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Old 06-26-2011, 08:08 PM  
mohel
 
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police smash camera for recording killing

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http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/06/201162114131825860.html
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A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but Narces Benoit's decision to videotape a shooting by Miami police landed him in jail after officers smashed his cell-phone camera.

It was 4am on May 30 when Benoit and his girlfriend Erika Davis saw officers firing dozens of bullets into a car driven by Raymond Herisse, a suspect who hit a police officer and other vehicles while driving recklessly. Herisse died in the hail of lead, and four bystanders also suffered gunshot wounds, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Police noticed the man filming the shooting and an officer jumped into his truck, and put a pistol to his head, Benoit said. The video shows officers crowding around Herisse's vehicle before opening fire, followed by indistinguishable yelling at onlookers, including Benoit, to stop filming.

The cop yelled: "Wanna be a [expletive] paparazzi?" Benoit recounted in a TV interview.

"My phone was smashed, he stepped on it, handcuffed me," the 35-year-old car stereo technician told CNN.
Despite his phone being destroyed, Benoit was able to save the footage by taking the memory card out of the device and putting it in his mouth before handing it over to police, he said, adding that officers smashed several other cameras in the chaos which followed the shooting.

Legal issues

"There are two questions at play here that need to be separated," said Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California. "One is: to what extent is it illegal to record officers doing their duties? And secondly, did the police destroy someone's property and evidence?"

"Whether or not the recording was illegal, the police conduct as alleged would be illegal in any case," Volokh told Al Jazeera. In Florida, it is legal to record conversations, unless the conversation is "confidential", which this public altercation likely was not, Volokh said.

After having his phone smashed, and being taken to a police station to be photographed, Benoit was summoned to appear before the state attorney on June 3 with "any and all video and all corresponding audio recorded on May 30 that captured incidents occurring [sic] prior to, during and after a police-involved shooting", according to court documents.

Benoit and Davis have hired a lawyer. The couple stopped giving interviews soon after the incident, Reese Harvey, their attorney, told Al Jazeera. Harvey also declined to comment about the couple's possible plans for legal action against the Miami police.

The incident is the latest in a series of debacles involving citizens using mobile phones to record police actions.

"The impact of citizen recording of police brutality, or activity in general goes back at least 20 years to the LA riots," said James Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, a research organisation. "It [video recording] increasingly raises questions about surveillance; whether surveillance from citizens can put a check on power," he told Al Jazeera.

Sparked by video of police beating Rodney King, in what many saw as an example of institutionalised racism, the 1992 Los Angeles riots left more than 50 people dead and caused about $1bn in property damage.

"As almost everyone in the US has a cameraphone at this point, it's very common to have any kind of police activity in a crowded setting recorded by citizens, usually from multiple angles," said Jamais Cascio, a research fellow at the Institute for the Future. "These kinds of events are unusual and people will want to show friends and family, and, increasingly, because people are learning that it can be important to have evidence of police misconduct."

And, with the spread of easily accessible recording technology, US security forces are being joined by counter-parts around the globe in being concerned about mobile technologies.

"Echoes of Rodney King in Karachi and Miami", was the headline of a New York Times blog, analysing a recent case from Pakistan, where a television journalist recorded security forces killing Sarfraz Shah, an apparently unarmed teenager. The video sparked protests across the country.

Speaking about the recent case in Florida, Police Chief Carlos Noriega told the Miami Herald that the couple's allegations were the first he'd heard of officers allegedly threatening people or destroying cameras or mobile phones.

"It was quite a chaotic scene," the chief said of the late night shooting. "We were trying to figure out who was who and it was a difficult process. Not once did I see cameras being taken or smashed," he said, adding that Benoit's video is evidence which could help investigators.
Narces Benoit, the Florida man who shot this video, hired a lawyer after police smashed his phone
Video on page link
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:18 PM  
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If that is what happened, that officer needs to be fired. It would be correct to seize the video as evidence, but make sure he gets his property back upon collecting the evidence.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:01 PM  
mohel
 
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Originally Posted by havasu View Post
If that is what happened, that officer needs to be fired. It would be correct to seize the video as evidence, but make sure he gets his property back upon collecting the evidence.
I've felt the same rage as those officers but I didn't try to kill anyone. I have great respect for police but it's lessened by their reliance on tasers and the all too common beatings when they catch their quarry.

Cops weren't afraid to use their fists and a billy club once upon a time.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:11 PM  
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Its okay for police officers to video tape everything going on, but a civilian cant?

I remember getting in trouble by mall security once for video taping my friends and I for a school project. We were asked to turn the camera off and to leave. I didnt turn it off, but we left while video taping the mall cop get super angry. I told him it was my right to record what I wanted. He didn't think so...
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:10 PM  
mohel
 
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Originally Posted by Britney View Post
Its okay for police officers to video tape everything going on, but a civilian cant?

I remember getting in trouble by mall security once for video taping my friends and I for a school project. We were asked to turn the camera off and to leave. I didnt turn it off, but we left while video taping the mall cop get super angry. I told him it was my right to record what I wanted. He didn't think so...
Mall ninjas are very impressed by their mirrors.

I like cops but I'm not very happy about the use of Swat teams unless there is a clear threat of armed resistance. Just watching "Cops" should convince anyone that more than adequate force is too often used. There had better be 3 news choppers overhead if you force a car chase and don't expect a beating.
Catch the bum and lock him up but no cop has the right to beat a man who is not resisting.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:20 AM  
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that is not correct,that officer needs to be fired.
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