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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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  • Ugh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gentimjs (930934) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:31PM (#15630337) Journal
    I live here in NH and am very upset by this. Many police cars here carry cameras on thier dashboards and tape you when they cops pull you over for a ticket! In addition, all the tollbooths on rt 93 around Manchester all have cameras .. I wonder if any felony acts are being commited there, where I've seen no signs warning me I was on camera?
  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:37PM (#15630411) Homepage
    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.

    Looks like he had already done that. This kind of stuff is ridiculous, I can't believe Americans are putting up with this kind of shit from the people we pay to protect our cities. More and more rights being taken away. My only question is how having security cameras on your own private property is against wiretapping laws? I bet this family is going to make a killing after they get done with that PD.
  • Re:That sad part is (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:37PM (#15630421)
    > 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.

    Those are called DA's. And damn skippy it's ripe for abuse.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:38PM (#15630427)
    Well, when I was pulled over and asked to step out of the car, the cops (several of them, at least 2 squad cars and an unmarked car) made sure while I was out of my vehicle that I was out of the cameras' fields of view. They are happy to have you on video when it benefits them, but if it gives you any possibility of an advantage, they tell you where to stand, and it isn't always within camera view. This occured in Alabama.
  • by MasterShake (617668) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:43PM (#15630502)
    Actually, this isn't a free press issue either. IIRC, you are allowed to record whatever you want on your own private property. This includes phone conversations and video of whatever happens on the property.

    Also, when on public property, there is no right to privacy (The right to privacy is also not explicitly stated in the constitution or any of the amendments as many people believe. It is, according to case law, implied however.) The dash cams are recording you while you and the officer are both on public property (the roads).

    Note, I do think that privacy should be explicitly protected and very probably in the constitution.

    If you record your own property, you do not need to notify anyone that you are recording (think video surveilance of stores.)

    IANAL, however I have had the benefit of 20+ years of hanging around police officers at home. The exact limits of where you do and do not have the right to privacy and what forms of surveilance are legal will probably vary somewhat by state. YMMV
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:44PM (#15630515) Homepage
    I live in NH too... I moved here (along with many others) to fight for Freedom.
    A lot of us over at the forums on NHFree [nhfree.com] are weighing options as to how best to respond.\

    We're known for standing up against the NH police when they step out of line!
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-301788115 4843817240 [google.com]

  • by pete6677 (681676) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:45PM (#15630538)
    OK, I've figured it all out now. The guy has a teenage punk for a son with no regard for the law, and he's not much help. The cops decide they're going to teach him a lesson when he kicks them out of his house. Seeing as he lives in the ghetto, he has no civil rights. Yes, that's correct, ask anyone who lives in a ghetto of any city and they'll tell you that civil rights don't exist there. They take this as an opportunity to walk all over him, using the cameras as an excuse to make a felony arrest just to get back at him. There's no legal basis for this at all, and even less basis for the charges against his wife. It will all get thrown out and he'll sue the cops since they've made it so easy for him to do. The losers will be the taxpayers as usual. Moral of the story, if you live in the ghetto and have a delinquent son, don't expect nice treatment from the cops. But if they're stupid enough to do what these cops did you'll likely get a nice payoff.
  • Re:Slow news day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moo Moo Cow of Death (778623) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:48PM (#15630564) Journal
    In most states, no you do not need to have another parties consent to record their phone call. In ALL states that have those laws you can record if they say they are going to record. In ALL states you can record person(s) on your property both video and audio, no restrictions. So no, they (the police) were wrong on almost every count and can be sued. With a good lawyer, they'll probably get quite a bit of money.
  • Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by warp1 (231206) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:49PM (#15630575) Homepage
    Video tapping the police is not the problem here, it's wanting to file a complaint. Here in Phoenix, AZ a local news crew went to all the city police departments explaining that they wanted to file a complaint against an officer on that policed force. The television newsman was run out, ignored and threatened. Only the Phoenix police had a system of citizen complaints and treated the newsman with respect. I believe it was an eye opening news story for both people making complaints and the police departments stung.
  • Clarification (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khammurabi (962376) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:53PM (#15630615)
    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.
    Actually, that's not quite true. If the officer asked the individual to watch his language or curb his swearing, and the individual went ahead and still swore away, the police can charge him with disorderly conduct. From my understanding, "disorderly conduct" is usually written in a vague enough fashion so that police can charge any person who disobeys (does not follow) a police warning or order, no matter how rediculous it may be. If the officer's request is later found to be illegal you can sue, but it's best to do what the officer says to avoid legal headaches.

    The owner probably should have had a sign posted, to avoid all of this legal hassle. Simply stating to the officer that he or she is being videotaped makes for a shaky "who are you going to believe" argument. A key issue that I don't see listed is whether the owner turned on the system in response to the officer knocking at the door. If the individual was not running a continuous surveillance loop, it could be argued that the person merely installed the camera system to target certain individuals or the police.

    Irregardless of the legal feasiblity of the charge, the charge sounds like a load of B.S. The owner may be a jerk, have two sons who are frequently at odds with the law, and may not feel inclined to rat on his own children whenever the police come around, but that doesn't give the police the right to make bogus charges and penalize the individual however they see fit. Even dicks have certain rights guaranteed and should be able to live without being harassed by police.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:55PM (#15630648)
    New Hampshire law specifically allows law enforcement purposes.

    Are police the only ones allowed to enforce the law?
  • Jury duty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:56PM (#15630664) Homepage
    Why can't I get called for jury duty on a case like this? Besides the fact I don't live there. I could pretty much guarantee a not guilty verdict, or a hung jury at a minimum.

    Now at last we can turn the arguement around: If you're not doing anything wrong, why worry about the cameras? Police routinely tape large demonstrations and outdoor events, how is this any different? There's no expectation of privacy in public place, that's why they had to use wiretap laws. It wasn't the video, it was the audio. I'm guessing N.H. is a two-party state, where both parties have to consent to monitoring.

    Either way this was a hugely bad move for the police department. Now it looks like they charged the guy in retaliation and are trying to cover up misdeeds by their own personnel. The defense will want to play the tape for the jury and they'll get to see the officer's unfiltered conduct. Not his well-dressed, well-mannered courtroom testimony. He might not have had a damage award case if they hadn't arrested him, but they might now if the jury is convinced the police acted out of malice. Dumb and dumber.

    Smartest move the prosecutor could make would be to throw out the case, but none of those involved strike me as particularly gifted in the PR department.

    So much for the Supreme Court counting on improved training to keep police conduct in check.

  • by bishiraver (707931) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:57PM (#15630666) Homepage
    IANAL. This sounds like a law made to prevent OTHER people from recording your home. However, it certainly does seem to be able to be construed to mean that you yourself cannot record your home. HOWEVER, the law ALSO defines a private place as one where "a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance." Since when should a police officer reasonably expect to be safe from recording, if he's on your front porch? That's a public area. If this were taken to trial and the man found guilty, this could have terrrrible rammifications. It means that home-video evidence of crimes could be dismissed from evidence because they were gained illegally (example: woman has hidden video recording, husband starts beating her; woman calls 911, man breaks into her house and doesn't notice the phone off the hook as he beats her unconscious; parents set up nannycam and find their nanny shaking their child to death. In all of these cases, the video / audio recordings could be thrown out of court if this law were twisted to mean what these police officers want it to mean)
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:08PM (#15630826)
    In most jurisdictions, yes. They have what are called "police powers" that regular citizens don't have. You can make a citizens arrest in some jurisdictions but if you don't do it by the book you'll be in jail too...and probably sued.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:15PM (#15630911)
    ...make sure you have something on them.

    (posting anonymously for this one)

    It worked for me when I tried to get a bunch of Boston & Mass. State Police officers to stop drinking and tossing their empties on our street. After complaining to them directly and failing to have an effect, I went out with my camera the next night and positioned myself prominently. One confronted me and showed me his badge, which I deliberately requested to look at in detail; and when I recited exactly what I'd watched them do over the past several minutes, I sensed him noticing my camera. Second thoughts, maybe? He left, I never made a report to his superiors, and the problem fixed itself.

    P.S. I subsequently have had wonderful experiences (unrelated to any of this) with Boston Police officers patrolling our neighborhood. In one case I spent a day in court as a potential witness with a couple of officers who had helped me apprehend a break-and-enter theif, only to have the a$$wipe judge decline to hear me or the cops and set the sentence to time served. So this guy with a 20-year, 14 page criminal record is back on the street ready to be picked up again. Anyway, just wanted to be clear I support these guys in general, and lament that the liberal, spineless Boston judicial system doesn't make their jobs any easier.
  • by PB_TPU_40 (135365) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:16PM (#15630921)
    However being charged with a felony is a BIG issue. If you are charged with a felony it is enough for some jobs for you to be denied, also it will permanently be on your record, even if you are not convicted or the charges are dropped. I was charged with two class B felonies that were bogus, everything ended up being pled down to a misdeamnor and even then it was a no-lo plea. Every job I've applied for since has come back and asked me about the charges. Once I go through and explain what happened. The care less that I have a conviction for a Gross Misdeamnor and care more that I had been charged with a felony. Charges alone can ruin your life, most dont know it, but its true.

    Another example is you cant get a Federal CWP if you have ever been charged with a felony. Doesn't matter what it was, or if you were aquited.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zuzulo (136299) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:22PM (#15631010) Homepage
    Folks appear to be missing the point here - the mistake Gannon made had nothing to do with being polite to the police. His mistake was recording audio as well as video. There is a large body of case law confirming the legality of recording video without subjects permission, but as soon as you include audio you run into another set of case law which is much more restrictive. There is a reason virtually all surveillance systems do not record audio data ...
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:27PM (#15631071) Homepage
    No doubt. We'd have a hell of a lot of work to do wherever we landed!

    Make no mistake: the Free State Project [freestateproject.org] is not about moving someplace already free; it's about moving the most active pro-Freedom people to a place that can be freed, with a hell of a lot of hard work. See the 101 reasons NH should be the Free State [lpnh.org] info that the NH Libertarian Party put together before the vote was taken on which would be the designated Free State.

  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sherms (15634) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:31PM (#15631122) Journal
    I've been a cop for 18 years. To some people who are getting arrested I get the heat. But the fact is only about 20% are assholes and some cops can become assholes by assholes. I've had people try to shoot me, stab me, etc. I have turned in over 5 cops who have violated peoples rights. The fact is Police are human. But they do try to pick the most patient (overall). So 20% is more accurate than 99%. In Utah we could not have arrested him because the law for privacy is different. If one person in the group of people know there being recorded (in this case the home owner) then it is perfectly legal. Its obvious he was obstructing Justice and to have a son on weapons charges will bring many police into the picture. I like to make it home at night.

    I've also had many letters of thanks from citizens. I'm not trying to start a flame ware, just putting down the facts. I do computer forensics, homicide reconstruction, and fatal accidents now.

    Sherm
    (I was also put on /. in about 1999 for our 911 going to Linux. So I've seen many points of view)
  • by John Leeming (160817) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:33PM (#15631148)
    The key to these laws in these states is "covert", even if not explicitly stated in the law.

    If the camera is in plain view, anywhere, it is not "covert". If there are signs posted, it is not "covert".

    Recall, this is an issue with the so-called "nanny-cams", several cases of which are still winding through the courts; the defense being that it is within the walls of the home negates the issue of being "covert", as one can do anything within reason within one's own home.

    It does not, however, trump the consent to be recorded issue, though that's usually done by the court "in the interest and furtherance of justice".

    This does, however, raise an interesting possibility...

    Taken as presented, it is possible that by stating "I do not consent to being recorded" when pulled over by a highway patrol officer, any attempt to use that recording for conviction may be voidable since it negates Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent (and assuming that you don't blather on thinking that your words automagically protect your Fifth Amendment rights). Pleading the Fifth, then continuing to talk, is seen as waiving the Fifth by the courts.

    By extension, this might apply to the use of radar; while courts recognize "plain view" as acceptable, the fact that an officer has to use a sophisticated device to record your actions without your consent (which is not granted by the issuance and acceptance of a driver's license, by the way), negates the "plain view" applicability here. You can grow marijuana in your back yard, and the police may suspect, but many a potential conviction has been tossed out because an officer placed a brick or box down and used it to stand on to look over the fence. "Plain view" means "plain view", not "plain view if you use something to get past what's blocking your ability to see".

    Mr. Gannon may have an interesting precedent looming in any pending court action on his arrest.

  • wtf (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moxley (895517) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:40PM (#15631225)
    Unfortunately I think this is where we're all headed. Should you use the sort of evidence "the authorities" use against citizens to prove misconduct on their part and you are either a "terra-ist" or are violating felony wiretap laws...Even on your own property? wtf..

    Maybe Mr Gannon should have said "The Camera is there to keep America safe from "terra-ists." - that seems to be the "get out of constitutional protections free card" du-jour...

    Maybe Mr Gannon didn't know that America is fast becoming a fascist kleptocracy...

    This just seems ridiculous, the guy was on his own property - I would think he'd have a better chance of pressing trespassing charges against the "officer" then some corrupt police department that is being terribly abusive with their autority would have of charging him with these felonies.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on all cops or law enforcement officers - there are some who do a great job and respect the law and constitution, but this kind of thing is becoming all to common.

  • by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:45PM (#15631288) Homepage
    The 20,000 number was really a total guess, based on the notion that Free Staters would not be that active. Given the amount of activity here in-state, most of us who have actually moved estimate we really only need a few hundred people. If those people are willing to run for office, and assist in other people's campaigns, this already largely independent state is likely to go "tipping-point". Yes, the number of new signups is low, and I wish it were higher, but that's not the prime focus, really. Every single person who moves here has an impact so, so much greater than they could in any other state, thanks to the low population, mostly classically liberal culture, and open structure of government.

    It's easy to nay-say on the sidelines. It's just so much bullshitting unless you're willing to at least give it a shot.

  • by kontos (560271) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:56PM (#15631425)
    The NH law says that All parties to the conversation must consent. If the article is accurate, this should be a pretty quick case, and the poor homeowner is screwed.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johansalk (818687) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:57PM (#15631441)
    It depends where you are. In England they are very respectful by default, perhaps it's not carrying the guns that makes them so, you know, gun=prick. Perhaps it's a general, old-fashioned culture of politeness. This happens to be true of the older recruits more so than the new. The new, like all things in Britain, are not as well-mannered as their elders. So much so that, for the elder generation of the police, one of them could be heard saying "be careful, Sir" as he punches you in the face. I'm witness to that. Seen it happen.
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:17PM (#15631675) Journal
    There seems to be a lot of blame to pass around. The cops overreacted to being disrespected and the dad is shielding his (seemingly) rotten son.

    The article has some delicious irony in it.

    "She said they installed the [camera] system in response to crime in the neighborhood, and at their house."

    "Karlis was investigating the Gannons' 15-year-old son in connection with a June 21 mugging outside Margaritas restaurant, for which two other teens already have been charged, according to police reports. The boy also is charged with possessing a handgun stolen three years ago in Vermont, and resisting detention, police said."

    Sound like they just need to videotape their kid.
  • by SauroNlord (707570) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:19PM (#15631702)
    I am in the process of filing a complaint against the Peel Regional Police (Peel Regional Police) (Toronto and area) for seizing my camera, blackberry and looking through my stuff in the trunk---ALL THE WHILE I SAID I DO NOT CONSENT TO A WARRANTLESS SEARCH. I repeated this about 5 times and kept reminding them.

    They even went as far as to delete the audio recording that I had set on recording of them and they deleted the movie I made of them tail-gating each other and not-signalling lane changes.

    I then asked to get all of the officers names and badge numbers and the supervisor said NO!!! I said I demand the information as I am entitled to it, but they took off. The supervisor gave me only 2 of the 3 officers names even after that!

    I am ready to post this on my website tonight. This happened to me in Brampton, Ontario ---by the Pearson International Airport.

    Canada isn't as free as you think. What am I do? How can I get the media to take up my story?

    Just check out how corrupt the Peel Police are:

    - " Misconduct Allegations

    Between 2005 and 2006, Peel Regional Police have been sued numerous times for police brutality and misconduct. As well as having some of their officers face serious criminal and Police Services Act of Ontario charges.

            * $9.5 million lawsuit filed by a black police officer, Const. Duane Simon, an 18-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, alleging false imprisonment, abuse of public office, injurious falsehoods, negligent investigation and breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. [1]

            * $3.6 million lawsuit alleging seven off-duty officers attacked seven students from Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, and that the police are covering up the identities of the officers involved in order to thwart possible criminal prosecutions. [2]

            * $14.6 million lawsuit filed by former Toronto Argonaut football player Orlando Bowen, who says he was assaulted and falsely arrested by a group of negligent and racist officers at a Mississauga night club. [3]

            * Const. Sheldon Cook, 38, was arrested by RCMP officers at his residence, where it's alleged 15 kilograms of cocaine were found hidden in a storage area of his home. Cook is also named in a lawsuit by Orlando Bowen. [4] [5]

            * Const. Roger Yeo, 36, of Mississauga, is alleged to have watched and followed several young girls. Yeo was suspended with pay and was charged under the Police Services Act for discreditable conduct, but has not been criminally charged. [6]

    Accusations of police abuses involving racism have plagued this police department since the late-80s. When a black teenager from Jamacia, 17-year old Michael Wade Lawson, was shot to death by two Peel Regional Constables on December 8th, 1988. [7] "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peel_Regional_Police [wikipedia.org]

  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:21PM (#15631726) Homepage Journal
    New Hampshire is a beautiful state, and parts of the state are within commuting distance of Boston, allowing a few decent opportunities.

    If right-wing Libertarianism is so freakin' great, why is it that Liberal high-tax Massachusetts is where you all have to go to get a job?

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M0b1u5 (569472) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:25PM (#15631781) Homepage
    Sorry no. A lot of cops are just assholes - no two ways about it.

    You need to remember, that cops deal with assholes all day long - and they are conditioned to think that if they think you are guilty - then by god - you ARE guilty - and by default - an asshole.

    So, even if you are EXTREMELY polite and VERY accommodating, they can STILL treat you liek shit. One time I was attacked by an insane ex girlfriend of mine in my own home, after she had trashed my bedroom, and caused about $1000 of damage in my bathroom. I had to eject her from the house, using the minimum force required.

    I was bleeding from her scratches to my face when I got her out of the house, and I was shaking like a leaf. I actually rang the police straight away and said that I had been attacked in my own home, and that I had to eject her. Oh, she tried to kick her way through my plate glass window next to my door too, to get back inside. I thought she was gonna sever her foot if she broke the glass.

    Anyway - she ended up calling the cops - and they rang me back telling me it wasn't over. They arrived and came in, and the fuckers are reading me my rights in my own home, when I'm the one dripping blood!

    I made a full statement the following day - and then the prosecuting sargeant really went to town on me - reckoning he was gonna charge me with assault (I weighed twice what she did) and that I was gonna go to prison but worst of all - that I was a bad man. (Which I am not.) This because - in HIS experience, if there's an altercation - then it's always the asshole guy attacking the tiny, defenceless girl.

    I went to see my lawyer straight away - and due to me having two witnesses in the house at the time - who didn't see a lot but heard it all - she said that she'd rip the poilice a new one if they even THOUGHT about arresting me.

    I confidently returned to the police station. Took some more verbal abuse from the sargeant before telling him my lawyer would rip him a new one, and that I was leaving. He told me he wanted me to hand in my 2 rifles, and my gun license. I told him that I would do no such thing - and that he should find some criminals to harrass.

    That was the end of that. But a very harrowing time.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dare nMc (468959) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:39PM (#15631906)
    > But the fact is only about 20% are assholes and some cops can become assholes by assholes.

    ummm, 20% is not a "only" it's gotta be a embarrsing number to ya? (but about true in my best guess) , granted it isn't 99% (in the places I have experience.)

    I have probably encounted 20 on duty cops, for a net total of 16 nice cops for 5 minutes each. one complete ass cop, with no clue of the law for a hour. and 3 jerks with attitudes for 15 minutes each. thats 80 minutes of positive re-enforcement, and 105 of negative. (oh take 15 minutes of that * 10 because I was soo mad that I was on the verge of hunting that bastard down after duty, luckily I cooled. Was after he mistook me for a ex-felon he had a run in with the same name.)

    I do wish most jurors had the experience I had, because you would know that cops would tend to give tickets/arrests only to people they think are guilty. So when they get into court, they say whatever it takes to get the person convicted, because they already "know" their guilty. Before my experience it was a "why would the cop care he's not involved" So (at least some lie first to overcome the posibility that the defendent would also by dishonest later.)

    I have turned in over 5 cops who have violated peoples rights.

    was any ill effect handed to those 5? Seams judges don't care/don't respond to a dishonest officer. Actually had the judge tell me he knew (and could have easily proven) the cop was lyeing on my way out of the court, after finding me guilty of 1 of 4 (driving related) charges. Thinking it would make me feel better.

    probably if the system punished the bad officers, instead of rewarding just on stuff like convictions... Perhaps the officers wouldn't go bad so often, or at least would get pushed out more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:49PM (#15632006)
    Are you allergic to anything? Lets say grass. I walk into a resturant and start throwing grass in your face while you eat a meal because I love grass! When your eyes itch and you begin to sneeze and get a headache, you can get up and leave because I have a free personal choice to throw grass. You dont matter, I know my rights.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:04PM (#15632127) Homepage Journal
    Actually he may be able to sue the city, town, or state (depending on the jurisdiction of the signage at that location) for creating an entrapment zone. Dropping from 55 immediately to 25 is unreasonable. Not only that, if you slow down to more than 10mph under before the 25mph sign, you can get tagged for driving BELOW the legal limit (10mph below posted speed) or for hindering the flow of traffic, and if you coast down you get cops like that who happen to be one of the few assholes who make all police officers look bad.

    Also, 1mph over the limit? That's within normal variance. Hell, many precincts will reprimand officers for writing anyone up for less than 5mph or 7mph over. Check the laws in your area, you may be able to file a complaint. They HAVE to provide some lenience for coasting down (e.g., they CANNOT write you up 10 feet after the speed drop, it's unreasonable and entrapment) and they HAVE to provide some lenience for terrain (e.g., on a long downgrade, don't be an asshole and write someone up for 1mph over, or if a steep grade, even 10mph might be reasonable given the alternative - brake fade rendering brakes useless).

    That's like an officer pulling someone over for proceeding through a red light when the driver was previously waiting PAST THE WHITE LINE for an opportunity to proceed. The driver is OBLIGATED to proceed through the red light to clear the crosswalk and intersection, and yet I've seen people pulled over for precisely that. Following the law can get you fucked just as badly as ignoring it. Also, some officers like to pull people over for passing in passing zones (this happened to me) - why? Because the rookie "doesn't think passing zones should be legal." -- I begged that prick to write me up and then follow me to the station when I go talk with his supervisor (incidentally I've seen him around town since then and he's actually been pretty nice - I think he's gotten over his power trip of being an officer).

    On the other hand, some officers aren't all that bad and will give verbal warning for extremely excessive speeds. Just like everyone else there are good officers and then there are assholes. Unfortunately, the parent happened to run into one of the assholes - probably a rookie.
  • by WeAreAllDoomed (943903) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:41PM (#15632375)
    When Officer Smith has to keep his old, ratty patrol car for another year because Officer Jones was an asshat, Officer Jones becomes unpopular. Peer pressure is powerful.

    officer jones doesn't care so much about officer smith as much as they both do about chief brody. and chief brody catches hell from the mayor when the municipality gets hit with repeated penalties.

    the goal of enforcement is to keep at bay a culture of corruption and mutual cya-ism in the police force. this is a matter of (unwritten) department policy, not individual behavior. if the culture isn't changed, you can be sure that incoming police officers will adapt to the culture rather than worry about the one-in-a-thousand chance that they'll get nailed by some guy with a video camera.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:43PM (#15632389)
    ...since you jackasses voted Bush in...

    Please don't call me a jackass. I did not vote. I can not vote since I am not (yet) a citizen. So, don't blame me for the mess. (I'dve voted Libertarian if I could).

    I came to the U.S. on a valid work visa, have received a labor certification (which basically says I did not take an American's job), and am awaiting a green card. I hope to become a citizen and would quite happily renounce my current citizenship (I believe that one does have to choose where one's loyalties lie).

    I came here because I believe in the supreme law as layed out in the U.S. Constitution and the principles behind the Declaration of Independence.

    My son was born an American, and might some day have to die for that Constitution and those principles.

    Was I so mistaken in believing that faith and trust in principle could not drive good people to overcome corrupt governments? Do none remain that long for liberty more than life iteslf? Is despair the new opiate of the masses? Is cowardice now noble? Is America lost?

    Tell me it isn't so!

    So long as one voice cries for freedom, so long as one heart yearns for justice, there must be others. So long as such yearning smolders, there must still be hope in the time of hopelessness, that the flame of liberty can be reignited.

    I just didn't think the task would fall to a foreigner, but then again, it always did.

  • questions for you (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darknite1979 (917234) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:10PM (#15632564)
    Do you know how many police have fought having video recorders in there patrol cars? Do you know that these recorders are there to watch the police as much as they are to watch you and me? Do you know how many police officers have been fired due to dash mounted recorders? Do you know how many people have sued and won because of dash mounted cameras? Do you know how many police have "accidentaly" dammaged the recorders because they didnt want them? If the police fight to keep the cameras out of there patrol cars then you should fight all the harder to have them put in because if they dont want them they are obviously doing something they shouldnt be doing. Whats even sadder is officials who dont want the cameras put in because they know how bad there police REALLY are.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TomRitchford (177931) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:56PM (#15632848) Homepage
    Hey, Sherm, thanks for a very reasonable post!

    I agree with you that it's only a small minority that causes the trouble. The cops I know are fine; but I used to live next door to a cocaine club and it was very clear then that the cops in the area were on the take. I'd sometimes complain to them after they were called to break up some fight at 6 in the morning and they'd say, "Hey, the place has a license!" and I'd say, "But it's 6 in the morning! By law they should have closed two hours ago! And they literally have piles of cocaine on the bar, go look!"

    And they couldn't even look me in the eyes.

    I've been here in New York City 20 years and I have to say that I've grown more and more frightened of the police. My friends are mainly older and two of them have told me flat out that they wouldn't let their kids enter the police force now. After the mass illegal arrests at the RNC where dozens of cops were proven by video to have perjured themselves repeatedly -- yet not one of them was even reprimanded -- I don't know a single politically active person who doesn't see a cop as a potential enemy now.

    Oops, I started this with the intention of backing you up -- but it didn't work out. :-( Sorry, thanks for a polite and civilized comment anyway.
  • by PB_TPU_40 (135365) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:18PM (#15632973)
    Actually it is because of the charge. The conviction was called No-lo. I admited no guilt, and it was not by jury, it was taken as a plea agreement to avoid a possible conviction on the felonies. If you're staring at a felony and they offer a misdemanor thats a big freaking deal, felonies are guranteed prision time, loss of gun rights, voting rights, and its permanently on your record. Misdeamnor, fine and maybe jail, or community service, and after 2 years you can get it expunged. Note this was for an auto wreck, my car hit ice and I lost control. My fiance and I were the only two people seriouly injured. They charged me with a count of vehicular assault on her behalf, against her wishes, and another for a man that suffered a few scrapes. It turns out later that the second count was because he works in the prosecutors office. If you look at most any paper work you fill out for security clearances and jobs, it asks if you have ever been CHARGED with a felony. If you think there is any correlation between the law and justice, you're grossly mistaken, and for charges to be filed, the DA has to be on board so at that point its on your record for good. I've talked to numerous people about this, it isn't that I was convicted of the misdeamnor, they said the charge would still stand out on a background check. As it is I had to go have my gun rights reenstated because they just charged me which was enough to revoke them, has nothing to do with the misdeamnor, the felony charge was placed into the system so that bars me right there.

    Now had they disclosed the fact that the guy worked in the prosecutors office I could have had it sent to another county where more than most likely the charges would have been dismissed. They hid this fact until I entered my plea agreement, and he was not listed as working for the prosecutors office till after it was all over. They will do anything they can to further their carrers and they dont care if it tank yours. Note if I was convicted of a felony, no professional engineering licence, no security clearance, nothing pertaining to engineering, and 2 years upstate minimum. Everything I would have worked for would have been wasted. Most likely I would have won, however even if you're innocent, there's still a chance of being found guilty. As I'm 22, with where this happend, I'd have a high chance of having a bunch of old ladies on my jury, please note the jury of your peers thing is BS, its usually homemakers and the elderly. If they think all the kids are just little SOBs that drive too fast, it doesn't matter that I was doing the speed limit and that the truck sped up or any other factors. Charges alone cause serious grief, and the worst thing about it is they can do completely bogus charges.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:24PM (#15633007) Homepage Journal
    >And EVERY cop is dirty. Every single one of them.

    Someone who had been stalking a Microsoft contractor drove onto the corporate campus waving his gun out the window. The Redmond SWAT team responded. They got him stopped, set up a perimeter, and started the wait-him-out routine. This routine includes SWAT officers getting refreshment breaks while the stalker doesn't.

    I heard about this from a former cafeteria employee who was on the scene. The Redmond police loaded up their trays with odds and ends and beverages and went to the cashier. Then they discovered Microsoft's free beverage policy.

    The police refused to accept 50-cent cans of soda for free. This escalated to a manager who finally made up a price for the free sodas so the police could live up to their department policy of not accepting gifts.

    "Ask, and ye shall receive": you hire the mayor and the mayor hires the police chief. Make the same demands the citizens of Redmond did, and you can get the same results.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:26PM (#15633020) Homepage
    Mr. Gannon, the gentleman in question that the cops did such a disservice to, is currently on the air. You can listen to what he had to say at the Free Talk Live [freetalklive.com] website (all their shows are archived & available for download... you'll be wanting FTL2006-06-29)
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:54PM (#15633146)
    Check out the number of people released from death row every year, often with coerced confessions. Well, also lying witnesses, jailhouse snitches, etc, too, but to say that cops "roughing someone up" is a rare occurrence may be stretching it a bit. I don't think all confessions are coerced, but other things go on, too. How would a jury react to watching cops tell a mother that she would lose her children if she didn't talk, or telling a teenager "we're going to charge YOU if you don't tell us about your friend--we don't care either way, but someone's going down." Is that abuse? Probably not, but it might cast an interesting light on the boy-scout image cops portray on the stand. Juries should see how these things happen. On the other side of the coin, it would also minimize frivolous lawsuits, so save the public some money.
  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:22PM (#15633272)
    I've been pulled over many times myself, speeding, failure to use a turn signal, police "mistakenly" thought I was driving a stolen car, and even once because I was reported to have been involved in a hit and run in my neighborhood. Police specifically stated that the previous night, I was seen leaving the scene in a red RX-7 and had a licence plate number to back that up. Well, my red RX-7 was in my parents garage for weeks in pieces waiting for my transmission to return from the shop. They then started looking at my second car which was a gray four door Pontiac. Big difference huh..
    Oh, by the way, I am white.
  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:27PM (#15633285)
    And EVERY cop is dirty. Every single one of them. Either by their actions or their omissions
    I disagree with you - and I live in a state where at one point the police commissioner himself was taking drugs from the evidence room and replacing them with talc, and the police minister himself probably only avoided jail time by dying before his trial came up. When the way to advance rapidly in the police force was to be corrupt or to turn a blind eye, where the local press couldn't speak out due to the threat of losing the government advertising money that kept them afloat and there was nobody to report things to without being victimised the majority of the police force kept clean. It probably was the police union that kept them going. The corrupt portion of the force was known as "the joke" - the place was Queensland, Australia and it all came out in 1988. You get corrupt police rising rapidly to the top when you have corrupt government - I suspect you should do what we did and get rid of elected officials that are on the take and you'll find it sorts itself out fairly rapidly afterwards. As a side effect of getting rid of elected officials that are on the take you'll probably get rid of a few of those weird laws pushed by a tax dodging Hollywood and recording industry.
  • Re:Ugh! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alchemar (720449) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:59PM (#15633446)
    They just had that problem in Houston. I lawyer on a DWI case noticed that the audio kept dropping from the in car recorder every time that the officer had to explain that the suspect was slurring his speach right there. The lawyer got a judge to allow him to look at all the previous tapes made by that officer. If it was an expensive car with a not to positive case, the audio cut out. If it was definately a DWI, or a lower priced car, the audio was fine. The officer doubled his salary be having to sit in court collecting overtime for all the cases that suspects had enough money to defend themselves from bogus DWI charges.
  • Re:Problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sir_Real (179104) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:04PM (#15633471)
    Same problem in Broward Fl. clicky [boingboing.net]

    officer: Where do you live? Where do you live? You have to tell me where you live, what your name is, or anything like that.

    tester: For a complaint? I mean, like, if I have --

    officer: Are you on medications?

    tester: Why would you ask me something like that?

    officer: Because you're not answering any of my questions.

    tester: Am I on medications?

    officer: I asked you. It's a free country. I can ask you that.

    tester: Okay, you're right.

    officer: So you're not going to tell me who you are, you're not going to tell me what the problem is.You're not going to identify yourself.

    tester: All I asked you was, like, how do I contact --

    officer: You said you have a complaint. You say my officers are acting in an inappropriate manner.



  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JudgeFurious (455868) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @11:46PM (#15633913)
    I'm a former cop and I think you're dead wrong. You're painting a large group of people who do a generally unpleasant job with a very large brush. I didn't call it "heroic" you'll notice. It's not. It's mostly long shifts of boredom punctuated by a very few moments of scared shitless.

      Every cop is not "dirty". You just don't know shit about cops. It's understandable really. Not many people really do know what they're talking about when they decide to start venting on law enforcement. People all want the world to work the way it's supposed to but nobody wants to be inconvenienced by the law themselves. Let me drive faster than the speed limit, don't give me any shit about the smell of beer on my breath, and get out of my yard because it's my right to kick my old lady's ass if she's out of line.

      If you think cops are all total pricks you should see some of the total pricks they have to deal with.

      Actual strike that comment. It wouldn't do you any good. You probably are one.

     
  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, 2006 @12:31AM (#15634114)
    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.

    My dad was a trial lawyer for a while a few decades back (including criminal cases--he actually ran for public prosecutor, but lost), and apparently cops often carry a "throwdown," a gun with the serial filed off, for this exact purpose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, 2006 @02:00AM (#15634405)
    In both criminal and civil trials in the United States, a plea of "nolo contendere" means that the defendant neither admits nor disputes the charge. This is also called a plea of no contest or, more informally, a "nolo" plea. "Nolo contendere" is Latin and literally means "I do not wish to contend." Spiro Agnew famously approximated it as "I didn't do it, but I'll never do it again." In making such a plea, a defendant accepts that he or she may be found guilty by the court without ever admitting to the act(s) charged.

    This plea is only recognised in the U.S. In other common law countries, a criminal defendant is requested to plead either "Guilty" or "Not Guilty". If a person fails to speak or uses different words, "Not Guilty" will be placed on the file as the presumptive plea. No formal plea is required in civil matters where paper pleadings are used.

  • Re:sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glesga_kiss (596639) on Friday June 30, 2006 @06:20AM (#15635045)
    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.

    Wise words. Here's the proof:

    The Milgram Experiement [wikipedia.org], which proves that most people are capable of torturing and killing given the right conditions.

    Stanford prison experiment [wikipedia.org] where randomly choosen guards/prisoners degraded into some of the worst abuses of authority in any experiement. It had to be stopped early it got so bad.

  • Every Cop Is Dirty (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, 2006 @06:22AM (#15635051)
    My parents are cops. Growing up I used to think, well most cops are good cops and don't do much wrong ever, at least on the job. I would have thought the same of my mom who is just about the most giving person I know. I thought she was one of the ones who would never betray her oath. Well it turns out, even she was "dirty". She turned a blind eye to something another cop did - something pretty serious (though not directly hurting someone), because she felt bad for him and he begged her not to tell.

    If my mom could do this, anyone can and it's a damn near miracle if any cop who's been working longer than a few years hasn't done at least something as bad as she done. And I'm sure my father has done worse because he doesn't even like to talk about it but I've heard bits and pieces that sound bad. A cop once told me about another cop that the reason he is so cheerful and such a likeable guy at home (where I would see him), is because at work he would beat the shit out of suspects. Neither of them are what I hear many people say about cops - people who bullied others in high school. Though I do expect a higher percentage than average of cops are people who were the bully types, or at least those who just stood there.

    But that isn't the whole story. In my opinion, people can't be expected to be that "honorable", or whatever you want to call it. I'm not sure I wouldn't have done the same thing. I don't think I would have done what she did.. but I can think of other examples where I might have - if it were a family member... if it were maybe not as serious. I think the problem is that they need more checks on the power that police wield and really drill them about what abuse of power means - even letting a fellow cop slide on a ticket, or using a special police permits while off duty to park where regular people can't adds to the injustice everyone has to live with. And maybe it means cops get other privs or benefits to make these other minor infractions seem less worth it. Maybe they should have their names published in a record of people who have betrayed the public trust or something equal to as much praise as a cop gets when being 'heroic'.

    Most cops aren't bad people. They're just people who are given too much power, and in any sufficiently large enough town/city, too much anonymity. It's also a problem of living in large communities.

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