This video from the PoliceRecording.com YouTube channel (it’s actually more of an audio recording) shows a traffic stop in Boston. The unidentified officer heard on the video notices the passenger is recording with his cell phone. He then very incorrectly states that it is illegal to do so without informing him that he is being filmed. This traffic stop obviously took place in public view. As everyone who regularly reads this site is well aware, it is therefore perfectly legal (and very much recommended) to film this police officer during the course of his duties.
The original description included with the video:
Location: Washington St. Boston, MA
Date: September 18th, 2015, at approx. 1:15 am.
Sadly, I didn’t get the officer’s name or badge number.
Let’s just call him Officer Twat.
Rough officer description:
Black male, mid 30s to mid 40s, smelled like bacon. Drove an SUV-type vehicle.
Officer was accompanied by a white male/partner who behaved reasonably well (he never opened his mouth and gave me a good impression, overall). I commend him for it.
General video description:
My brother gets pulled over for speeding. This is NOT in the video recording, but he initially asks the cop, “May I ask why I’m being stopped?” At this point, the officer gives a rude and condescending answer, “If you would just let me do my job. Just let me do my job.” (You REALLY had to be there to catch the ugly tone.)
Sarcasm: Sorry for asking a basic and perfectly legitimate question, officer [facepalm].
The cop then walks back to his car with my brother’s license and registration. Three minutes later, he comes back and soon realizes I was (gasp!) recording the incident.
The Boston police officer gets offended because of being video-recorded. He insists I have to let him know beforehand.
In other words, the poor guy thinks I have to get his approval. Sorry, but I’m not your wife.
Other useful information, for the hell of it:
Quote from the Boston.com article, How a Boston Case Won You the Right to Record Police: “Massachusetts is a ‘two party consent’ state, which means it’s illegal to record audio without the knowledge and permission of the person you are recording — unless, as we’ll see, that person is a government official in a public space.”
For the record:
- Q: You never recorded the cop’s face!
A: I wanted to protect the driver’s identity. As a result, the focus remained on the dashboard.
- Q: That sounds awfully hypocritical. What about respecting the officer’s wishes?
A: In the end, citizens have the right to videotape (or avoid) whomever we choose. I was merely exercising those rights. Deal with it.
- Q: Why is the driver so apologetic?
A: Who knows. Maybe he wanted to defuse the situation (the wrong way, mind you). He even apologized for asking why he was being stopped earlier (which he shouldn’t have).
- Q: I’m a cop. How can I reduce the chances of ever landing on YouTube?
A: Let’s put it this way: The more you complain about being videotaped, the more you’re going to end up all over the internet. If you simply ignore the camera, then there’s nothing special about the encounter — thus the video wouldn’t go online.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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