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Keep Those Cameras Handy


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Keep those cameras handy

Disloyal Opposition

by JD Tuccille


"Cops behaving badly have been caught on camera in sufficient numbers

recently that it can be called a phenomenon. The Internet makes

distribution of the resulting still photos and video a breeze, so that

officials in range of surveillance cameras or even the tiny lenses on

many cell phones can expect their worst conduct to be distributed far

and wide. But police have retaliated as only they can, sometimes

handcuffing anybody with the temerity to point cameras in their

direction. That may be about to change." (04/18/08)



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I went to a jouralism seminar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersberg, Fla. last year and was nearly accosted by a cop.


The St. Pete police had made headlines for taking box cutters and slicing up the tents of homeless people at a city park, and the city's authorities condemned their actions.


We were each given field assignments (most people had fluff like the local Salvador Dali museum or covering Tampa Bay Devil Rays spring training). I got a video camera and was getting film footage of a location where homeless people and their supporters had gathered.


There was a cop car sitting nearby, and so I got that on camera. The cop flipped out and started making all kinds of threats. I was on public property and had a right to get the footage.


The funny thing was, this was for a classroom exercise, not for a real news story.


A lot of these cops are control freaks (some of them have actually admitted that to me) and they HATE anything that in any way threatens or diminishes their complete control of a situation – or being able to crack down with impunity.


Some people start to get a god complex when they're given a little authority, a Taser, badge and gun.

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