Recording Your Encounter with Police Could Get You Arrested

How about this for a twist on the Panopticon? Ray Sanchez of ABC News has a must read piece about people who have been arrested for videotaping their encounters with police officers.

Two key pieces of context: first, soon, just about every mobile device will be able to record video, and second, police tapes have formed a powerful means of holding police accountability in areas where police-community relations are not so good, say in Oakland.

So far, only a handful of people have been impacted, but one of them, Anthony Graber faces nearly two decades in prison.

Arrests such as Graber's are becoming more common along with the proliferation of portable video cameras and cell-phone recorders. Videos of alleged police misconduct have become hot items on the Internet. YouTube still features Graber's encounter along with numerous other witness videos. "The message is clearly, 'Don't criticize the police,'" said David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber's defense team.

"With these charges, anyone who would even think to record the police is now justifiably in fear that they will also be criminally charged." Carlos Miller, a Miami journalist who runs the blog "Photography Is Not a Crime," said he has documented about 10 arrests since he started keeping track in 2007. Miller himself has been arrested twice for photographing the police. He won one case on appeal, he said, while the other was thrown out after the officer twice failed to appear in court.

Read the full story at ABC News.

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