Welcome to the abuse of power’s worst enemy; the cell phone. Almost every mobile phone has some type of video or photo capability, and abusive cops hate it. There are dozens and dozens of examples of abuse posted all over Youtube made by regular citizens taking video of law enforcement acting unreasonably. The recent case of a Los Angeles law enforcement officer punching a, “special needs” lady shows the power of a simple cell phone video. But when the cops turn on the person filming, it reveals the true nature of the abuse of power.
In this video a Los Angeles law enforcement officer cold cocks a lady who is obviously having some mental issues, but is not violent. Take a look at this video and argue that his actions are reasonable:
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
Now couple this with the fact that, very often, those who film this type of behavior by the State, are prosecuted (or persecuted) for their actions. Don’t believe it. Look at the case of Simon Glik. Mr. Glik used his cell phone to video police abuse at Boston Common and shared his video. Despite the abuse taking place in public where all could see it, Mr. Glik was arrested and charged with violating the state wiretap laws, aiding the escape of a prisoner, and disturbing the peace. After several years the case was finally dismissed. Mr. Glik filed a federal action under the 4th Amendment. The State, using it’s protection under sovereign immunity (a defense of, “We are the king, and you can’t sue the king.”) moved to dismiss the case. A federal judge, who made the right ruling, refused to dismiss the case. The State appealed and the 1st Circuit agreed, writing “”Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filiming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause.” Unbelievable that we needed years of legal wrangling and costs to come to such a basic result.
In the current Los Angeles case, the filmer was also threatened by the police but didn’t cave in and refused to provide the video. Let’s wait to see how his refusal ends.
Ladies and Gentlement I would like to introduce the new Enemy of the State: the cell phone and a concerned citizen. They are a powerful enemy indeed.