Posts Tagged 'constitutional rights'

El Paso PD Bully, Threaten Anyone Who Records Them

Sounds like the police in El Paso are resorting to good old fashioned bully tactics when it comes to photography and video. Dan Wild told the local NBC affiliate KTSM that police took his camera and deleted all the photos on it after he recorded a raid on a suspect’s house in his neighborhood two years ago. The officer told Wild it was a felony to film a police raid. (I feel like I’ve heard that one before….)

Wild came forward after KTSM aired a report last week on a taxicab inspector named Jesus Lopez-Ledesma who was bullied by El Paso police for recording a confrontational traffic stop with his cell phone. In that incident, officers threatened Lopez-Ledesma’s job and told him that they would give the driver they pulled over his driver’s license information so she could sue him for violating her privacy. (See the video here.) The El Paso police spokesman claimed the officers didn’t do anything wrong and weren’t using intimidation tactics. (That, despite one officer saying, “I’m sure your licensing, your job, depends on your cooperation with the El Paso Police Department.”)

“If we allow police to pick and choose who can film or photograph and who can’t then we might as well call the quits on democracy,” [First Amendment rights expert] David Cuillier said.

Let’s not do that. That seems lame.

Source: KTSM News Channel 9

YouTube – More Like Censor You Tube


Today YouTube caved to a “privacy violation” complaint and took down the video of our conversation with a The Gas Company Tower security manager. What’s most puzzling is the video doesn’t fall into any of the categories in their Community Guidelines. Not even from the Privacy section:

If a video you’ve recorded features people who are readily identifiable and who haven’t consented to being filmed, there’s a chance they’ll file a privacy complaint seeking its removal.

The great majority of the video is of the guy’s torso. But forget that for a minute: We were on a public sidewalk where there is no expectation of privacy.

What’s more, we regarded the encounter as informative and instructive, especially for the guard. Perhaps he’d go back to his supervisors and they’d brush up on the law so building security and photographers can finally all just get along. From our perspective, it was cordial and no one in their right mind (other than paranoid YouTube execs) would agree this discussion on photographers’ rights was a violation of someone’s privacy.  But it seems someone felt the need to file a bogus complaint.

This is setting a scary precedent. So from now on, anyone can complain to YouTube about a video they don’t like of themselves – like all those cops who beat protestors or smash into bicyclists? They’ll just sign up for an account, file a complaint, and – bam – no more public record?

Oh well, it’s not as if that will really make the video go away or anything. We’ll post a new link soon.

Penn State Photog Cleared

A District Attorney in Centre County, Pennsylvania, who apparently doesn’t have anything better to do than go after college paper photographers, lost his battle in court this week when a judge cleared the photographer of all wrongdoing. 

Michael Felletter was photographing the melee after Penn State’s victory over Ohio State last October 25 for The Daily Collegian when he was arrested and charged with five counts of failure to disperse and one count of disorderly conduct. (In March the charges were re-filed with only one count of failure to disperse.) The criminal complaint – somewhat shockingly, if only because it sounds so preposterous – claimed Felletter’s photographs incited the crowd to become “more exuberant, excited and destructive.”

Interestingly though, the police used Felletter’s photos to identify and charge more rioters involved in the incident. So, the State was happy to use the fruits of his labor, they just didn’t believe he should have been there taking photos. Hmmm.

DA Michael Madeira said he is reviewing the decision and deciding whether to appeal or re-file charges. Andy Shubin, Felleter’s lawyer, said Madeira needs to “reread his copy of the Constitution.” It would seem he has the time to do so.

Article via Centre Daily Times

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