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No peeking at the Thin Blue Line

Yesterday, He Who Needs No Linkage pointed to this story about a SWAT raid (I'm sorry -- an "Alcohol Beverage Control Inspection") on a bar in Manassas Park, Virginia. It's not a pretty story.

One way it could get uglier is if the cops involved take a leaf from Massachusetts law enforcement and decide that they are above being taped during the course of their duties.

Police raided a home in Leominster, Massachusetts and arrested a man. During the course of the raid, they triggered a "nanny-cam" that taped the entire incident. A local woman got the video and posted it on the internet. The police, not liking the way they looked, are threatening the woman with legal consequences if she doesn't take the video down.

I am a huge supporter of law enforcement. I almost instinctively take the side of the cops in almost every case. But I have no problem with people taping the police when they are on duty, on MY dime, carrying out their duties. One can carve out specific exemptions to the policy (even cops get potty breaks, and undercover officers NEED to have their identities protected), but when they are carrying out searches, arrests, and the like, they should have NO problem with being taped.


Comments (12)

I saw that story on Glenn's... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

I saw that story on Glenn's site last night. I was wondering if there's someone--maybe a state police agency--that bar owner could go to to complain that the local cops have a vendetta against him.

During the 1999/2000 New Ye... (Below threshold)

During the 1999/2000 New Year's Eve festivities in Orlando, I ran around taking a lot of photos. At one point, I took a photo of a half-dozen bicycle cops in line abreast (it was a cool shot).

...and then this moron foot patrolman came up to me and informed me I couldn't take photos of police oficers who were on duty.

"Excuse me?"

Yep, he stood right there and told me there was a law against it. He also pulled out his little notebook and asked for my name.

Luckily, at that point, another cop I knew (one of the guys in charge) came over and asked what the problem was. The other cop said "no problem." I blurted out "BIG problem," and told the second cop what the first one had said. He looked over, said "well, he's an idiot," and sent the first cop away.

I used to side automaticall... (Below threshold)
sabrina:

I used to side automatically with cops - not any more. I've seen too many incidents like this to have any more trust in what a cop says versus what a citizen says.
That saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely applies to all humans - including cops.

I still do side automatical... (Below threshold)

I still do side automatically with cops -- until they enter somebody's private home. At that point all benefit of the doubt evaporates until I see convincing proof that what they do in there is legal and justified.

I don't think I'll ever be ... (Below threshold)

I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself side automatically with those Manassas Park cops, though...

2cirbyI'm not sure b... (Below threshold)

2cirby
I'm not sure but i think you are wrong

Cops are all nazis, and are... (Below threshold)
screwcops:

Cops are all nazis, and are no less an enemy than al Qaeda.

Kirill:Nope. Phot... (Below threshold)

Kirill:

Nope. Photographing people in public (even police officers) is protected by the Constitution, as the courts have held many, many times.

Every once in a while, some overzealous officer or local authority decides that they have such power, but they get smacked down every time it gets to the courts.


Hey, "screwcops" - a cop is... (Below threshold)
Smartguy:

Hey, "screwcops" - a cop is willing to risk his life every day to keep our city safe and protect scum like you, for a salary that is not usually too impressive. Sounds like YOU are the enemy.

There has gotta be more to ... (Below threshold)
epador:

There has gotta be more to this story, and I sadly guess it isn't going to be pretty. Now either the entire department has been hoodwinked by the or a few "bad cops." they all are bad and see no problem operating as hoodlums, or there is more to the story of the bar and their attempt to close it. I don't see how anyone can argue against the image of this raid being a scare and harrassment tactic.

In any case, it is an example of what CAN and DOES happen, but does not necessarily demonstrate what is happening everywhere.

What matters most is how the State/Commonwealth handles this problem. Virginia voters keep your eyes open and remember on election days.

I realize cops have a tough... (Below threshold)
Adam:

I realize cops have a tough job and deal daily with the people I wouldn't want to, but I can't for the life of me see how anyone could automatically side with the police (barring perhaps family being police). I in general distrust everything I hear from our city's police department. Had and know precisely 0 people who ever had a "good experience." Doesn't mean they're not out there I guess.

Adam, I've had a lot of con... (Below threshold)

Adam, I've had a lot of contact with police myself, including one in which a deputy sheriff drew on me and a friend. On the whole I consider that a "good experience" because the deputy was there doing what he was doing, for the same reason my friend and I were there doing what we were doing. All's well that ends well.

Worst cop experience I ever had was one occasion getting a speeding ticket. So I guess I've never had a "bad experience" myself.

Doesn't mean they're not out there I guess -- especially since I read about bad experiences all the time and I actually use my brain cells for more than keeping my skull inflated.




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