These types of clips are popping up so frequently these days, it’s almost not even shocking to see anymore. But, this video posted yesterday on YouTube shows a heavily armed US Marshal charge a woman who was photographing a group of officers. The Marshal grabbed the phone out of her hand, then proceeded to kick and smash the phone as it hit the ground. The entire group of law enforcement officials appear to have then walked away from the startled woman.
In a pleasantly surprising yet most welcome turn of events legislators have proposed a bill that will protect photographers’ rights and increase police oversight, rather than limit them suggested by several recent bills.
Unlike the bill proposed in the nearby state of Texas, banning photography within 25 feet of police, Colorado’s bill seeks to punish officers who interfere with lawful recordings of police activity by imposing significant penalties on violators.
The bill, titled “Concerning Prohibiting A Peace Officer From Interfering With A Person Lawfully Recording A Peace Officer-Involved Incident”, is just one of the steps being considered in order to increase police oversight in Colorado and hopefully it will lead to similar legislation in other states.
The bill proposing to ban recording police within 25-feet of them faced strong opposition from concerned citizens and civil right activists, and was said to be changed to 15-feet after its author received death threats.
What might be the bill’s death strike has now come from legal experts as well as the very same people the bill claims to be assisting.
Refusing to get out of the headlines, Jason Villalba is now spearheading another controversial bill.
The backlash sparked by Bill 2918, which would make photographing police within 25 feet of them a misdemeanor, went far beyond the usual social media posts.
Jason Villalba said his family received significant death threats following the proposed bill, but that he remains adamant not to withdraw it. Instead he will “considerably rewrite it”. [Read more…]
Texas representative Jason Villalba introduced a bill that will restrict the public’s right to record police activity, and turn photographing or recording the men (and women) in blue into a class B misdemeanor. The 25 feet limit jumps to 100 feet for armed photographers.
Villalba claims the sole purpose of the bill is to protect officers in the field, but free speech advocates are enraged.
Certain exceptions are made, allowing very specific media types to photograph police from any distance.
When most people think of photo walks, they probably imagine a small group of photographers casually strolling down the sidewalk snapping photos of random things along the way. Then there’s FlaskMob, a group of photographers, models, and artists who do photo walks a little bit differently. For example, the photo walk the group organized near downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, was complete with their own mobile DJ, fireworks, steel wool spinners, smoke bombs, and booze. The organizers were expecting approximately 300 participants to show up; however, as word spread via social media, that number quickly grew to about 2000.
A few days ago, NYPD Chief Phillip Banks issued a memo reminding police officers that people have the right to fill them while they’re on duty, and that they can’t interfere and try to stop it from happening. It took only three days since then, unfortunately, for that memo to be forgotten.
Yesterday, an previously New York Mayor candidate named Randy Credico was arrested and jailed for recording the aggressive arrest of a man by officers in street clothes. While on his way to a campaign interview, Credico saw the two officers taking control of the man at the Van Cortland Park subway station, located in the Bronx.
As the protest happening in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of an unarmed teenager who was shot by a police officer, enters it’s 5th day, it appears the police are vigilantly enforcing a complete media blackout. Social media is buzzing with reports of journalists, photographers, and videographers being assaulted, shot at with rubber bullets, and arrested by the St. Louis County Police. A video from local NBC affiliate, KSDK, shows a news crew from Al Jazeera America TV being tear gassed as they attempted to report on the protest. As soon the journalists cleared out, this happened:
In case it isn’t very obvious, a SWAT team in full riot gear swooped in and began breaking down the journalists camera equipment and lighting setup. Sadly, this isn’t the only case of photographers and journalists having their rights violated while reporting on the event.
It’s common these days to find videos of people filming confrontations with policemen. With a smartphone in everyone’s hands, it’s easier than ever to be able to capture incriminating evidence. Given how many controversies have come up in recent years regarding abusive police action caught on video, officers have to be careful with how they deal with citizens recording them.
This video captures resident Steve Wronko attempting to investigate the Helmetta Animal Shelter, when he’s approached by New Jersey police officer Richard Recine. Normally, the entire thing would have been another situation of a man trying to be smart with a police officer who’s trying to do his job (the internet just loves a guy who steps up to authority), and then act threatened when they pat his back towards the exit.
On Wednesday, Harlem’s community suffered tremendously when a gas leak explosion brought down two apartment buildings, killing 8 people and leaving over 70 injured. The NYPD was again faced with the task of digging through rubble to find any signs of survivors in a demolished area, bringing back memories to many people of what happened back on 9/11. A bizarre incident, however, did manage to make an appearance in the midst of everything when one photographer, Brian Wilson, caught some attention for his camera’s setup; it was on a flying drone.
The flying drone, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, managed to take a (pretty well done, might I add) aerial shot of the debris from the explosion that morning, and the photo was posted to the photographer’s Instagram account. It wasn’t, however, until the drone caught the attention of the NYPD that things got slightly controversial. I take that back; it already started turning heads of other people before it got noticed by the police, and even the people themselves got worried.