Cop Watching

"cell phones, surveillance cameras and other video equipment often used to assist police are also catching officers on tape, changing the nature of police work"

"Some say cameras are exposing behavior that police have gotten away with for years."  Yeppers and I'm loving it!

"Minutes after a suburban Chicago police officer was charged with striking a motorist with his baton, prosecutors handed out copies of a video showing the beating — taken by a dashboard camera on the officer's own squad car...  Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the video her office gave to the media on Tuesday shows police officer James Mandarino, from the Chicago suburb of Streamwood, hitting motorist Ronald Bell 15 times after a traffic stop last month.  In the video, Mandarino is seen firing a Taser at a passenger in the car and then striking Bell, who is on his knees with his hands on his head. Bell suffered a concussion and cuts that required seven stitches."

"In California, after a transit cop and an unruly train passenger slammed against a wall during a struggle and shattered a station window last fall, video from a bystander's cell phone was all over the Internet before the window was fixed."

"But others contend the videos, which often show a snippet of an incident, turn officers into villains simply for doing their jobs, making them targets of lawsuits and discipline from bosses buckling to public pressure."  Sure, it can be a rough job, sure we all need to be reasonable when watching and keep things in perspective but my general reaction to that is: HOOEY!!!

"There is little chance that the videotaped scrutiny of police will slow. In fact, groups with video cameras follow police in cities all over the country, including Orlando, Fla., where George Crossley launched Orlando CopWatch in 2006."

There are a few formal chapters of CopWatch and ther's a Forum but there sure need to be more.  In the meantime, remember that setting up cameras with internet feed is relatively cheap and easy.  Having your own video when the local PETA or HSUS supported SPCA helps kick in your door may make the difference between life and death for you and your animals.

Since my teens, when I see someone alone who's been pulled over, especially if it's in a lonely spot, I pull off at a distance just to keep an eye on things.  I usually try to pull to a spot where the officer can keep an eye on me while doing his/her job while I sit on my hood/trunk/bumper with my hands in my lap.  Most officers have never seemed to mind; seem to know exactly what I'm doing and many have smiled and waived as they headed back to their patrol cars at the end of the stop.  Every now and then, one seems annoyed.  My general reaction to that?  Too bad; no expectation of privacy in a public location...  I actually adore good law enforcement officers and have no wish to interfere with them but it is they who taught me that many are not so "good" and any who pull someone off in a lone spot should be watched.

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