Freedom of the Press Begins with You

Here’s a disturbing video called “If You See Something, Film Something” that shows why it’s important that citizens have the right to turn cameras on the activities of police officers without being stopped or harassed:

The United States has growing problem with police abuse, brutality, and corruption. It is essential for civilians to document their encounters with police officers to ensure transparency, accountability, and safety to all of those involved.

Police departments have, for too long, tried to bully, intimidate, threaten, arrest, or otherwise harass law abiding citizens from recording the activities of law enforcement in public. Enough is enough! It is time for all of us to take a stand and expose police brutality when we witness it.

Be warned: the video contains many graphic scenes of police brutality…

  • Anonymous
  • Guio

    stupid police-politicans… WW3 is near!

  • Dennis Marciniak

    I’m used to run-ins with security and police. I was shooting at Union Station (main train hub in Toronto) when security approached me. He asked me what I was doing which I replied, “Shooting for personal purposes sir, is there anything wrong with that?”. He began to get very angry, demanded to look at my camera and through my images. I refused, and then let him know that I have a hidden mic/camera and that the conversation was being recorded. His entire tone changed and he began acting professional at that point. We ended the conversation with a handshake and I told him I would stop shooting because it technically is private property.

    Had I not let him now, he would have continued to harass me. Your smart phone in the front chest pocket in a jacket, (pointed outwards and recording) is the best way to shoot and avoid being harassed. Having a cloud service that instantly uploads (audio, video, image) content is a good idea too.

  • Mantis

    I know a few police officers because they live in my neighborhood and we sometimes end up at the same events, kids b-day parties, and whatnot.

    I’m now convinced that the corrupt asshole, abusive, drunk on power cop is the norm, and not the exception.

    I pretend to respect them and be their friend while they share stories & laughs about the guy who’s head they bashed into the hood of their cruiser last night, the kid who they hogtied only because he had a little bit of weed on him…and on and on and on…

  • Andrew9909

    This has gotta be one of the most biased pieces of propaganda I’ve seen in a long time; sure the police have been behaving badly (if not illegally) in some cases, but this clip doesn’t attempt to tell a balanced story at all.

    The Anthony Graber story: accepting that he was charged with four felonies and faces a maximum of sixteen years in prison, I’d love to know what those charges were for. If they were completely unrelated to the encounter with an un-uniformed cop on his bike, then that’s making a complete mockery of the ‘ideals’ of transparency, honesty and accountability that this video is trying to protect.

    In my eyes that makes it completely untrustworthy.

  • Michael

    Osama Bin Laden is Dead but he accomplished taking away a piece of our freedom and seeding fear into all of us.  
    It seems we are all turning against each other and cant distinguish terrorism between the civilians or enforcement officials.  Why cant we just get along, why can’t we just let the police do what they do to protect us and why can’t the police just use tactical force to bring down potential suspects and stop being so brutal.

    I guess we are just all too human to control our fears and anguish from what’s happening to us.  I just wish it won’t get worse.

  • Richp

    I lurk here  a lot, but seeing this I just had to jump in.  I think a little part of us dies every time one of these stories of law enforcement ignorance/abuse/whatever comes to light.  Is it really so much to ask that we (photographers or not) be allowed to do what we are legally allowed to do?  Furthermore, is it really so much to ask that cops behave in a legal, correct and respectful manner?
    With that said, I was in DC a couple of weeks ago (I’m British, live in the UK, and was enjoying playing tourist) and spent an evening traipsing round the monuments after sunset with a camera.  At the Lincoln memorial a couple of cops came up to me and asked what I was doing. It’s 9.30pm, there are dozens of people at the memorial, most of them taking photos and commenting on how wonderful it is.  I’m there with a dslr and a longish lens (70-300), I look back at him thinking to myself, how is this going to go?  how do I respond? please don’t say something that will get you deported!!  As I cycle through answers in my mind looking for something suitable, his partner asks if I have been over to the Korean war memorial because “with the fog coming down it looks really spooky, it would make a great picture!”.  We talked a bit and they walked me over, showed me where the lights were, offered to let me walk in among the statues in case I wanted a better shot.  Then we went across to the Vietnam memorial, one of them pointed out his Uncle’s name and told me about the memorial…  At this point I asked if they were really cops or guides in uniforms that looked like cops, or candid camera or something.  “I love to take pictures, I’ve got that same camera as you and this is a great place to take pictures. Ya know, we not all a**holes” he said.
    To me that brings back to life one of the little parts that died.  If only there were more of those!

  • lukemil

    I’m sorry but while I totally support the right of the public to video and photograph the police, that piece was simple anti-police propaganda. The voiceover stated that the police are never held accountable, yet several of the clips shown lead to the arrests of the police officers involved.

  • xpirex

    These clips may not be representative of the whole story but they should not exist at all. Not one of them. They are a disgusting display of sheer out of control aggression, hate, malice and brutality towards the general public who they are supposed to be serving. Or do you think some clips of cops being nice will ever balance this out? Are you A cop by the way?

  • Dave

     Except that this was not a video to show a cross section of how the average cop behaves. It was a video specifically produced to show that some police violate your rights as a citizen and you have the ability to protect those rights. The video was right on target.

  • Dave

    That is like saying a video about serial killers is anti-human propaganda. If you are producing a video about bad weather conditions, you probably won’t want any footage of a sunny beach in Fiji now would you? This video is about renegade police. The content is legit, except for what you state in your last sentence.

  • Killermotion

    LOL. That is FREAKIN HILARIOUS!!! If people stopped doing stupid stuff, cops wouldn’t have to beat them. Oh the drama. They all looked guilty to me. Sure, you run from cops, act like you got a gun, or charge them aggressively, you probably got a beating coming. Corruption is not at an all time high either. It used to be way worse, so put your tissues back in your purse. Sure some cops make mistakes, but in the grand scheme of things there are way more good cops than bad ones. Sure, I am all for video taping these things, but they should end up on Americas Funniest Home Videos.

  • Dfresh

    I feel sick to my stomach. This is wrong. We must stop the fascist regime. Photograph and video tape everything for the goodness of humanity and don’t be intimidated. We have the numbers.

  • Dave

    They looked guilty to me too……guilty of taking pictures.Please enlighten us on how that is illegal.

  • Guest

    That trick might work in Canada, some places you would have been charged for secretly recording the officer.

  • Guest

    Correction.. see your case was with security not police.

  • Guest

    If it’s “technically private property,” as the officer alleged, then isn’t that grounds for the officer restricting you from shooting and recording, or whatever you were doing?  The officer acting politely and professionally is one thing, but if you were committing a misdemeanor or crime of some kind, he has every right to tell you to cut it out.

  • Killermotion

    …..this video should be illegal. its terrible. Most of the time there is zero frame of reference for what your watching. This video is propaganda. Cracks me up……..right? People need to grow up. There are bigger fish to fry in the world. Cops are (most of the time) just doing there job the best they can. If you don’t like it, go become a cop so you can help to “change” things. 

  • Killermotion

    Hey Dfresh. This is not a fascist regime, but close enough. Next time don’t vote for Obama.

  • Anonymous

    I have nothing against recording the police… I figure you are better safe than sorry but at the same time I feel like there is way too much anti-police sentiment.  Sure, bad cops exist, but at the same time, they have to deal with a lot of crap that most of us probably never have to see (thank god).  I’m not saying its an excuse for the bad behavior we have seen, but how often do people post videos of cops doing the right thing?  Isn’t that just a LITTLE biased?? The officers in the video should be held accountable for what they did, but we shouldn’t generalize this type of behavior as the “norm”.  Lets not let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. 

  • Dave

    You are slaying us with your intelligence.

  • Dave

    Ahhhh….that explains it. A voice from the uneducated right. Should have seen it a mile away.

  • koolaid

    Imagine if a normal citizen started going around acting like a typical cop.  Imagine a normal-looking guy in regular clothes handcuffing people, throwing them in the back of his vehicle, and then locking them up in his dungeon because he doesn’t approve of them consuming marijuana, carrying a handgun on their person for self-defense without government permission, or even fishing without a license.  Imagine if this guy was demanding that people who don’t wear their seatbelts give him money.  Imagine if this person was claiming the right to use violent force against anyone who didn’t comply and the right to kill anyone who physically fought me all cops are bad cops, i don’t need protection from anyone what i need is protection from the police, they do not protect or serve the citizens anymore. they serve and protect the government, and if you think the us government has the best interest in you, then you are highly mistaken.

  • NRIPhotography

    I feel strongly about this, our freedom to record what happens in public should not be obstructed but these documentary videos rarely show the whole picture. Not every encounter is a case of the police looking to hurt someone but even they would admit it goes too far too often. In most cases (even some in this video) the police were reacting to situations in which their lives and personal safety were threatened and responded to protect themselves. As a private citizen you have the right to defend yourself from danger, even kill or beat someone to do so. What this video failed to mention is the millions of kind, helpful, and in many cases heroic actions police officers perform every day. There are good and bad in every group of people. This highlights the bad and infers all police are  power hungry thugs out to hurt and intimidate the public. If this was the case why does everyone call them first when they need help? A complete and fair portrayal would be more professional taken more seriously by public. Not all police are bad. If we were to think like this all drivers are bad because some speed, every different segment of our society would be bad and should be condemned based on the actions of a very small portion of that group. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but everyone who expects to be heard and treated fairly should act in the same way. As the video states, it “Begins With You”.

  • Killermotion

    LOL. You wish it was that simple. I am just playing devils advocate anyway. I would vote for a flamboyantly homosexual, any race in the world, tree hugging, fat man, woman, or transgender, penguin if it had the guts to do whats right. Hows that fur the undereducated. LOL Dave! Laugh at the world sometime! I don’t care if someone is right, left, as long as they do the right thing. Hey I went to high school, that was good enough for me. I own a business making 6 figures. I pay taxes and buy my own healthcare. I donate time, money, and other things to  people in need. I like all those to be my decision. That is why I say not to vote for Obama. Don’t give me platitudes about the uneducated right. After all, its about love. I just like to light a fire. At least it got you going. You should email me. I am a huge fan of other peoples photography.

  • Coyote Red

    Google is your friend.  So is Wikipedia.  The charges were for illegally recording police.  All charges save the traffic citations where summarily tossed.

  • Lovethepolice

    first of all, the guy at the start of the video looked like he had some sort of weapon in his hand and made an advance at a police officer!! enough said!!! I’d like to see what all you “critics” would say if we didn’t have police to keep the streets safe!!!!! 

  • Dick

    boobies :)

  • vesey

    i was at the same parties and i don’t remember any such stories by the police…why are you lying ??

  • Dave

    Sensitive cop? I knew a girl who dated cops. She said they were ALL head cases.

  • Randell

    To anyone who thinks that the police officers had no other options but to use the force depicted in this video – You need your eyes tested, your moral compass re-aligned and your attitudes on what constitutes un necessary violence checked.
    In every single clip, the police used excess and gratuitous force.
    All police officers are trained how to handcuff a suspect who is resisting, without clubbing them with such force as to break bones, how to correctly control a person once on the floor and how to take a person to the floor using minimum force.
    The police in this film are nothing more that armed thugs, who’s racism, prejudice and abuse of authority do nothing to honour all those law abiding officers serving our communities both in the USA and other countries throughout the world.
    I found this video sickening, frightening and an inditement of the fascist attitude and mob mentality that purveys many police departments. They dishonour the uniform they wear and damage the society they are sworn to protect.