Thursday, July 17, 2008

Man Arrested for "Unlawful Photography"

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars: A man was arrested for "unlawful photography" for taking a picture of a police officer standing by the side of the road while engaged in a traffic stop.

What is interesting to note is that the officer now swears that it was about his fear for being hit with a "laser" and not just about a picture. First, there is no law (and can't be one) against taking a picture of a police officer in public. And second, the picture was taken with an iPhone, which has no laser, no flash, nothing which could be mistaken for a laser. In other words, this officer is full of it.

But this is just another example of how readily one can find police lying their asses off. Imagine all of those instances where it is not so clearly a lie (and where the defendants are poor or otherwise not likely to be believed by authorities). This is just disgusting. If there is any justice, those two officers would be fired, with a public statement from their police department that it was because they were dishonest about official police business and so were not fit to be police officers and could not be trusted to testify truthfully in court. (Thereby killing any chances that they could work as police elsewhere and testify).

This sort of thing just really annoys me. As far as I'm concerned, police need to be held to a higher standard. Instead, they are held to a lower one. People who lie under oath where another person's very freedom is at stake are despicable and ought to be punished severely. Particularly where those liars are police officers.

And (perhaps in homage to the Simple Justice blog), there is already a commenter on the news story who is reminding people that these officers don't really reflect on the police as a whole, they are just "bad apples." And so in my own homage to Simple Justice, I give you:


The Barefoot Bum said...

[T]hese officers don't really reflect on the police as a whole, they are just "bad apples."

As I'm sure you know, whether they are typical or atypical is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is how people who (supposedly) violate the standards are officially treated. If there are no consequences for some behavior, then it is incoherent to say that the behavior violates some standard. Standards without consequences aren't standards, they're just bullshit.

DBB said...

That is a very good point. I think people say things like that simply so they can justify continuing to treat police testimony (and testilying) as gospel truth without feeling guilty about it.

And half of the problem with standards isn't just that those who get caught don't get properly punished, it is that they really make no attempt to catch people violating them in the first place. (Which of course is what you are talking about - no consequences for the behavior).

There's a whole lot of bullshit in our criminal justice system.

BadTux said...

Hey, this guy got off light. At least, unlike with David Woodman, they did not immediately dish out the death penalty for the crime of pissing off a police officer. Sheesh. Next thing you know, you'll be requiring police officers to obey the same laws that the rest of us obey. What kind of country would this be if all animals were equal but some were not more equal than others? Horrors!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin