You can film police!~ Win in baltimore
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Thread: You can film police!~ Win in baltimore

  1. #1
    XCR Guru TexasChris's Avatar
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    May 2009

    You can film police!~ Win in baltimore

    Landmark Settlement Reached In Preakness Arrest Case « CBS Baltimore

    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore City lawsuit settlement sparks major police policy and training reforms that affect everyone with a cell phone camera.
    Derek Valcourt has details on the change and what it means to you.
    The police department is putting it into writing so their officers fully understand. You can record them and they can’t do anything about it. First Amendment advocates call it a major victory.
    When police made an arrest at Pimlico four years ago, Christopher Sharp was one of several recording. Officers didn’t like it.
    “Do me a favor and turn that off. It’s illegal to record anybody’s voice or anything else,” an officer told Sharp.

    But that’s not true.
    Sharp says the officers took his phone and deleted videos, including family videos.
    “I still am disturbed about what happened,” Sharp said.
    Now, four years and an ACLU-backed lawsuit later, city police agreed to a sweeping settlement: money to Sharp and his attorneys, a formal written apology from the police commissioner and, most importantly, a new department policy spelling out expectations of city officers being recorded.
    “I think it’s pretty clear people have the right to film what we do. You guys are doing it right now so it should be a norm for this organization,” Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.
    As part of the new policy, all officers going through training will be taught that they can never tell you to stop recording as long as you’re somewhere where you have a right to be and no officer can confiscate your phone just because you have video that they don’t want you to see.
    “This policy and training program that’s going to be put into place are a model for the nation,” said ACLU Legal Director Deborah Jeon.
    ACLU attorneys show the need by pointing to February video of a Baltimore County officer attempting to stop a student recording another arrest. The Baltimore County police department quickly disapproved of that officer’s behavior.
    Sharp believes that might not have happened a few years ago.
    “I was actually proud of that moment,” Sharp said.
    The city has agreed to pay Sharp $25,000 for his trouble, but they will also pay his legal bills—to the tune of $220,000. Those payments were approved by the city Board of Estimates Wednesday morning.
    Do what you've always done, get what you've always got. ----- Have gun. Will travel.

  2. #2
    XCR Guru TexasChris's Avatar
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    May 2009

    New city police policy says public has right to film officers -

    The Baltimore Police Department has instituted a new policy that prohibits officers from stopping people from taping or photographing police actions, the agency said Wednesday.
    The new rules were unveiled as the city agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who says police seized his cellphone and deleted the video of an arrest at the Preakness Stakes in 2010.
    "Four years ago, if we had taken the complaint seriously and addressed it in a very rapid manner, we may not be sitting here today," Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Wednesday. "What I've been brought here to do is do reform of this organization. It's not an easy job. It's a tough job, because we're changing the culture in the Police Department as a whole."

    The agency instituted rules on the public's right to film officers in 2012, but lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said they didn't go far enough. The new Baltimore Police Department policy states that "members of the general public have a First Amendment right to video record, photograph, and/or audio record BPD members while BPD members are conducting official business ... unless such recordings interfere with police activity."
    The new policy also states that officers "shall allow all persons the same access for photography and recording as is given to the news media."
    The case centered on officers' actions on May 15, 2010, at the Pimlico Race Course. There, Christopher Sharp said, officers violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights when they took his phone after the "arrest and beating" of his female friend.
    Sharp, who was represented by the ACLU, sued the city, saying officers deleted videos on his phone.
    "It took a long time, but ... the Baltimore Police Department became very serious about resolving this case," Sharp said. "What happened was wrong, but the Police Department is not my enemy. They have made great strides to correct this."
    Last year, a federal judge rebuked police for engaging in a "veritable witch hunt" of Sharp and ordered the department to pay $1,000 for a "not so subtle attempt to intimidate the plaintiff." According to court documents, the department contacted Sharp's ex-wife and former employers for information on his personal life in an attempt to determine whether he "is a drug addict."
    Sharp said Wednesday he was still troubled by those actions. "I was really disturbed at the time — still am — about what happened."
    The First Amendment right to record police officers in public places has been in the news several times lately. Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson spoke out against officers' actions last month when they clashed with a 21-year-old college student filming an arrest outside a Towson bar.
    "The words and demands to cease filming by sworn personnel and citizen volunteer auxiliary officers were incorrect, inappropriate and unnecessary," Johnson said.
    Also last month, a Baltimore Sun photographer was pushed away while taking pictures at a crime scene at the intersection of Centre Street and Guilford Avenue in Baltimore. Baltimore police have launched an internal investigation, Batts said. "There's always two sides to each story, so I will not take a position on that," he said.
    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake weighed in on the issue Wednesday after the city's Board of Estimates voted to approve the $250,000 payment.
    "We've been clear that the public has a right to film," she said.
    Under the settlement agreement, Sharp will be paid $25,000. The rest will go to cover attorney fees accrued during the nearly four-year case.
    "Originally, I asked for an apology. That was it," he said.
    He now has one. Sharp received a framed copy of an apology from Batts. "We would like to personally assure you that we are working tirelessly to regain your trust," the letter says.
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  3. #3
    XCR Guru TomAiello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasChris View Post
    The city has agreed to pay Sharp $25,000 for his trouble, but they will also pay his legal bills—to the tune of $220,000. Those payments were approved by the city Board of Estimates Wednesday morning.

    And the police who actually violated his rights? What are they paying?

    It's incredibly ironic that the taxpayers are footing the bill here--and the taxpayers include the guy who won the lawsuit.
    Merlin, Sean K., Carpenter and 2 others like this.
    - Tom Aiello
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  5. #4
    XCR Guru Sean K.'s Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    What Tom said.....

    But I am glad to see that they are instituting new training policy. Hopefully this case will be precedence across the entire nation and police will have to learn to live with being filmed as the rest of us are when going about our routine, daily lives.
    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty. It is the argument of tyrants; the creed of slaves."-William Pitt the Younger

  6. #5
    Rifleman oldbutnew's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    This was interesting...couldn't get away with it anymore I guess.

    "A study of the cameras last year reported a 50 percent drop in police use-of-force incidents in Rialto, Calif., a city of about 100,000. The study also reported a nearly 90 percent drop in citizens' complaints over the course of a year.

  7. #6
    XCR Guru Merlin's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Just like in the Real world if there are accountability and consequences for actions there wouldn't be an issue. The trouble is that there does not seem to be any in a lot of agencies and that is where we see the mantra of "Protect and Serve" a thing of the past.

    "Be Vigilant and Safe!!"
    "Molon Labe!!"
    "It Is A Weak Man Who Urges Compromise!!"


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