Police Abuse: Using Wiretapping Laws to Avoid Accountability
August 5, 2010 2 Comments
This is frightening. Police have arrested and charged a man under wiretapping laws for recording his own encounter with police.
The man faces up to sixteen years, though the use of the law in this circumstance is more than stretching it. What is frightening is that rather than addressing problems within the police institution, reprimanding individuals who cross the line, and working with communities to improve relationships, police are using a law to protect themselves. Rather than face their own imperfection, police are arresting civilians whose recordings often force them to be held accountable for their own breaches of the law.
This is not indicative of a strong, healthy, institution with integrity. This is indicative of an institution with something to hide, and power to keep hold of.
Before I’m accused of police-hating, let me stop you there. I am completely supportive of the ideal of a peaceful police force, with the mission to protect and serve (the community). I do not support the militarizing our police forces are and have been undergoing, and I do not support police who abuse their authority. As a lover of freedom, I cannot support tyranny or abuse of the powerful on the powerless. I do not support a lack of integrity. I do not support a lack of respect.
As a lover of freedom, I must demand accountability on behalf of our police force, and of our courts. Police must not abuse their authority. They must not retaliate against citizens who hold them accountable for their wrongdoings. Courts, and the prosecutors that represent our states, must not use their authority to retaliate against citizens for attempting to keep their public servants accountable.
We cannot do it alone. Police must cooperate–in criticizing the failings of the police force, we are not decrying its existence. We are mourning the lack of good cops, the ones who work hard every day, the true public servants. In our criticism, we are calling for the good cops to come forward, to help the public in making the police a more peaceful, effective institution.
We are decrying the friendly fire, and calling for both police and civilians to work together to improve our communities-the communities that both police and civilians work, live, and play in.
Arresting civilians who work to keep our police accountable is not the way to do this. Pass the link at the beginning on–it has a lot of good information and links.