…by Photographing and Recording the police surreptitiously. You might get them on tape doing something illegal
Police hate being filmed and photographed while they “perform their duty,” but they sure don’t mind doing it to us. I remember one of the parents of a childhood friend used to use that expression about “duty” every time he took a shit. However, it applies here because a) police are very anal-focused, according to the Freudian profile, so it makes sense they like to keep shit to themselves.
It makes even more sense when b) we realize that the shit they are up to on a daily basis is often illegal, and needs to be documented.
So, keep an eye on cops at every opportunity. The law is on your side in most states, and you have a right to audio and videotape police activity that takes place in public. This activity is called recording with “one party consent,” meaning that only one party or person involved in the recording needs to give their consent for the recording to occur–that person is you, not some cop.
Here is a list of states that allow one party consent recording, as well as states that don’t.
Police everywhere resist being filmed or photographed because they claim they are then at risk for retaliation from “criminals.” They also claim that video/audio/and photographic evidence collected by the public jeopardizes their cases. I would think it would be the opposite: if a cop is clean, and does its job according to the law, then privacy wouldn’t even be required. However, the police/FBI?CIA et al —who flagrantly violate and abuse their powers of surveillance–are apparently better than you are, and deserve more rights than you do–even if those extra ‘police rights’ are not spelled out anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
The police powers, and especially the FBI break the law all the time, and when they get caught they claim it was a “mistake, or a “misinterpretation” of law, but when you do it, you are called, by them, a criminal. They never get punished, and even more rarely do we prosecute those who abuse such powers.
So, we live in a state of affairs where the police claim extra-ordinary rights, and one of their most highly prized is “privacy”. Never mind that it is not at all uncommon for cops to invade the privacy of others via wiretapping, eavesdropping, photographing and recording the behavior of people who have never been convicted of a crime; cops routinely take away peoples cameras and cellphones, and even arrest those people for recording them.
So know your rights, but still be prepared for police to intimidate, coerce, or otherwise violate your rights, because that is what they do. follow the law in your state, and whenever possible–break the law of two party consent in order to document police activity–but do it like cops do it: secretly, illegally, and without consent if you have to–because only when we publicize police misconduct do we even begin to understand how widespread it is. Cops break the law all the time doing surveillance and get caught at it, so don’t hesitate to do so yourself.
But don’t become a victim of police who commit crimes, or misconduct. You will almost always lose a direct confrontation with police who themselves are breaking the law, but your camera might live on.
Most judges will throw out illegally obtained evidence such as a video taken without consent, but there are notable possible exceptions: if a recording is used in a grand jury investigation; if a recording is secretly forwarded to the cops supervisor; if the recording is held for a period of years until that cop gets itself caught up in some bad shit, and the recording is secretly forwarded to internal affairs.
You get the idea.
But most importantly: if you suspect that you or your friends are being harassed, put under mind bending endless surveillance, or recorded by cops, know the law, try real hard to follow the law, and film them back, but take great pains to duplicate, backup, and hide your recordings until they become necessary as a tool against illegal police activity. Otherwise, the police will steal the recordings, smash your cameras , or coerce citizens into deleting them ( un-delete them as soon as the cops are gone: here’s how)
Statistics on police activity that is directed against the citizens is often skewed, and statistics about how often police distort evidence by stealing cameras,tampering with audio and video evidence, and coerce citizens to delete ‘evidence’ are even more scarce. So be ready, be aware of your rights, and be prepared for the possibvility of police harassment, brutality, or false testimony against you. That is the price of enforcing your rights against police.
Do you have a story about police evidence tampering? Leave me a note.