms Good was free to videotape from a safe distance; she chose not to, after repeated polite requests; she will pay a deserved consequence for that. Hope that clears up my stance.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:19 PM on June 24, 2011


A further note: in Europe, a place where I feel very much at home, and far safer than in America, it is generally forbidden to take unsolicited pictures of even standing policemen

This is complete and utter bullshit, just so you know.
posted by unSane at 5:20 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems like there are two distinct rights questions here that are getting conflated:

1. Whether a cop can order you about on your own private property if it's an arrest scene or whether it's legal to ignore them.


Agreed on the issue of conflation.

Police officers have a right (and duty) to establish what they consider to be safe perimeter. 10-15' is decidedly *not* a safe perimeter, as established in police training. Ms. Good just didn't get that; she is not aware of the law; ignorance is no excuse. She was never told that she had to stop taping. She was asked to retreat to a safer distance. She refused; she argued with officer, making it more difficult for him and his peers to carry out a dangerous duty (even if it looks benign from the outside).

To Florence Henderson:
Vallejo is a cesspool. Did you see the place in the video that unSane sent over, about the camera confiscation? Can you even begin to imagine (I can't) what it must be like to ride those roads in a marked police car (a target), knowing that some significant minority of criminals in the area have armor-piercing bullets and additional weaponry that dwarfs your own? Can you even begin to imagine what it must be like to make a stop like the one we saw being made, with so many places available for cover of a thug with a gun?

In spite of that, I support unSane's claim that the confiscation of the young man's camera was wrong, because it was within his civil rights to record what the police were doing.

That said, in that community (Vallejo), in that neighborhood (a disordered, slummy-looking place), I would not blame *anyone*, not even someone who has chosen to be a cop and has been trained to be a cop - no matter how stalwart that individual - to be *afraid for his/her life every waking moment*. Still, that fear does not rise to any level of rationale for removing one's right to film police action.

Yet, citizens, many of them who support what I consider to be the egregious distribution of handguns in this culture - weapons that are as easily available in some states as a purchasing a pack of gum - will go to great lengths to stress police officers out as they carry on their duties.

Most cops are good cops, in my experience. Some aren't. The latter need to be disciplined, removed, or helped do their job better.

That said, there is *also* an onus on American citizens to NOT generalize to all cops the relatively few incidents that egregiously violate civil rights.

Over years, I have grown weary of the selfish, self-entitlement of people liek Ms. Good, who act on whims, imperfect information, and pre-conclusions about entire classes of people (usually people in authority) corroding the delicate trust that exists between citizens and the authorities they hire to protect them. I would submit that those authorities be held to a high standard, but also submit that they also need to be assumed and seen as human beings.

What I see in this thread is automatic assumptions made about police officers that are just *wrong*, and sadly misinformed.

That you feel safe *at all* when you walk to your grocery store is due to the cooperative, collective nature of empathy with the word of law by your fellow citizens, in addition to the enforcement of those laws by others hired by our tax dollars to do so. Ms. Good took the plea and polite direction of a cop doing his duty for granted; she made trouble and potential danger a higher probability than should have been the case. For that, she will pay a consequence. In the other cases that were presented by unSane, I would support the citizen.

Last, handguns are pure evil. That's another thread. Any nation permitting the distribution of weapons of personal destruction to the level that we have is a *sick* nation, period. So, here we have another right, the right to carry handguns, that has mauled and killed hundreds of thousands of citizens; has put our own public safety officers on the defense because of their ease of access, and we wonder why cops (who deal with criminals, crazies, and miscreants all day) get really nervous when people get too close to them while they're in a tense situation. A little empathy goes a long way - *and*, it's a two way street.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:51 PM on June 24, 2011


Police officers have a right (and duty) to establish what they consider to be safe perimeter. 10-15' is decidedly *not* a safe perimeter, as established in police training. Ms. Good just didn't get that; she is not aware of the law; ignorance is no excuse.

The officer did not tell her that he was trying to establish a safe perimeter around an arrest scene. He did not tell her that any particular distance was important. In fact, he did not tell her to do anything or give her any order whatsoever. He clearly did not actually feel threatened, as evidenced by the fact that he arrested her without searching her in any way and he left her companion - who did not have a camera - completely alone and free to roam as close to the scene as he wanted. Your assertions about the law, the facts of this case, and facts about the world in general have consistently been misrepresentations and distortions, vibrissae. I've asked you to back up your assertions several times in this thread and you've ignored me every time. Your opinions are based on false assertions.
posted by The World Famous at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


A further note: in Europe, a place where I feel very much at home, and far safer than in America, it is generally forbidden to take unsolicited pictures of even standing policemen

This is complete and utter bullshit, just so you know.


UnSane, you really need to stop making assumptions about the real experience of others.

Unless you were standing on my shoulders (how tiny are you, anyway?) when over the last two weeks as I worked in France and Italy - and then another 3 weeks in those same countries a few months ago, when I was pointedly waved off from taking photos of policemen stationed on the street *at least a dozen times*. (I have a friend whose little kid enjoys seeing pictures of policemen). I found myself asking stationed policemen (and women) if I could take their picture, and about half said yes. I did take pictures of police officers without their knowledge, just for fun, but when I was spotted doing so, there was more often than not a very severe waving off.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2011


Your opinions are based on false assertions.

Of course, your assertions are true, right? Let's see what the judge says.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:58 PM on June 24, 2011


I wish I felt like I had time to respond well, Vibrissae, because I have an interesting story of a policeman who pointed and held a loaded gun inches from my face when I was a teenager because he was "afraid." It's interesting, because despite that loaded (sorry) leadup to the story, I actually supported the policeman's decision at the time (and still do), although I was never any threat to him. But I don't have time to go into it. Maybe later, if this thread doesn't dissolve into a hate fest in the meantime. Good night, all
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:02 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course, your assertions are true, right? Let's see what the judge says.

Tell me one false assertion you think I've made and I'll back it up. But first go back through the thread and provide me with the factual support for each assertion that I asked you to cite sources on. And please start by backing up your bullshit assertions about the law in Europe.
posted by The World Famous at 6:02 PM on June 24, 2011


I'll say it again: Anyone who actually stands a chance at taking the evil fuckers out of power would not be allowed to exist.

We are only allowed to talk about this online however we like because we are powerless: The people being ticketed for "parking violations" outside the meeting for Emily Good were considered a small but potential threat, and being given the smallest of warnings. If you stood a real chance of fighting the power, you would have a bullet in your head.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:11 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vibrissae, just because cops waved you off taking pictures of them doesn't mean you are not allowed to. It just means they don't want you to. That may be your definition of 'forbidden'. It isn't mine. In general, in Europe, you can take a picture of anyone in a public place. There are some exceptions in France (and Quebec, which shares the same legal framework) which relate to invasion of privacy but these are civil matters and only relate to publication of photographs, not the taking of them.

You are way out of your depth here. You don't understand the law. You don't understand what rights are. And you are just coming off plain weird, frankly.
posted by unSane at 6:23 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harass? Who is harassing whom? It appears to me that Ms. Good (and known pain in the a** in Rochester was harassing a police officer. - I have two Rochester friends (very liberal folks, btw) writing me about this incident). She and her self-righteous friends (who call themselves liberal, but are really just a bunch of troublemakers who dismiss the rights of all authority figures - be they school superintendents, mayor, city council members, teachers - you name it! - they always find a way to "find something wrong with them authority figures". Go ask around Rochester if you really want to take it to that level.

You're way over the fucking line here. The cops were harassing members of the flying squirrel, a free-to-use public community space. They're good kids, and they mean well. Glibly dismissing them as troublemakers is absolutely ridiculous. They do good in the community and are well regarded here. TL;DR: Fuck off, you have no idea what you're talking about.

Of course, your assertions are true, right? Let's see what the judge says.

The judge is going to throw the case out. Even Ironmouth (a LEO union lawyer)–who I usually disagree with when it comes to cop issues–has said that the judge is most likely going to throw the case out.

I wish I felt like I had time to respond well, Vibrissae, because I have an interesting story of a policeman who pointed and held a loaded gun inches from my face when I was a teenager because he was "afraid."

A couple years ago a cop ran up to my driver side door with his gun pointed at my head because I had to open my door a crack instead of rolling down my window. That shit sucks.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:23 PM on June 24, 2011


over the last two weeks as I worked in France and Italy - and then another 3 weeks in those same countries a few months ago, when I was pointedly waved off from taking photos of policemen stationed on the street *at least a dozen times*.

What that shows is that the police believe they have the right to prevent you from taking their picture, not that they necessarily do. That may be the case in those countries. (France, I know, has a very asymmetric idea of privacy -- my understanding is that you basically can't photograph anyone without their consent unless you are the police.) Or it might not be, and those dozen times were examples of the police overstepping their authority. The question is, do you actually know what the law is in those countries, or are you looking at the actions of the police you encountered and making assumptions about what authority they properly have? (I'd like to know, for real. I'm having a difficult time finding good references on that in English, and my French is rusty enough that I'm probably not going to be able to find it on my own. And I don't speak Italian at all.)
posted by hades at 6:24 PM on June 24, 2011


Tell me one false assertion you think I've made and I'll back it up. But first go back through the thread and provide me with the factual support for each assertion that I asked you to cite sources on. And please start by backing up your bullshit assertions about the law in Europe.

Back up the assertion that the officer was "not really unsafe". I'm interested in how you come up with that assumption. I'm also interested in your evidence showing that it's not correct or in police policy to insist that persons adjacent to a crime scene or police action are required to keep a certain distance.

About the law in Europe, I don't know what the law is, but I do know that I was pointedly waved off more than several times as I went to take pictures of police officers and stationed soldiers. That was my experience. If you want to find out what the law is, I suggest you go to an Italian airport and try to photograph an armed police officer after that officer has waved you off. See what happens. In my case, I don't know what that was about, but it was real, and I was not about to push buttons to prove a point about "rights" in that situation. I don't need to "prove" anything to myself. It was no big deal. I didn't feel as if I was being crushed by the "evil power structure". Se la vie.
posted by Vibrissae at 6:25 PM on June 24, 2011


(France, I know, has a very asymmetric idea of privacy -- my understanding is that you basically can't photograph anyone without their consent unless you are the police.)

This is a misunderstanding. Under French law, if you publish a photograph of someone taken without knowledge, they may have an action against you for invasion of privacy. There is nothing to stop you taking the photograph.
posted by unSane at 6:26 PM on June 24, 2011


Se la vie

If you're going to go on and on about how you just got back from working in Europe, at least have the common sense to look up the proper spelling before you use a French cliche. Jesus Christ.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:28 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(France, I know, has a very asymmetric idea of privacy -- my understanding is that you basically can't photograph anyone without their consent unless you are the police.)

I know this to be true. About the law, I don't know, but saw no reason to challenge pointed instructions to not take pictures. I spoke to one police person (in Italy) about it and he said that police officers had been made targets in the past, and that there is a high sensitivity to being photographed in public because of the rise in terrorism threats. I know that terrorism is used as a cover for police abuse and power plays, but I can also see their side of things. I would be interested to know what's in the law, if you want to take the time to uncover it.
posted by Vibrissae at 6:29 PM on June 24, 2011


Hey guys, it's a good thing that she got arrested in America, huh?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:30 PM on June 24, 2011


My flawed, misinformed understanding, apparently.

It's interesting that you don't seem to distinguish between "it is forbidden" and "it is illegal", at least when it comes to Europe.
posted by hades at 6:34 PM on June 24, 2011


If you're going to go on and on about how you just got back from working in Europe, at least have the common sense to look up the proper spelling before you use a French cliche. Jesus Christ.

Aha! by gum, you're right. The thing is I don't spell French, or even speak it very well. But isn't the correct French spelling "cliché"? And, what does any of this have to do with common sense? Have a nice day!
posted by Vibrissae at 6:36 PM on June 24, 2011


It's interesting that you don't seem to distinguish between "it is forbidden" and "it is illegal", at least when it comes to Europe.

I guess it might be interesting, depending on where you're coming from. I have already said several times that I don't know. What does this have to do with Ms. Good's refusal to follow instructions?
posted by Vibrissae at 6:38 PM on June 24, 2011


Well, it speaks to the earlier discussion about what is meant by "authoritarian".
posted by hades at 6:39 PM on June 24, 2011



Hey guys, it's a good thing that she got arrested in America, huh?


Yeah, because in Europe they would have fed her croissants in the police docking room, and made sure that she had no firearms in her home. I support both actions, btw.
posted by Vibrissae at 6:40 PM on June 24, 2011


Well, it speaks to the earlier discussion about what is meant by "authoritarian".

How?
posted by Vibrissae at 6:41 PM on June 24, 2011


let's take this to metatalk!
posted by Vibrissae at 6:41 PM on June 24, 2011


Why, is it about metafilter? Or is it about the topic of the post?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:43 PM on June 24, 2011


it feels like we're circling around and around. I'm pretty much done. Points made. I'm out, unless I let myself get sucked back in by assumptions too egregious to ignore. Good night, and good luck!
posted by Vibrissae at 6:53 PM on June 24, 2011


You can open a metatalk thread if you want but I've no idea why you would want to. The conversation is here and it is on topic.
posted by unSane at 6:54 PM on June 24, 2011


You're way over the (expletive deleted) line here. The cops were harassing members of the flying squirrel, a free-to-use public community space. They're good kids, and they mean well. Glibly dismissing them as troublemakers is absolutely ridiculous.

I said that Ms. Good was a troublemaker - and known to be so. Anyone agreeing with her stance I would consider to also be a troublemaker, disrespectful, uninformed, or ignorant (as opposed to stupid - as ignorance is usually correctable).
posted by Vibrissae at 7:01 PM on June 24, 2011


There you go, Odinstream, with more "definitions" of who I am. See how that makes you feel better? That way it's easier for you to devalue my arguments. btw, my profession takes me into the cognitive sciences.

Vibrissae, your argument boils down to "because the police officer said so, that's why," interspersed with your own wildly strident claims of expertise and authority in any remotely-related subject area.*

Everything is shades of grey, but everyone else is definitively ignorant and wrong. You attach judgmental labels to the motivations of some people while arguing that the motivations of others may not be judged. You use assumptions to admonish others for assumptions. You ignore or reinvent the meanings of the words you've used if someone disagrees with you.

Is this satire?

*Which is why it's so odd that you have twice used a commonplace French cliché that you nonetheless cannot spell.
posted by desuetude at 7:29 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everything is shades of grey, but everyone else is definitively ignorant and wrong. You attach judgmental labels to the motivations of some people while arguing that the motivations of others may not be judged. You use assumptions to admonish others for assumptions. You ignore or reinvent the meanings of the words you've used if someone disagrees with you.

Gee, that sounds like what I've been experiencing. Same with the cop and Ms. Good. Isn't life strange? And, I wasn't the first one to label someone else as authoritarian.

To clear this up, Ms. Good is ignorant; Ms. Good is also wrong; Ms. Good's motivations were ignorant and selfish and self-prepossessing, in my opinion. For the nth time, she refused to comply with the exhortations of a police officer to "stand away, because I don't feel safe". She blatantly refused to stand back, refusing to acknowledge the officer's statement of distress. She could have continued taping from a more safe distance.

She was selfish. She - I hope - will pay a penalty. She will remain a hero to her seriously anti-authoritarian friends. They will have coffee after all this is over, talking about how cops are cruel and how insensitive they are. They will generalize, wildly, about how America is becoming a police state. How do I know this? Really, I don't, but I will bet hard cash that if I could be a little squirrel (pun, intended) on her windowsill that's the kind of thing I would hear from her.

We plainly disagree, and I'm in the clear minority here. That's OK. However, in the end, my opinion and your opinion don't mean a rat's a**. What will mean something is when a judge decides to fine Ms. Good, or dismiss the charge. Whatever happens, Ms. Good's actions will have meant nothing except to herself and a few others who want to reinforce what they believe about the police are about in America. I wish them all well, and hope one day they escape their distorted thinking, and get on with their lives without the burden of constant rancor against established authority - all rationalized in the name of "protecting their rights", when it's really not their rights that are the issue. The issue is their selfish use of the freedoms that they have, and pushing those freedoms right to the limit to marginalize others, to prove to themselves that they are more than their deflated self-images will let them believe (that's why they reflexively try to bludgeon power) - in this case the police, or anyone who disagrees with them. Yes, liberals can be authoritarians, too. There is plenty of evidence for that on this board, and in Ms. Good's pathetic "protecting my civil rights" behavior. "Civil rights", my a**!
posted by Vibrissae at 8:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I said that Ms. Good was a troublemaker - and known to be so. Anyone agreeing with her stance I would consider to also be a troublemaker, disrespectful, uninformed, or ignorant (as opposed to stupid - as ignorance is usually correctable).

ALL Real Americans are "troublemakers". It's one of our defining characteristics. Some would call it "Rugged Individualism", but I'll proudly wear the label Troublemaker, myself.

If we weren't troublemakers, would we have bothered with the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War?
posted by mikelieman at 8:01 PM on June 24, 2011


Speaking of... "ALL men are created equal"

Cops ain't special. They're civilians just like you and me.
posted by mikelieman at 8:02 PM on June 24, 2011


Why am I not surprised that you were too lazy to even open the PDF I recommended in order to cherry-pick a single line to dismiss the work? I am being completely honest with you here: your demonstrated understanding of the terms used in the discussion is at odds with the generally-accepted usage. I suggested a scholarly, free, data-laden easy-to-read work by a recognized expert in the field, and you dismiss it with quotation marks around choice words and an exhortation that there was no fMRI performed.

Your views, not you personally, are terrifying to me. I mean this very seriously. I would be extremely disturbed to have to work with you on a city council or local government issue because of your demostrated lack of empathy and understanding of regular civilians, not to mention the scapegoating. I invite you again to read the suggested book and see if you can apply any of it to bettering your understanding of this issue.
posted by odinsdream at 8:03 PM on June 24, 2011


Cops ain't special. They're civilians just like you and me.

It would have been nice if Ms. Good had treated that police officer like a civilian who said he didn't feel safe with her as close as she was to the street action. Another act of unnecessary incivility, perpetrated by someone with a chip on her shoulder.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:04 PM on June 24, 2011


Cops are held to a higher standard than civilians because of the enormous power they wield.

It's clear this is, for you, all aboiut personality. Chips on shoulders, self-righteousness, entitlement, pompousness. Just read through your comments pulling the adjectives.

These issues do not inform rights. Rights are not conditional on being polite or civil. Politeness has nothing to do with this, but you're clearly very bitter about this fact.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 PM on June 24, 2011


I invite you again to read the suggested book and see if you can apply any of it to bettering your understanding of this issue

I understand this issue as well as the person who wrote that book; if you only knew. Look, we don't agree. Apparently, you appear to be terrified of that difference. I suggest you work on getting over that, because it will not serve you well in life. Might I suggest you look into a very basic self-help book that describes what cognitive distortion is, to help you stop labeling others because of simple differences of opinion over an incident. Start with one of the better layperson's self-help guides, by David Burns. Also, please realize that the choice of reading and theoretical stance that you take is largely a result of your cognitive filtering. Much of what I have witnessed from your writing - although I don't know you - seems to be a determined effort to marginalize whole persons that you disagree with. This is, whether you know it or not, going to cause you great anguish in your (probably young) life. If you want more insight, and don't want to bother to do very much more reading, might I suggest a book named "Psychologist Caught" (Louis Brandt, University of Toronto Press - currently out of print). I wish you well.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:15 PM on June 24, 2011


It's clear this is, for you, all aboiut personality. Chips on shoulders, self-righteousness, entitlement, pompousness. Just read through your comments pulling the adjectives.

Not really. It has become about personality, as I find myself mildly agitated by the not-so-subtle attacks on my person, here. Essentially, for me, it's about a woman who thinks that her right to tape a police officer from a distance that he feels is unsafe, continuing to do so in spite of repeated, polite attempts to request that she step back. Note, again, that she was not told to turn off the camera. My prior comments about her, and her inclinations, stand.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:18 PM on June 24, 2011


she is not aware of the law; ignorance is no excuse.

Irrelevant, as she was not violating the law.

She was asked to retreat to a safer distance. She refused; she argued with officer, making it more difficult for him and his peers to carry out a dangerous duty (even if it looks benign from the outside).

The officer persisted in telling her to back up. The major distraction was caused, and prolonged, by the officer persisting in telling her to do something she was not required to do. Had he accepted the fact that he did not have the authority to act as he did, he would have been able to resume paying full attention to the traffic stop.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:20 PM on June 24, 2011


...great anguish in your (probably young) life...

Where the fuck do you get off...
posted by odinsdream at 8:23 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


their selfish use of the freedoms that they have, and pushing those freedoms right to the limit to marginalize others, to prove to themselves that they are more than their deflated self-images will let them believe (that's why they reflexively try to bludgeon power)

Indeed, no police officer should act like this. But sometimes they do, and that's why this thread was posted.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:24 PM on June 24, 2011


I understand this issue as well as the person who wrote that book; if you only knew.

Eh, it's got a good ring, but it's no "I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine."
posted by hades at 8:30 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


let's take this to metatalk!

While this is certainly an option that is available, though one I might hope someone would not employ on a Friday night, I have to mention that at the point at which a thread becomes one user against everyone it is actually turning into something better suited for MeTa or email than an open thread. Please consider saying what you have to say and stepping back to become part of the conversation, not the center of the conversation. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn at 8:30 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


She was selfish. She - I hope - will pay a penalty.

I don't have any objection to anyone holding the personal opinion that Emily Good was impolite to the officer. I'm arguing with the assertion that a police officer's opinions about simple politeness are legally relevant or, more importantly, remotely within the scope of his duty to public.

As it has been pointed out, police are charged with protecting the public, and it's a stressful and dangerous job. If an officer can't check his irritation with a bystander -- standing on her own property, engaging in annoying but legal behavior -- long enough to focus on the matter at hand, how is he supposed to handle the distraction of multiple intentionally annoying criminals engaged in actually dangerous crimes?

I need for the police to prioritize murder, rape, theft, assault, arson, endangerment, exploitation, etc., and leave the social mores to society. I'll continue to handle rude people on my own terms, but I'd like some backup with the armed assailants. And historically, it hasn't worked out so well for a whole lot of people when "Thought Police" and "I Don't Like Your Attitude" and "Don't You Know Who I Am" become too much of a priority for law enforcement. It seems to make it more difficult to objectively distinguish organized crime from orders of police.
posted by desuetude at 10:25 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need for the police to prioritize murder, rape, theft, assault, arson, endangerment, exploitation, etc., and leave the social mores to society

So then why don't you and the likes of Emily Good let them do their job, and stop pushing the limits of our freedoms into the face of another human being who made a polite request to let him do just that? I think the operative phrase to Emily Good - and the rest of those who so rabidly support her to the degree that you/they are devaluing anyone who supports the police officer in this incident - is to "grow up!".

You may not like what I just said, but your rather immature, unfounded, all-assuming, mind-reading stance relative to the intentions of the police officer simply give your true motivations away - i.e. obsessive anti-authoritarianism, mixed with a sense of rather juvenile entitlement - i.e. a special kind of authoritarianism, all on it's own. It's called anarchy.

You are also stubbornly ignoring the fact that a police officer can ask someone to move away from a street stop or crime scene in order to protect a perimeter; to protect the officer; to protect mayhem from getting out of hand, should it occur. Do you for one minute think that that officer *wanted* to arrest the rude Ms. Good? He gave her several chances. She got (and is going to get) what she deserved. If you don't agree with whatever the final rendering is, in front of a judge - and you're so damn fired about about this case, go put your a** on the line the next time an officer politely asks you to back off for his, or your, safety. Go for it! Put your body where your rabid anti-authoritarian rhetoric is, and see if you can "make a difference". After you post bail, maybe you can yuk it up with your buddies over a beer.

Note that Emily Good is being brought up on inhibiting a police officer from administering the law. If you don't like that, go change the law. Insistence on seeing this police officer as someone who abuses Emily Good's rights is ass-backwards from that police officer's reality; it's also ass-backwards toward the slippery slope of every anti-authoritarian nutcase moving right into a police officer's face, no matter the situation, or scene. Slippery slopes move both ways. History repeats itself, I guess. Emily Good probably idealizes the Symbionese Liberation Army ).

I'm out, and the *judge* will have the last word - not you; not me; a court of law is where justice will be served, whether you - or Emily Good - like it or not. Heck, maybe Emily Good can turn her camera on the judge - in court; let's see how that turns out.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:52 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may not like what I just said, but your rather immature, unfounded, all-assuming, mind-reading stance relative to the intentions of the police officer simply give your true motivations away - i.e. obsessive anti-authoritarianism, mixed with a sense of rather juvenile entitlement - i.e. a special kind of authoritarianism, all on it's own. It's called anarchy.

I said absolutely nothing about the intentions of the police officer.

Are you totally high?
posted by desuetude at 1:54 AM on June 25, 2011


"your", as in most of the others who have defended Ms, Good's actions. Ironically, your comments have been among the most rational and well put. Sorry to have mis-communicated to you what was meant primarily for others. And yes, I'm very high, but not in the way you might be thinking.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:47 AM on June 25, 2011


Your continued attempts to re-paint this scene as "Officer just trying to establish a secure perimeter" would be a lot more believable if we didn't have video evidence that no such thing occurred.

It's understandable that you misread the scene, given your personal experience related earlier about police officers, where you made the wild leap from "cop waves me off when I take a picture" to "in Europe there are laws against taking pictures of police".
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 AM on June 25, 2011


Police Harass Community Members Attending Meeting in Support of Emily Good

From the local Rochester NBC affiliate:
"A group of Rochester citizens meeting to show support for a woman arrested while video taping a police traffic stop claim police harassment.

Members of the group IndyMedia say several police officers converged on Clarissa Street late Thursday afternoon and began ticketing their parked cars for being more than 12 inches from the curb. A member of the group video taped the incident and posted the video on line. The pictures show police using a pink ruler to measure the distance from the curb to the wheels, and then issuing parking tickets.

Spokeswoman Dawn Zuppelli says this was obvious retaliation. 'This was a clear intimidation tactic. And I'm outraged about it. It was an appalling use of city (police) resources. They told us it was citizen complaints about how the cars were parked, and I don't believe it for a second. I absolutely think we're being targeted. They're leaving us a message that they are angry about this. It's gotten international coverage at this point, the misconduct of the RPD and they want to let us know that they're not happy about it,' Zuppelli said."
Fine police work there, Officer Friendly!

At least the ruler was pink!
posted by ericb at 8:35 AM on June 25, 2011


"An Indymedia activist video-documented [06:42] some of the measuring activities, which you can see here. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Rochester police chief says the officers hadn't been assigned to ruler patrol, and that an investigation will now take place—possibly to coincide with their other investigation regarding the circumstances surrounding Good's arrest. Well, it's good to stay busy." *
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on June 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


posted by Vibrissae at 1:52 AM on June 25 [1 favorite +] [!]

You favorited your own post?!?
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:54 AM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, for real, I'd like to know the law regarding police arrest-scene authority. Surely there are limits, both to police power and civilian rights, but what are they? Do these change when the civilian is on private property?

Unfortunately, I'm thinking this is one of those intentionally vague legal things, and the law as it stands amounts to "if the cop gets angry with you, you've committed a crime once we figure out what to charge you with"... but that's unacceptable in a free society.
posted by LordSludge at 12:32 PM on June 25, 2011


LordSludge -- some of the issues you raise were 'front-and-center' in the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in July 2009.

Previous MeFi FPP: Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested for "breaking into" his own home.
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on June 25, 2011


Having thought more about the 'pink ruler' ticketing of supporters of Emily Good, it's obvious to me that such was meant to be intimidating and harassing. On the other hand, it is so fucking childish and petty on behalf of these officers. Such an action makes them look foolish and an embarrassment to the City of Rochester. Don't they realize that 'the Whole World is watching?'
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on June 25, 2011


It would have been nice if Ms. Good had treated that police officer like a civilian who said he didn't feel safe with her as close as she was to the street action.

By calling 911 and telling them one of the clinically paranoid crazy people have escaped from their nice safe hospital, and they should send some nice friendly men to come take him home where he won't be a danger to anyone?
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 PM on June 25, 2011


the next time an officer politely asks you to back off for his, or your, safety.

The problem in this case that everyone can clearly see that there are no safety issues.
posted by mikelieman at 5:34 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


In agree with ericb. I do think Good exacerbated the situation and the arrest was not needed though her "getting some air"... someone in night clothes filming a police scene...it would not play out well in court. The harrassment so to say is a kin to the speed trap, it is generating revenue. I just wish our police had the time to do that. so yeah, this police action is not good and indictative of Goods' point concerning personal liberties. At this point, I would order the police to back down and resolve this through arbitration so not to waste a courts time. I think an apology and some minor restituion for Good would suffice.


The problem in this case that everyone can clearly see that there are no safety issues.

A distraction to the officer can be argued as a saftey concern.
was she a distraction?
I tested this today. Buddy and I pulled in for gas and saw a car pulled over 50 -75 ft from the pump. My buddy rolled the film in the cab while gassing up and i lit a smoke and ambled near the scene. at 20 ft he through the 'get the fuck away look' and I yawned and stretched and turned heel.

I had the footage but it means nothing and deleted it. Because it was common place.
posted by clavdivs at 5:47 PM on June 25, 2011


A distraction to the officer can be argued as a saftey concern.

Anything can be argued as a safety concern. That's why it's such a shitty argument.
posted by unSane at 5:17 AM on June 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Video: "Good and her attorney, Stephanie Stare, spoke with CNN's Don Lemon exclusively about what happened and if a person can ever disobey a police order."
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2011


at 20 ft he through the 'get the fuck away look'

Good thing you weren't trying to, say, report that the gas station was being robbed. Or any other thing someone might want to approach a police officer for.

Or maybe he saw you lighting up at a gas station and figured you for someone with a death wish.
posted by hades at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2011


A large man with a side-arm and a fragile ego is a "safety concern" for me. Seriously. Can I order THEM away?
posted by LordSludge at 1:53 PM on June 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


The video below is from a Rochester, New York, neighborhood meeting in support of Emily Good, the woman arrested for videotaping a traffic stop from her front yard. So Rochester police sent four squad cars to ticket the cars of meeting attendees who parked more than 12 inches from the curb. Yes, they even brought a ruler.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 3:07 PM on June 26, 2011


Anything can be argued as a safety concern. That's why it's such a shitty argument.
if it wins the case, who cares.

Or maybe he saw you lighting up at a gas station and figured you for someone with a death wish.

Naw, he was fine, it was a stolen car and we pulled over by the phone to watch the rest, he didnt care, prolly didn't even see. outta sight, outta mind.
posted by clavdivs at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2011


oh, did anyone even consider the intial suspects wishes concerning video taping this traffic stop?

what about him.
posted by clavdivs at 4:22 PM on June 26, 2011


now here is a guy who taped vehicles after an FBI raid, no problems really but check out the end.
posted by clavdivs at 4:36 PM on June 26, 2011


oh, did anyone even consider the intial suspects wishes concerning video taping this traffic stop?

what about him.


No, because there is not right to privacy in a public place.
posted by unSane at 5:14 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


My 11 yr old son just accidentally watched this (it was on CNN) and his (totally spontaneous) reaction was "wow -- you're allowed to stand on your own front lawn!"
posted by unSane at 7:30 PM on June 26, 2011


The flying squirrel is doing a rally downtown today. I wonder if the cops are going to do anything.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:11 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


But she taped him, what if he became angry or was guilty. Does he know Ms. Good?

No, because there is not right to privacy in a public place.

really if someone in public lays a hand upon me i cannot grab it and snap the wrist like a twig. I did it last year, never had a problem with the police or the assailant. You have a right of privacy in public. The privacy one has is the right to defend ones self wether it be with it knowledge or materia.
posted by clavdivs at 8:09 AM on June 27, 2011


strike 'it'
posted by clavdivs at 8:10 AM on June 27, 2011


You have a right of privacy in public. The privacy one has is the right to defend ones self wether it be with it knowledge or materia.

you are confusing moral rights as you see them with legal rights. There is no legal right to privacy in public. You do not have a legal right of physical self defence against someone taking your picture any more than you have a legal right to stop someone looking at you. All the rest is handwaving.
posted by unSane at 8:17 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


laying a hand = assault

looking/photographing ≠ assault

seriously
posted by unSane at 8:18 AM on June 27, 2011


But she taped him, what if he became angry or was guilty. Does he know Ms. Good?

The driver was a friend of hers. From the article:
Mazzeo says the officer told him Good claimed to know the man that was being frisked in the video. He says because she claimed to have an association with the man, the officer had further reason to be concerned about her demeanor.
posted by scalefree at 11:09 AM on June 27, 2011


Charge against Emily Good in videotaping case dismissed
" ... First Assistant District Attorney Sandra Doorley said after court today that the office agreed to the dismissal of the charge because Good’s actions did not meet the needed elements of the crime.

The dismissal of the criminal charge, however, may not bring an immediate end to the controversy. Police say they have started an internal investigation into whether Good’s arrest by Officer Mario Masic was justified. Also, Good is considering a civil lawsuit, according to local lawyer Donald Thompson.

That action could challenge the training programs for Rochester police, Thompson said. ..."
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


In a joint statement from the mayor's office, the police chief, and the city council president, all three city leaders say they see no purpose in pursuing the charge.

"We believe that the incident that led to Ms. Good's arrest and the subsequent ticketing for parking violations of vehicles belonging to members of an organization associated with Ms. Good raise issues with respect to the conduct of Rochester Police Officers that require an internal review. A review into both matters has been initiated," the statement reads.

"Whatever the outcome of the internal review, we want to make clear that it is not the policy or practice of the Rochester Police Department to prevent citizens from observing its activities - including photographing or videotaping - as long as it does not interfere with the safe conduct of those activities. It is also not the policy or practice of the Department to selectively enforce laws in response to the activities of a group or individual. This has always been the case and it is being reinforced within the Department, so that it will be abundantly clear to everyone."*
posted by ericb at 11:17 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


To clear this up, Ms. Good is ignorant; Ms. Good is also wrong ...

Um, no she's not according to the court and Rochester officials.

Yes, some police officers abuse the law - that's flat out wrong. In this case, I don't see it.

Let's wait for the results of the internal review.

I hope this woman learns a lesson.

Me, too. Lesson: Be sure and confident to protect your civil rights at every turn ... and don't be intimidated to stand down on doing so.
posted by ericb at 11:27 AM on June 27, 2011


The driver was a friend of hers. From the article: Mazzeo says the officer told him Good claimed to know the man that was being frisked in the video.

The officer lied. Anyone who watched the video knows she made no such claim.

BTW, I noticed one interesting point in the public statement:

..we want to make clear that it is not the policy or practice of the Rochester Police Department to prevent citizens from observing its activities - including photographing or videotaping - as long as it does not interfere with the safe conduct of those activities.

That was precisely the cop's bogus excuse for the arrest, that he didn't feel safe. How about making it clear that the public has a right to observe and record law enforcement actions, unless they actively interfere with the officers and actually endanger their safety? Because that's what their law says, according to this article:

[Good's attorney Stephanie] Stare noted that, under the law, Good would have needed to use intimidation, force or “interference” to disrupt the police traffic stop. Good was 10 to 15 feet from the police and doing nothing to interfere with them, Stare argued in court papers.

As someone noted upthread, observing someone with a camera from a distance is a passive act.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:47 AM on June 27, 2011


Burglar steals iPod Emily Good used to videotape police
While Emily Good visited the library on Thursday afternoon, someone broke into her home and stole the very iPod she’d used to make the controversial film of a police stop, Good said today.

After court and the dismissal of the criminal charge against her this afternoon, Good revealed that her home was broken into during an hourlong period while she visited the library.

The thieves also stole money, Good said, but other items — such as her roommates’ laptops that were in plain view — were left. She said she thinks someone was watching the home because they knew when she was not there.

She did file a police report, Good said.

“The police took 25 minutes to come,” she said. “They showed up with seven officers.”

Whoever broke into the Aldine Street home kicked through a back door, Good said.

“The door was destroyed,” she said.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on June 27, 2011


As someone noted upthread, observing someone with a camera from a distance is a passive act.

Yep ... and, as the D.A.'s office deemed, she did nothing illegal.
"For prosecutors, however, the question was much more narrow: Did Good illegally impede police as defined by the state’s criminal laws? ... First Assistant District Attorney Sandra Doorley said after court today that the office agreed to the dismissal of the charge because Good’s actions did not meet the needed elements of the crime."*
She was allowed to film the police -- on private, as well as public land. And she did not impede the police by doing so from her front yard and porch.
posted by ericb at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2011


ericb: "Burglar steals iPod Emily Good used to videotape police"

Why do I think that burglar was wearing a badge?
posted by dunkadunc at 1:08 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do i think ms. good set this up skit with the driver.
posted by clavdivs at 3:22 PM on June 27, 2011


“The police took 25 minutes to come,” she said. “They showed up with seven officers.”

That is a good response time but 7 officers?
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on June 27, 2011


That is a good response time but 7 officers?

They didn't feel safe around her.
posted by scalefree at 3:27 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


“The police took 25 minutes to come,” she said. “They showed up with seven officers.”

I work about a mile away from the 19th ward. It's an extremely shitty neighborhood; I'm surprised that they showed up at all.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:13 PM on June 27, 2011


" ... First Assistant District Attorney Sandra Doorley said after court today that the office agreed to the dismissal of the charge because Good’s actions did not meet the needed elements of the crime.

What a shame.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:02 PM on June 27, 2011


Damn those human rights! When will our armed masters finally be safe from people in their yards with cameras?! WHEN?!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:15 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Police officer caught on camera dancing.
posted by clavdivs at 8:00 PM on June 27, 2011


When will our armed masters finally be safe from people in their yards with cameras?!

When Emily or one of her overzealous (god forbid) peers gets seriously hurt after mayhem occurs at a police stop, because they were filming too close. Then, of course, the police will be blamed, too. In the meantime, Emily will collect some of her neighbor's taxpayer money to buy more cameras - and celebrate with her little band of Rochester's finest anarchists by wearing their fav color "cops are pigs" T-Shirts. Oh, well, just another day on Clarissa St., in Rochester, NY.

While Emily Good visited the library on Thursday afternoon, someone broke into her home and stole the very iPod she’d used to make the controversial film of a police stop, Good said today.

Karma.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:57 PM on June 27, 2011


Oh for crying out loud.
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


What a shame.

So, I'm curious. You're the one who's been insisting that the outcome would be decided in court, not by any of us arguing on the sidelines. And now it has been. So is the shame that the decision didn't go the way you wanted and expected it to, or is it that the ADA agreed to dismiss the charges instead of letting it go all the way through a trial, or what? If it had been a judge deciding in Ms. Good's favor, would that still be a shame?
posted by hades at 11:35 PM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Karma 54, Where Are You?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:50 PM on June 27, 2011


Vibrissae : I'm out, and the *judge* will have the last word - not you; not me; a court of law is where justice will be served, whether you - or Emily Good - like it or not. Heck, maybe Emily Good can turn her camera on the judge - in court; let's see how that turns out.

I'll go with "like", thanks.

Summary - "In court Monday, the District Attorney's office says based on a review of the evidence, there was no legal basis to go forward. The charge was withdrawn and the judge dismissed the case."
posted by pla at 3:35 AM on June 28, 2011


I'll take a world full of "Rochester's finest anarchists" over one with people like Vibrissae any day.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:19 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


hades: " If it had been a judge deciding in Ms. Good's favor, would that still be a shame?"

Exactly- Vibrissae's final comments show (to me, anyway) that they weren't really arguing in good faith- they just don't like people like Amy Good, period.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:27 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the upside, at least we can all save ourselves the trouble of engaging with Vibrissae in future threads safe in the knowledge we are not going to miss anything.
posted by unSane at 5:14 AM on June 28, 2011


When Emily or one of her overzealous (god forbid) peers gets seriously hurt after mayhem occurs at a police stop, because they were filming too close. Then, of course, the police will be blamed, too.

And how are you able to see this happening? How is this remotely comparable to standing on your own front porch and filming a policeman in such a manner that you are not endangering him or anyone else?

In the meantime, Emily will collect some of her neighbor's taxpayer money to buy more cameras - and celebrate with her little band of Rochester's finest anarchists by wearing their fav color "cops are pigs" T-Shirts. Oh, well, just another day on Clarissa St., in Rochester, NY.

Oh. I get it now. This sounds like you have some kind of deeply personal issue with "people like Emily". I wish you'd just come out and say that instead of propping up some grand notions of public safety and the sanctity of law enforcement. At least then the argument would be made in good faith.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:20 AM on June 28, 2011


What a shame.

What's the problem? You can't bring yourself to accept the judge's ruling on the matter, which you've been crying for the entire thread?
posted by odinsdream at 7:21 AM on June 28, 2011


I'll take a world full of "Rochester's finest anarchists" over one with people like Vibrissae any day.

They throw some pretty great shows too.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:28 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll take a world full of "Rochester's finest anarchists" over one with people like Vibrissae any day.

They throw some pretty great shows too.


Like a "how not to park-your-car party" at their squirrel haunt"? I note that the judge did not dismiss the parking infractions. Party on, folks.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:33 AM on June 28, 2011


Party on, folks.

At this point Vibrissae and/or other folks, please either take this to MetaTalk or MeMail. This thread has become nothing but a referendum on one person's opinion which is fairly toxic to group discussion.
posted by jessamyn at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2011


I note that the judge did not dismiss the parking infractions.

FWIW -- the focus of the yesterday's hearing was solely on the criminal charge leveled against Ms. Good ... and did not include a hearing or review of the ticketing of supporters. That's a different issue and beyond the purview of yesterday's hearing.

It has been stated that the ticketing of supporters cars is under internal review. We'll likely hear whether or not those charges will be dropped.
posted by ericb at 3:38 PM on June 28, 2011


*the yesterday's*

*supporters'*
posted by ericb at 3:39 PM on June 28, 2011


In other news: SWAT Team Honored For Raiding Wrong House
posted by homunculus at 11:49 AM on June 29, 2011


Cameras and Cops: 5 Things You Need to Know.
posted by ericb at 11:35 AM on June 30, 2011


In Defense of Awful Police Work.
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on June 30, 2011


When life gives you a few bad apples, juice 'em!
posted by dunkadunc at 12:48 PM on June 30, 2011


When life gives you a few bad apples, juice 'em!

Soylent blue?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:02 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy's mom says.
posted by LordSludge at 11:18 PM on June 30, 2011


Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy's mom says.

I was about to say something snarky, along the lines of: "Well, that's dayton for you," but then I remembered that TFA happened in my hometown.

mumble mumble something about glass houses
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:52 PM on July 1, 2011


Man explains to WFTV News why he loves the Orlando Police Department
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


homunculus: "Man explains to WFTV News why he loves the Orlando Police Department"

Oh man that is fucking EPIC! LOLOLOL
posted by symbioid at 5:52 PM on July 8, 2011


The worst part is I know people on the left and pacifists where the irony would just WOOSH right over their head and believe that this guy was being real... *sigh*
posted by symbioid at 5:53 PM on July 8, 2011


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