portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article questions united states

anti-racism | police / legal

Woman charged after videotaping police beating the shit out of someone

Here we go again. This time the officer claims his 'privacy was violated'. A court here in Oregon ruled that Beaverton Police had no expectation of privacy when filmed in public.
 link to blog.alexanderhiggins.com

Criminal Charges Filed Against Woman For Filming And Exposing A Brutal Police Beating Cover Up That Left A Man Partially Blind And With Skull And Face Fractures

A Massachusetts police officer whose involvement in a brutal police beating was video taped has filed criminal charges against the women who video taped the incident and exposed the cover up. The officer is claiming the taping invaded his right to privacy and was a violation of state wiretapping laws.

During the incident Melvin Jones, whose picture is shown below, was left with a fractured skull, partial blindness in one eye, and fractured bones all over his face.

 link to cdn1.alexanderhiggins.com

can someone explain this? 16.Aug.2011 07:27

justsomedude

I've read that its legal to film the police if you inform them they are being filmed. However I don't know if this is true or not.

When did we get to a point in this country where its illegal to film the police unless you are a "journalist" and what in the hell in the constitution makes a person a "journalist" ??

I would like to someone to explain it to me.

this is insane 16.Aug.2011 09:54

Clyde

The charges have been filed in court but I can't see this actually going to trial. I mean, the publicity would just be too intense.

That is my hope anyway. Looks like the state supreme court has already found that this "wiretapping" (how they can call it wiretapping is beyond me) is illegal in the state.

Who knows.

Filming (with audio & video) anybody in public is OK 16.Aug.2011 12:18

Joe Anybody iam@joe-anybody.com

You don't need to "inform them or ask them" to film them (cops)

You may "want to" point out (without interrupting them) that you are:
"recording audio and video"

They "may" arrest, seize, spray, or even shoot you at any point during your encounter.
But when you go to court; You will not be found guilty of a crime.
It is not illegal to film the police while they are doing their job in public.

You will not be charged with a crime, for it is not illegal to film *anyone who is in a public space.

*There is NO expectation of privacy when you are out in public.

Don't hide your camera when filming, and state loudly while your camera is turned on, that your recording audio. Do not get too close or distract the officers. Keep your camera turned on throughout the encounter.


graph - pdx 16.Aug.2011 12:26

Joe Anybody

From the city of Portland Oregon's DA office, these guidlines are what the Portland police now follow.

 link to blogtown.portlandmercury.com

well 16.Aug.2011 12:28

Clyde

I know that is what we have been told, Joe, but apparently the state supreme Court in MA has interpreted the law otherwise. That can have dangerous implications for our own state laws if a similar issue were to go to trial and then appeal.

lots of angles 16.Aug.2011 14:58

Joe Anybody

The point that your making Clyde, about the 2001 case, was not about a video camera:
===========
The Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the state's wiretapping law in 2001 in a case involving an Abington traffic stop. Michael J. Hyde was stopped in October 1998 while driving a Porsche with a loud exhaust system and an unlit rear registration plate. The stop lasted around 20 minutes, during which time Hyde recorded audio of his interaction with the officers.

A week later, Hyde who hadn't been issued a citation and wasn't charged with a crime in connection with the stop went to the Abington police station to file a complaint about his treatment. He offered his audio recording of the encounter as evidence that he hadn't been confrontational during the stop, as several officers had maintained. He was subsequently charged and convicted on four counts of wiretapping.
============

In that 2001 case it was a "hidden tape recorder" (not a video camera held in plain view)
I suspect that with the variables like "no hidden tape recorder" and "in public view" that when "tested in the courts.... we should see justice prevail.

As in my Portland case, we were hoping it would go all the way through the courts "to make it a law on the books at the State level". What seems to be happening around the country is; folks get charged with a cheesy old out-dated wiretapping charge, then later charges get dropped. Or the high profile case we are seeing /reading also have other variations of have "hidden camera issues, etc" that does make it illegal to surreptitiously be 'recording' but really are not issues of "citizens filming the police" (while they are in public)

Not arrested - Just Hassled 16.Aug.2011 17:13

Joe Anybody

I just read this post (regarding police & cameras in Long Beach, California) on Twitter:

============
Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value'  http://t.co/3HyP0QM
============

 link to www.techdirt.com

my mistake 17.Aug.2011 13:17

Clyde

Sorry Joe, I didn't realize the differences. I guess the fact that the video camera was out in plain view would make it hard for them to classify it as a hidden, covert recording.

Doesn't mean they won't try, of course, but hopefully common sense will prevail.

no need to ask 31.Aug.2011 14:53

Joe Anybody

let me re-cap

you can film all you want in public, what you do latter with your film is not what we are talking about.

selling your video profiting and using the video may [?][?] get you in legal trouble, which is why the corporate media capitalist whores will ask your permission. this is true.

yet to film, one need no permission, no forms to sign, no credentials.

to film in public is legal - to film the police is legal (period) no confusion

you can film all day long without a single persons signature of approval, or even a head nod

making a video for "profit" [ie: capitalism] may be different in that permissions and use of images etc may be required.

There is no right to privacy when you are in public.