Two BPD officers face discipline for arresting man who videoed them making an arrest

The Globe reports Boston Police now acknowledge the pair were wrong to arrest Simon Glik on the Common in 2011 after they spotted him using his cellphone to video an arrest. Charges against Glik were dropped in Boston Municipal Court; Glik still has a federal lawsuit pending against Boston Police and the officers, in a case in which a federal appeals court said people have a right to video police in public place. Police had initially told Glik the officers had done nothing wrong.

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    very same article is here

    http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/01/10/police-rev...

    I love this bullshit:

    “The advent of all this new technology creates new territory for the Police Department, which isn’t unique to Boston,’’ Driscoll said. “It was a bit of a new issue back at the time, and I think that we’ve put a lot of mechanisms in place to make sure that officers are fully trained on it.’

    What a fucking weasel. The law hasn't changed, nor has the expectation for honesty from law enforcement, nor has it ever been legal to arrest someone for filming Boston cops doing their jobs, nor is it "new territory" for the public to be interested in police operations.

    What has changed: police testimony's status as the most trusted source of evidence in a courtroom, thanks to everyone having a camera in their pocket.

    "illegal wiretapping"

    There were lots and lots of arrests made with this bogus charge all over the Commonwealth. Citizens doing nothing more than recording the police in the course of their duties in a public place were arrested as if they had committed a crime because the police didn't want to be accountable to public scrutiny.

    Frankly, construing the wiretapping law to include videotaping in public places was always a HUGE REACH.

    It'd be interesting to look at past cases and see what BPD and other police departments said when the 'illegal wiretapping' charges were questioned.

    I'd also like to know how the BPD can possibly put these two officers up on charges when the practice was officially sanctioned and the arrests made under this reading of the law were prosecuted. If the charges against the cops are nothing more than arresting Glik for illegal wiretapping then there's more to this story that we need to know.

    Just as important, pay attention to new ways BPD and other police departments are insulating themselves from public scrutiny by making it very difficult for professional and citizen journalists to record them in public places.

    If you were following the eviction of occupy Boston protestors, you might know that BPD told all journalists to stand in one corner of Dewey Sq. Then BPD chose one cameraman as a pool reporter to go into the park. Next, and this is where it gets objectionable, a line of police officers stood between the kettled journalists in the corner of the park and where the arrests were being made. They could see nothing. Beyond that, two livestreamers from Occupy Boston were singled out. One was taken from the group of journalists in the corner of the park and told he must go across the street, even further away. I was watching his livestream. He was the only one they kicked out. The second livestreamer was threatened with arrest if he didn't leave the park and go across the street too. He was never told he could stand in the corner with the other journalists. BPD appears to be determined to avoid scrutiny of how they, public servants, conduct themselves on the job.

    Film The Police is a big movement, and it has revealed that police in Boston and New York are targeting citizen journalists first, a clear violation of their constitutional rights, in order to conduct their police operation without public scrutiny to which I say fuck Mike Bloomberg, Tom Menino and Ed Davis.

    Ed Davis, there are problems in internal affairs and legal unit

    I'd also like to know how BPD can possibly put these two officers up on charges when the practice of arresting people for videoing cops was officially sanctioned and the arrests made under this reading of the law were prosecuted by the DA.

    Officially, this finding was the result of an investigation triggered by Glik's complaint to BPD 4 years ago.

    “As far as I knew, my complaint was summarily dismissed. . . . I was basically laughed out of the building,’’ Glik said. “From what I understand, it takes filing a federal lawsuit in order for internal affairs to review a complaint.’’

    Glik decided to start filming them becuase "he said the officers were using excessive force against a suspected drug offender whom they had put in a chokehold."

    Note that the officers haven't been reprimanded because they put the suspect in a choke-hold. The investigation found THAT was appropriate. The officers were reprimanded because they did what hundreds of Boston Police officers have done repeatedly, arrest someone for videotaping the cops.

    This finding comes after the charges against Glik were dismissed by a court, after Glik won his case in Federal Court proving his Constitutional rights were violated, and before Glik's civil suit is tried.

    My best guess is that this is an acknowledgment, but it's not clear to me how it might serve the City of Boston or the other defendants, officers Savalis and Cunniffe or if it might mitigate damages. Maybe they're trying to show the court that they're acting responsibly in the wake of the finding in the First Circuit six months ago.

    Note also, "The two officers, Sergeant Detective John Cunniffe and Officer Peter Savalis, face discipline ranging from an oral reprimand to suspension, a department spokeswoman said yesterday. "

    I'm betting on oral reprimand, and I'll be the first to say, hit them with the book if they should have known better (based on training) but don't hold them accountable to a standard that no other BPD officer was being held to.

    Finally, BPD needs to circle back with its legal unit to find out why it believed these kind of arrests - illegal wiretapping for videotaping officer in public - were considered 'just' under the law, and good police work.

    By the way, budget hawks...

    I'd be willing to bet that the lawyers that the city is paying to defend the now-defenseless actions of the police (by their own admission) will end up costing the city more than the police hours to secure Occupy Boston did.

    I might be wrong, but what I don't hear is the war cry for ending this federal case because it's a waste of YOUR taxpayer money. Funny how certain events like Occupy Boston warrant these budget hawks to try and pressure their fellow citizens as a way to stop the needless spending of government money...but something like this doesn't bring the same people out of the woodwork to try and directly pressure the people spending the money needlessly.

    Thats because

    Conservatism as once defined simply doesn’t exist anymore, and it has been replaced by a reactionary ideology that is no longer for things but explicitly against things. Chiefly, liberal things, or even things that Republicans used to support but now that they are advanced by Democrats and liberals, they must be renounced.

    fuck all you ignorant authoritarians

    Universal Hub had lots of interesting debates about the practice of Boston Police officers and other Mass. police officers arresting citizens for filming police in public places.

    I say ... fuck all you ignorant authoritarians ... who assumed citizens were somehow at fault as an excuse for the abuse of the Constitutional rights of those citizens by police.