Are Cameras The New Guns?

Wendy McElroy writes on the Freeman:
Gun Camera

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity.

In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway.

Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

Read More: Freeman:

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  • Hadrian999

    what do they always say, if you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about

    • No

      Right. If the police aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

  • Belcat

    I wish Hardian999 was right, but it's often proven often enough to be completely false. That being said, don't antagonize them, it will make things worse.

    I guess the US is moving closer and closer to being a Police State. I guess that is why they aren't pushing China for human rights – they aspire to become like it! (just kidding).

    • E.B. Wolf

      It's not moving closer. It's been that way for years. They're just less concerned with masking it now.

  • Hamsanath437

    Ridiculous. Why do the cops keep giving the people a reason to hate them? They're our protectors and maybe if they had to face the same public scrutiny that everyone else did then they would hold themselves to higher standards. I've met really wonderful cops and complete dbags as well. They're just as flawed and perfectable as any other person and they should be held accountable as such.

  • 5by5

    Precisely Hadrian. If the cops aren't doing anything wrong, THEY have nothing to worry about if someone records their actions.

    My taxes pay their punk salaries. They work for me.

    If my employer can record me in the office performing my duties, I can record a police officer who works for me.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Oh yeah…cuz all those pesky problems will just go away if people stop catching them doing bad shit. If there's no video, it didn't happen. Don't fix broken police forces, just make them immune to scrutiny…

    …that works so well in other life situations…like when your muffler cracks and makes noise…just ignore and it will get better…

    …oh wait…that never works in ANY life situation…so why the hell would this work when dealing with something as important as police conduct? The lawyers and judges who let this crap slide should be dragged off the bench, disbarred and publicly flogged…on video so it can be posted to YouTube later.

  • Elev8ind

    May 13, 2010

    Alaska State Trooper doesn't like being taped during traffic stop, falls shy of assaulting camera man.

    youtube.com/watch?v=H3OIuEQIMSw

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  • rarianrakista

    Slashdot had a 1000+ comment discussion on the same topic yesterday.

    Start There.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&typ

  • No

    Right. If the police aren’t doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

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