Author Topic: Videotape the cops, go to jail  (Read 4315 times)

Iason Ouabache

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Videotape the cops, go to jail
« on: January 25, 2011, 07:26:22 am »
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23cnceavesdropping.html?_r=1

Quote
Christopher Drew is a 60-year-old artist and teacher who wears a gray ponytail and lives on the North Side. Tiawanda Moore, 20, a former stripper, lives on the South Side and dreams of going back to school and starting a new life.

About the only thing these strangers have in common is the prospect that by spring, they could each be sent to prison for up to 15 years.

“That’s one step below attempted murder,” Mr. Drew said of their potential sentences.

The crime they are accused of is eavesdropping.

The authorities say that Mr. Drew and Ms. Moore audio-recorded their separate nonviolent encounters with Chicago police officers without the officers’ permission, a Class 1 felony in Illinois, which, along with Massachusetts and Oregon, has one of the country’s toughest, if rarely prosecuted, eavesdropping laws.

“Before they arrested me for it,” Ms. Moore said, “I didn’t even know there was a law about eavesdropping. I wasn’t trying to sue anybody. I just wanted somebody to know what had happened to me.”

Ms. Moore, whose trial is scheduled for Feb. 7 in Cook County Criminal Court, is accused of using her Blackberry to record two Internal Affairs investigators who spoke to her inside Police Headquarters while she filed a sexual harassment complaint last August against another police officer. Mr. Drew was charged with using a digital recorder to capture his Dec. 2, 2009, arrest for selling art without a permit on North State Street in the Loop. Mr. Drew said his trial date was April 4.

Both cases illustrate the increasingly busy and confusing intersection of technology and the law, public space and private.

“Our society is going through a technological transformation,” said Adam Schwartz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which last August challenged the Illinois Eavesdropping Act in federal court. “We are at a time where tens of millions of Americans carry around a telephone or other device in their pocket that has an audio-video capacity. Ten years ago, Americans weren’t walking around with all these devices.”

He said that when “something fishy seems to be going on, the perfectly natural and healthy and good thing is for them to pull that device out and make a recording.”

The Illinois Eavesdropping Act has been on the books for years. It makes it a criminal offense to audio-record either private or public conversations without the consent of all parties, Mr. Schwartz said. Audio-recording a civilian without consent is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison for a first-time offense. A second offense is a Class 3 felony with a possible prison term of five years.

Although law-enforcement officials can legally record civilians in private or public, audio-recording a law-enforcement officer, state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney, attorney general, assistant attorney general or judge in the performance of his or her duties is a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The A.C.L.U. filed its lawsuit after several people throughout Illinois were charged in recent years with eavesdropping for making audio recordings of public conversations with the police. The A.C.L.U. argued that the act violates the First Amendment and hinders citizens from monitoring the public behavior of police officers and other officials.

On Jan. 10, a federal judge in Chicago dismissed the suit for the second time. Mr. Schwartz said the A.C.L.U. would appeal. Andrew Conklin, a spokesman for Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state’s attorney, said, “We did feel the A.C.L.U.’s claims were baseless and we’re glad the court agreed with us.” Beyond that statement, Mr. Conklin said, “we have no comment because we have these two cases pending.”

Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said his organization “absolutely supports” the eavesdropping act as is and was relieved that the challenge had failed. Mr. Donahue added that allowing the audio recording of police officers while performing their duty “can affect how an officer does his job on the street.”
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Remington

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 07:34:34 am »
Quote
Mr. Donahue added that allowing the audio recording of police officers while performing their duty “can affect how an officer does his job on the street.”

He has a point, you know. Allowing public recordings of police officers count introduce dangerous elements of accountability into law enforcement.
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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 09:05:00 am »
I think it's fairly horrific that law enforcement can record citizens with or without their knowledge, and examine private interactions such as text and email messages without a warrant, but it's illegal for citizens to record law enforcement officers in their course of duty.
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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 11:18:17 am »
Well this guy will certainly be more careful when he gets filmed interacting with a Police Officer.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 11:29:43 am »
I think it's fairly horrific that law enforcement can record citizens with or without their knowledge, and examine private interactions such as text and email messages without a warrant, but it's illegal for citizens to record law enforcement officers in their course of duty.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 02:40:49 pm »
I think it's fairly horrific that law enforcement can record citizens with or without their knowledge, and examine private interactions such as text and email messages without a warrant, but it's illegal for citizens to record law enforcement officers in their course of duty.

THIS.  Though everything I've ever seen in this particular "civil rights" arena points to this being the default rather than the exception.  The error is always made on this side.  Always.  So those who deal with cops on a longterm or on-going basis tend to not expect anything else.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 02:42:27 pm »
Quote
Mr. Donahue added that allowing the audio recording of police officers while performing their duty “can affect how an officer does his job on the street.”

He has a point, you know. Allowing public recordings of police officers count introduce dangerous elements of accountability into law enforcement.
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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 02:46:02 pm »
Will everyone who thinks they really have right please raise your hand.


Anyone?


No one?

Carry on then.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 03:13:50 pm »
"We need a plane for Bombing, Strafing, Assault and Battery, Interception, Ground Support, and Reconaissance,
NOT JUST A "FAIR WEATHER FIGHTER"!

"I kinda like him. It's like he sees inside my soul" ~ Nigel


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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 03:36:33 pm »
Some of you may recall the news item last summer in which some county in CA (?) started having their cops wear cameras which have to be switched on before they interact with somebody. Accountability and all that. I was talking to a cop a while back and he presented an interesting objection to higher surveillance on cops. He mentioned how cops will often "look the other way" - sometimes it's because they don't think the guy deserves the punishment, sometimes because they don't want to fill out the paper work. (he says that a DUI involves 11 hours of police work, most of which is paper work. As long as you didn't hit anybody, most cops in his city have better things to do)

He felt that if he was under constant surveillance, he'd be under pressure to be making a lot more asshole calls. If it came up in court that you gave a speeding ticket when you should have given a drug possession charge, you could lose your job.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 03:39:39 pm »
...interesting.  So, in keeping the cops honest, they would have to be honest about everything, including following the rules and busting you for something they would have given you a warning on.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 03:40:19 pm »
Doesn't California explicitly allow cops to ignore violations of the law that don't fall under certain laws?  Though I suppose that the department may not want the cops on the street making those decisions for themselves.
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Jenne

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 04:25:29 pm »
Doesn't California explicitly allow cops to ignore violations of the law that don't fall under certain laws?  Though I suppose that the department may not want the cops on the street making those decisions for themselves.

What CA "allows" and "doesn't allow" is rarely legislated.  Most of it is quashed at the DA level before it reaches the courts, or is thrown out of courts by judges who are ELECTED and therefore subject to party politicking.  WHO here thinks an elected judge is gonna wanna look "soft" on crime?

Yeah.

So what "CA ALLOWS" tends to be murky territory at best.

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 04:28:25 pm »
You elect judges?  Not as in a vote of no confidence, but they have to campaign and everything?

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Re: Videotape the cops, go to jail
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2011, 04:29:01 pm »
YUP.  In most counties, I believe.