You Have Rights, Sure – If It’s On Tape

Pogan-Long incident.

Honrohoe-Vazquez incident.

Is the difference between a cop being reprimanded for illegal actions a good-quality YouTube video? Well, yeah.

The New York Times uses the cases of two bicyclists who were knocked to the ground by members of the NYPD to illustrate the point. In one video, from 2008, Officer Patrick Pogan was just convicted after video emerged of him deliberately putting his shoulder into the path of cyclist Christopher Long, sending him flying. In the other video, from 2007, the actions of Officer Timothy Horohoe aren’t seen but for a split-second before cyclist Richard Vazquez crashes to the ground. Vazquez sued the NYPD and settled for $98,000 and Horohoe did not face any serious charges.

“Pogan, it’s 15 seconds,” [Vazquez’s lawyer Wylie] Stecklow said. “You see that boom; it’s not hard for anybody to look at that for 15 seconds and think they understand what happened. That’s why I think that took off and became viral. The Horohoe case, there’s a lot of nuance you have to understand.”

So, the takeaway lesson we learn from this is that your rights aren’t really ensured unless you or someone else is able to capture it on tape. And capture it well. It pays to travel with a cinematographer.

Article from New York Times (via Gawker)

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