TeeJaw Blog

Orlando Man Faces 6 Years in Prison For Video Taping Police

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 9: 18 AM

UPDATE FRIDAY, July 1st. John Kurtz convicted of resisting arrest and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Travesty of justice.

Original post from June 28:

This is not something most people believe happens in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Police departments around the country seem to be on a binge of hiring individuals with a violent mindset that makes them wholly unsuitable for the job.

A standard question asked of a new recruit is “Why do you want to be a police officer?” The standard answer that most recruits understand to be what the questioner wants to hear is “Because I want to help people.” A more truthful answer for some would be “Because I want to beat the crap of people with impunity.”

In this case John Kurtz left his home in the middle of the night to observe some police action in his neighborhood. From all factual accounts he stood enough distance away so that he was not interfering or obstructing the officers in any way. He carried a small hand-held video camera. Believing he was witnessing the use of illegal excessive force by the officers against an already handcuffed and restrained man, he began to videotape the scene. That elicited a response from the officers that can be characterized only as the sort of unlawful violence one would expect from a criminal street gang, not officers of the law sworn “to serve and protect.”

This attitude results, I believe, from the increasing militarization of civilian police forces. A soldier on the battlefield is sent to engage the enemy and kill them. A civilian police officer has a different role. He is supposed to chase criminals and arrest them all the while protecting the rights of all citizens, including those he arrests. Only that force reasonably necessary to arrest the subject and protect the officer’s safety is lawful. All unnecessary force is excessive and is a crime that can and should be prosecuted. As of now it appears the wrong man is going on trial tomorrow. We’ll know soon, maybe.

Full story of John Kurtz’s ordeal with Orlando police can be found here, his Facebook page. [Link no longer works for some reason] Admittedly, we only have one side of the story right now. But his trial commences tomorrow, June 29th, in the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida. We’ll soon know all sides of this case. No one should be prosecuted for recording the police if they are not obstructing. If the police are not doing anything wrong, why do they care if they are recorded? Because some of them are hoodlums with a badge, is the only answer that makes sense.

Here is a video that was made in support of John Kurtz:


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ken Spiker said, on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 10: 08 AM at 10:08 AM

    This is a difficult issue because we now have many neighborhoods in American cities where a quasi-military police presence is the only way to secure the peace. At the same time we have a large proportion of citizenry (read liberals) who think that ANY force to secure suspects is excessive. Activists are ready to scream ‘police brutality’ at the drop of a hat, and then comes lawsuits against the cops. Of course I’m on your side, we can’t have police turning into an unruly group of thugs, citizens have to monitor them. Since the radical days of my youth I have come to respect the police and realize what a difficult job they have. A cop friend of mine in Berkeley once told me of a suspect with a knife who threatened his partner, the partner brought down his billy club so hard on the guy’s arms he broke both his wrists. End of story. Good thing some of the fanatical “cop watch” loons weren’t video recording that…there would have been trouble for the cops. Like I say it’s a balance. The pendulum and all that. If the partner hadn’t done that, there would have been a protracted standoff with pepper spray, nasty wrestling around on the ground and likely injuries all around. On the other hand I agree with you that prosecuting a person for just recording HAS to be unconstitutional. Maybe they can get a case to the Supreme Court eventually.

    • TeeJaw said, on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 7: 16 PM at 7:16 PM

      If the cop was being threatened with a knife the billy club to the wrists was justified. If the partner was close enough to use his billy club on the guy’s wrists then the cop being threatened must also have been that close. That means the knife posed a deadly threat to the cop and his partner is a hero. Too bad the bad guy’s wrists were broken he’s the one who brought that on himself.

      None of my condemnation of police behavior applies when someone is threatening the officer’s safety. The police war on photography has nothing to do with officer safety. It has everything to do with the safety of law-abiding citizens engaging in lawful conduct.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: