a place to upload video evidence
September 23, 2007 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Copwatchers: New YouTube Page for Monitoring Oppression & Brutality
posted by nickyskye (48 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Because if you can't monitor it, you can't tell if it's being done properly.
posted by chudmonkey at 9:45 PM on September 23, 2007


The internet is a series of beatings.
posted by Poolio at 9:47 PM on September 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


But who will watch the CopWatchers?



The NYC Critical Mass arrests are pretty intense.
posted by craniac at 9:50 PM on September 23, 2007


That is an awesome use of youtube. Thanks for the link.
posted by serazin at 9:51 PM on September 23, 2007


With the technology we have today, I think it would be easily possible to equip every cop with a small shoulder mounted camera and microphone. It would protect innocent cops from false accusations and citizens from abuse. It'll never happen, though.
posted by stavrogin at 10:00 PM on September 23, 2007


stavrogin: Here's where that solution goes awry.

AngryCop sees protestor doing something he doesn't like. AngryCop unplugs mic, covers camera, severely beats protestor, plugs mic back in, uncovers camera, and resumes civil behaviour. What's to stop this?

The cameras must be in the hands of the citizenry for the documentation to be full and reliable.
posted by tehloki at 10:12 PM on September 23, 2007


AngryCop unplugs mic, covers camera, severely beats protestor, plugs mic back in, uncovers camera, and resumes civil behaviour. What's to stop this?

Laws against destroying evidence. Many (most?) cop cars already have cameras to monitor the police behavior/serve as evidence in traffic stops (DUI, etc) and whatnot.
posted by Poolio at 10:17 PM on September 23, 2007


Awesome, I've been following the Cops-Gone-Wild threads that have been popping up on Digg recently, but someone really needs to stay on top of these and make sure they don't get swept under the rug.
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on September 23, 2007


AngryCop unplugs mic, covers camera, severely beats protestor, plugs mic back in, uncovers camera, and resumes civil behaviour. What's to stop this?

The unswerving honesty and integrity of each and every law enforcement officer.

*keeps straight face after saying this for approximately one second*

And this Copwatchers channel would seem to be a very good use of YouTube.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:23 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's also the nice folks over at Bad Cop, No Donut and the less cleverly named PoliceCrimes.com. As well as Police-Scanner.info. But a central YouTube depository for this stuff is a great idea.

And what stops Angry Cop from turning his feed off is the fact that out in the ether about fifty people are going to pick up the phone and call his department and say, "Hey, Officer No-Neck just went offline while handcuffing a teenager who he caught drinking beer in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Would y'all look into that, please?" That's how it oughtta work, IMHO.

As someone who's been the target of police surveillance, I have absolutely no problem with putting every single one of the motherfuckers under surveillance from the moment they put on the badge until the moment they take it off.

*waves to Lieutenant Byrd. Congrats on the promotion!*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:53 PM on September 23, 2007


Congratulations Metafilter. Your parents Internet and Society just had another child. Meet your new little brother. He'll tell on you.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 10:53 PM on September 23, 2007


Protect me From What I Want -
posted by vronsky at 10:56 PM on September 23, 2007


If the cop turns off the camera or microphone while on duty, it's recorded by the equipment and the officer is fired. I think that's adequate.
posted by stavrogin at 10:59 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is just hatemongering.
posted by recurve at 11:07 PM on September 23, 2007


This is just hatemongering.
posted by recurve at 11:07 PM on September 23 [+] [!]


Maybe you're kidding, but if you're not, how is it hatemongering to make public employees --- whose salaries we pay and who should be answerable to us as the citizens --- accountable for their actions?

That's like saying it's hatemongering for a store owner to make sure his or her employees aren't stealing from the cash register.

Or that it's hatemongering to publicly expose when legislators take bribes.
posted by jayder at 11:16 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the insightful political commentary that will appear in related YouTube threads.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:31 PM on September 23, 2007


No one is advocating violence against the cops, recurve. Just surveillance. Like the kind we deal with when we go absolutely anywhere in public. From the ATM to Walmart.
posted by stavrogin at 11:33 PM on September 23, 2007


Police are not my favorite people in the world. But someone has to do their job. And they are just people after all. I'm all for exposing police misconduct. But if you watch some of these videos, they've already been exposed. Many of the videos on this site are from TV news shows. And at least one of them was actual video from a camera mounted on the police car.

While the site describes itself as : "... one space where we can upload video evidence of police abusing their powers for all to see,the aim being that if they know we are paying attention and watching them,they will have to behave in the right manner and observe what civil rights we still have left."--I think that most people who go to this Youtube site are wanting to reinforce their view that all cops are bad cops. As KokuRyu sarcastically pointed out, just look at some of the comments under the videos.
posted by recurve at 11:57 PM on September 23, 2007


This was nowhere near as entertaining as the web forum where current and retired cops complained about other cops who gave them traffic tickets.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:59 PM on September 23, 2007


I believe that everything every public servant does on the job should be monitored and publicly viewable.

In some cases (detective and undercover work, competitive bidding, national "security"), there might be a delay before it was released but most conversations in, say, a Congressman's office should be broadcast live to the internet as well as being stored for posterity.

After all -- they work for us.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:00 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


While assigning personal cameras + microphones to police officers could work, don't forget what happened to the CCTV cameras for Jean Charles de Menezes (wiki).

I'm surprised that civilians haven't started wearing such setups themselves, given the ubiquitous cameraphone.
posted by Maxson at 12:03 AM on September 24, 2007


"I didn't even find this a close call."
posted by phaedon at 12:08 AM on September 24, 2007


given that it was over 20 years ago when peter gabriel first started handing out video cameras so "ordinary citizens" could document human rights abuses, i'm with maxson in that i'm surprised we've (the "general public") haven't gotten more organized about this yet. i'm glad to see the youtube site, and hope it "works."

and vronsky: wow. thanks for adding that.
posted by CitizenD at 12:09 AM on September 24, 2007


I'm not quite up on the technicalities of YouTube, but is it possible to send a video taken on your camera-phone, say, immediately to this YouTube channel as soon as you've recorded it?

I always loved the idea of live-to-the-minute citizen news, but for it to work you've got to be able to post videos to a place where people are actually watching them. I see YouTube allows you to upload videos to your account, it would be nice if you could specify, on upload, that they also get posted to a page like this.
posted by Jimbob at 12:09 AM on September 24, 2007


Upload videos to your account from your phone, that is...
posted by Jimbob at 12:10 AM on September 24, 2007


Wow. This reminds me of that time about 15 years ago when we were hanging out at raves and reading Mondo2000 and we knew the time would come when the internet would totally move all the power from the monied and the armed and distribute it among the people, the wizened ones who could leave their opinions on message boards for the WHOLE WORLD TO READ and this movement of power from the plutocracy to the hacker-trickster-geek gods would create this egalitarian utopia via limitless communication that would render politicians, police, and military powerless compared to legions of Rudy Ruckers with access to cheap, powerful tech and now that this is happening THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING and surely our techno-produced paradise is just around the corner because INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE and cops don't have a prayer against a populace equipped with the right tools and wow this Piracitem is just kicking in and and I just renewed my membership to the ALCOR foundation and we are for sure at the precipice of an internet-fueled golden age where all are equals--

--oh, shit. It's still just TouTube, isn't it?
posted by sourwookie at 12:16 AM on September 24, 2007


With the technology we have today, I think it would be easily possible to equip every cop with a small shoulder mounted camera and microphone.

Every person, so that everyone in public is being recorded by everyone else in public. Upload it all, correlated by time and GPS and viewing angle. What happened at the rally? Take the 10,000 different recordings made by people who were there, combine them into one 3D movie (that would take a little processing but someone will figure out how to do it quickly and cheaply), and zoom in on any piece from any angle you care to investigate.

It's the closest we'll ever get to an omnipresent god. "For wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Now stop looking at her tits."
posted by pracowity at 2:13 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The cops in that first clip are obviously Simon Pegg and his partner from Hot Fuzz.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:02 AM on September 24, 2007


Nothing is as bad as the video of the cop in Ohio repeatedly using his Taser on a woman. He's claiming his Taser misfired. The cop should spend time in prison. A lot.
posted by etaoin at 4:44 AM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who'd have known, a misfiring taser causes cops to kick. Amazing.

I don't doubt for a moment that there are a LOT of cops that are brutal assholes. But funny enough, I've never once had one demonstrate (beyond the verbal) their brutality. But I've never given a cop any shit, either (not counting that one time when I summoned them myself). Of course, I'm white and dissemble real good.
posted by Goofyy at 6:22 AM on September 24, 2007


AngryCop sees protestor doing something he doesn't like. AngryCop unplugs mic, covers camera, severely beats protestor, plugs mic back in, uncovers camera, and resumes civil behaviour. What's to stop this?

AngryCop get fired (background of the Brett Darrow story).
posted by caddis at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2007


"Coming soon - the Tazer Channel.

All Tazers/All The Time"

posted by Webbster at 8:01 AM on September 24, 2007


But then who will watch those who watch the watchers' watchers?

I'd often thought there needed to be a television series that was an answer to the abysmal COPS, in which nearly every episode shows them as even-tempered men of honor who are besieged by low-lifes who are intent upon hurting themselves and others.
posted by Gervais Brooke-Hamster at 8:40 AM on September 24, 2007


"The cameras must be in the hands of the citizenry for the documentation to be full and reliable."

Right, because no citizen would ever have the desire or ability to manipulate footage. I see that as a bigger problem.
posted by drstein at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2007


I'd like to see some people go through the videos at YouTube of all the fights and beatings people have posted, especially teenagers, twenty-somethings and some gangs. How about identifying those stupid idiots and getting them off the streets?

As for cops - yes, there are bad cops. And having some sort of independent monitoring of them is always good. But then, who monitors the monitors?
posted by rich at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2007


I believe that everything every public servant does on the job should be monitored and publicly viewable.

In some cases (detective and undercover work, competitive bidding, national "security"), there might be a delay before it was released but most conversations in, say, a Congressman's office should be broadcast live to the internet as well as being stored for posterity.

After all -- they work for us.


double standard on this one. most people resent their work day being recorded on camera (the implied lack of trust creates a bad workplace environment) by their employer, including the use of keyloggers, email monitoring and desktop detection software, despite the fact that they do indeed work for someone. why would it be okay simply because we're the employers?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2007


"Coming soon - the Tazer Channel. All Tazers/All The Time"

Glenn Beck's favorite new channel: "To me, Taser videos are a little like potato chips. I just can't watch just one."
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2007


why would it be okay simply because we're the employers?

It isn't OK because we're the employers, IMO. It's desirable, because almost all of their social interactions can become the basis of disputed court room actions. For honest cops, recording their actions actually protects them against false allegations and they tend to welcome the use of tape and video during stuff like interrogation for that very reason.

That said, I think recording all of their duty time is overkill, but I can't see any reason why they shouldn't record all contact that they have. It should be like a Miranda warning. As soon as you start to read the warning, you flip the camera on. That way, even if there's been bad shit before the camera goes on, the suspect can immediately get their objections on tape and into evidence.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2007


They need to monitor the sickos that beat the homeless. I think that's a bigger problem than cops overreacting.
posted by NewIQ at 12:34 PM on September 24, 2007


Um, I don't want an always-on video of me. Sometimes things happen that I don't want as a matter of public record.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:09 PM on September 24, 2007


I am not sure about always-on camera, but I am in favor of requiring police uniforms to have names and numbers printed on the front and back a la sports jerseys.
posted by fings at 2:24 PM on September 24, 2007


double standard on this one. most people resent their work day being recorded on camera (the implied lack of trust creates a bad workplace environment) by their employer, including the use of keyloggers, email monitoring and desktop detection software, despite the fact that they do indeed work for someone. why would it be okay simply because we're the employers?

At my job, I don't have any sort of ability to use force, let alone deadly force, and if I do, the other computer lab assistants won't lie, intimidate witnesses, and destroy evidence for me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:34 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is just hatemongering.
posted by recurve


As an antidote to the never-ending love story that the straight "press" gives us on policing? More like this please!
posted by telstar at 4:02 PM on September 24, 2007


What's the antidote for morons? telstar please watch the videos. Most of them are shot (badly) from the TV news.
posted by recurve at 4:20 AM on September 25, 2007


At my job, I don't have any sort of ability to use force, let alone deadly force, and if I do, the other computer lab assistants won't lie, intimidate witnesses, and destroy evidence for me.

i should qualify that my comment was on the statement that all public servants should have cameras on them at all times, not on police officers.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 6:20 AM on September 25, 2007


its funny , since youtube has been online , all kinds of police brutality videos have been reported .. i think people purposely turn on their cameras everytime a cop gets close /
posted by marcellot at 6:46 PM on September 25, 2007






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