New York Attempting to Make Contempt of Cop a Felony

One of the great revolutions in civil liberties has been the handheld video camera.  Time and again police that have taken individuals to jail and charged them with things like resisting arrest have been shown, through video evidence, to be lying their asses off.  It is depressing to see how many cases exist where video evidence directly contradicts the police story, and to think how many people have ended up in jail before such video evidence simply because the cops wanted them there and manufactured an incident.

One thing that accumulated video evidence shows is that many police officers seem to think the law makes them the dictator of the everything in a hundred yard radius around them, and they tend to get incensed when any citizen does not immediately respect this made-up authority and follow their every order, legal or not.  Further, it is clear that there are many officers who have absolutely no qualm about beating the crap out of someone with no immediate justification and then blaming the victim, knowing that their fellow officers will back them no matter what outrageous facts they make up.  Only video evidence is slowly breaking through this practice, which is why the police tend to fight back so hard against photography of their public actions, and why in-dash cameras so often happen to be turned off just when they are needed.

Having watched numerous videos of police encounters at sites like PINAC, I have no doubt that this proposed New York law making it a felony to annoy police officers will be shamelessly abused by police (the law requires some sort of body contact but that is extraordinarily easy for the police to manufacture, and the text of the law does not even require the contact to be initiated by the citizen so accused).

  • Benjamin Cole

    I think most cops do a good job.

    But even more than that, I think I have the right to film government employees---my employees--at their tasks, as does any other citizen, and that goes double for taxpayers.

    If you do not like being filmed at your job, then work in the private sector. And do not work in public.

    Police who tell citizens to stop filming--except in the most extreme cases, of clear and present danger, where it might endanger someone--should lose not only their badges, but their pensions.

  • TJIC

    > I think most cops do a good job

    At what?

  • Zach

    "I have the right to film government employees---my employees--at their tasks"

    I go one step further. I should have the right to film them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If my Congresscritter spends a bunch of his off time being wined and dined by a senior VP of a Beltway Bandit, I want to know. If a judge in my district rubs elbows with friends in the prosecutor's office frequently after hours, I want to know. I'm sure this guy would have liked to know that a cop was banging his then-wife: http://www.latimes.com/news/wdaf-lees-summit-agrees-to-pay-155m-in-ted-white-case-20110722,0,6686611.story

    "White spent five years in prison after being convicted of a child sexual
    abuse charge, but was awarded a new trial after evidence emerged that
    the lead detective on the case, former Lee's Summit Police Det. Richard
    McKinley, was having an affair with his wife, Tina, at the time of the
    investigation, among other evidence not presented at the time of his
    original trial.