Saturday, July 29, 2006

"You should have just went in the house and minded your own business...

...instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone,'" yelled a police officer as he threw 21 year old Neftaly Cruz against a squad car and arrested the man for taking a picture of a drug raid.
"They threatened to charge me with conspiracy, impeding an investigation, obstruction of a investigation. … They said, 'You were impeding this investigation.' (I asked,) "By doing what?' (The officer said,) 'By taking a picture of the police officers with a camera phone,'" Cruz said.


"There is no law that prevents people from taking pictures of what anybody can see on the street," said Larry Frankel of the American Civil Liberties Union. "I think it's rather scary that in this country you could actually be taken down to police headquarters for taking a picture on your cell phone of activities that are clearly visible on the street."



Jonathan Perri said...

where to start...

Taking a picture with a cell phone camera, or even a Nikon D2X, is not "impeding an investigation."

How ridiculous is it for these officers to waste their resources on arresting a citizen for taking a picture? The excuse being used for arresting a drug dealer is to make the neighbors safer. So why arrest a 21 year old student that takes a picture of these actions? Did the police do something unlawful during this drug raid, or is this simply an attempt to make an example out of Cruz, so that future police actions will not be photographed.

"They said if the supervisor was there I wouldn't be a free man and that he is letting me go because he felt that I was a good person," Cruz said.

A good person that needed to be arrested for taking a picture huh? And the supervisor would not know that a person can't be arressted for taking a picture of police activity. Great. Just great.

800 pound gorilla said...

My belief is that if the woman were 45 years old the police wouldn't try to intimidate her. Police are notorious for bullying young people and minorities - who generally have less economic and political influence. An example is the laws of some states that prohibit "gang recruitment". While these laws are clearly unconstitutional they are seldom challenged because police selectively enforce these laws against those with little political influence. Fraternities fall clearly in the category of gangs and their activities are clearly criminal: underage drug abuse, sexual assault, drunk and disorderly, use of weaponry to intimidate neighbors and public nuisance. Yet, police make only token attempts to crack down on fraternities. Let's face it: if the police used the same heavy handed manner dealing with fraternity miscreants as they do with minority youth gangs they might incense the frats' influential parents and that could be very problematic.

Even so, they would probably confiscate the camera, destroy any embarrassing information and return to owner at a later date. Most adults wouldn't realize that police are not allowed to do this. They would know where their camera was; it's not exactly like theivery. They most likely would not have the temerity to insist on revelation of name and badge number before relinquishing anything to police - who have a history of corruption and are notorious for covering up for miscreants in their ranks.

Corruption of police power for fascist authoritarian purposes has been ridiculously easy throughout history. It should come as no surprise how such unsavory characters as Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde and Jesse James have become instant heroes in the blue collar world.