The War On Photography
UPDATE: Recording a cop or rape: Which has the longer prison sentence? In Illinois recording a cop and rape both carry a sentence of 15 years in prison. A man is facing 75 years in prison for recording his own court hearing when the judge refused to appoint a court reporter.
Small video cameras and cell-phone cameras are ubiquitous. Police conduct, especially police misconduct, is made difficult to hide in this age of ever-present video and/or audio recording devices. Police hate that and are willing to use police-state tactics to prevent bystanders from recording them.
Most of us live a relatively peaceful existence which obscures the government violence going on around us. We forget just how quickly the social structure we take for granted can break down and how easily those to whom we have entrusted our safety can become our worst nightmare.
Current civil rights litigation is a useful tool to fight these illegal practices by police, but these brutal acts will continue until Federal legislation is enacted to make it easy for any citizen wrongfully arrested for recording the police to sue them, including the individual police officer, for damages and attorneys’ fees.
There is a longer term solution that must be considered if we are to ever to regain trust that the cops are really there to protect us. The war on drugs has resulted in a vast militarization of police without doing anything at all about illegal drug use. It’s past time to recognize that the war on drugs has been lost and must be stopped. Turning the police into an occupying army has degraded the relationship between citizens and cops. It’s been a counterproductive social experiment that turns cops into violent thugs and threatens the safety of every citizen.