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NH Man Arrested for Videotaping Police 1232

Posted by Zonk
from the hold-still-for-your-interrogation dept.
macinrack writes to mention a story about a New Hampshire man who was arrested for videotaping police on his doorstep, using a fairly standard security camera system. He was officially charged with 'two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device.' From the article: "The security cameras record sound and audio directly to a videocassette recorder inside the house, and the Gannons posted warnings about the system, Janet Gannon said. On Tuesday night, Michael Gannon brought a videocassette to the police department, and asked to speak with someone in 'public relations,' his wife said and police reported. Gannon wanted to lodge a complaint against Karlis, who had come to the family's house while investigating their sons, Janet Gannon said. She said Karlis showed up late at night, was rude, and refused to leave when they asked him."
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NH Man Arrested for Videotaping Police

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  • sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:30PM (#15630324)
    And they wonder why people don't respect the police...
  • Our rights online? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:30PM (#15630328)
    So we have a story of a rogue police department intimidating anyone who gets in their way, and of course someone submits it to Slashdot hoping to get everyone worked up about our rights online being trampled? What's next, blaming it all on Bush? Have some perspective, please.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:31PM (#15630344)
    1. The police are public servants. Not only should it be legal to videotape them, it should be encouraged as part of citizen oversight!
    2. Police routinely videotape everything they do; they should expect to be treated the same way.
    3. Not only was this guy arrested, but the police tresspassed on his property and kicked his wife out for 5 hours while they tried to get a search warrant -- even though they were effectively already illegally searching the place!
    4. They complain that he was allegedly rude to them, but think it's okay to be rude to him. In reality it is exactly the opposite: he can call them whatever he damn well pleases because he has Free Speech, while they are restricted while on duty because they're representatives of the State.

    By the way, isn't New Hampshire supposed to be the state all the Libertarians are moving to, and wasn't it chosen because it was the most Free to begin with? Jeez, if this kind of thing can happen there the rest of us are really screwed!

  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:32PM (#15630351)
    Did these guys think that because they were the cops, they didn't have to answer to anybody? If the contents of the tape is what this family says it is, some hard lessons are going to be learned. Unfortunatly, the people who are going to pay are the taxpayers, and not the cops themselves.
  • by base3 (539820) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:32PM (#15630355)
    "Live Free or Die," indeed.
  • That sad part is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serapth (643581) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:33PM (#15630368)
    Most people will look at this and see a corrupt police force and yet another sign of our times. Yes, I see the irony that a citizen is getting charged under a wiretapping law in this day and age.

    Problem is, most people don't see these stories for what they truly generally are. Stupidity. You know, there are stupid cops and even stupid judges. Most of the time, when cases like this make it out into the world people think that the system is to blame. Normally thats not the case, the stupidity of the officers involved are to blame. Well, either that or some queer powertrip, which is far too common with law enforcement aswell.

    In the end, this will all get thrown out in court. Thing is, nobody knows at what cost it will be to the guy involved. Thats truly the greatest flaw of all in the system. IMHO, there should almost be a pre-court judge that can take a look at cases in advance as a checksum against stupidity, and throw them out right away if they are as dumb as this one. I suppose that would be rife for abusing too though.
  • D'oh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRequiem13 (978749) <therequiem@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:35PM (#15630389)
    Well, I feel like a dolt.
    :/ Live and learn to read.


    I guess I assumed there wouldn't have been any issue with a sign.
  • by Politburo (640618) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:36PM (#15630401)
    I don't think this episode is representative of NH. It sounds like your typical cop abusing their power.
  • Unbelievable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:36PM (#15630403)
    Let's see. Someone comes on his property, stands in full view of the owner and anyone walking down the street, the owner videotapes him and then uses the tape to try to lodge a complaint and they charge the property owner with a crime? Worse yet they try to use eavesdropping and wiretapping laws when he filmed the cop in public view on his private property. If he's convicted then we are really living in a fascist state.
  • So much for... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tigonliger (966206) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:37PM (#15630414)
    ..."Live Free or Die".
  • by KaotiX (204043) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:37PM (#15630415)
    Doesn't he know that the President is the only person legally allowed to wire tap?

    Don't you mean, illegally?
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:37PM (#15630422) Journal
    This is one of the few instances that justify NO limits to damages awarded by courts. If even there was justification that heavy punitive damage be awarded this is it.

    In many ways, this is worse than a beating by police. A beating can be said to be because of "the heat of the moment". In this example, the police simply think they get to make their own laws.

    Heads must roll, from the top down, and a penalty MUST be levied that will wound the police force for years to come. THIS is not remotely tolorable.
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:38PM (#15630432)
    All we need now are a few more of these incidents, a few FOX reports siding with the police and the conversion will be complete.

    Sad but true.

  • Civil Liberties (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 31415926535897 (702314) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15630460) Journal
    Police reported that Gannon "has a history of being verbally abusive" toward police, and that after his arrest, he remarked that the officers "were a bunch of corrupt (expletives)."

    Obviously this means that his civil liberties can be trampled on.

  • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Onan (25162) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15630467)
    Which seems pretty backward. The government should be held to a higher standard than citizens, not a lower one.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:43PM (#15630505)
    "Private place" has a different definition than "private property." As horrifying as this situation is, I don't think you're interpreting this correctly.

    I beleive the statute you are quoting more concerns you placing a camera in the ladies room of your restauruant and then defending it as it was on your property. Front stoop is private property, but not a private space.
  • by Politburo (640618) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:43PM (#15630507)
    Since this happened on the doorstep, I don't think it qualifies. However, I don't know NH case law on this aspect. Furthermore, if there was a clear sign and the officer maintained their presence in the area, they were giving implicit permission.
  • by MooseTick (895855) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:43PM (#15630510) Homepage
    "The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places"

    If the camera was on the man's property, then you couldn't hardly say that the installation was unauthorized.
  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:44PM (#15630521) Homepage
    What you do is make a motion for dismissal based on prejudice. Show the judge what you got before your court-date and write up the motion. You'll find most judges/upper people in the COURTS to be cool. Just don't go to the PD to try and get anything done. It's how I got rid of my speeding ticket :D (IANAL)
  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:46PM (#15630547) Journal
    Here in Albuquerque police did something similar recently. The police have been cracking down on drinking of any kind. Police were stopping all patrons leaving a particular bar and breath testing them. Even patrons taking a cab or a limo were harrassed. The bar owner had a friend come and videotape them. They said he was interfering with a police investigation, and since some of the officers also worked undercover, he was endangering the officers. So they arrested him. His friend started to videotape them arresting him, so they arrested the friend. Then the bar owner came out and started videotaping them arresting friend one and friend two, so they arrested the owner. Never mind these supposedly undercover cops were in full uniform on a busy street, they were endangered by these evil videotapers.

    On the other hand, not all cops are bad. Once in college I got a flat tire while driving an unregistered uninsured hippy painted VW bus carrying a bag of weed. A nice officer stopped (in the rain no less) and helped me change the tire without even checking my license or registration, let alone whether a hippy painted VW bus might have contraband onboard.

    On the third hand (yes, it's a Larry Niven reference) I've seen cops beat my friends for trying to feed homeless people on the street in San Francisco. Then they poured our soup down the drain and poured bleach over our bagels right in front of about 100 homeless folks.

    So YMMV where police are concerned, some are cool, some are total dicks.
  • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@y a h o o . c om> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:46PM (#15630549)
    This is a clear cut violation of First Amendment rights. Not the free speach ones but the free press ones.

    Huh? Free press? A guy video tapes somebody on his doorstep and suddenly that qualifies him as a member of the press?

    Regardless of whether he's press or not, I think you need to read the Bill of Rights again because you obviously don't know what it says. You don't have to be a literalist to understand that this doesn't mean what you think it means:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I don't see how this case has anything whatsoever to do with congress abridging freedom of the press. This is about a guy who got arrested for superfluous reasons. It's obviously one of those situations where the cops got annoyed, so they looked for whatever law they could find that they might be able to charge him against. It should be looked at in that light; trying to turn it into some weird and inappropriate first amendment discussion is not going to help anyone.
  • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:51PM (#15630586)
    You have to be joking
    What this is is a perfect example of the opposite. The judge needs to award costs, and a little extra for the trouble and tell the cops to stop acting like idiots. End of case. No lasting dmage has been done to anyone, as long as the law gets laid down in a blunt manner nothing else is needed.
  • by dmatos (232892) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:53PM (#15630621)
    Yes, heads must roll. However, do you really think that a financial penalty that will "wound the police force for years to come" is appropriate? Consider:

    Funding for the police comes from the taxpayers. Any fine paid by the police force is ultimately paid by the taxpayers.

    The police are ostensibly there to protect the public. Financial hardship would leave them less able to perform that task. Longer response times to emergency calls, crimes going uninvestigated, because the police force cannot afford enough employees to do their job properly.

    Perhaps more appropriate would be a civil suit filed personally against those responsible for the events, rather than the police force as a whole. The family can still be compensated through this, and it will (hopefully) act as a deterrent against others in positions of power that might consider abusing said power.
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by letxa2000 (215841) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:54PM (#15630634)
    Not defending the charges in this case (which do seem 100% bogus), but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you. If you treat the cops like assholes, they'll probably do the same to you. Now arguably it shouldn't be that way since the cops should be expected to behave professionaly even if the citizen doesn't. The reality, though, is that police are people too and just like we probably would not react perfectly to someone treating us with disresect on the job, police probably don't either. Treating others how you want to be treated is a good way to live life and usually brings the exact results you're looking for.


    Now something definitely seems wrong with this police department since the charges are nonsense and it seems like, at that point, they are harassing the citizen. But they do mention the guy's kid is being investigated for some crimes, the guy hasn't been cooperative in the past, and has been verbally abusive. And my completely inappropriate "judge a book by its cover" sensors tell me that by looking at the guy's picture in the article, he rather looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck. So I suspect that while these charges against him are completely wrong and inappropriate, I get the distinct feeling this isn't some average Joe that's being randomly victimized for no reason by the police. I think there's more to the story here than we know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:54PM (#15630640)
    I agree that the 2nd is a good thing; however, outside of a general uprising, you as an individual are not going to win a firefight with the police.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arivanov (12034) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:57PM (#15630667) Homepage
    The universal standard as far as politicians are concerned seems to be: All animals are equal. Some are more equal than the others.
  • No kiddin'. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity AT sbcglobal DOT net> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:00PM (#15630708) Homepage Journal
    Police reported that Gannon "has a history of being verbally abusive" toward police, and that after his arrest, he remarked that the officers "were a bunch of corrupt (expletives)."

    Hard to argue with Gannon.
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:00PM (#15630710)
    they view EVERYONE as a criminal these days.

    What do you think the point is of passing huge numbers of unenforceable laws? The point is that the police can pick anyone to be a criminal by selective enforcement.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:01PM (#15630725)

    How can it be wiretapping if there's no wire being tapped?

    How can the patriot act be called what it is? Why is it that if I wear a pistol in a holster on my belt, in plain view, covered with blinking LEDs, while wearing a t-shirt that reads "I carry a firearm" I'll be arrested for "carrying a concealed weapon." The names of laws often have nothing to do with what the laws say.

    Why is it a crime to monitor what our public servants are doing?

    Because the police are criminals and they follow the orders of the corrupt politicians who pass these laws. I know quite a few cops, but I've never known one who did not flaunt the law and brag about how they don't have to follow it since they are cops. I've never known one who does not have a "funny" story about how they abused their power for their own personal ends. If you haven't noticed this by now, you haven't been paying attention.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:02PM (#15630731)
    It wouldn't be too hard to argue that consent was granted the moment he stepped onto his property. Unless he had a warrant the cop was tresspassing on private property and is himself committing a crime. You can't claim to be a victim of a crime by commiting a crime that results in you being a victim.
  • Re:Slow news day (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thorholiday (970488) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:02PM (#15630733)
    Similarly, it's illegal to record a telephone conversation without telling all parties on the line that it's being recorded. I think that's federal law.

    Actually, only a handful of states require notification of all involved parties. Most only require one-party notification.

    http://www.callcorder.com/phone-recording-law-amer ica.htm#The%20US%20Federal%20Law [callcorder.com]
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:02PM (#15630735)
    My opinion is that anyone should be able to record their interactions with the police in any manner. I would never have thought that it might be illegal to video or audio tape on the premises of my own residence much less the interaction with a public official on my own property.
  • oversight (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:09PM (#15630844) Homepage Journal
    The police are public servants. Not only should it be legal to videotape them, it should be encouraged as part of citizen oversight!

    Quite true. I have long suspected that the single most effective defense against most abuses of power is a camera (at least in civilized places where public opinion matters). Without video footage, no one will believe the abuses really happened.

    Ubiquitous surveilance is often seen as a tool of big brother, but it can also be a tool against oppression as well. Imagine a society in which many people wear a webcam attached to an ipod-like device with a ring buffer storing everything the wearer sees. Then imagine you are a corrupt police officer who likes to intimidate and/or abuse certain people. Would it give you pause if you knew your actions were quite likely to show up on the news the next day?

  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:10PM (#15630848)
    Number one rule - never let the police in your house unless they have a search warrant.

    Quite true, but in this case he didn't let the policeman in his house. The police officer stuck his foot in the doorway and wouldn't leave when specifically told to by the owner. Unfortunately, it is not too uncommon for police to pull crap like this. But you are definitely right. Since there are some cops who get off on bringing people in, you should never say anything, and be damn careful what you say even if you are the one reporting the crime.

  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ScottLindner (954299) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:11PM (#15630864)
    "but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you."

    I've never had such experienced. They are pricks to you by default.
  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WeAreAllDoomed (943903) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:13PM (#15630890)
    I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you. If you treat the cops like assholes, they'll probably do the same to you.

    the problem, of course, is that the definition of that term is extremely broad, and people in power are wont to define it to suit themselves and their peers.

    And my completely inappropriate "judge a book by its cover" sensors tell me that by looking at the guy's picture in the article, he rather looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck.

    you're right - about the completely inappropriate part.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Romancer (19668) <romancer@deaths d o o r .com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:16PM (#15630931) Journal
    So the police with their dash cameras and the tollbooths with their license plate cameras, and the stop light cameras, grocery stoor security cameras, mini mart cameras, department store cameras and even the security cameras that they have in the police station where he was arrested are all ok, but on his private property where he lives and is getting harrassed, he can't use one to show the police what they've done to violate his rights?

    yeah, ok. now which way to canada?

    PS, in the article the police try and argue what happened at his house, if he warned them about the camera and if he had posted signs about the camera.

    now if there's video tape of those events and facts, just review that. no argument. no problem. case closed.
    I'd like to see if the cops are on film warning motorists that they are on camera every time they get pulled over. now compare.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aplusjimages (939458) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:16PM (#15630934) Journal
    At my work if the client treats me like an asshole, I get fired if I return the favor. You think cops would be held to the same standard. A 16 year old at McDonald has to follow that rule as well.
  • by gravis_23 (602248) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:19PM (#15630972) Homepage Journal

    Umm why would you EVER kill a smoking ban? Don't you know that smoking will kill you [cnn.com], and negatively impact EVERYONE who inhales your cigarette smoke? How can you be so daft?

    Enjoy New Hampshire. Don't ever leave. Then we'll never have to meet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:20PM (#15630974)
    We've already scored victories ... we killed a proposed statewide smoking ban
    Gosh, thanks for fighting for the freedom to pollute and cause involuntary health problems [arstechnica.com] for others!
  • by $1uck (710826) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:22PM (#15631002)
    I'll go one up on you.... someone I know who happens to be an Assistant District Attorney gave this bit of advice:
    Don't say anything to the police period. Anything you need to say to them can be said in court. Granted if you have a lawyer, and are wanting to strike a bargain it may be in your interest to talk, but always do so with a lawyer present.
    Just to repeat the police are not your friends.
  • by Simplulo (250142) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:31PM (#15631115) Homepage
    Failure to protect rights has killed more people than second-hand smoke ever has. I am an asthmatic, but I support your right to smoke whatever you want on private property. If you don't like second-hand smoke, exercise your rights and boycott those establishments that permit it. But don't impose your values (even if they were not based on questionable science) by force.
  • by symlink (18806) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:34PM (#15631161) Homepage
    "The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places" If the camera was on the man's property, then you couldn't hardly say that the installation was unauthorized.
    Not only that, but can the outside of someone's property really be considered a private place? Private property, maybe.. but "private place" implies an expectation of privacy. Can you have an expectation of privacy if you are outdoors where anyone can see/hear you?
  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:38PM (#15631200)
    I've never had such experienced. They are pricks to you by default.

    I have found that a good strategy to avoid being hassled by cops is to NOT be a dirtbag. Works on rent-a-cops, too.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:43PM (#15631261) Homepage Journal
    I say no lawsuits. Every police officer directly involved should be fired. If they've been instructed or ordered to act in such a way then whoever instructed them should be fired. That's a financial punishment to the cops involved and a warning to others who think it will be tolerated.

    If this is part of their training then the legislature should order the training be changed.
  • by finkployd (12902) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:43PM (#15631264) Homepage
    No, what needs done is the man to be cleared of all charges (and have them removed from his record) and the police officers involved fired. Not put on paid leave, not given a stern talking too, thrown out onto the street fired. They are given public trust and police powers and are held to a higher standard. I want to see more police officers outright fired without second chances when abuses like this occur. The level power they are given comes with responsibility, and abuse of that is unforgivable in a just society.

    I agree the police department should not be fined though, that just hurts the taxpayers. The problem is not the department, it is a few people in it that should no longer be there (including the jokers who trumped up the bogus felony charge).

    Finkployd
  • "..we killed a proposed statewide smoking ban"

    because damn it, people ahve a right to have a habit that kills people who don't want to participate in it.

    f'n moron.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:46PM (#15631295) Homepage
    Yes - stellar advice. Works wonderful throughout the world - look at how we treated the Indians - they respected the us and made a peace treaty with the us, and the us ran them out on the trail of tears; oh yeah - and the slaves were probably all victims of resrespecting authority.

    Yes - in your lilly-white gated community, if you tip your fedora to the cops and never question the discrimination de jur, you will probably not have your flat flattened. but if you happen to embrace an unpopular economic theory; stand by to be victimized.

    By the way - please continue to enjoy the freedoms which people such as yourself have not and could never have defended, advanced, or invented. The ignorant are blessed with the same liberties as those by whose toil, vigilance, perception, and sacrifice - all personal freedoms are maintained.

    It doesn't really matter if there is more to the story or not - the important fact is that the police are trying to set a precedent that one cannot - in one's own home - operate a camera for the purpose of defending one's self against aggressors. If we allow civil rights to be eroded for others - the erosion will quickly spread to one's own front door.

    AIK
  • by ThomaMelas (631856) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:47PM (#15631315)
    It's not the video, it's the audio. The law isn't really aimed at CCTV systems but telephone recording. The problem is that a mike is a mic and a recording medium is a recording medium. Simple solution? Don't record audio.
  • Except it is BAD FOR OTHER PEOPLE. What about the right of the people who don't spew poison into the air?
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:49PM (#15631334) Homepage Journal
    I think there's more to the story here than we know.

    There may be, and I agree with you about the whole "treat your neighbor as you would be treated" thingy... BUT...

    The fact remains that he was arrested at the police station where he voluntarily went, with video tape in tow. They didn't arrest him until they found out they had been taped by a security camera. Now, apparently security cameras are legal for businesses, for govn't installations, but according to the police department, are now illegal for securing your own home without the consent of the person that you don't want at your house.

    Further, the police were there without a warrant, which means they are unallowed to sieze anything, including the video tape. Beyond that, although I suppose the man's front stoop is considered private property, you have no right outside of your own home to not be videotaped, as is apparent in any store/stadium/street/elevator/etc. as well as upheld by courts.

    Now, I have to imagine that this will be crushed by the courts - I cannot believe that you cannot tape your own premises for safety - or WHATEVER - reason. Should you be allowed to, I am having flashbacks to reading 1984 with our hero hiding from the eyes of the ever-on cameras in his home.

    Tin-foil hat aside, to your idea of whether or not this person was a PITA to the police at his house that night, well... it's apparently all on tape ;)

  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hahiss (696716) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:50PM (#15631353) Homepage
    Not defending the charges in this case (which do seem 100% bogus), but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you.
    It may depend on who you are, where you live, and what you look like. The experience of my African American friends is completely at odds with yours, and my experience varies depending on whether I look like I'm a college professor or Sid Vicious. (No matter how I dress, I behave like the former.) I also get treated better NOW (no matter how I dress) than I did as a youth (under similar circumstances). This isn't to say that all cops are evil jerks, just that I think your experiences here represent a kind of privilege that doesn't hold for everyone.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:56PM (#15631424)
    Actually I think the police should be required to record both audio and video of every official interaction with the public. I think every interrogation should be recorded in full, and any breaks in the recording for more than 10-20 seconds (to allow for tape change) should mitigate against any 'confessions' obtained during that interrogation. Yes, I'm serious. This would protect the police who are accused of brutality, assuming they were innocent. The "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide," should apply, but only to the government, because government is where the higher potential for abuse and brutality lies. You don't hear cases of 7-8 armed civilians beating the hell out of an unarmed, handcuffed police officer, but flip that around and it's suddenly less remarkable. Recorded interrogations would protect both the police and the accused, and prevent both frivolous lawsuits from the accused and brutality from the police. The only reason the police wouldn't want an uninterrupted record of the interrogation is if they fully intend on doing things that are illegal and unethical, and they want to prevent a judge and/or jury from seeing how they got that "confession."
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScottLindner (954299) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:58PM (#15631450)
    What if the cop is the dirt bag?

    I truly was given a speeding ticket at 3am on a Tuesday morning for driving 1MPH over the speed limit, cop was sitting right at the reduced speed sign where the speed dropped from 55MPH to 25MPH, and there was a light that was red immediately after the sign he was at. I was the only car on the road. I tried being nice.. he acted like a prick to me about it.

    Cops are pricks.
  • by Caradoc (15903) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:03PM (#15631526) Homepage
    I hope every citizen in that town files lawsuits for the same behavior for the dash cameras that every one of their police cars has.
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spud Stud (739387) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:04PM (#15631538)
    Do the "cruiser-cams" in patrol cars record audio? Without my consent?
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladin.gmail@com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:05PM (#15631546)
    Dead on. Dead on.

    The problem is that in our society we have arbitrarily elevated cops to the status of "real" heroes because they "risk their lives everyday for the 'safety' of the community." A few months ago a metro officer was killed in the line of duty and there was this huge procession and they made a big deal about it.

    What no one bothered to mention is that it had been nearly 15 years since a metro cop had been killed. More people are killed/maimed/whatever working on construction sites here. Way more. The fact is that we've put these servants, and that's what they are, on a pedestal when it's a job they should serve with humility and compassion for their community.

    For everyone one "real" criminal they haul in I wonder how many nothing-but-revenue tickets they pass out? There's nothing "heroic" or "honorable" about hiding your car in a poorly marked 25 zone that some jackass decided should take up a block in the middle of 45s and ticket people there. Which is another problem. Popular media shows cops fighting dangerous "real" criminals most of the time. Even the show Cops doesn't show some guy sitting in a car, "This is Unit 328, hiding here at the bottom of a hill where people generally go faster than normal. We've made over $3,000 on tickets today and we've still got a few hours to go. One day and I've almost made my entire week's quota."

    And EVERY cop is dirty. Every single one of them. Either by their actions or their omissions. Ask ANY cop whether or not he/she knows a dirty cop. They'll say yes. After that, ask that person what he/she has done about said dirty cop. Nothing. A big fat nothing. And what's worse is when SOMETHING does happen they always get some ridiculous slap on the wrist. If I worked for a company that got sued for $50,000 and LOST on account of something I did, I'd be gone. I'd be fired. Not here. They get a week of PAID suspension and they're back on the street supposedly learning their lesson.

    THey've become an elevated class and just like all elevated classes, they act the part. Like pricks. Total pricks. If they accuse you, regardless of what procedures they seem to ignore, you're guilty and that's that. Add that to the fact that there's no fucking accountability for lower court judges in this country, it's just easier to plea out even if you haven't done anything wrong because they make it expensive to fight.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SealBeater (143912) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:06PM (#15631551) Homepage
    But the fact is only about 20% are assholes and some cops can become assholes by assholes.

    I'm willing to believe that 99% of cops treat their co-workers different than they do civilians.


    Its obvious he was obstructing Justice and to have a son on weapons charges will bring many police into the picture.


    So, by your definition, refusing to allow a police officer into your home is obstruction of justice? That's a reason to knock on a door at 11:30pm, stick your foot in the door and refuse to leave? If he wasn't a cop, I would have either forcably removed him or shot him. The attitude of "well, he didn't cooperate, so he deserves what he gets" is rather commonplace amoungst cops. Our "cooperation" ends where our legal rights begin. Most cops are assholes, simply because they believe that our rights aren't as important as thier job.

    SealBeater
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:18PM (#15631691)
    Maybe there are other explanatory reasons that I either missed or weren't mentioned, but how would not letting cops in your house without a warrant, or even video/audio recording them be "obstructing Justice"? Now if they DID have a warrant and he didn't let them in, obviously that would be obstruction.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by complexmath (449417) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:19PM (#15631696)
    I've never had such experienced. They are pricks to you by default.

    It isn't wise to dispute a blanket statement by making another blanket statement. Sure, the job does tend to attract people who want power over others, and the demand for police (it's a dangerous job with terrible pay) will likely keep the barrier for entry fairly low. However, I've met just as many policemen who took the job for far more noble or practical reasons. The truth is that any encounter with a policeman is a roll of the dice, and given the potential result of any such encounter, many people choose to avoid them. This is obviously particularly true of those from backgrounds where police experiences are typically bad: racial minorities, low income individuals, etc.

    What likely happened here is as you'd expect. Some idiot police harrassed the defendant and when they discovered there was a tape of their behavior (most people ignore security stickers and such unless they're looking for that sort of thing) they decided the best course of action was to lean on the guy in hopes that he'd either be cowed into not reporting them or that they'd luck out and get the original tape as "evidence" in the short time before their case was thrown out as baseless.

    A friend's father found himself in a similar situation a few years back. He was riding his bicycle through a park in a fairly nasty city and a policecar sped by and clipped him, knocking him off his bike, injuring him, and wrecking the bike. The bicyclist got up and made a rude gesture as the police car sped off and the police car stopped, returned, and the policeman arrested the bicyclist for "obstructing justice." The case was thrown out shortly afterwords, but as far as I know the policeman was never brought up on charges of a hit & run or anything like that.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wealthychef (584778) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:21PM (#15631724)
    There are assholes everywhere, but it is a well-known fact that if you put nice people in positions of absolute authority over others, they turn into tyrants. The degree to which they turn depends on the degree of authority you give them. So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that cops are bigger pricks than the rest of us. That being said, we need them and should cut them a bit of slack. Plus their jobs do require a bit of prickishness just as self defense. Still, they should get training to help reduce offense. And the big irony of this case is that filming cops with hidden cameras is exactly something I would say we need to do to reduce their bullying and miscreance.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saintlupus (227599) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:25PM (#15631767) Homepage
    looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck.

    Why do people think that "redneck" (or "hillbilly", or "white trash") is a socially acceptable term? Let's try substituting some other stuff.

    "Looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive nigger."

    "Looks like an uncooperative, verbally abuse spic."

    "Looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive gook."

    It's about the same class of word. Please, have a little respect, especially for someone you obviously don't know personally. Judging someone by their appearance is bad enough. Using racist language on top of it makes you look like the fool.

    --saint
  • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:25PM (#15631777)
    And every store and bank in New Hampshire that has a video camera is violating the same law? This is absolutely the silliest arrest I've read of in a long long time.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jay2003 (668095) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:25PM (#15631778)
    A posted warning about about audio & video recording on private property should be sufficient. If you don't wish to be recorded, stay off the other person property. In fact, you can look it the reverse way. Entering private property an refusing the consent to the recording is illegal trepassing since you don't have the owner's permission to be there without being recorded.

    From artcile, it looks like the Nahsua police department has no problem breaking the law. The article clearly says the policman did not have warrant yet and refused to leave the property when asked. This is all too typical, the police see the need to vigourously enforce this wiretapping law but will NEVER charge the officer with trepass even though there's video tape envidence of the crime. If the police are so concerned about illegal wiretapping, I suggest they get some warrents to search the local at&t switch room and see what they find.
  • by Atroxodisse (307053) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:32PM (#15631844) Homepage
    That only applies if the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. When standing on someone else's private property with a sign that reads "You are being recorded by surveillance", or whatever the sign said, you have no expectation of privacy.
  • Oh, Canada! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WebCowboy (196209) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:36PM (#15631880)
    We welcome you to the country where home doors are opened, police officers are polite, and we don't need cameras to check our private parking spot.

    Please try to resist being smug. As much as I find a lot of what the US gov't does disagreeable it really irritates me when fellow Canadians brag about how much better our lot in life is in comparison with our southern neighbours. I thought we were supposed to be humble folk, but it seems some of us have developed a superiority complex. Historically Canadians have had trouble "blowing their own horn" so we should be sure to note our accomplishments. However, if you must brag, please be realistic. Canada has its share of challenges too:

    * A recent behavioural study of major international cities on "politeness" placed Toronto fairly high on the list (Montreal, the other Canadian city did not do as well but did alright). Guess which city beat both? NEW YORK CITY. That's right. Most notably, New Yorkers were significantly more likely to open a door for a stranger in a public place. I guess that means "doors are opened" in NYC ;-)

    * There are places in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal where I most certainly would NOT leave my doors unlocked. OTOH, I don't think people ever use their locks in most of Montana, North and South Dakota, Maine, etc. I know this isn't apples-to-apples comparison but most Canadians live in a major city as is the case in the US (I grew up in rural Canada and yes doors are still open there too). The point is that Canada isn't THAT much different in this regard

    * I've witnessed RCMP officers and city police be somewhat less than polite in dealing with people too. Some of it has been widely publicised (Anyone remember the pepper-sprayed protester in Vancouver? And Prime Minister Cretien's cavalier response with the joke that he prefers his pepper on his dinner plate?). When the Hells Angels held a patch-over ceremony in Alberta a number of years ago, anyone who rode a Harley and was dressed the wrong way was badly harassed by the cops.

    * Years ago when a Quebec separatist group kidnapped and later killed a politician our "beloved" Prime Minister invoked the "War Measures Act", which allowed for police to detain anyone without charges and suspended many other civil liberties. This was in effect nation-wide, even though the FLQ Crisis only presented a direct threat to savety in Quebec. RCMP in places far away from Quebec took advantage of the situation and we had "troublemakers" in small town Alberta held in custody for days without charges.

    * Speaking of Quebec, this is a province that has "language police" that will fine you in your shop doesn't have French on it, or if some non-French language on your signage is too prominent.

    * West of Ontario, it is illegal for farmers to sell most crops to anyone but the Canadian Wheat Board. Farmers who protested this by pubically deciding to sell their grain directly to someone else rather than through the wheat board had their doors kicked in and were dragged to jail--and had their trucks and grain seized. Sone farmer in Ontario does the EXACT SAME THING? Sure, that's OK--the act applies only to BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I could live with a government imposed monopoly, distasteful as it is, if it applied equally to all Canadians. As it is now this situation is a travesty.

    * Well, I still live in Canada and I know that a lot of private parking spots are equipped with cameras here. In the past year or two there has been a dramatic increase in vandalism (mostly grafitti and car prowlings) and as a result more outdoor surveillance cameras are going up, and developers are putting out a lot more security guards in under-construction subdivisions as theft and vandalism increased there too.

    OTOH Canada has a lot to be proud of too:

    * Big, expensive and ineffective gun registry notwithstanding, there is WAY less gun violence in Canada than in the US

    * Canadians ar
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NynexNinja (379583) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:37PM (#15631894)
    You lack understanding on several grounds. First, you forget that police are public servants of the state government, and as such they are not treated the same way with respect to monitoring of audio/video that ordinary citizens do. The same way that the police have the ability to record their communications with the public, the public also has the right to record their communications with the police, or any other state government agency acting on the public's behalf for that matter. Secondly, this recording occurred on the private property owned by this individual, so just in the same way that a corporation can monitor the actions of employees working on their private property, citizens also have this right. Thirdly, there was a sign in plain view with clear notification that monitoring was taking place on the private property of this individual.
  • by jay2003 (668095) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:42PM (#15631943)
    Actually, I like to see every citizen get a special line item on their property tax showing how much their share of police misconduct payouts is. In some cities, like Oakland, these settlements and verdicts run into the millions every year. The citizens don't realize how much of their dollars are being wasted because of police misconduct. If the voters knew they were paying $50/year a piece so the police could abuse the citizenry, they might pay a little more attention at the ballot box.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kwandar (733439) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:45PM (#15631965)
    "Its obvious he was obstructing Justice and to have a son on weapons charges will bring many police into the picture"

    I was with you up until this line. Now mind you, I'm Canadian so things may run differently, but how is refusing to tell police what you know and/or not supplying information, without there being a court order, obstruction?

    You have my curiousity piqued; where does obstruction of justice start, and an individual's rights end?
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soupforare (542403) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:45PM (#15631973)
    Citizen, I believe you forget that enforcers are above the law.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:47PM (#15631981)
    Thank you for this.

    I am a reserve cop here in sunny CA. Yes, for those of you that aren't sure what that means-I am a volunteer cop. I don't get paid. I wear a uniform, I patrol on foot, I pull people over, I write tickets, and I call for backup.

    Why do I do this? Because it is a public service a real way to be involved in the community.

    I can tell you this, as well. Our Sheriff would hang a deputy by his toenails if he found out one of his men was pulling some of the stuff that has been described here. We have to smile and say 'sir' and 'maam' to the point where, literally, a line such as "Okay, sir, I am going to start pulling my trigger now, please duck" is not completely out of the question.

    See what happens when YOU put on a uniform and are sent out alone to patrol a long highway on a Friday night, knowing you are at least 20 minutes alone after a call for help, even at insane speeds by your co-workers with the lights flashing. We put out lives on the line for the public, and rarely do we find people in the public who realize this.

    Cops dont suck, we go after people who do suck. Get it? If we weren't there, those people who suck would be coming after you. Of course there are bad apples in uniform, but peace officers are being painted with a wide brush here. Are you winning to become a target for the betterment of you community? Do you have any idea what it feels like to bust into a house that you know is used for narcotics distribution, just wanting for the shotgun blast to come through the wall where your back is?

    Try walking a mile in our shoes one day. Your perspective might change a little.

    If you are nice to me, and if you don't look like you are trying to hide an open bottle of beer, and I don't see any evidence of drug use in your car, we're going to have a conversation. If you give me attitude (and this is a bad one here.. Give me attitude even if you have done nothing wrong, and I'll keep you at the side of the road for 45 minutes trying to figure out how many citations I can give you. My record was 10 and I only stopped because I got bored. The judge laughed at the guy when he showed up in court), or your record comes back that you are an unsafe driver, you might well get a ticket. However, you are just as likely to be able to drive away with 'a warning'.

    Do I want power over other people? Hell no. I got involved after Sept. 11th. There was a need, and I stepped forward. What have YOU done?

  • by psykocrime (61037) <{mindcrime} {at} {cpphacker.co.uk}> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:53PM (#15632033) Homepage Journal
    Since when cant we videotape what happens on OUR OWN FUCKING PROPERTY?

    Since we all forgot that we are sovereign individuals, and not subjects of any
    nation-state or government; since we all began to accept that the government
    has some intrinsic authority which overrules our own sovereignty; since we
    all began to believe that we answer to the government, instead of them
    answering to us; since we all forgot that we are EXACTLY as free as we
    CHOOSE to be; since we all forgot that we have as much freedom as we
    choose to have and are willing to defend.

  • by MoneyT (548795) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:57PM (#15632076) Journal
    They can go somewhere else. No one forces you to eat at any particular restraunt, and you have no right to tell an owner he can't allow smoking there.
  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:04PM (#15632128)
    35 years ago I was a cop. With some experience I can say that cops are a strange breed: part paranoid, part bully, part first class people really trying to do the right thing. The following are generalizations from my experience. Cops look at everything in black and white terms. If you disagree with the cop's point of view, in his/her eyes you don't have a legitimate point to make yourself, rather you are attacking everything about the way the cop does his job. Similarly, this paranoia manifests itself whenever their authority is challenged and the response is invariable aggressive speech or behavior. In recounting the facts of a matter, while different people can percieve events differently, still, outright lying by the long blue line is not unheard of. Cops are not well paid in consideration of the risks they take or the authority they have. Whose fault this is is a topic for extended discussion, but the clear result of poor pay is a quality of cop that is exactly commensurate with the compensation received. I don't know how Nashua police are compensated, but the sort of behavior recounted in the newpaper article should result in a hard look at the qualifications of the chief of police. He/she is the person who is responsible for assuring that the police conduct themselves in a professional manner. It doesn't look like that happened here.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macwhiz (134202) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:08PM (#15632159)

    Ah, but if you read all of the statute, you'll read the part that says

    "Oral communication" means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.

    I wonder... if you're standing in front of a surveilliance camera, on someone's front porch next to the street, and there are signs pointing out the camera... are you really justified in believing that the camera couldn't possibly be recording you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:11PM (#15632187)
    It's stories like this that make me glad I live in Canada. It also confirms my reluctance to set foot into the USA.
    I don't think there is any question about this being abuse of power followed with an 'oh shit, we got caught - better try to intimidate/bulley the person that caught us and maybe it will all go away'.
    The real sad thing is that in this case it's not just a single cop but apparently the entire police department or else we would have never seen this story. The cop would have been reprimanded, case closed.
    It would be interesting to see just how many cameras are operated by this police department for the explicit use and subsequent disclosure of the recorded information at trial. It would also be interesting to see how many cases where brought to trial where surveilance footage was used to convivt the (real) bad guy.
    I can't believe that anyone in their right mind can expect privacy in a public place with video cameras sprouting like mushrooms left and right. Furthermore, I can't see how anyone in their right mind could think that a homeowner recording what happens on HIS property is acting in an unlawful manner.
    Count me in under the column of "thoroughly disgusted by this"!
  • by hammock (247755) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:14PM (#15632211) Homepage
    Everything you describe would be OK in Old America. Now in New America, since you jackasses voted Bush in, the Constitution is about as valuable as a used piece of toilet paper, since using the 911 attacks that he orchestrated to justify deleting the citizens' rights to _everything_.

    Terrorist this, NSA spying that, the United States is the scariest place on Earth.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:18PM (#15632235) Homepage Journal
    Not all officers are like that - not by a long shot. In fact the asshole cops are in the vast minority.
  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:32PM (#15632330)
    I find it hard to understand what you are saying here:

    Cops dont suck, we go after people who do suck. Get it? If we weren't there, those people who suck would be coming after you....
    Are you willing to become a target for the betterment of you community?


    Cops go after people who are in the community calling the ones they select criminals. EVERYONE IS GUILTY, they just haven't been caught by you yet, depending on your (power) mood.

    When I see 6 cops skull stomping a drunk who was waiting for his cab, I don't believe you.
    When I see cops extorting money from commuters claiming they are driving too fast, instead of busting the three crack houses on my street, I don't believe you.
    When I see the brand new Expeditions with 2 cops cruising around, I no longer wonder why taxes are so high. I especially like the new boats they bought here, completely superfluous.

    I have yet to meet a 'nice' cop, and that is probably because when I see cops, I get as far away from them as I safely can, it's hard to become victimized if you aren't around them.

    I got involved after Sept. 11th. There was a need, and I stepped forward. What have YOU done?


    What does a bunch of evil men flying planes into buildings have to do with people speeding or disrespecting officers in public? How did those events make recording a cop on duty a crime? Can you justify any of this? I don't see a need at all.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:39PM (#15632363)
    Until the rest of them rip down this "blue wall" bullshit, the assholes make the whole office smell like shit.

    Every time someone whines about how cops get no "respect" I ask them what the "straight" cops do to earn it when the crooked ones lose it. A cop gets crooked and the "straight" ones are all over it to make sure that "one of their own" gets away with it.

    Take for instance the recent HPD crime lab scandal in Houston. Years of perjury and tainted evidence, and when a defense attourney finally discovers that they've been lying on the stand about their DNA tests (and possibly ballistics and other tests as well) all the cops and prosecutors have NO idea that they've been lying all the time. They are SHOCKED by the fact that they've put away 100s of people on bogus evidence. They just thought they were always SO lucky that the number one suspect always came back as a match and everyone could go home early, right?

    But hey, the good news is that now, after a year of an internal investigation (since the PD couldn't scrape together the pennies for an external audit) everything is hunky dory again and the HPD crime lab is ready to ride again.

    The only DNA analyst fired in the Houston Police Department crime lab scandal got her job back Tuesday. [truthinjustice.org] Whooo-eee what's that STANK?!
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:42PM (#15632382) Homepage
    And seat belt laws are not for the protection of the driver; they're for people around the driver because the seat belt keeps the driver at the controls after the initial impact.

    Citation, please? I call bullshit. Seatbelts are designed to prevent injury. In any accident severe enough for the seat belt to perform it is unlikely that controlling the vehicle is even possible. If it was about control, they'd mandate 4-point restraints instead of collarbone-snapping diagonal shoulder belts. You ever tried to steer with a broken collarbone? How about early seat belts, which were only lap belts? Were they designed to keep you in control of the vehicle after your skull bounces off the steering wheel?

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marklark (39287) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:48PM (#15632425) Homepage
    Sherm, thanks for your service.

    I think what you're missing is that, without a search warrant, the police officer with his foot in the door is trespassing. Period.

    Please have your warrant handy before attempting to search my home.

    Please have your warrant handy before displacing my wife and children from our home.

    It's simple, really.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:57PM (#15632488)
    Go be a cop for 18 years, then reply. Focus on what I was saying, not distorting it.

    It's a shame. You've wasted 18 years of your life and you still don't know how to properly and legally execute a search on someone's private property.
  • Modded up? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:03PM (#15632521) Homepage

    Okay we have a name tag Sealbeater, sitting on a spam domain filled with google adwords links, and the sig is, wait for it... Its survival of the fittest...and we got the fucking guns!!! I'd be a bit more cautious about throwing around accusations of assholery if I was you, my son. Glass houses and all that. Thankfully I am not, so although its something of a gaffe to feed the trolls, I am feeling generous today.

    The poster in question was referring to that particular case, not to broadly general rules of conduct. Also you refer to "cops" and "civilians" as being something different, which leads me to believe that you have a view of the police as being some sort of military force out to dominate your world with an iron fist. Inferiority complex much? Of course, as you so eloquently put it, survival of the fittest, and you do have the fucking guns, apparently, so the police are just a rival militia to you.

    I seriously doubt this will make a dent, Davey Crockett, but for the benefit of the other readers, let me tell you how it is. The police have to deal with serious assholes all the time. They wake up at 2am for their shift at 3am, and straight away they are dealing with halitosis laden drug dealers, drug addicts, wife beaters, child molesters, thieves, career criminals, fraudsters, you name it, they come eyeball to red glazed eyeball with them. People that you would literally cross the entire town, never mind the road, to avoid, people for whom prison is a holiday home, or in more extreme cases a brothel. And here's the kicker; the police have to play by the rules. If they don't, the lawyer will let said scumbag roam free, and the last thing you want is Johnny biker boy cruising the streets looking for your home address with a hard-on.

    Of course the nasty types don't feel any such need to play by the rules, so let me ask you. After ten years of waking up at 2am and not going into a nice office to look at the HR lady's shapely backside, but wondering if you will make it home in more or less one piece, what kind of person will you be? I'll tell you, it depends on the person. Some police officers deal with it well, some have outlets for their frustrations, some have family that support and understand them. Some don't or just don't deal with it well in any case. So that's where good cops go bad; avarice, stress, fear, or just plain frustration at seeing the same shitheads walking out after two years and doing the same things to pretty much the same people. Before you start bawling like the survivalist microbe that you are about the bad, naughty cops, you walk a mile in their shoes. Or even better, walk ten years in their shoes.

    Yes, there are bad police officers, and they need to be taken out of circulation just like the career criminals. But throwing out the baby with the bathwater is the worst idea anyone could ever have. Be polite to the police, and generally they will respond in kind. This has been my experience in every case.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AgNO3 (878843) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:10PM (#15632565) Homepage
    Wow, So being a cop for 18 years means you can violate civil rights because you THINK you are right.
    Hmm. Lets go over the run down of bullshit things cops have done to just me (35 year old male)
    Got pulled over once when a cop was behind me and he said after I ask why he pulled me over, "you where driving to carefully." NO KIDDING a cop car behind me and I was driving carefully. Then there was the time my girlfriend and I where driving in a car and I was pulled over and when I ask why he said he want to count the occupants of the car. So I counted for him, 2. Then there was the time I witnessed a cop car run a red light with none of its lights on and smash into a another car. The cops kept insisting that I did not see what I said I saw. Even to the extent that they tried to put words in my mouth through intimidation. That time was so bad I called a family friend of mine who is an FBI agent (lawyer would have charged me) to come to help me.

    Then there was this Guy on his porch in the Bronx that got shot for reaching for his wallet. 41 times I believe. (Diallo's case)

    There was a case in Devner of raiding the wrong house and killing the dude inside and then LIEING and puting a gun in the dudes hands. HOLLY SHIT.

    http://v6.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~4330~11 29795,00.html [denverpost.com]

    Now how about the cop in San Bernardino California that shot the air force security officer IN COLD BLOOD. http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,86767, 00.html?ESRC=topstories.RSS [military.com]

    Let me put it simple. You are a cop, (probably don't even know where the term cop comes from I bet, quick Google it) Have you ever heard of the Blackstone ratio? LOOK IT UP.

    Here is a great post to a editorial comment on NYC police brutality.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0 6E1DD1239F935A35755C0A96F958260 [nytimes.com]

    Or maybe police cover there own asses.
    http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14542prs20040128.ht ml [aclu.org]

    I mean Google searching for police abuse returns 70 million hits. Teen sex only returns 72 million. Seems that maybe Police abuse could be nearly as pervasive as teen sex. WTF?

    If there is any doubt as to whether to shoot or not shoot. You DON'T SHOOT. I would rather the police offer was shot then he shoots an innocent person. Sorry but that is the job YOU CHOSE. The civilian has more of a right to survive a misunderstanding then you. If you are unsure of the outcome of the situation you withdrawl rather then risk an innocent life.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xabraxas (654195) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:22PM (#15632637)
    Not defending the charges in this case (which do seem 100% bogus), but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you. If you treat the cops like assholes, they'll probably do the same to you.

    You must live in suburbia. I used to think the same thing when I lived in a nice quiet suburb. Now that I live in the city, amongst a predominatly minority population, I can see that that isn't the case. Being hassled by cops is a part of life now. For example I was accused of stealing a car by a cop while I was walking home from work one day. On another occasion a friend of mine was pulled over while driving home from my apartment at 2AM for having something hanging in his rearview mirror. The cops attempted to search his car, but being an intelligent citizen he refused because they had no probable cause, and the cop was rude as hell telling my friend that he must have something to hide if he was unwilling to have his car searched.

    I have never had to deal with harrassment like that when I lived in the suburbs. The cops practically camp out in my apartment complex. One night I was walking home and there were five cops with their guns drawn patrolling my neighborhood on foot. It was a little frightening. One time I was a victim of fraud and I went to the police station to make a complaint and I was treated like the criminal. Let me just say that living in the city is an eye-opening experience (and I'm not talking Manhatten).

    Now something definitely seems wrong with this police department since the charges are nonsense and it seems like, at that point, they are harassing the citizen. But they do mention the guy's kid is being investigated for some crimes, the guy hasn't been cooperative in the past, and has been verbally abusive. And my completely inappropriate "judge a book by its cover" sensors tell me that by looking at the guy's picture in the article, he rather looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck. So I suspect that while these charges against him are completely wrong and inappropriate, I get the distinct feeling this isn't some average Joe that's being randomly victimized for no reason by the police. I think there's more to the story here than we know.

    That shouldn't matter. It's your right as an American to be a prick. There isn't a law against being an asshole, even though I don't like dealing with people like that either. Any customer facing job requires that you deal with pains in the ass, but as a professional you deal with it. Cops are supposed to be professionals. If it was a case of being uncooperative with the police during an investigation then you can be charged for that.

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:26PM (#15632658)
    I never said that the current President "can do no good." I never considered him the personification of evil. And Congress did authorize force, though after being misled by selectively quoted intelligence, and that still isn't a "declaration" of war. But all of that is so much fluff--I never said that Congress wasn't complicit.

    President Clinton did lie about a blowjob, and I don't care. At all. It's completely insignificant in the balance of world affairs. The current President lies about torture. It wasn't under oath, so isn't impeachable, and that distinction is about as morally insignificant as you can get. It's wrong to torture people and then redefine the term in mid-sentence and then pretend you're being forthright about what you're doing. The way those people are being treated would be called torture if it was happening in our country to our citizens, and we know it. It was called torture before we were doing it, wasn't it? If it was your mother or best friend being interrogated in Dallas with these methods, you'd call it torture.

    Where is the moral contumely that we were basting eyeballs-deep in during the Clinton impeachment? Where is the outrage? There isn't any, and you know exactly why--Bush is a Republican, therefore whatever he does is lily-white in the eyes of Republicans. Morality, legality, propriety, everything is subordinate to politics. They'll impeach a sitting President over a blowjob but sit placidly by while a President authorizes torture, secret prisons, indefinite detentions, warrantless wiretaps, etc. So spare me your moral equivocations. I don't care if Clinton got blown on film every Sunday at noon while holding the King James Bible in one hand and a joint in the other--if torture doesn't make your moral compass wake up and take notice, there is something fundamentally wrong with you as a human being.

    Perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree on this, and you are deeply disturbed by what the Administration is doing. If so, you have my apologies. I'm just so sick of the faux moralizing about Clinton, coupled with the complete blindness on issues that really do matter. Blowjobs, even adulterous ones later lovingly covered with perjury, are a miniscule speck, an electron-sized mote, of immorality, compared to torture of human beings. To bring up Clinton and his interns in this context is to color yourself either as a shameless political hack or a pretty despicable human being.

  • His property (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AriaStar (964558) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:29PM (#15632678) Journal
    As ploce are public servants, employed by us via our tax dollars, should we citizens not have the same right as other employers to monitor the behavior of our employees? If our phone calls at work, our work e-mail, and where we go online can be monitored, and we can be filmed at work, by our employers, with or without any additional notification, then we should be allowed to monitor the police. Otherwise their power goes unchecked and along comes corruption. The word of one cop has more weight that three citizens, unless there's a videotape the backs up those citizens.

    Those surveillance cameras are not hidden. They're pretty clear. And that man has the right to protect his family. If someone broke into his house and the proof he had were tapes, would he be the one charged with a felony while the burgler got off because the evidence would be inadmissible? yeah, let's punish the good guy and let the bad off the hook.

    We've got to question what the officers did that they do not want that tape shown. If they were orderly and didn't threaten or act like asses toward that family, then there should be nothing to fear. But if they arrested a man and he's been charged with two felony counts simply for recording, then it would make sense that there is something to hide. They must have acted out of line.

    And this man being arrested does not indicate that he did anything wrong in the way you might be thinking. Hostility, trying to attack an officers.... No. If simply recording is against the law, then they can arrest him for that and nothing else. He could have been entirely peaceful, as well as his wife and sons, and still could have been arrested. And now, even if all charges are dropped, this man still has an arrest on his record. And if his wife bailed him out via a bail bonds place, then they are out the 10% paid to the bail bonds place. Money lost, embarassment, a record of arrest....

    Sad, sad day when taking steps to ensure personal safety in a non-violent way results in grounds for arrest.
  • Re:Modded up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tripster (23407) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:35PM (#15632726) Homepage
    Well put and completely true that being nice to them will result in a response in the same fashion.

    Then again, maybe our RCMP here in Canada just have to deal with a lot less of the kinds of issues you bring up, we do have less violent gun crime since guns are generally harder to get a hold of here.

    I have had great experiences with the police overall, I have no criminal record and I am far from a perfect citizen or anything. My younger years were a non-stop party for the most part, and yet I came through them without a DUI or possession charge, etc. Instead all my dealings with the cops were generally civil since we showed the officer respect. Several times they pulled us over and we'd have the vehicle overcrowded or something, usually we had a non-drinking driver and I think they respected that in us. Sure they'd make us pour the booze out if it was open but then they'd just tell us to get out and walk, then drive off and we'd pile in the vehicle again (we once had 15 in a van :)) and go on our merry way.

    I once was at the local truckstop for after party coffee time, it was pissing down with rain, we were pretty much gooned already and noticed a officer filling up his car at the pumps, we asked him if he was heading downtown and if we could get a lift .. sure thing, in the back we went and he dropped us off at home, even though we were pretty much drunk enough to spend the night in the drunk tank. That cop got my respect long before that night but I sure appreciated him then.

    Now think about the other types who show no respect to the cops, I would bet my past history with them would have been a lot different had I shown them none.

    Most of them are good guys trying to make the streets a safer place for all of us, cut them some slack and treat them with the respect they deserve for being there because you may just need to call them one day yourself.
  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pizpot (622748) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:48PM (#15632799)
    The very fact that people are mentioning that THERE MAY BE MORE TO THIS STORY THAN stated in the article goes to show how police should not be above the law, and warrents are important. They are human, and have enemies, and people who they want to screw. Case in point.
  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:26PM (#15633021)
    Go be a cop for 18 years, then reply. Focus on what I was saying, not distorting it.


    I am sorry, but that is the biggest cop-out I have ever seen.

    Not cooperating with a police investigation is not obstructing, even if this is the previlent attitude among cops. Protection of our civil rights should be the first job of our police. If time on a police force is something that changes this view, then I would say you (and perhaps most police officers) have been on the job too long.

    As far as I am concerned, this cop should be thrown off the police force, and barded from having any government job for having violated this guys rights. I don't know which bothers me more, that the majority of police don't share this view, or that time on a force reenforces the opposit view.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WedgeTalon (823522) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:30PM (#15633041)
    Redneck is a race?
  • Re:Modded up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:50PM (#15633133) Homepage
    Before you start bawling like the survivalist microbe that you are about the bad, naughty cops, you walk a mile in their shoes. Or even better, walk ten years in their shoes.

    No, thank you very much, I do not need to perform a particular dirty job to know that if the job turns someone into a law-bending dickhead on a power trip, they need to not be employed in that capacity. I don't care why the job fucked them up. It isn't relevant. Oh, you deal with vicious drunken animals every night and it turned you mean? Tough shit, pal, act like a professional or get out of the business. I spent six years intermittently dodging bullets, mines, and IEDs in the Army, so I know what the pressure of life-threatening employment is like. We didn't beat up the random hadjis who showed their soles to us, so I think a cop can do the same for civilians at home. Having a dangerous job doesn't excuse assholery.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladin.gmail@com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:12PM (#15633222)
    I'm assuming you have never been arrested. I guess my clients just always seem to get arrested on the asshole shift. And even a cop who normally "isn't a prick" suddenly thinks you are the criminal devil incarnate the moment you mention your so-called "rights."

    Most cops will be nice to you if you bend over and let them do whatever they want. Sure, sure. But whatever you do, don't assert your rights. Then you'll find that the majority become pricks, plain and simple because if you don't want to let them search your car or your house you MUST be hiding something and your MUST be a criminal.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:22PM (#15633270)
    The problem is that in our society we have arbitrarily elevated cops to the status of "real" heroes because they "risk their lives everyday for the 'safety' of the community." A few months ago a metro officer was killed in the line of duty and there was this huge procession and they made a big deal about it.

    I think you have an ax to grind. It's not at all arbitrary and it isn't in "our society."

    Police do risk their lives everyday. They have to deal with the mentally ill, drunks, druggies and domestic disturbances on a regular day-to-day basis. The problem is you /.'ers think that cops are going to die in some spectacular shoot out or car chase, when it is going to be that simple traffic stop or domestic disturbance when someone pulls a knife or gun on them when they aren't prepared for it.

    And the risk of death isn't the only the problem, they risk their sanity and their physical health. You think it'd be easy to walk into heated situations dealing with them day-in-day out? It's going to take a toll physically and mentally. Police divorce and suicide are incredibly high for a subculture.

    On the topic of heroes ... Every society and culture elevates certain individuals to hero status. Slashdot elevates Linus (whilst Bill gates is the devil) to that status on a regular basis. The term does get thrown around liberally. To persons outside the subculture, and the affect of the hero, it might seem we are crazy putting Linus to that level and Bill as the villain. Who are we to decide who is a hero or not? It seems to be quite an arbitrary label in its own right and made on a individual, personal and subjective level.

    The fact is that we've put these servants, and that's what they are, on a pedestal when it's a job they should serve with humility and compassion for their community.

    I agree that they should serve with humility and compassion at times, however all the time isn't possible for a number of reasons. One reason I can think of is the dual purpose of policing. They must serve as a force and as a service. Or to put it as Thomas PM Barnett said of the "new" structure of the military, they must serve as a Leviathan and as a Systems admin service at once. A force to bring into line the nefarious elements of society and as a service to uphold the good and help society. It must be damn hard to walk the line between those completely different mindsets. One is a mindset of destruction and one of creation. Both are needed, but I bet you it pushes some police over the edge into the Leviathan mode more than service mode.

    Oh, and where you claimed "And EVERY cop is dirty. Every single one of them. Either by their actions or their omissions." You know what I think would help cops not go dirty? By actually elevating them to some form of warrior/hero status which you so want to take away. This elevation might have a side effect of instilling a form of chivalric maxims or bushido code. It might take a cleaning out of the internal system, but for us on the outside holding them to a bushido/knights code of honor might very well hold them responsible for their action when they are dishonoured rather than them being just another "servant" as you put it. The word Servant also brings up powerful ideas. Servants are expendable, they also deal with menial tasks. Upholding the law is not menial task. Your use of the word servant shows more about your biases and grudge against the police than it does for an objective description of their role.

  • Re:Modded up? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fortran IV (737299) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:35PM (#15633321) Journal
    Well said. Thank you. I've known plenty of people who had bad experiences with cops, from routine minor harassment to a fellow arrested on charges sufficiently bogus that he won a lawsuit against the city. Yeah, there are some rotten cops out there.

    But I've also seen an awful lot of cops standing in rain directing traffic after storms knocked out power and traffic lights, and cops cleaning up after some drunk spread himself across a hundred yards of asphalt, and so on. Every single time I've personally been on the receiving end of police attention, whether for traffic violations, accidents, or general uproar, the officer has been unfailingly polite and respectful, even when I didn't deserve it.

    Twice, years ago, domestic strife led me to attract a cop's attention. Once I was simply driving in a blind rage, and a cop pulled me over after I passed a car on the shoulder. I stopped, but then for three or four minutes I simply sat there trying to squeeze the steering wheel in two, as the cop patiently rapped on my window and—with increasing volume but unfailing courtesy—requested my attention. When I finally stopped staring at the dash and rolled down my window, he let me explain my bad temper and sent me home with a warning, even though he would have been justified in at least runnning me through a field sobriety test and could easily have found a pretext to toss me in the pokey for the evening.

    The second time, a year later in another town, my then-significant other decided my apartment was a good place for a screaming match, a decision that displeased my neighbors. Now, by most accounts I've seen, "domestic disturbance" is high on the list of calls a cop hopes to end his shift without hearing—there's simply no telling what's going on behind the door you're about to knock on. But when an officer appeared on my porch that evening, he was again polite and patient. Nobody got threatened. Nobody got arrested. By his complete courtesy he embarrassed both of us into better behavior, at least in the short term.

    When people say, "All cops are pricks," they aren't merely failing to recognize the large number of officers who do a hard job with patience and dedication—they are actively isolating those good cops from the public that depends on them. Swear out complaints against the bad ones, folks, but give the good ones some support. Please.
  • Re:sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by letxa2000 (215841) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:42PM (#15633363)
    She went to a payphone and called 911 and hung around till the cops came. No ambulance, just cops. Nobody heard from him for a week until he turned up as a John Doe at UCI, comatose with no wallet. We know he had his wallet on him because the reason he was in Mission Viejo was to pick up his wallet from his friend's house. A request for the police report got the 1st of 9 pages. The last 8 pages cannot be found. The doctor at UCI told my aunt that the injury he had could only be cause by upward blunt trauma to the nose and normally would cause INSTANT paralysis. Cops say he hit his face on the handlebars. Of course, the ONLY damage to his face is to his nose.


    So what are you saying? That a lady called 911 and reported the thing and at that point the decision was already made to screw your cousin over? Obviously so, otherwise an ambulance would have been sent. Instead, they send cops who found an injured person on the side of the road with a witness (the lady) hanging around and, after the fact, decided to beat the crap out of someone who had his foot impaled on the foot rest, take his wallet, and leave him in a coma in the hospital?


    I'm sorry, sir, I'm just not buying it.


  • by heinousjay (683506) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @11:26PM (#15634095) Journal
    No one is guilty. Just ask the people in prison. They'll all tell you how innocent they are.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Madcapjack (635982) on Friday June 30, 2006 @02:37AM (#15634652)
    Sure, not all cops are assholes. I believe you. Only about half of the ones I've met were. Some were really helpful, really. Others were unneccesarily rude, threatening, and yes, racist. sometimes its hard to blame them, since yeah, they are stressed out a lot, and deal with the pricks of society regularly. more than that- a lot of folks don't like to even hang out with off-duty cops- who feels comfortable with the law breathing down your shoulder all the time? but I do blame them. i blame the bad cops for being bad, and the good cops for not doing much about the bad cops. its not like it isn't in my family- my uncle was a cop, and a complete jerk who liked to scare the holy shit out of little kids, and endulged in a few shady activities. So should cops be painted with so broad a brush? no, but they ought to start thinking about why so many people are ready to do so- without going into lame excuses, much less about being misunderstood. and yes, a lot of on duty cops regularly violate traffic laws- and it pisses a lot of people off.
  • by Pooua (265915) on Friday June 30, 2006 @03:12AM (#15634730) Homepage
    "if you really were as innocent as you claim, you would have taken your chance before a jury."

    That's an arrogant thing to say. If you have the choice between a small chance of severe punishment on one hand and much less severe punishment on the other, most people would opt for the less-severe punishment. Why gamble? Why do so many companies, for example, settle out of court? Is it because they are really guilty, and this is an easy way out? I know that is not always the case. Sometimes, the risk is simply not worth the principle.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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