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Youtube Video Prompts FBI Probe of LAPD 537

Posted by Zonk
from the everyone-is-watching dept.
PachecoJ writes "The AP has a story of a Youtube video showing police brutality that has sparked an FBI probe of the LAPD. A group called 'Cop Watch LA' placed the video online to draw attention to the actions by officers. The officers pictured in the video are now being defended by police defense attorney John Barnett, who defended the officers in the 'Rodney King' trial of 1991." From the article: "A search on YouTube for the terms 'police brutality' found more than 500 videos, including ones that claim to show police violence in the U.S. and as far away as Egypt and Hungary. A search of Google's video site also yielded hundreds of videos. In response to the surge in amateur videos, some law enforcement agencies have installed cameras in squad cars to protect officers against false allegations."
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Youtube Video Prompts FBI Probe of LAPD

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    We are all human, and there are days where people get out of control. This is a tough job, with a lot of high stress. I'm not surprised at all that there are hundreds of instances where an officer may have overstepped justified force. But, again, I would also easily believe that there are lots of cases where it was justified. We are not just robots that can 'reset' ourselves after a highly dangerous situation, so some people might overreact when in another siutation so soon after a stressful one.

    Anyway, tha
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So it's ok if I start beating the shit out of people because they annoy me? Because they insult me? Because I'm stressed out? I don't see the logic here. Cops have many ways to incapacitate someone, there is no need to bash there heads in after that.

      Some people flip burgers, some people fix computers, and some people enforce our laws. They are all just jobs and if both cops and civilians would begin treating them like normal human beings doing a job life would probably be better for the majority of us o
    • by Jawood (1024129) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:56PM (#16808754) Journal
      They're professionals. They have, by law, the right to use force, including deadly force. They should be held at a much higher standard than everyone else. If they can't take the job without going nuts, then they should find other employment because, with actions like those cops (I saw on CBS this morning), the public will lose confidence in law enforcement. I can only imagine what the consquences would be.

      But, again, I would also easily believe that there are lots of cases where it was justified.

      Sorry, it is never justified when the police do it.

      • by brother bloat (888898) <brother,bloat&gmail,com> on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:53PM (#16809278) Homepage

        Sorry, it is never justified when the police do it.

        Please mod parent up! This is exactly right. While on the job, upholders of the law must be held accountable for breaking laws they are working to enforce. Government by hypocrisy is immoral.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by krotkruton (967718)

        But, again, I would also easily believe that there are lots of cases where it was justified.

        Sorry, it is never justified when the police do it.

        I'm not the author, but if you take that into context with his previous sentence: I'm not surprised at all that there are hundreds of instances where an officer may have overstepped justified force., I think what he meant to say is that a lot of those cases were actually justified but appeared to be overstepping the bounds because people don't get to see the whole

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shotgunefx (239460)
      I'll agree with that for the most part, why I didn't go into the academy. I didn't think I could leave it on the job and I think it would have gotten to me too much.

      If I went to someone's house and they were beating on a child or their wife, you better believe I'd crack them upside their head. Or if in arresting someone and they spit on me or something, you better believe there would be a physical response.

      In theory, I don't have a problem with a cop shelling out a little bit of punishment. The problem for
  • Is it that bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge @ g mail.com> on Saturday November 11, 2006 @05:47PM (#16808154) Journal

    In response to the surge in amateur videos, some law enforcement agencies have installed cameras in squad cars to protect officers against false allegations.

    Why exactly would amateur videos help create the false allegations? Are people doing a little post-production work on them before they go up online to show a closed fist hitting not once, but twice? If anything, I'd think that video in squad cars would reduce the possibility of police brutality, since the cops know that they are being recorded on video, and an allegedly beaten person can get that video.

    • Re:Is it that bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by krbvroc1 (725200) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @05:59PM (#16808238)
      And sometimes when things are going to get 'rough' they turn off the cameras or put other squad cars in the camera field of vision to defeat the recording.
      • YES! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by misanthrope101 (253915) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:41PM (#16808622)
        As a teenager I worked at an electronics company that built, among other things, circuit boards for in-car cameras for police cars. When I first got the job, the cameras were on if the flashing lights were on. That was it. Easy-peasy. A week into the job, we changed the design per the requests of the customers--the police departments wanted a way to leave the flashing lights on, but turn the camera off. Even at that tender age, I thought "Why would they want to turn off the camera?" Why, indeed. I still have never heard a remotely convincing argument why a police officer would not want to film his or her interaction with the public. Since they're so frequently accused of impropriety or even brutality, wouldn't a tape help them? Well, it would, unless they weren't innocent. The only time a cop would want the option of turning off the camera would be if they wanted the option of doing something they don't want a record of. I'm just amazed that more people aren't skeptical.
    • Re:Is it that bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by green1 (322787) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:01PM (#16808264)
      >> Are people doing a little post-production work on them

      not so much changing the video, as possibly chopping the start or end off... imagine watching a cop shoot someone, without seeing the part where that person drew a gun and threatened the cop. it is so easy to get the wrong impression just by cutting in to an incident part way through.

      having cruiser-cams is a good thing for everyone, it helps reduce the likelyhood of a cop doing something wrong in a routine stop, but it also does a good job of countering unsupported allegations and partial truths.
    • Re:Is it that bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:06PM (#16808322)
      Well the problem with an armature video is that you will see the parts of it the camera operator wants you to see. Like say someone goes and tries to stab a cop with a knife, cop knocks it away, guy rushes cop, cop smacks him around with baton until he stop attacking. Cop is justified here. However what if someone shoots video of this, but only shows the cop beating up the guy? You might well think it's a case of police brutality. Especially if the video was cut such that it shows the cop talking to the guy, cuts out the guy attacking the cop, and goes straight to the cop beating the guy up.

      We know there are plenty of people out there that hate the cops, such a thing is not so far fetched.

      So video cameras in cars are just good all around. As you noted they help reduce events of police brutality, and provide the method to go after cops that do, but they also protect the cops from false allegations. I think it's a wonderful idea, the police are public servants with a lot of power, what they do while on the job should be recorded.
    • by thelost (808451)
      putting cameras in squad cars for the purpose of reducing police brutality admits the potential for it - this is not a statement any police force would want to make.

      and ps, i doubt the the police would be willing to give up these videos unless they really had no choice - kinda similar to the recent story about a person asking for a complaint form in a florida police station and being intimidated and told to get the fuck out by the cop on duty.
    • Re:Is it that bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:46PM (#16808660)
      "Why exactly would amateur videos help create the false allegations? Are people doing a little post-production work on them before they go up online to show a closed fist hitting not once, but twice?"

      No.

      a.) The cameras are usually far away, so we cannot see the whole picture. If the suspect is standing behind a car, for example, a threatening gesture may not be seen.

      b.) The 'ameteur' video may not have started recording to see the entire event take place. There could be an important bit of context missed.

      c.) The media can grab a clip of the video and give the PD a hard time.

      There's no need to go as far as 'post-production' to grab a vid used for false allegations. They say the camera never lies. That's utter bullshit. You can make a camera send any message you want. That's why the evidence collected by cameras needs verification.
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @05:47PM (#16808160) Homepage
    In Egypt, a muslim country, police brutality is government policy, not some idiot running out of line, like it is in the US.

    And Egypt is the second most moderate muslim country there is.

    Read how the police responds in a moderate muslim country :
    http://forsoothsayer.blogspot.com/2006/10/mass-sex ual-assault-in-downtown-cairo.html [blogspot.com]

    Read how the police responds in a reasonably muslim country :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saudi _Arabia [wikipedia.org]

    Do I really need to provide a link to what happens in a really muslim country, like palestine or afghanistan or pakistan ? Do you want to see ?

    Why does this happen ? Here's one opinion :
    http://www.faithfreedom.org/challenge.htm [faithfreedom.org]
    • by unixbugs (654234) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:09PM (#16808342)
      You have a good point, the rest of the world is very fucked up. But that doesn't make it RIGHT. The whole argument about how bad Mogadishu is and how bad that guy get his head pounded is only solidifies a single point in the end: that here in the U.S., "good enough" is having to face this kind of thing every day anyway.

      What the hell happened to progress?

      Just because other countries have a shitty way of life, you are saying we should sit down and take this kind of crap because we have it "the best"?

      This kind of thinking is wrong, completely and utterly retroactive (or is it proactive?) to everything that has made this country what it is today: a nation of beer swilling SUV driving ass kicking meat eating gun toting nut bags that can do whatever the hell they want. To that effect the only way to move forward is to raise the bar, not accept the norm, if you get my drift.

      • Obviously it's not. But these guys will be called to account, and will be dealt with. As is normal in the US. I'm very certain they will no longer be wearing a badge on the streets next week.

        The egyptians in those videos will be killing people on the streets tomorrow, as will the palestinians, the afghans, the pakistanis, the saudi's.

        Therefore these cops in the U.S. are not that big a problem, while the ones in those muslim countries are a huge problem.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      No in the US they just declare you a terrorist and then its all legal and behind closed doors.
      • Is it that hard for you to fathom ? You're spewing non-sense.

        In order to get into guantanamo you have to meet 2 conditions :
        1) you need to get caught fighting american troups abroad
        2) in a country that is not your own

        If this doesn't prove that these people are seriously fucked up, then nothing will.

        Look at what they do in those countries to people who MIGHT be guilty, without trial :
        http://www.nakedterror.net/galleries/thumbnails.ph p?album=7 [nakedterror.net]

        These people want to do the same in the US.
        • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:21PM (#16808450)
          What country are you living in?

          All you need is be declared an enemy combatant, in which case you loose US citizenship (if you were an American) and they can make you disappear without having to bother with a trial or ever charging you of anything. Add to that they can torture you as much as they like as long as its not life threatening.

          All nice and legal. Don't believe? Do some research. There is even a lot of examples for you.
          • Okay. Show me one example.
            • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:02PM (#16808810)
              José Padilla. US Citizen declared as Enemy combatant and held for three years without ever being charged of any crime. During that time he was tortured.

              A lawyer of the family demanded Haebus Corpus but was initially refused for bullshit reasons which were later shot down. After that he was able to formally charged and a judge has ruled he is given a fair trial.

              Bush has since passed a law (with his torture bill) that now automatically denies the right of Haebus Corpus for anyone deemed as a terrorist. Its backdated too so the government can't be done for whats happened so far. So they won't make that mistake again.

              Here's something to get you started.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_(al leged_terrorist) [wikipedia.org]

        • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:50PM (#16808698)
          In order to get into guantanamo you have to meet 2 conditions : 1) you need to get caught fighting american troups abroad
          Wrong. [democracynow.org]
    • by The Creator (4611) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @07:03PM (#16808816) Homepage Journal
      When you have to find the worst possible to compare yourselt to, in order to seem good?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
      Read how the police responds in a moderate muslim country :
      http://forsoothsayer.blogspot.com/2006/10/mass-sex ual-assault-in-downtown-cairo.html [blogspot.com]


      And then read the comment, on that same page, from the author of that blog about YOU Christophe Devriese and others just like you:

      THIS IS NOT ABOUT ISLAM. the problem with writing a criticism about anything regarding the middle east is a person gets a lot of ignorant people from dhimmiwatch and sandmonkey fans who are incapable of critical thought and just search f

  • by fantomas (94850) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @05:52PM (#16808192)
    In Soviet USA, you watch Big Brother!

    In democratic UK, Big Brother... err... wait... hang on ....
  • pretty good here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thejrwr (1024073)
    We have it pretty good in the USA, you should see the other places in the world
    • Re:pretty good here (Score:5, Informative)

      by omegashenron (942375) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:12PM (#16808382)

      We have it pretty good in the USA, you should see the other places in the world



      Yeah... your obviously white and middle class... I recall being in Oakland and SF in 2003, the amount of homeless was disgusting. Come to think of it, I think on the TV there was a proposed plan to relocate the homeless out of public view...

      Get your head out of the sand.

      • Do not get your head out of the sand. Go there and do something about it. Talk is cheap. Accusing others of not talking is even cheaper.

        Go down there and start an IT school. Should be doable. These people have all the time in the world, and a LOT of willpower, due to their situation. They will beat a lot of lazy slobs work in way to high places after only a few months of trained.

        Maybe just buy 5 books on various subjects and give them some. "Becoming an electrician", "Starting out in auto repair", hell even
  • not in Massachusetts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by poochNik (51956) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:01PM (#16808270)
    Here in the home of Kerry and Kennedy, a couple of people tried to record their interaction with police. They were prosecuted under the state's privacy laws. And the police were full of righteous indignation about the "invasion of their privacy." As were we all ...
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:38PM (#16808590) Homepage Journal
      Governments do not have rights; people do. Governments have privileges, which may be revoked by the people at any time. Never let them forget this.

      A cop at home, or in civilian clothes walking down the street, has the same rights as anyone else, including the right to privacy. A cop in uniform, on duty, is acting as an arm of the State, and has temporarily surrendered many of the rights of a private citizen, privacy definitely among them.

      This doesn't apply just to cops, of course; also to politicians, soldiers, and anyone else acting in a governmental capacity, whether local, state, or federal. We always have the right to know what they are doing in our name, and every time we surrender this right, whether in the name of "privacy" or "national security" or "efficiency" or any other excuse, we surrender a vital piece of our freedom.
  • by Sargeant Slaughter (678631) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:04PM (#16808294) Homepage
    I've witnessed police brutality first hand before. An officer handcuffed a college kid when he tried to walk away from a speeding ticket, then the officer pushed him agaisnt the hood of the cop car (burning the kids cheek) and then pepper sprayed the kid right to the eyes (after handcuffing him and inflicting 2nd degree burns to the kids face). That was the third incident in a year for that officer and he didn't even get suspended. I was a witness in the civil case against the station, the kid's family won $150,000. I thought that was an exorbinant amount for a pinched nerve, burnt cheek, and stinging eyes but whatever.

    Anyway, the video on youtube is a little brutal but I don't think either officer should be fired. Maybe a short suspension for the guy punching the perp in the face, because that is not a move that helps get the suspect into custody. We also have no idea what that guy did before the video starts. He might have just shot a little girl, spit in the cop's face, or jay walked. We have no idea what the context was, so it's hard to pass judgement. Either way, that wasn't all that brutal, at least he wasn't hitting the dude with his mag-light.

    I have had a few bad experiences with the police (like the one mentioned above) and believe that it is always better not to get them involved. However, I have also had police save me from a machete weilding maniac that had me pinned in my bedroom (adn believe me, I wanted them to kick the crap outta him). They are necessary, and I think we should all try to keep open minds. Besides, I'm a rarity, a nerd who parties and gets involved with shady people. THeir probably aren't very many people on /. who have ever dealt with the police for more than a speeding ticket. I think most people who don't deal with the police very much have a negative view towards them (as brutal or power tripping or whatever) and that is messed up because you are the people the police are protecting. Sooo, support the boys in blue!
    • by GNT (319794) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:35PM (#16808566)
      No. I reject your post in its entirety. I do not support jack-boot thugs regardless of their uniform. My people's delegation of authority to the police to use force is horribly misused here.

      It is not ok just because he "wasn't hitting the dude with his mag-light.". He shouldn't have been hitting him in the face at all.

      It is not ok because he was resisting arrest. You can hear the panic in his voice that he was being suffocated. That's why he was still struggling, rightfully so.

      It is not ok because cops are specifically not allowed to put a knee to the kneck like that. If that windpipe collapsed, the coroner would have to rule "Suspected homicide secondary to blunt force trauma or compressive force."

      It is not ok because you can see one cop trying to restrain the other and prevent further hits.

      The punching cop should be immediately suspended without pay pending an immediate hearing for his permanent removal from the force. It should then be followed by a punitive civil suit to both the cop and the department.

      We are rapidly approaching a country in which I do not care to live. I would rather live in a socialist nation with lower levels of violence from people and institutions (eg New Zealand, far Northern Europe) than here. I will have defacto more freedom.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      I was a witness in the civil case against the station, the kid's family won $150,000. I thought that was an exorbinant amount for a pinched nerve, burnt cheek, and stinging eyes but whatever.

      Assuming a cop's salary is $50,000 per year and this amount was personally paid by the cop, that would be just about right. Deprivation of half of his salary for 6 years. If nothing else teaches the cop a lesson, I'm sure that hitting it in the pocket will.

      -b.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by singularity (2031) *
      We also have no idea what that guy did before the video starts. He might have just shot a little girl, spit in the cop's face, or jay walked. We have no idea what the context was, so it's hard to pass judgement.

      No, it makes no difference what happened before the video started. For one thing, everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Every single person arrested is assured that right.

      Second, every police officer should be expected to treat every single suspect with the same rights.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rhizome (115711)
      Either way, that wasn't all that brutal, at least he wasn't hitting the dude with his mag-light.

      I'm sure choosing the nickname "Sergeat Slaughter" has nothing to do with your authoritarian attitude toward law enforcement.

  • by bberens (965711) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:20PM (#16808442)
    1) Cops who are corrupt
    2) Cops who are not corrupt, but ignore the corruption of others
    3) Cops too stupid to know what's going on around them

    I know plenty of cops that fit into varying categories above. Personally, I don't give a shit if some guy dealing drugs to kids (note to kids) or some guy abusing his wife gets an extra knock to the skull. At the same time, cops are typically dicks to people for no reason. They spend 90% of their time raising taxes (writing tickets) or playing cleanup after some dumbass.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @06:20PM (#16808444)
    Some points...

    1: The guy clearly was breathing. It can be seen and heard.
    2: Scum will lie through their teeth in order to gain an advantage. You can't believe a word they utter. e.g. "Got the time mate", "Excuse me miss I'm lost could you help", "Do what I say and you won't get hurt".
    3: Where's the rest of the video? Why was it cut off? Could it be that the suspect wouldn't be seen in quite the same light? Not an innocent victim but a violent attacker?

    I'm not a big fan of the police but this is a bullshit video. It's propaganda designed to manipulate me. Show me the whole video and let me make my own decision.

     
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fredklein (532096)
      1: The guy clearly was breathing. It can be seen and heard.

      Sheesh. Read some of the other posts here. The cop was kneeling on his neck. They had Pepper-sprayed him, too. He was evidently having trouble breathing. He said "I can't breathe." WHat he meant was "I am having trouble breathing, do to your KNEE on my NECK and the PEPPER-SPRAY you squirted me with." He just chose the more concise way of saying it.

      3: Where's the rest of the video? Why was it cut off?


      RTFA. It was taken with a camera phone. Those thi
  • The guy was resisting arrest. He would not let them handcuff him. They may have already pepper sprayed him, but we don't know because we don't see the entire incident. You're not gonna be gentle and polite to someone who could potentially hurt you. This is nothing like the Rodney King incident, where you see him getting pulled out of the vehicle and beaten. I can't believe this garbage is gathering so much attention. All we need are violent criminals getting away or cops getting killed because they ar
  • Video is difficult (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gilgongo (57446) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @08:27PM (#16809562) Homepage Journal
    Several years ago, I was a volunteer for an organisation called The Legal Defence and Monitoring Group here in the UK. We were often invited to monitor the police during public demonstrations (marches and the like). Most of us had legal training of some sort, and an interest in public order legislation and its reform following a string of draconian laws passed under the Thatcher government during the 1980s.

    Our aim was to observe the actions of the police and record what they did during the demonstration, be that behaviour good, bad or indifferent. We used written notes and (later) dictaphones for this. We did not use cameras (still or video) because we knew that photographic evidence was very problematic in court. It was too easy to challenge on points of detail. It was instead far easier to secure a conviction of police brutality by having detailed (and consistent) written observations of three or four individuals given as evidence by the prosecution. Having evidence that nothing happened at a specific time was useful if the police said that there was an incident, so we used to take notes at 5-minute intervals whether or not there was anything to observe.

    When riots happend (and they usually did), I remember you needed a bottle of water to stop your mouth running dry as you had to constantly describe the events around you.

  • Oh, so surprising. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grendel Drago (41496) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @10:40PM (#16810366) Homepage
    Wait, wait, I can tell you how this is going to go down.

    The LAPD is discovered to be corrupt. Officers from Rampart Division are dipping into the dope stash in the evidence room, or some officers are engaging in "monkey slapping time". There's an outcry. Something Must Be Done. The Christopher Commission or its like is convened. Anti-corruption measures are proposed. Memory fades, and they never really get implemented. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    You can go back to 1902 with this shit. [laweekly.com]
  • by Anti-Trend (857000) on Saturday November 11, 2006 @10:41PM (#16810382) Homepage Journal
    Some of these replies are so fucking ignorant that I don't even know where to begin. ...OK, I'm taking a deep breath here. I promise the rest will not be a rant or a troll-fest.

    Some are saying things to effect of "The guy was breaking the law, so he deserved it!" What about the fact that the officers who behave as such, meting out their own justice whenever it suits them? Are they obeying the law, or are they breaking it also? Why is one any better than the other? Should I, seeing an officer behaving badly, beat the living shit out of him, or should I record him acting badly and report him to his authorities?

    By the way, I have seen this argument from both sides. I have been thrown on many hoods of many cruisers for no good reason. I have been harassed by police officers who later claimed "they were just bored". Also, 3 of my uncles are cops, and every one of them is crooked. Then again, when I was falsely accused, one particularly stand-up cop was my strongest advocate, and the charges were dropped. So what I'm saying here is that cops require no special modicum of trust outside of that which we afford them in their commission as an officer of the law.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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