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Posted: 1/2/2006 9:44:12 AM EDT

ACLU will provide cameras to tape police
By Jeremy Kohler
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Dec. 31 2005

St. Louis police officers often say they feel as if people are looking over
their shoulders.

That feeling isn't likely to let up this year.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a frequent critic of
the city police, says it plans to arm residents of the city's north side with
video cameras to record officers' dealings with the public.

The activist group says the department often mistreats and unfairly targets
blacks and said it hopes the presence of cameras will act as a deterrent to
police abuse and result in smoother dealings between residents and police.

The group said the cameras will start rolling in the summer, after a series of
workshops near Fairground Park where blacks can learn about how to protect
their rights during dealings with police. The program is called the Racial
Justice Initiative.

ACLU leaders notified Police Chief Joe Mokwa of its plans in meetings during
the fall. Neither the ACLU nor the police knew of any other previous effort
nationally to put officers under private surveillance.

The department has responded with a shrug. While some commanders are leery of
having their officers taped, Mokwa said, "It's legal and there is nothing wrong
with it."

Sgt. Kevin Ahlbrand, president of the St. Louis Police Officers Association,
said: "We don't expect any negative reports to come out of videotaping. Our
members are under the assumption that in today's society, they should assume
that any time they're in public, they may be being videotaped."

Redditt Hudson, who heads the ACLU's racial justice program, said, "It's not
like we needed their clearance."

Mokwa said his officers are used to hearing criticism. On Dec. 22, the chief
said, he rushed to Barnes-Jewish Hospital to visit a rookie officer who had
been just been shot in the neck.

Mokwa said the first words of the officer, Matthew Greco, were, "I didn't do
anything wrong."

But Brenda Jones, the ACLU chapter's executive director, said some criticism of
police is warranted.

"People are being stopped by the police for no particular reason," she said. "A
number who have run-ins have attempted to file complaints but haven't been able
to get to internal affairs."

The group wants to lessen the "tension and potential for violence that has
occurred with police patrolling some of the poor neighborhoods in the city,"
she said.

Mokwa said he hopes the amateur cameramen don't interfere with officers or bait
them with bogus calls. He said he disagrees with the premise of the action - he
feels most people are happy with his officers' service.

The ACLU only hears from the small percentage of people who feel they have been
wronged by police, he said.

He said he thinks most people want police officers to be aggressive in dealing
with troublemakers in their neighborhoods.

Mokwa said he hopes the tapes depict officers acting professionally. If the
videos expose problems, he said, "we'd want to know about those anyway
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:52:19 AM EDT
*Note to self*

Next time I'm in St. Louis remember to stop in the local pawnshops on the North Side for a cheap video camera.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:54:05 AM EDT
what the hell ,turn about is fair play.
just wear a t-shirt that says " cops" on it.
so, when do I get MY free video camera?
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:59:02 AM EDT
Consider the "demographic" causing the fuss. All in the name of "Racial Justice".
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:02:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TxLawDog:
*Note to self*

Next time I'm in St. Louis remember to stop in the local pawnshops on the North Side for a cheap video camera.



Yup!
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:05:50 AM EDT
Wonder if they'll voluntarily submit the tape as evidence if it shows the officer acting properly in making an arrest,or if the tape will just "vanish".
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:07:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:09:07 AM EDT
Sounds good to me. All cops ought to be wired up at all times. It makes the justice system that much better.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:17:16 PM EDT
easier to dismiss BS assault complaints if they have it all on tape.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:18:35 PM EDT
Any cop who is doing something he doesn't want seen while working probably needs to be taped.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:28:48 PM EDT
I always operated like I might be video taped. I actually carried a pocket tape recorder with me and taped all interactions with the public. Came in handy more than a few times.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:30:41 PM EDT
Careful......Big Brother is watching you
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:31:05 PM EDT
Why don't the police run their own tapes? Some of our finer citizens might actually behave themselves when they deal with the cops if there is a cop camera in their face. If there is a incedent, the ACLU can run their edited tape showing the eeevil bad cop, and the cops can run theirs showing the fat, stupid crackhead acting like an animal before he gets awarded his beatdown. Half the fucktards in Portland would be SOL.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:33:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:
Careful......Big Brother is watching you



Yeah, yeah....

Go ahead and watch. All of my interactions with the public are polite and professional. Those tapes will potentially hang the tapers not the tapees.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:38:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By texas1138:
Careful......Big Brother is watching you



The Man: "No one can tell me who or when to call. It's my little way of sticking it to The Man."

Assistant: "But ... you are The Man."

The Man: "Yes."

Assistant: "So - you're sticking it to yourself."

The Man: "Maybe."
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:39:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tromatic:
Why don't the police run their own tapes? Some of our finer citizens might actually behave themselves when they deal with the cops if there is a cop camera in their face. If there is a incedent, the ACLU can run their edited tape showing the eeevil bad cop, and the cops can run theirs showing the fat, stupid crackhead acting like an animal before he gets awarded his beatdown. Half the fucktards in Portland would be SOL.



Ever watch COPS? It does not matter.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 12:44:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tromatic:
Why don't the police run their own tapes? Some of our finer citizens might actually behave themselves when they deal with the cops if there is a cop camera in their face.


Video systems cost $$ Then you have the media storage issues.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 1:16:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Any police officer who isn't aware that there could be a tape running as he does his job isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer to start with.



I thought the ACLU was going to provide cameras to the Police. Lots of PDs and Sheriff's Depts. have video cameras in the cars for the same purpose.

But I would like one of those "free" cameras that might be lost in a boating accident.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 1:48:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nightstalker:
I thought the ACLU was going to provide cameras to the Police. Lots of PDs and Sheriff's Depts. have video cameras in the cars for the same purpose.

But I would like one of those "free" cameras that might be lost in a boating accident.



No,they are pasing them out to the community members in the hopes that someone will stick one out the window and catch some officer doing something wrong.

From the article:

'The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a frequent critic of
the city police, says it plans to arm residents of the city's north side with
video cameras to record officers' dealings with the public."
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 2:07:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
I always operated like I might be video taped. I actually carried a pocket tape recorder with me and taped all interactions with the public. Came in handy more than a few times.



A coworker of mine used to do this. It was a digital recorder and recorded into MP3. Anytime there was a questionable action or a complaint, he just emailed or burnt the MP3 onto CDrom. Covered his ass one time really good. This one lady claimed that he had called her all sorts of racial names and shit and was verbally abusive. Guess what the recording showed? She didn't get out of her ticket needless to say.
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