Thursday, June 23, 2011

Should filming the police get you arrested?

Jun 21, 2011
Should filming the police get you arrested?
A newly released video shows a woman being taken into custody for taping cops while standing on her own property
By David Sirota

Last month, I wrote a column on how police departments across the country are simultaneously employing ever-more sophisticated surveillance techniques while trying to criminalize the act of recording police officers in public spaces. This latter effort comes -- not coincidentally -- at a time when police forces are facing potential federal investigations into police brutality.

To get a sense of just how far some police departments seem willing to go to prevent citizens from exercising their civil right to record public spaces, watch this recently released video of a Rochester woman who appears to be getting arrested for video taping police from her own front lawn. (Note: The police officer in the video refers to an earlier exchange, so there may be another aspect to this story.)

For more details on the situation surrounding the Rochester arrest, go here. Needless to say, the event epitomizes the situation -- and shows how the use of police powers in this way is one major part of a larger campaign to criminalize free speech.

June 21, 2011
Rochester Police Arrest Woman For Videotaping Them From Her Front Yard
By Carlos Miller

A woman was arrested for videotaping police from her front yard in Rochester, New York.

Emily Good, 28, was recording a traffic stop where police had a man handcuffed on May 12th. The video was uploaded to Blip TV today.

The cop who arrested her has been identified as Mario Masic, according to the Rochester Indy Media.

A man named Mario Masic who happens to be a police officer in western New York also runs a business called Harvest Moon Malamutes.


Mario Masic apparrently treats dogs better than he does camera-toting citizens

You can friend him on Facebook here. Or you can email him through his business email address at

The video, which has since gone viral, shows Masic hassling Good with absurd notions after he notices her recording.

“I don’t feel safe with you standing behind me, so I’m going to ask you to go into your house,”

“You seem very anti-police … due to what you said to me before you started taping me.”

It is not clear what Good said before she started recording, but if she said anything threatening, they would have arrested her at that moment.

She ended up getting handcuffed and taken away after she refused to walk into her house, even though she was clearly on her own property.

A friend or relative ended up taking the camera and we see her being led away.

Neighbors who witnessed the interaction confirmed she had done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, the man they had originally handcuffed was released.

Mickey H. Osterreicher, attorney for the National Press Photographers Association, fired off a letter to Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard demanding that Good's charges be dropped.

Sheppard told Osterreicher and the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper that he has ordered an investigation, which normally is police talk for sweeping it under the carpet until the media attention dies down.

Police Illegally Trespass and Arrest Woman in Her Front Lawn for Recording Traffic Stop: An Eyewitness Report

Ryan Acuff
13 May 2011

At 9:50pm Thursday May 12, 2011 officer Mario Masic illegally trespassed and arrested a woman in her front lawn while she unobtrusively recorded a suspicious traffic stop in front of her house.
The Illegal Detention and Search of a Young Black Male

On Thursday night I was at my friend's house when at about 9:45pm my friend and I saw flashing lights in front of the house. We both went outside to see what the commotion was about and we found two police cars blocking the street as they were performing a traffic stop. Later on a third police car pulled up making a total of four officers on the scene. The person pulled over was a young black male. It was unclear why the man was originally pulled over but one of the officers interrogated the man and accused him of possessing drugs. Not satisfied with the man's answers, the police took the man out of his car, handcuffed and put him in the back of a police car. After the man was detained, the police officers searched his car and found no drugs. The officers then released the man and said he was free to go. As the man drove away about 9:55pm he didn't appear to receive a ticket.

The Illegal Trespass and Arrest Of a Woman Recording Incident

As soon my friend and I came out to observe the police activity in front of the house located in the 19th Ward my friend began to record the events with her IPhone. While the police were searching and detaining the driver of the car one of the officers noticed that my friend was recording the whole incident. He began to question her with an aggressive tone claiming he felt unsafe with her “standing behind him”. Interestingly, at no point was his back turned to us, so presumably he was upset that she was observing and taping. My friend responded that she had the right to observe. The officer responded that she did not have the right to observe from the sidewalk. My friend immediately moved back into her grass before the sidewalk. Then the officer ordered us both inside the house. The woman calmly noted that she had the right to be on her own property and the right to observe the police activity unobstructed. The officer commented that he thought she was “anti-police” and approached the woman stating “are you seriously not going to obey my order?” As the officer trespassed on to the property in a threatening manner, we began to walk toward the house. As we approached the porch, the officer said, “I'm just going to arrest you” and came onto the property to arrest the woman. She was put into a police car and taken away at about 9:55pm. According to the arrested woman, after the arrest the four police met in the parking lot of Wilson High School around the corner and had a conference for about an hour about how to deal with the case. A Sargent came over and gave them advice about how to write up the report that would minimize their wrong doing.

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