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Photograph the Police, Get Arrested 902

Servo writes "Last month a man was arrested in New Hampshire after presenting evidence of a police officer being verbally abusive that he had captured on his home security camera system. Now just recently in Philadelphia a 21 year old student was arrested on his property after he took a photo of the police who were in the process of arresting a drug dealer down the street." From the article: "Cruz said that when he heard a commotion, he walked out of his back door with his cell phone to see what was happening. He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene. 'I opened (the phone) and took a shot,' Cruz said. Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate."
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Photograph the Police, Get Arrested

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  • welcome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:24AM (#15810015) Homepage
    He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene. 'I opened (the phone) and took a shot,' Cruz said. Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate.

    You must be new here.

    Welcome to America. Remember to leave your civil liberties at the door, thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:27AM (#15810022)
    How can the police be sure that the photos aren't going to be used to identify police officers for later revenge attacks?
  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:28AM (#15810025) Homepage
    The attitude should surely be, "if you ain't got nothing to hide..." ; it's what they are increasingly coming to expect from the rest of us.

    If I don't have anything to hide, why do they need to watch me?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:28AM (#15810026)
    I'm not suprised at all. The USA has under the Bush Administration has become a police state. If the people get a back bone he waves the terrorist flag and everyone ducks for cover.
    Its really sad all in all.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:31AM (#15810040) Homepage Journal
    You are just 70 years behind Europe. What took you so long?

    (Moderators: this is called black humor []).
  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:34AM (#15810047) Homepage
    Police told Hairston that they did take Cruz into to custody, but they said Cruz was not on his property when they arrested him.

    OK. I'm more inclined to believe the cops... wait a second...

    A neighbor said she witnessed the incident and could not believe what she saw.

    "He opened up the gate and Neffy was coming down and he went up to Neffy, pulled him down...

    Oh, you dumb, dumb cops. Of course Neftaly Cruz was "not on his property" during the arrest if you went onto his property and dragged him off! Why would you do that in front of witnesses?


  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:37AM (#15810056) Homepage
    you could say that the police have a right to privacy

    Police officers on duty in a public area have no more right to privacy than anyone else, i.e. none, and thank God for that. Power corrupts, and police have power. The only thing that reliably prevents police abuses is public accountability, which can only happen if the public is informed.

  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:39AM (#15810065) Homepage
    How can the police be sure that the photos aren't going to be used to identify police officers for later revenge attacks?
    The same could be said of any picture taken of anyone in a public place. Shall we ban cameras completely? Allow only nature photography? No pictures of architecture -- might be casing the joint. Anyway, what a ridiculous statement.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:43AM (#15810081)
    . . .you could say that the police have a right to privacy . . .

    No, I could not. The second a police officer puts on a uniform and a badge he is a public officer, ostensibly working in the public's interest and certainly paid from the public's coffers.

    And as a branch of the government requiring oversight it is the public that provides it.

  • by jeffsenter ( 95083 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:44AM (#15810083) Homepage
    I am not a lawyer. If the facts of this incident are as described in the story this is an easy civil suit for wrongful arrest. A law that outlawed taking pictures of police activity in public would be unconstitutional (1st Amendment) in any case and doesn't exist. The right to observe police activity in public is well established. Another poster mentioned that the police might have a right to privacy in making an arrest in public. Wrong. One cannot have a right to privacy in public doing a public activity. There is no possible expectation of privacy there. This isn't to say that police all over the country don't pull this kind of shit all the time-arresting or attacking people for videotaping or taking pictures of public police activity. Usually it isn't quite this blatant though.
  • To sum it up... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Parallax Blue ( 836836 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:47AM (#15810090)
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [Who will police the police?]
    - Latin proverb
  • Absolutely not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@xoxy. n e t> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:56AM (#15810108) Homepage Journal
    you could say that the police have a right to privacy

    And you would be very, very wrong.

    People who are police officers -- that is, the men and women who do that as their job -- have a right to privacy, when they're at home and off-duty, or doing personal business. As public officials, they have none as they are conducting their jobs. Some of what they do may be confidential, because there's a vested public interest in keeping it secret, but such areas should be clearly and narrowly defined by law. (And that's different from general 'privacy' anyway.)

    Furthermore, when standing on a public street, nobody has a right to privacy sufficient to overwhelm my right to photograph them there. It's a public place, you chose to be there, if I choose to record an image of that public place with you in it, tough luck for you.

    It's a very dangerous road we go down, when we say that any aspect of our Government -- from the local police on upwards to the highest echelons of the Executive Branch -- has an inherent "right" to be secretive. Nobody does. Where the government is secretive, it should be so only because there's an overwhelming public interest for it to be that way, or where doing so prevents citizens' rights from themselves being violated (e.g., personal records maintained by the government on Federal employees). But those should be the exceptions, and not the rule. Any time you have a situation where citizens have to justify the disclosure of information from the government on a regular basis, you have a problem.
  • by wayward_bruce ( 988607 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:01AM (#15810120)
    ...when I first came to the Land of the Free, I had a strong inclination to take a photograph of the light show that two police cars were flashing for my amusement just in front of my bedroom window at 2:30AM. Some poor bloke was being stopped for drunk driving. Anyhow, I refrained from snapping the picture even from within the safety of my darkened bedroom, feeling that I should wait a little until I get better acquainted with the customs of the country. Just for the reference: I hail from the "Land of the Slaughterers", i.e. Serbia, bombed by the U.S. and a few minions back in 1999. Good grief, I might have gotten myself into so much trouble for practicing our savage ways of taking photographs of public service officers on duty.
  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:03AM (#15810124) Journal
    How can the police be sure that the photos aren't going to be used to identify police officers for later revenge attacks?

    How can the police be sure that official uniforms won't be used to identify police officers for later revenge attacks?

  • by StoatBringer ( 552938 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:04AM (#15810130)
    Isn't it equally as likely that the photos would be used to identify police officers to shower them with praise and commendations for a job well, done.

    Not any more...

  • by heretic108 ( 454817 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:07AM (#15810142)
    Police are fighting terrorism and crime, so therefore are above any kind of accountability?

    No way!

    Next, we could see the US military operating secret overseas prisons! []

    I wish the Cruz family the best of success with their legal actions against the police. This will be an interesting test of the US Constitution and judiciary.

  • by AndyCap ( 97274 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:07AM (#15810145)
    Architecture photos may well fall under copyright already, so be careful where you point that camera.
  • Re:so (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buswolley ( 591500 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:23AM (#15810174) Journal
    Parent worse than flamebait. More like: (Score:-1, Traitor to the American people)
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:50AM (#15810254)
    As a general rule of thumb, it's usually safe to assume that anyone can be deemed to be breaking some law or other at any given moment. That, of course, is in itself an appalling state of affairs - it is the antithesis of democracy governed by law, as it gives the authorities carte blanche to arrest and punish whomever they wish.

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged".
    - Cardinal Richelieu

    'There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with'.
    - Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:51AM (#15810261)
    "'s probably so easy to make mistakes in police procedure that if you were to record their activities, a good lawyer could probably shoot down a large percentage of arrests..."

    In that case, the procedure is obviously far too complicated and should be drastically simplified. If something doesn't work, you fix it; you shouldn't go on using it unchanged and try to cover up the deficiencies.
  • Nazi Germany (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:55AM (#15810274)
    The US has become a defacto fascist state. Much like Nazi Germany last century. Starting wars without valid reason. Protecting governments that involve in state-organized terrorism (Israel). Bush and his gang and their counterparts in Israel are committing war crimes at a rate of which Hitler would have been jealous of.

    But that I already know for a long time ... What deeply saddens me is that most of the European governments don't give a shit about what's going on in the world. They are very afraid of upsetting the their US or Israeli "friends". Israel continues to abuse its victim role of the second world war genocide. It's like in 1984 where the victims of the past became the butchers of today.
  • Not surprising. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by niktemadur ( 793971 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:10AM (#15810306)
    Considering that cops were caught red-handed fifteen years ago beating the living mess out of Rodney King, it was only a matter of time when they would attempt to strike at the heart of the problem...and outlaw cameras.
    Jesus Christ, these imbeciles are unbelievable! Be it drug hysteria or a phantom war on terror, right wingers always find an excuse to erode citizens' rights while erasing as much oversight for themselves as possible.
  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:12AM (#15810315) Homepage Journal
    Because they don't know that?
  • How long... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by htnprm ( 176191 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:25AM (#15810336) Homepage
    How many stories do I need to read on Slashdot, Digg, Fark, Google News, Wikipedia about things like this before people start doing something about things like this?

    If all you're doing is sitting here on Slashdot bitching about it, shame on you. If it's so important, get off your arse and do something about it.
  • Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tliet ( 167733 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:31AM (#15810347)
    This is what you get when the government keeps taking away liberties everyone takes for granted.

    Next time when you vote, please remember that it's not just 'the bad guys' when they mean terrorists.

    Since the term terrorist is used pretty wide and broadly, it may mean you next time you do something 'the authorities' inappropriate.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:44AM (#15810376) Journal
    First off, what is the proper procedure for arresting someone (physical process not legal), I always see on tv that people are grabbed, put against the police car, searched, cuffed, put in car, taken away. Not thrown in car, cuffed, taken away as claimed here.

    Second, what was Cruz doing before. I have seen to many incidents of small incidents escaltating because of bystanders getting involved. Once the riot has started the police is blamed for letting things go out of control but if the police orders the crowd to disperse then they are fascists. A no-win scenario for the police.

    This leads to the third question, does the (US) police have the right to tell people to go inside/disperse? I am not a lawyer but I think they do. If the public doesn't have to follow police instructions then things would quickly become impossible "STOP, or don't, whatever you feel like".

    Fourth is that journalists have a right to photograph and this is usually accepted with press-photographers only being hit by riot squads say every other riot. In general it seems the police is all to aware that trying to supress the press only leads to more attention. But how does this translate to every citizen having a camera? What if under-cover agents are present? SWAT teams and similar typically wear camoflage not just to hide but to protect their indentity. This is offcourse not possible for under-cover agents. Even drug dealers would notice a customer with a face mask. Does the police have the right to stop photographing in these circumstances?

    Fifth, where was cruz photographing, in his back yard or on the street. Furthermore if the police wanted to arrest him why shouldn't they have the right to come on to this yard. I smell rats when two sides seem to quote bogus laws. Imagine that it was true you could not be arrested on your own property. If photographing the police is illegal (I don't know) then surely it doesn't matter from where you do it?

    Sixth, was cruz really just an observer? Offcourse he is just an innocent angel harmless standing in his own garden just taking a shot of some police cars. You wouldn't expect his parents to admit that he is a flunky for the drugs mafia and trying to photograph undercover agents to warn other dealers? To often I read stories like this and then when you dig a little bit deeper you learn that much more was going on. It just sets of an alarm in my mind not to take everything this guy says at face value.

    No I don't blindly trust the police but so far we only got the neighbours of drug dealers confused and unlogical accounts of what went on. Just because your neighbours deal drugs don't mean you are a liar but when you can't keep your own accounts straight and claim non-existent law (the police has a right to arrest you no matter were you are) I don't trust you. Remember, we only got their word for it that he was just arrested for using a camera phone. It may be true, it may not be. Yet I find it typically of slashdot that very few question the account given. I too would like to use this as an example off out of control police powers BUT precisly because I want to believe this I have to skeptical. If a story confirms what you want to hear you must be extra doubtfull or risk falling in the yes-man trap.

  • by BINC ( 239411 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:06AM (#15810417)
    What is the "new law" in Pennsylvania that criminalizes photographing police? Please cite it. This seems to be part of a national push. In Montana it extends beynd photography. I have recently been threatened with being charged with "Obstructing" for not yielding to a warrantless search of my property, so I looked it up. See [] especially paragraph (2). !! Our general defense in Montana is insisting on trial by jury--provided one represents himself; otherwise it invites rapid bankruptcy--but trial by jury is not guaranteed by all states' consitutions for all crimes.
  • by NevarMore ( 248971 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:10AM (#15810426) Homepage Journal
    I think the real crux of the conflict between the police and the populace is that they only really see each other when something bad happens.

    I only ever talk to police when I'm about to get in trouble (usually a speeding ticket). The police don't always see the greatest members of society. The see the drunks, the druggies, the traffic offenders, the murders, and so on. So we have two groups that only ever see each other in a negative manner.

    The story would be different if it were talking about Mr. Cruz were taking a photo of the policeman and his neighbor sharing a joke. Wishy washy I know, but would you rather talk to a cop when you're a suspect or would you like to wave hello to a friendly officer as he patrols your neigborhood?

    I think both sides need to realize that no every person who made a minor traffic infraction is carrying 10kg of hashish in the boot and that people understand that not every cop is some neo-Nazi violent psycho working for Big Brother then maybe the serious situations like this article won't happen or if they do, they get settled more respectably.
  • by MutantEnemy ( 545783 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:13AM (#15810561) Homepage

    "just deleting the pictures (or confiscating the memory card so it can be securely erased down at the station) ought to have been sufficient"

    What right do the police have to delete my own data?

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:33AM (#15810604)
    Aren't you forgetting something?

    What difference does it make if he was on his own property or not?

    Taking a picture from your lawn or from the sidewalk next to your lawn is just as legal.

    So big deal if he was not on his own property when arrested. He still should not have been arrested.
  • by deepb ( 981634 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:43AM (#15810626)
    I still don't believe you have to let anybody in if they don't have a warrant. Think about it - they were threatening you because you wouldn't yield to a search, not because you locked your door and refused to let them in (or something along those lines). They were after your consent, because they needed it to enter.

    Personally, I'm willing to spend a couple days in jail if a situation like that comes up. When it's all said and done, there's very little chance I will get charged with anything, and there's zero-chance I'll get convicted (it's also unlikely that they will follow-through with obtaining a warrant to search). I can do a night or two in jail standing on my head.. but taking away my right to privacy? That doesn't fly.

    Then again, I usually have at least 6-8 human kidneys, photographs of myself photographing police officers, and 50-75kg of cocaine spread between my car and house at any given time. So.. YMMV.
  • by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:59AM (#15810667)
    He never said the Canadian police are angels. He said that they don't care that someone takes their picture while making an arrest.
  • Re:Bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neoform ( 551705 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:09AM (#15810705) Homepage
    That's why you fight it in court. It would be very easy to win such a case if the arresting officer has no evidence.
  • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:10AM (#15810707)
    "How can the police be sure that the photos aren't going to be used to identify police officers for later revenge attacks?"

    Because (at least in the UK), policemen wear terrorist-style ski masks to hide their faces. Have a look at some photos from a recent May Day demonstration...

  • Bad cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alienmole ( 15522 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:42AM (#15810792)
    Yeah police are people and do bad things. But come on, people are people and do bad things.
    The difference is that police have powers which ordinary citizens don't have, so when police do bad things, it can have severe consequences. Quite often, they're not held accountable for that, which again results from an abuse of power. That's what this is all about: accountability for the actions of public servants, particularly those with extraordinary powers. Cops in general are not the enemy, but bad cops are certainly an enemy which needs to be guarded against and eradicated whenever possible.
  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:43AM (#15810795) Homepage
    I wish I could find the original quote, but it went along the lines of:

    When the laws become so complex that people cannot understand them, the people are no longer free.

    The trend is getting more disturbing these days. I grew up with the believe that police were there to protect and serve. I'm not quite sure who they are protecting now. The sad truth is that if police weren't harming the innocent, there wouldn't be so many loopholes that the guilty can use to get off the hook.

    And something else to ponder, if a law against cell phone pictures of police were passed yesterday, would you know (assuming the media didn't pick up on it)? Are we really free when the people making the rules have no responsibility to inform the public of those new rules. Yes, I'm aware that they are made available for the public to view, but the lawmakers are well aware that the public doesn't have the time, nor the ability to comprehend, everything that is made into law. So we are left with a world where getting arrested is based on whether the police like you, and how much money you have to pay the lawyers. The same thing applies to paying your taxes.
  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:44AM (#15810802)
    I firmly believe that the terrorists won with their 9/11 attack.

    One attack, a few thousand people killed, and your country's civil rights are now being violated like never before "for the sake of security", and your constitution isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

    If anyone thinks that America has won the "war on terror", just think about what's been lost in the process...

    Any bets on the timing of the _next_ American Civil War?
  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:45AM (#15810803)
    Puh-lease. Richelieu might be a reasonable quote, but Ayn Rand? She's no more than an author and one that gave not a shit about anyone but herself. She verged on being an anarchist. Hardly one to honestly espouse the regulations that a government should be run by.
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @09:52AM (#15810825)
    I have a lot of problems with what you just said.

    If the police are arbitrarily allowed to dictate where i'm allowed to peacefully assemble then the US constitution means absolutely jack squat.

    from fourth:.. what youre now going to dictate what makes a person a "journalist"?... I'll give you a clue, anyone with a camera, a pen, and access to a xerox machine is a journalist, otherwise you get a double standard that can be used by the power hungry to lock up publishers of "undesirable speech".

    from fifth: I hope youre not implying that the public should not be allowed to photograph their own streets, that said youre right there is something fishy here.

    from sixth: I agree fully with you, we don't know if he really was an observer, we weren't there, but that's all the more reason to put the occurrance under sharp press scrutiny. If you don't guard your freedom (or, in deference to my fellow bush critics, what little semblance of freedom is left in bush's america) then you dont keep it for long.
  • Re:Bad cops (Score:1, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@gm a i> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:09AM (#15810884) Homepage
    Typical hippie talk.

    What hippie says:

    "I was using my 1st admendment rights and they arrested me! Civil rights!"

    What actually went on:

    "I was rushing the gate, disturbing the millions of other people in the city, when the police tried to get me to calm down I through rocks at them."

    I'm all for keeping the man in check, but come on. Some jerk posting on slashdot does not make a true event. Let's see his arrest report? Let's hear from the arresting officer, etc, etc. For all we know, while he's sitting here crying foul, he was in fact totally drunk and beligerant.

    Hippies really need a reality check from time to time though. For instance, I was listening to Off The Hook from 2003 and Emmanuel said something to the effect of "why we need a permit to protest is beyond me...". well here's a clue. NYC houses millions of people. You are 30,000 people [or whatever]. If you want to disturb the millions of people from doing what they want to do you'll need permission first. It's called society.

    I'm not defending all people here. Yes, there are bad cops. But there are also bad people. Bad people can do just as cruel and violent things as police can. Police have powers, sure. But I can just as easily rob you of your liberty, life, etc. All it takes is the mindset to do evil and you're there.

    Point is though, don't trust one sided stories. Just because some person posted it on slashdot or whatever doesn't make it true.

  • Re:Bah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:16AM (#15810912) Homepage
    That's why you fight it in court. It would be very easy to win such a case if the arresting officer has no evidence

    Except that you have still spent the night - perhaps several nights - in an overcrowded filthy jail cell packed full of addicits and violent people, you've lost wages, had court costs, probably been roughed up at least a little by police, and gotten an arrest record. A "not guilty" verdict in court is scant consolation.

    I increasingly wonder if the whole idea of a full-time professional police force isn't a bad idea, if perhaps a sort of militia of "citizen cops" (with a small corps of professional full-time investigators) might not result in less of the "thin blue line" attitude that seems to slide slowly and gently towards the police state. (Of course, so long as the cops spend much of their time enforcing laws against consensual acts, lasw that should never have been made in the first place, perhaps abuse of power in inevitable; once a cop thinks he has the power to forcibly prevent you from controling your own nervous system by ingesting certain chemicals, or forcibly prevent you from sleeping with certain people, what power won't he take on?)

  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:38AM (#15811021)
    I firmly believe that the terrorists won with their 9/11 attack.

    One attack, a few thousand people killed, and your country's civil rights are now being violated like never before "for the sake of security", and your constitution isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

    That's a common trope meant originally to shock people into think about what they're giving up for security, but to be honest, the terrorists couldn't give a damn about our civil rights at all. What the terrorists want is for the US to pull out of the Middle East, leave Israel to fend for itself, leave the Middle Eastern regimes that are not theocracies (like Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) to fend for themselves against Islamist movements at home, and to reestablish the Caliphate.

    If the US were to become a 1984-style eternal dictatorship where the very humanity was crushed out of our souls, the terrorist wouldn't care at all so long as we weren't in the Middle East anymore. The fact that our slide towards militaristic authoritarianism is being bolstered by fear of Muslims and desire to kick over more of their territory actually represents a significant loss for their agenda of getting us out of the Middle East.

    We're not winning the "War on Terrorism," but neither are they. We're losing civil rights and world prestige, they're losing lives in droves and seeing us become more entrenched in their backyards. This conflict is many, many decades from being resolved, but right now it's a lose-lose battle.
  • by dcam ( 615646 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:39AM (#15811027) Homepage
    Iraq is taking much longer, but fifty years from now none of the difficulties will be remembered, assuming the effort is successful.

    That is quite an assumption.

    You were using the example of Japan before. Let's stick with that. Japan is largely homogenous. There are some different people groups (the name for the people group escapes me, but there was one distinct people group on one of the islands, largely overridden in the pre-WWII period). Iraq has three distinct people groups (kurds, Shiites and Sunnis) who have a history of fighting each other and have different religions (or have strong disagreements on religion, which sunnis and shiites have for centuries). So before you even begin in Iraq, it has more problems than Japan.

    Add another issue, Japan attacked the US, Iraq didn't.

    And one more issue, Japan surrendered and kept what they considered to be important: their emperor. Correct me if I am wrong, but Iraq did not surrender.

    BTW I largely agree with your point about a short term view on "nation building". However sometimes the long term view is less rosy than the short term view.
  • by AusIV ( 950840 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:42AM (#15811045)
    I completely agree. People far to often forget history.

    To answer the grandparent's question, yes. The first time I can think of that a president rallied support by making exaggerated or false accusations was the civil war. During the depression, fiscal conservatives who opposed government support of the poor and elderly were characterized as inhumane. Today we're still dealing with the consequences of not taking their thoughts into consideration. During the cold war, Senator Joseph McCarthy called anyone who challenged him a communist, devistating the reputations of many innocent people.

    These aren't necessarily all the president's actions, but they certainly demonstarte that power has been abused by dishonest accusations.

    More on the parent's subject of people forgetting history: I think people have forgotten how significant the recovery process is. After the Civil War, Lincoln was assassinated and the south was left in shambles because the recovery plan was tossed aside. To this day, parts of the south have not recoverred. After the first world war, Germany was punished and fined for the war. This caused them to look for a leader that would help them recover. They found Adolph Hitler. After the second world war we realized our mistake, but recovery was a shakey process. Germany was broken up, half to be helped by the Soviet Union, the other half by the United States and Great Brittain. Germany was a site of conflict for the Cold War, and wasn't reunited until 1990. Japan is the only example I can think of that shows a successful rehabilitation after a war, and that took a long time. Vietnam and the Koreas also struggled after their wars.

    My point is, rehabilitation is the most important and costly part of any war. I don't think the current administration thought about that as long as they should have before starting a war, but I certainly think the consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely could be devistating.

  • by Sassinak ( 150422 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:49AM (#15811086) Homepage
    This pretty much goes with my long standing opinion that the US is a country of OVER correction.

    "One little fly got in.. wait, there must be millions of them, so get the biggest, nastiest, flyswatter you can and flatten all of them.. So what if a few million innocients get killed, at least we got that one fly and it acts as a deterrant to the other million that "MAY" be waiting".

    Logical thought never works in the presence of a military mind which says that ANYONE who is not part of our system (eg: the military) is a potential threat and therefore must be watched and controlled. We are all variables sadly, and to many, a variable is something that must be reduced or eliminated before targeting the real problem. It works on paper, but somewhere along the line, its forgotten that these are actually people not just a notion in an equation.

    The police are merely an extension of that thought. As much as I hate to quote movies, there does seem to be one eliment of truth in one.. The Usual Suspects. The character says something on the order of: "To the police the truth is never that complicated, if you BELIEVE the guy did it, you will find out he really did" (nothing about the truth, just if you believe). Yes yes, I know, the eternal seekers of truth and justice... Bullshit. Police are humans, and as many have already pointed out, most are jaded from dealing with the sum who should be put away (perminately in some cases). All the more reason to police the police. Oh yes, there are some honest ones who actually use intelligent thought and try to arrive at the truth instead of a quota. (I actually have some as my friends and associates) But that number is small by comparison and they are usually overruled by their colleagues. (Birds of a feather and all that).

    A lot of the public just rolls over and says "Oh yeah, just like that" because they want to feel safe, a notion I can sympathize with. And to them, any action is good. They are the ones saying "Well, if you are innocient..." or "Its not as bad as all that..."

    As I have said numerious times, the people on slashdot are not the belly rollers, we are the iconiclasts, the rouges, the people who actually engage in intelligent debate (most of the time), who question demand accountability, who require an answer more than "you don't need to know that" so of course a lot of this has us saying WTF?

    Power, once granted regardless of the reasons for giving it, tends to require actions to accquire more power (or at the VERY LEAST maintain). There is a reason the consistution gives limited powers to various different groups and require them to reach some level of consesus. Its because it takes into the account the desires of the average human (and yes ladies, I said humans, women are just as guilty as men in this regard, lack of a opportunity to execute does not mean lack of intent or ability.) Its designed under the notion that they can't ALL be nuts. Well guess what, I think we've reached that breaking point. With the lower elected ones looking for the job rather than justice. With the higher level ones doing the same, but with big business and military backing them. With all of them reacting to the unwashed masses just simply wanting something, anything done. Which means right now, they are all nuts. Virtually anyone that raises a dissenting arguement is branded a herotic and a sympathizer (ummm... sounds a little familar, don't you think? Nono.. don't all raise your hands at once). Which leaves the "leaders" mearly reacting, and the rest joining this conga line of stupidity because they love their jobs more than what is (History major's here is your chance, if you get it right, you get a cookie) "right, fair, and just".
  • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:51AM (#15811093)
    What about for people who just think it's important? What about people who don't think it's an important part of communication, but important as it's a factor that creates an outward appearance of the person writing? Does it demonstrate a level of self pride in attaining a certain level of accuracy?

    Do people not wash their face and adjust their hair in the morning (/afternoon) before leaving the house, not because it changes how functional they are, but because not checking the things that create an outward impression gives the impression of a lack of self pride? Respect for somebody can suffer purely based on how much they appear to respect themselves.

    Yes we can argue that appearance based opinions are shallow, but we can also argue that it's something that reaches others consciousnesses, and IS used to create an idea of how much effort somebody will put into something.

    And before anybody jumps up at this being an attack at dyslexia, dyslexia to various degrees is pretty common, I share it myself, I know it's not a matter of just not trying hard enough, but where the extra effort into "learning spelling" would get you nowhere, that effort into checking spelling most certainly would (I alt+tab to a google window to check spelling of individual words, or even just switch to a different word as I struggle with one).

    I'm not saying that mine is great, I'm sure people will find (and point out) errors in my post (like the last section beginning with "and"). What I am doing is pointing out the rationale behind spelling errors influencing the impact of what you saying having on people.

  • by Constantin ( 765902 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:54AM (#15811110)
    ... though presumably unintentionally and ironically in his own family.

    One could argue that living out his socialist dream in London exile was one way to test whether his utopia could hold together. However, in the process of sharing everything with everyone, the money that his wife's family sent to support them was squandered, and several of their children died of hunger, malnutrition, and preventable diseases. After all, he had no steady income and thus had to leech of his wife's family. ... this at least according to reliable family sources who knew Karl and the wife's family very well.
  • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stoutlimb ( 143245 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:22AM (#15811244)
    Citizen cops would be an even worse idea... They would lack training and make different, even worse mistakes. I think officers should be treated the same as some police cars. Have a camera and a microphone attached to a recording device, and have it always on. If they can't account for several hours, or arrest someone while the camera is off, they get fired. Period. That sort of scrutiny should solve most problems.
  • Re:Bad cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:26AM (#15811265) Homepage Journal
    That's just the point. If you want to block public roads and intefere with the lives of millions you had better have permission first. In short, who the fuck are you to block my way to work? To the movies? Airport? etc...

    Oh, you mean like President Bush, who visited Nashville, TN a month ago and had ALL THE MAJOR HIGHWAYS CLOSED going into the city, causing headaches and other problems? Who the fuck is he to do such a thing without the consensus of all the million+ people that rely upon those roads for travel to get to work inside the city? I think you need to get out of Ottawa and come live in the USA to find out what it's all about. You OBVIOUSLY don't live here - you've got no legitimate reason to go around spouting your post-70's typical anti-hippy BS.
  • Re:Bad cops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Glonoinha ( 587375 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:30AM (#15811285) Journal
    What does that have to do with the story (around which this discussion thread revolves)?

    The guy (evidently his name is 'Neftaly Cruz') was standing in his back yard, sees a couple of cops taking down a drug dealer (maybe a lite version of some 'Rodney King beatdown') and whips out his camera phone, take a picture.

    Cop walks into his back yard, grabs him, body slams him on the cop car and arrests him.
    For taking a picture of an event happening on a public street.
    Fucking arrested. Personally I think this is about the most KGB shit I have ever heard of - and yes, I watched it happen in Moscow with my own two eyes.

    Riddle me this, Batman : when does 'got arrested' ever come off your personal life record?
    As in when a prospective employer says 'have you ever been arrested?'

    Answer : never. If the charges get dropped you can always say 'Yes, but ... ' and then fill in the rest of the story about how 'bad cop' or 'violated my rights' or whatever, but the employer checks the 'got arrested' box and you don't get hired.

    For taking a picture of events happening on a public street.

    Damn, it almost would have gone better if it went down like this :
    Cop : (Body slam on car) You know why I'm arresting you?
    Cruz : Because I took your picture with my camera phone?
    Cop : No silly, it's because you're brown!
  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Sunday July 30, 2006 @11:43AM (#15811365) Homepage Journal
    Why did a cop taking a perfectly legal look at your car give you a lower opinion of them? Your car represented an anomaly, by your own admission it didn't fit the neighborhood. That's exactly the sort of situation that I want cops to take a quick surface look; if it's nothing (as in your case) they'll move on. But sometimes it is something worth investigating: a car full of toilet paper might indicate an imminant TPing of someone's hour. Piles of small valuables might mean he stumbled across a burglary.
  • Re:Not surprising. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @12:01PM (#15811481)
    Why did Rodney King deserve to be beaten and end up with eleven skull fractures, broken bones, broken teeth, kidney injuries, and permanent brain damage?
  • by NemosomeN ( 670035 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @12:05PM (#15811505) Journal
    It only gets major once it gets ignored. It's our resposibility to stop the breaches when they start, before they become widespread policy (Which, in this case, apparently wasn't true, though the officer did lie and say it was). And the other breaches are unrelated, separate incidents. Much as people might like to think otherwise, police forces don't coordinate much with each other.
  • by TFGeditor ( 737839 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @12:24PM (#15811617) Homepage
    "Much as people might like to think otherwise, police forces don't coordinate much with each other."

    It isn't so much a matter of "coordination" as infec tious concensus building. If cops in City A get by with something, cops in City B will (a) leanr about it and (b) adopt it. There is no conspiracy or collusion, just observation and mimickry.

    Further, police (and I have 5 cops in my immediate and extended family, so know a bit about them) very much have a common "us against them" attitude. Incidents like this camera fiasco are manifestations of that.

    (On a side note, one of my grandons-in-law who is a cop in a major city has a refrigerator magnet that reads: "Hi, I am police officer and I can kick your ass and get by with it.")

  • Re:Bad cops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kraut ( 2788 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @01:10PM (#15811847)
    Exactly. We do, and should, expect a higher standard of behaviour from police officers than from the general public because they are police officers.
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @01:42PM (#15812022) Homepage
    Richelieu might be a reasonable quote, but Ayn Rand? She's no more than an author and one that gave not a shit about anyone but herself.

    Either the ideas described in the quote are valid, or they aren't. It doesn't matter who said it.

  • Re:Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:07PM (#15812188) Journal
    Yea because that would make it all better. Winning in court doesn't make the experience of sitting in a shitty cell for 24+ hours. It doesn't give you back the night of good times you were "planning" on having. It doesn't give you back the job you lost because you were in jail. It doesn't give you back the respect you lost because you were taken to jail, but hey, you "won" in court.
  • by chaboud ( 231590 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @02:30PM (#15812321) Homepage Journal
    I agree, in principle, with your third point, but do you know what effect this is going to have on slashdot readers? Personally, I'm going to carry my digital SLR with me just to snap photos of police officers in areas where I expect this to happen. Bonus points if they damage my equipment in the act, making an easier entry to a civil suit.

    This is a fight that we can take to the streets by exercising our rights. If someone has the incident report (from which we can pull the offending officers' names), let's get some Philly flash mobs to photograph these officers in action. Just make sure to keep your distance and avoid harassing any officers. Oh, and be ready to be arrested. The sort of police officers who do this sort of thing are scared children looking for a place to exert power.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:03PM (#15812498) Homepage Journal

    You are just 70 years behind Europe. What took you so long?

    Nice leap. A man in New Hampshire is *charged* with violating a wiretapping and eavesdropping law. Another man in Philly gets busted by the cops for taking a photograph, which raises a big stink and likely will backfire on the police department.

    The NH case is being reviewed []. The man arrested in Philly was released, and the family has requested an inquiry. Don't be surprised if the police department is forced to apologize.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but how do these two cases lead to the assumption that America is in the grip of jackbooted thugs?

  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK ( 708023 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:10PM (#15812856)
    It's perfectly legal for papparattzi to stalk and abuse any member of the public they want, because when you are in the public domain you have chosen to open yourself to surveillence. ... but when a public organization run on your tax dollars, operating in a public place has a picture taken, you go to jail.

    You have NO REASON AT ALL to complain. You brought it on yourself.

    - Americans chose to give up their constitutionally protected freedoms in the name of 'security' (as defined by your government). That choice happened when Americans allowed the Patriot Act to stand above the constitution.

    - Americans didn't overthrow their government as is their constitutional responsibility when their government destroys their constitutionally protected rights.

    You're just adjusting to the consequences of your actions. Deal with it.
  • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:12PM (#15812862) Homepage Journal
    It's also worth pointing out that based on writings (letters, journals, etc.) leading up to and following authoring the Constitution, the "well regulated" clause was in reference to/meant "well-trained", not "run by the government" because the whole point of the second amendment was a final check and balance against tyranny within/from the government.
  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:53PM (#15813079) Homepage
    The police were there to keep the peace and make sure people don't get hurt.
    Yes, they were. They weren't there to arrest people who were doing nothing wrong.
    When people instigate, it encourages others to do the same, and the situation can get out of control quickly
    The idea of hundreds of people saying "do that again so I can get it on tape" is hardly terrifying. I don't see what else the OP could be considered to have been "instigating".
    If you want to piss off police officers, fine, that's your right, but you should expect to be arrested if you do
    Pardon? Are you kidding me? Arrest me when I break the law. There is no law against "pissing off a police officer". They are regular people and should learn self-restraint and maturity, just like everyone else.
    You made a choice to be at that protest, the cop didn't
    Yes he did. He signed up for the force, knowing full well that part of his duties would involve going to demonstrations. If he doesn't like it he can quit. I don't ask to go to endless boring meetings but it's part of my job - like it or leave it.
    First Amendment takes a back seat to immediate public safety
    Agreed 100%. But utterly irrelevant as nothing the OP did or said was in any way a threat to public safety.

    I'm a supporter of the police in general, they do tough and valuable work and face a lot of uncalled for abuse on the job. In all my (thankfully limited) dealings with the police in both the UK and the US I've been treated well and with respect. But as a wise man (!) once said - "with great power comes great responsibility" - we as a society give them power and if they can't use it responsibly then I for one will happily see the book thrown at them.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:00PM (#15813111) Homepage
    On the other hand, if you take aerial photographs of private property, that may be an invasion of privacy by way of trespass, if you wish to publish them.

    Someone should tell Google that...
  • by /dev/trash ( 182850 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:37PM (#15813265) Homepage Journal
    Having your headlights on in daylight is not so you can see where you're going. It's so others see you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:10PM (#15813403)
    So many posters here blame the current administration for this incident. It's really not the case.

    I've lived in Philadelphia my entire life. The police force, and the entire city, is very corrupt. It's a local problem. I'm not saying that the federal administration isn't making it worse, but the event in question would have happened regardless of who is in power in Washington.

    I remember this story from the mid-90's (during a Democrate federal and city administration). There was a scandal reported in the local paper where the cops were throwing handcuffed people in the back of their vans - which are empty and have few handholds. Then, they would drive like crazy through the neighborhoods so that the people in the back would get knocked around. This wasn't some outlier, this was a standard trick they used. It only got reported because they permanently disabled a minister.

    Very corrupt, very brutal - Philadelphia

  • by Petrushka ( 815171 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:15PM (#15813430)

    How did Karl Marx the philosopher come to grips with having the same name as the snivelling misanthrope who wrote the communist manifesto and laid the groundwork for the two greatest mass murderers of all time?

    Yes, that's how personal responsibility works. Similarly Jesus was personally responsible for the crusades, Nietzsche and Wagner was personally responsible for the Holocaust, Benjamin Franklin was personally responsible for Hiroshima and Dresden, and Justinian was personally responsible for all modern western legal systems. Or not.

  • Buy guns. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gorehog ( 534288 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:57PM (#15813632)
    Everyone should own a gun.
  • Little tech tip (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @08:40PM (#15814080) Homepage Journal
    For those that would like to videotape someone in which you fear "losing" the tape get a digital tape/memory card camera like the Canon zr series. Simply record the video on the SD card (which on the zr is nicely tucked away) and if your asked for the tape you can fork it over without the concern of losing your footage. Giving up a bogus tape is a great way to get out in one piece and with your booty. Be sure to share it on youtube et al as quick as you can. It's also good to have someone taping you from afar in case there's a problem. Take it from someone that's been there.

    Why some people in the field make bad choices those in the office are much less willing to "ask" (nicely or not so) for the video after the fact. Remember, get the video and distribute it as fast as you possibly can.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.