Would an officer’s interview with a rape victim or a child victim of a sex crime be subject to public disclosure? Even with assurances that the footage would not be released, to what degree will the presence of a camera dissuade victims from wanting to make a report, or have their child make a report? In states where juvenile suspect’s names are protected from public release, how will departments handle public information requests where the footage depicts a juvenile or other ‘protected’ person interacting with the officer?
via Body Cameras – be careful what you wish for. J. MARK TROWER – Blog.
Buddy of mine and he knows his stuff. He will be surely be ticking some off which is a good thing. Never get stuck in a mental loop.
4 thoughts on “New Blog Recommendation J. MARK TROWER.”
Our Constitution was written to protect the people from injustices by the government. The enumerated rights include a number of protections for people accused of crimes. The Constitution does not explicitly protect the rights of the victims of crime, and there is a reason for that. The rights of the accused are in direct conflict with the rights of the victim. It is awful to say to a rape victim “you have little privacy, you will testify in court, you will be cross examined by the defense, your identity may even become public knowledge.” But that is part of the price of freedom.
If the emotions and mental stability of rape victims is an issue, pay for counselors to help them. Put it on a ballot and I’ll vote for it. Include fines for people found guilty of crimes to pay for it, and I’ll support it. But don’t take away the body cameras. It is the first major meaningful transparency cut into government in a long time. That protection for the people is more important than the anguish of one victim.
And yet the issues surounding the vulnerabilities of the adult victim of rape are but a fraction of the tip of the iceberg. Getting as far away from that as I can, what about the expectation of privacy within one’s home? Yes, that may be voluntarily surrendered to the involved officer(s) moving through your house to seek/gather evidence. But what about every other Wondering Willy with a FOIA request who gets to take a virtual tour of your home, possibly including video of family members in emotional distress? What purpose, besides fulfilling Wondering Willy’s quest for a vicarious thrill, is served by making public such video? As has also been stated, that virtual tour may well provide the next burglar or home invader with information that will assist them is overcoming/avoiding your security system – be it a wish and a prayer or intricate electronics.
As stated, this notion needs to be thought through. Slapping body cameras on every cop is not [u]the[/u] answer even though a lot of people seem to think it is.
You are right. There are security issues. However, I don’t realistically believe that those issues provide much of a threat.
Lets say a cop works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year. That is 2,000 hours a year. The reality is more like 2,500 hours a year. West Palm Beach has 350 officers in their department. That would be 875,000 hours of video shot in one year. Miami-Dade PD has 1,380 officers, that is 3,450,000 hours of video per year.
The idea that there are criminals who would go hundreds-of-thousands or millions of hours of video looking for a tour of your house so they can break in is … unreasonable. Where in, you could FOIA request the video from a specific officer at a specific window of time, that would require a lot of foreknowledge of what you are looking for. Having worked for a law firm, FOIA requests are usually not executed that precisely.
An attorney, representing a client who is accusing an officer of misconduct will know from his client what officer and what time to ask for. But a stranger in a basement would have to know which officers responded to a 911 call at your home and at what time and would have request that specific info and have to give a justification for why they want that info.
this article also fails to mention certain limitations on FOIA. You can’t just ask for documents. There is a formal request which requires a certain level of justification to get them. That is why they are often denied, and then lawsuits are filed to get documents released.
Then there are limitations written into FOIA, the relevant ones are:
4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential
6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information … (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy … (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.
Again, the idea that some guy in his basement is going to FOIA thousands of hours of video, get them, and then watch them (even at fast-forward) to get an inside view of your home and crying kids, is paranoid.
The risk of abuse by police not wearing body cameras is greater than the risk that police body camera video will be abused.
Smarter heads than mine have commented…..I’ll just say that body-cameras are a double-edged sword with no hilt. I don’t fully trust in the goodness of mankind that they will not be misused and abused by those in power, nefarious elements, etc.
Mind loops suck. Especially when they croon “awooooo….werewolves of London. Awooooooooooooo.” Stupid song.
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