Posts Tagged 'cell phone taping'

ACLU Bad, Newark Police Good

In a recent article on the Newark Star-Ledger site, George Berkin, a contributor to something called “NJ Voices,” writes on the case of Newark teen Khaliah Fitchette who was unlawfully detained in March 2010 for taping a medical emergency on a city bus with her cell phone. During the incident, Fitchette was handcuffed, her cell phone was seized and the video was deleted, and the police tried to charge her with obstruction of justice. Last week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court on her behalf.

Berkin is a big fan of the bible and Sarah Palin but not of abortion and evolution. So if you want to take a wild guess on where he’ll come down on the issue, go ahead. If you’re stumped, for Berkin, it all comes down to being thoughtful.

A thoughtful person would have realized, “Now I understand why the police, angered by my defiance expressed by my refusal to stop taping, would have handcuffed me. I certainly did not enjoy being handcuffed and being held in custody for several hours. But,” a thoughtful person would have concluded, “I certainly brought that unpleasantness upon myself.”

Fitchette wasn’t being thoughtful when her rights were violated, and she should just learn some thoughtfulness and not attempt to tape anything in public because it might hurt someone’s feelings, and if she is unlawfully detained and her constitutional rights are violated because of her thoughtless behavior, she should accept that and not participate in the ACLU’s vendetta against the Newark police department. (A police department, mind you, that has a well-earned reputation as one of the most corrupt in the nation.)

Here’s an interesting twist for Berkin, who hates government spending: Lawsuits like these cost taxpayers A LOT of money. And they are entirely avoidable.

Source: Newark Star-Ledger

LA Student in Jail for Cell Phone Taping

How does a situation where a campus police officer reprimands a high school kid for smoking escalate into a felony charge and a possible seven-year jail sentence for another?

That’s a good question, and the focus of an LA Weekly story this week will really make you question justice and the American way and all these lofty ideals that supposedly make our country great. It all started when Erin Robles, an LAUSD campus police officer, approached a Verdugo Hills High School student for smoking at a bus stop a few blocks from school. The situation quickly turned ugly, with Robles getting aggressive and a group of taunting students quickly egging them all on. Robles, clearly out of her depth, drew her baton, roughed the student up, and knocked his head so hard into a school bus that the window fell out.

But the only person who is paying for the incident is Jeremy Marks, 18, who taped the altercation with his cell phone and allegedly, according to Robles, yelled out “Kick her ass!” But by most accounts, and even other cell phone videos, Marks didn’t do anything other than observe, and in fact, was one of the less vocal and aggressive students there.

That doesn’t seem to matter to LA District Attorney Steve Cooley who’s out for blood in a major way. Marks has been in jail for seven months already and Cooley wants him to accept a plea deal that will give him a mere 33 months in jail in exchange for pleading guilty to obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, criminal threats and attempted lynching. Yes, you read that right — lynching.

I guess there aren’t enough real cases to prosecute in LA County that the authorities have the time and money to go after a high school kid for pissing off a campus officer. Really, can Cooley sleep at night knowing this is the “justice” he calls his life’s work? And Robles for her part is some sort of incompetent, vindictive officer that wants payback for being embarrassed by a bunch of kids. Because that’s what this amounts to; everyone seems to be placing their own ego above the scale of the violation that in reality may have been ugly, but was nowhere near criminal.

Meanwhile Marks’ life will be ruined and if he isn’t a criminal now (which he isn’t), he almost certainly will be when he emerges from jail in 33 months or seven years, whatever the outcome may be.

Source: LA Weekly



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