Friday, October 7, 2011

Time to videotap Philadelphia cops. Unless....

PHILADELPHIA'S top cop has issued a memorandum to eliminate any confusion about a civilian's right to record, videotape or photograph officers in a public space.

The two-page memo by Commissioner Charles Ramsey circulated throughout the department on Sept. 23, roughly two weeks after the Daily News reported on several incidents involving cops who had wrongly arrested bystanders for using their cellphones to record what they considered violent arrests and who later emerged from police custody with smashed phones and no footage.

"It is not illegal to videotape a police officer," Ramsey said in a phone interview.

"Cameras are everywhere. [Officers] need to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. If someone wants to videotape, they have the right to do so."

But: "However, if an officer believes that the device contains evidence of a crime and fears that it may be destroyed, the officer can confiscate it without a warrant." Yeah, that provision will never, ever, ever be abused.

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