In the posts New York Cops Behaving Badly Police Gone Wild and Rampant Police Misconduct I have explored several cases of police brutality in the United States. Fortunately for us these cases have been well documented. Several brave citizens armed with nothing more than video cameras have let the authorities know; Justice is not blind. Both of her eyes are upon you, and the world is watching.
So many videos have been released that the police are going for the jugular. In an effort to silence descent twelve states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington are using archaic wiretapping laws to intimidate and threaten citizens. Ironically these very laws were designed to protect citizens from unwarranted surveillance.
The basis for prosecution is the stipulation that both parties must consent to their conversation being recorded. Clearly these laws are being taken out of context in an effort to provide the police with immunity. I’m fairly certain that if a police man is brutalizing the public that he will not grant permission to be recorded. What’s next? Will the authorities prohibit their victims from obtaining CCTV evidence against the police? What about eyewitnesses to police brutality, should the state pluck out their eyes?
In most cases when citizens are prosecuted for recoding the police the charges are reduced or dropped. In New York Emily Good was charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree. Fortunately I was able to report that the charges against Emily Good were dropped. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Posted in the video below is the tragic tale of Micheal Allison. The State of Illinois is threatening him with 75 years in prison. His crime was recording the police.
Illinois really seems to have a problem with it’s citizens. They also went after Tiawanda Moore for eavesdropping. Moore had called the police during a domestic dispute. One of the officers allegedly fondled her breast and left her his phone number. She went on to file a suit against the police. Two internals affairs officers attempted to bribe her stating “That if she dropped the charges they could almost guarantee that the harassment would stop.” At great personal risk Tiawanda was able to record the conversation. Unfortunately for her The Land of Lincoln saw fit to threaten her with 15 years in prison. Thankfully a jury saw through the prosecution’s farce, and acquitted her of all charges.
The fact that this even went to trial is a frightening prospect. Why should the police expect privacy in public. It’s common sense that what public officials do is documented. This blatant intimidation and tyranny is a symptom of something far worse. The police in this country are out of control. The public needs safeguards to protect itself from the authorities.
My home state of Virginia has a one party consent law. According to Virginia code 19.2-62 It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.
Fortunately the following states also have a one part consent law in effect Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If your state allows recording public officials then it is your civic duty to do so. If you happen to live in any of the twelve states that prohibit recording the police, keep in mind that the will of the people is strong. There are risks associated with catching the police in the act of misconduct, however the risks of turning a blind eye are much graver. Do we really want Gestapo like police goose stepping down Main Street? The time to rise up is now. We will have to fight if we want freedom and dignity.