Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Filming the Police II

Still hazardous to your health, especially when they're trying to keep this video from becoming public:

Radley Balko has the story:
Miami Beach police did their best to destroy a citizen video that shows them shooting a man to death in a hail of bullets Memorial Day.

First, police pointed their guns at the man who shot the video, according to a Miami Herald interview with the videographer.

Then they ordered the man and his girlfriend out the car and threw them down to the ground, yelling “you want to be fucking paparazzi?”

Then they snatched the cell phone from his hand and slammed it to the ground before stomping on it. Then they placed the smashed phone in the videographer’s back pocket as he was laying down on the ground.

And finally, they took him to a mobile command center where they snapped his photo and demanded the phone again, then took him to police headquarters where they conducted a recorded interview with him before releasing him.

But what they didn’t know was that Narces Benoit had removed the SIM card and hid it in his mouth, which means the video survived.
In other words, in the aftermath of what looks to be a firing-squad style police shooting, the cops were very concerned with destroying the only video evidence of the incident. To the point that they destroyed his phone and took him into custody.* I wonder why.

I suspect this will be one of those cases where Dad29 and I actually agree on something. Law enforcement officers need to think before using deadly force. And the impulse to immediately destroy the evidence after using such force is not a good sign.

*I'm pretty sure a court could have a field day with the videographer's detention, since it certainly appears to have been involuntary, and the police had neither a warrant nor probable cause to arrest him for a crime they had witnessed. Filming the police, even when they themselves may be breaking the law, is not a crime.

H/T: Sullivan.

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