This Article discusses the on going "War Against Photography". Police Officers, Security Officers, Watchmen, Guards and Court Officers, have used their positions Under The Color Of Authority to harass, arrest and even assault persons who are merely taking a photo or video recording something. Whether what is being photographed or recorded is the "Officer's" action or conduct or anything else, is immaterial. It IS a legal behavior protected under the Constitution of the United States. Particularly the Fourteenth Amendment, guaranteeing "Due Process Under The Law", where the Government and it's Agents, (ie: Police, TSA, Federal Law Enforcement and any persons operating under their authority, City, County, State or Federal) MUST adhere to the same Laws they are enjoined to enforce. How is an officer with a dash cam and an audio recorder in his shirt pocket who arrests a person simply taking a photograph or recording his arrest of a subject any different from the person taking pictures or recording? Well for one that "Citizen" can choose to post his photos or recording of the officers actions on Youtube or even send it to the local news station. Calling that officers actions into question, as to whether his actions were appropriate. Many Law Enforcement Officer's HATE that. They hate and despise the idea that someone can second guess their experience and their actions. So much so that in certain cases of egregious misconduct, dash cam or security camera footage "Disappears" or is "Unusable" such as what happened in the Erik Scott Case. When a person is recording or photographing officers during a take down or confrontation, many officers will immediately tell them to stop or leave the scene. Such as what happened to Emily Good , even HuffPo found this outrageous noting that the officers official statement did not match Ms. Good's video of the event.
Ms. Good and others are guilty of something seen as a crime by many Law Enforcement Officers, "Contempt Of Cop" a systematic cancer which is eating away at the very tenets of Law Enforcement. You get pulled over for some reason and you are not "polite" enough for the officer's liking. Suddenly you find yourself on the ground with a knee in your back getting metal bracelets for a new fashion accessory, and your car towed so it costs you several hundred dollars to get it back. What did you do wrong? In many cases nothing. The officers just felt you needed to grovel at his authority some. Now this is not a condemnation of all law enforcement officers. I personally know many who abhor this behavior by their fellow officer, however many are afraid to speak up or out against it as the "Blue Wall" where every officer stands next to and protects a fellow officer no matter how bad or egregious his or her conduct is. I have worked as a Housing Authority Security Officer and was a Volunteer Police Auxiliary and Volunteer Firefighter. I have seen some of the behavior I am alluding to in this post. And after 10 years of telling my supervisors and requesting manning reassignments and seeing nothing being done about that behavior, I finally said enough. And got out of the field.
Officers who act outside of their authority are the ones who don't want to be photographed or recorded, Departments who have forgotten the Ideals of "To Protect and to SERVE", and don't get me started on "Asset Forfeiture".
Until such time as Law Enforcement Agencies realize their job isn't to be "Tacti-Cool Mall-Ninja, Paramilitary Organizations" but to serve and to protect the public safety and order, these incidents will continue to happen with what I'm afraid will be increasing regularity.