Monthly archives: February 2011

February 25th, 2011

Canadian Man Ticketed and Fined for Videotaping Sleeping Cops 0

By Carlos Miller

A Canadian man who videotaped two cops sleeping in their squad car ended up getting ticketed and fined.

Now the cops are under investigation as the video has gone viral.

Maxime Carpentier said he was driving by when he saw the cop car parked with the engine running, but didn’t see anybody inside.

He parked and walked up to the car to find the two officers in deep slumber with their seats titled back, including one who was curled up in the fetal position.

One of the cops woke up, then demanded his driver license, even though Carpentier wasn’t driving at the time.

After 30 minutes of detainment, Carpentier was handed a $156 ticket for having made an illegal u-turn – which we know the cops didn’t witness.

The police union president defended the cops, stating they might have been on their break. Or something.

But even if that were true, it would be pretty stupid of them considering how we’re always hearing how cops are in fear for their lives and how everybody wants to ambush them.

I know it’s Canada where everybody is a passive and peace-loving supposedly. But still, a cop sleeping on the job in full view of the public, whether he is on break or not, is still pretty stupid and deserves to become a viral video.

February 25th, 2011

N.M. Legislators Approve Unconstitutional Rule Questioning Photography 0

By Carlos Miller

New Mexico legislators overwhelmingly approved a resolution requiring people who wish to videotape them in public meetings to ask permission first, a resolution that is overwhelmingly unconstitutional.

The resolution, approved 35-3 with bipartisan support, does not apply to the news media, only to citizens who wish to document the meeting for their own reasons.

However, in this day and age, there is no clear definition of what constitutes the “news media.”

Besides, the First Amendment applies to everybody, not just those who are working for a corporate news company.

As of Thursday, new signs announced the rule in the Senate committee room stated the following:

“Use of any filming or photography device while committee is in session must be cleared with the committee chair,” the sign states. Then, in smaller letters, “Does not apply to the news media.”

New Mexico political blogger Heath Haussamen, who documented the above passage, describes his experience where he was questioned for attempting to take photos.

As I pointed my camera at the Senate Finance Committee chairman, John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, he stopped a hearing to ask me, in front of dozens of people, to identify myself. He asked the ranking member, Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, if was OK with her that I photograph. I don’t remember the exact wording, but she essentially asked why I was there.

Smith explained that I run a prominent blog. Beffort deferred to Smith, and he told me it was OK to photograph.

Someone not used to being singled out by lawmakers, such as a citizen visiting the Roundhouse and trying to take a photo with a camera phone, might have felt intimidated. Because of that, he might not try to take another photograph in the Roundhouse, even though it’s a building that belongs to him.

This is exactly the kind of resolution that needs to be protested to the fullest extent with swarms of citizens entering the committee room with video cameras rolling, refusing to state the reason they are videotaping.

After all, this is still a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

February 25th, 2011

Photographing Farms would be a Felony under Proposed Law in Florida 0

By Carlos Miller

cows.jpg

They don’t call it Floriduh for nothing.

A legislator in the Sunshine State has introduced a law that would make it a felony to photograph a farm from a public road.

Yes, a farm.

The bill was introduced Monday by Republican Senator Jim Norman of Tampa who stresses that cows have an expectation of privacy.

Norman already has a questionable history.

According to the Florida Tribune:

Media law experts say the ban would violate freedoms protected in the U. S. Constitution. But Wilton Simpson, a farmer who lives in Norman’s district, said the bill is needed to protect the property rights of farmers and the “intellectual property” involving farm operations.

Simpson, president of Simpson Farms near Dade City, said the law would prevent people from posing as farmworkers so that they can secretly film agricultural operations.

He said he could not name an instance in which that happened. But animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Animal Freedom display undercover videos on their web sites to make their case that livestock farming and meat consumption are cruel.

I’ve never been tempted to videotape a farm before, but now I have the crazy urge to drive up to Simpson’s farm and film his cows from the side of the road.

February 25th, 2011

Conn. Senator Introduces Bill Protecting Citizens' Right to Videotape Police 0

By Carlos Miller

A Connecticut state senator has introduced a bill that would not only guarantee the rights of citizens to record police, but hold police accountable when they prevent citizens from doing so.

Senator Martin Looney (D-New Haven) introduced the bill last month.

As Radley Balko of Reason Magazine notes, this is the first proposed law that would give citizens the right to file civil suit against police officers for violating these rights.

As we’ve seen so many times on this site, police officers have become so accustomed to violating these rights, even to the point of outright lying, that they obviously believe they are immune to any type of counter-action.

A bill like this would make them think twice about trampling on our First Amendment rights to record them.

 

February 25th, 2011

New Android App Encourages Citizens to Record Police Encounters 0

By Carlos Miller

A new application for Android users called Open Watch is claiming to have cutting edge technology to help citizens record police encounters.

However, a cursory look through the company’s website doesn’t look like it’s anything but a platform where people can upload videos anonymously.

So how is that different from Youtube or any of the other platforms out there?

Besides, we already know it’s not illegal to record police or post these videos, so is there really a pressing need to be able to upload these videos anonymously?

The real need is to be able to live-stream these videos as they are being recorded, but we already have an app for that called Qik.

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