Interesting story on NPR today (click) about a woman who got into trouble with the local police because she was taking video of a traffic stop she was involved in.
The cops took her phone, erased the movie, and made her sit in the back of a patrol car for two hours without charges just to teach her some respect, I guess.
What’s especially interesting is the video they show on the web site of a policeman who pulled a motorcyclist over for speeding and got out of his car waving his gun ar0und. For a traffic stop!
This is especially ironic as we enter the Big Brother age here in Ogden, with a proposed blimp the police will use to keep an eye on us, and a central control center where they feed every surveillance camera in the city into one location. When the cops put you in the back seat of their car, you are very likely being taped as well, so don’t try to bribe the cop like one idiot in Riverdale did a while ago.
What’s funny is that police never, ever like it when you film them. As NPR says, they worry that some cop will worry about looking bad on film and hesitate to take life-saving action, causing the cop to be injured or crime to go unstopped, or something.
I like to assume the police always do try to do the right thing, but the video of that cop waving his gun around while approaching the motorcyclist argues very strongly that, at the very least, he may have stated the day out wrong, maybe arguing with his wife or something, I dunno.
Truth: Cops should not have to worry about being second-guessed for every twitch, but in this increasingly watched “big brother” society of ours, they darn well better assume they are whether they like it or not. There are hundreds of millions of video cameras out there disguised as cell phones, digital cameras and even a few actual video cameras.
The standard argument to defend police and security surveillance cameras is that none of us should mind because ”if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”
Is it not interesting how that gets all nuanced (“It might look wrong even if it isn’t!”) when it’s the cops being videotaped?
And I suppose making non-cops hesitate before they do things is something that might keep crooks from doing bad things, but some people like me just don’t like the idea of being watched by an ever-larger big government.
I find it fascinating that this increased surveillance is being promoted by people like Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner who, when he was a Utah state senator, made his share of speeches demanding smaller government.
If a government that watches me on video 24-7, from the sky and while I walk around, is his definition of “smaller,” I’ll take vanilla.