Daily Archives: October 16, 2007

Your Camera May Be A Weapon

If you are standing within arms reach you could use it as a club. In more desparate straights you could through it at someone at a distance.
This guy would have needed Mr. Fantastic like powers to use his camera as a weapon before he was attacked by police:

When one woman was told to stop recording, she gave the videocamera to Waterhouse. He walked to the edge of the property, climbed up a dirt embankment and continued to record. At one point, he yelled to his friend, “Yes, I got it all on film. They had no right to come on this property.”
He says in the suit that police immediately came after him, and yelled at him “put it down.” Officers moved towards him, and he said, “Don’t come after me.” Waterhouse said seconds later he was shot with a bean bag gun and a Taser and fell to the ground.
Officers wrote in their reports that Waterhouse ran off, they chased and then bean-bagged and Tasered him. One officer wrote, “He had refused to drop the camera which could be used as a weapon.”
Waterhouse was arrested, accused of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. A jury acquitted him of all charges.

Rightfully so!
When you have interactions with police or see police activity film it! It may save you or a fellow human from police misconduct. You have every right to do so:

Earlier this summer Radley Balko penned a compelling column arguing in favor of a citizen’s right to videotape police (the related ITA post and comments can be found here). The evidence supporting such freedom seemingly mounts daily as ordinary citizens videotape police conducting illegal or unethical activities, typically to the citizens’ detriment.

If they are properly serving their employers, you and me, then police officers should have no objection to being filmed.

In a free country any objections they might have are irrelevant.

Update 10/18: Kip’s thoughts on this.