12/16/14 Right To Record

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Law enforcement officers, fire fighters, EMTs and other emergency personnel deserve our thanks for service to our communities.  And our nation.  They sometimes engage in dangerous work under difficult circumstances.

But even first responders – just like every other group – have some bad apples.  These people must be held accountable when they misbehave.

Over the years, we’ve highlighted some of those who’ve behaved poorly.  Whether its ethical lapses.  Or has involved loss of life.

[Here are some examples:

Maryland Right to Record 12/30/10 – http://www.behindtheheadlines.net/sections/videos/vid_3.shtml

Cavity Searches 8/14/14 – http://www.behindtheheadlines.net/sections/videos/vid_310.shtml

Illegal Search 10/30/14 – http://www.behindtheheadlines.net/sections/videos/vid_332.shtml

Hammond, Indiana 11/20/14 – http://www.behindtheheadlines.net/sections/videos/vid_338.shtml]

It’s well-established that the burden of proof rests with a whistleblower when alleging government wrongdoing. Once upon a time it was one person’s word against another.  Guess what.  The cop would always win.  That’s why video is so important. A truly impartial witness.

Behind the Headlines has called for cops to wear cameras.  In one city, police cameras reduced violent police encounters by 59 percent. And there was a nearly 90 percent reduction in complaints made against police officers. 

Fewer incidents. Fewer complaints.

This is why it’s disturbing that the Illinois General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill that would make it illegal to record police officers while on duty.

[The bill was introduced because the Illinois Supreme Court had struck down the state’s previous law, which authorities relied upon in order to criminally charge citizens who recorded police and other government officials.]

Eliminating the evidence – such as banning video — makes it nearly impossible to hold government officials accountable.

No one should have an expectation of privacy while working at taxpayer expense.

This is a step in the wrong direction.
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