Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What part of “It’s a free country” do the police not understand?

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The “free” part, obviously. TYD passes along a pointer to an all-too-common tactic of the more thuggish sort of police, written for Philly.com by Wendy Ruderman:

Ian Van Kuyk, a Temple University junior studying photojournalism, emerged from class earlier this month with a straightforward assignment: Take pictures at night.

Van Kuyk’s professor had armed him with a Nikon D40 digital camera and the knowledge that he had the legal right to snap photos anywhere within the public domain.

Van Kuyk, 24, ended up getting a crash course on what happens when police don’t want to be photographed, he said.

He and two of his Point Breeze neighbors say a police officer forced Van Kuyk to the ground, jamming his face into the sidewalk, and handcuffed and arrested him after he began photographing a March 14 traffic stop on his block.

“I was within my rights. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The officer began pushing and shoving me,” Van Kuyk told the Daily News. “I told him, ‘I’m just taking a photo. I’m a photojournalism student.’ He got angry. And he just grabbed me and took me to the ground. He kept saying, ‘Shut up. Stop resisting.’ ”

Police say Van Kuyk’s arrest had nothing to do with his picture-taking. “The officers are fully aware of the First Amendment right to take photographs,” Lt. Ray Evers said Monday. [This is obviously complete bullshit. – LG]

The incident has incited the 7,000-member National Press Photographers Association and raised questions about whether all Philly cops are adhering to a memorandum, issued by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, saying that civilians have a right to record or photograph cops in a public space.

His memo followed a Daily News story in September about incidents in which cops wrongly arrested bystanders for using cellphones to record arrests.

“The only intent Ian [Van Kuyk] had was to take a picture,” said former photojournalist Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney representing the photographers’ association. “Did this officer miss the memo or something?”

According to Van Kuyk and two neighbors, here’s what happened about 7:45 p.m. March 14: . . .

Continue reading. So far as one can tell from the story, this is simply abuse of power and being a thug. The policeman in question should be fired and his supervisor be given a written warning, a copy of which is placed in his personnel file.

Do read the description of the incident. If this is not police overreach and overreaction, then I don’t know what is. I hope the two sue the police department—the misdemeanor charge for simply accepting the camera from the guy (so the camera would not be damaged) is revealing. Probably if you simply said, “Hello” to the officers at this time you would have been arrested: they were on a rampage, near as I can tell.

Bet: No disciplinary action will be taken against any of the police. The only hope is for Van Kuyk to initiate a lawsuit against the department.

Written by Leisureguy

27 March 2012 at 9:44 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

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