Cop goes Ballistic over Cellphone Camera

From Sploid:

A Philadelphia man is free just days after local cops humiliated themselves by unlawfully arresting a man for taking pictures with his cell phone.

Neftaly Cruz, a 21-year-old senior at Penn State, was at his parents home Wednesday night when he heard a ruckus outside. He stepped out of the house and saw a line of police cars on the street.

“I opened (my camera phone) and took a shot,” Cruz told NBC 10’s Harry Hairston.

Suddenly one of the cops made a bee-line for the young shutterbug.

“He opened the gate and took me by my right hand,” said Cruz.

Neighbor Gerrell Martin watched in awe as the absurd abuse of power unfolded.

“He opened up the gate and Neffy was coming down and he went up to Neffy, pulled him down, had Neffy on the car and was telling him, ‘You should have just went in the house and minded your own business instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone,'” said Martin.

“They threatened to charge me with conspiracy, impeding an investigation, obstruction of a investigation,” Cruz said. “They said, ‘You were impeding this investigation.’ (I asked,) “By doing what?’ (The officer said,) ‘By taking a picture of the police officers with a camera phone.'”

The best part is… they claim they were doing Cruz a favor by not making up charges against him. Chilling effect folks… the media better take notice of stupid police activites like this because next time it will be them getting slammed to the ground for taping the wrong police arrest.

Update: Ian Bernard points to a similar police taping case in New Hampshire where the man warned police that he had surveillance cameras on his property. Now he’s facing felony charges of “violat[ing] state wiretap laws by recording officers without their knowledge.” How the hell is that a crime in the first place with the amount of cameras we put in public places anymore? If anything, police departments should be happy that the general public is using technology to keep their officers honest, not pissed off at them.

31 Comments
  1. Welcome to the Police State of America.

    Will we wake up before it’s too late?

  2. This is a common practice, I have been ticketed for having a light out that when I later went to replace it was not out, I have been arrested 13 times, over 60 charges in all, and only 2 convictions, both for misdmeanot charges that I pled guilty to.

    The police have a good intent behind their inception, but they have become a group of frat boys, they call non officers “citizens” as a way to separate themselves form the peopel, even during their off time. They hang out at cop clubs, and cop bars, and they vote for whoever teh PBA tells them, and they are really no better than dogs on a chain (at best, most are off teh chain).

    I really hate the police. I’m sorry, I hate them. They kill people for a living, and I can’t get down with that.

  3. LOL. The Media. They don’t care. They are going to comply and insist you do too. Otherwise, the powers that be will shut them down.

  4. Fuck the police. I know they claim there are good cops out there, but if they aren’t rooting out the bad ones, and instead look the other way, then they are actually bad cops too.

    Presume cops are bad until proven otherwise.

  5. I know many police officers, and every one that I know is a good person. I’m certain there are bad cops, but I’m pretty sure most cops are good people.

    Even good people can make mistakes, such as the incident spelled out above. But an actual good person owns up to the mistake, apologies to the young man, and learns to conduct their duties with more restraint. Unfortunately, the nature of government creates a cop culture that is not condusive to restraint. Not necessarily the individual cops fault, but a problem they must deal with within their chosen profession.

  6. We’ve scooped HoT on this one. Both have already been discussed. :) And another story from New Mexico about three people arrested for photoing the cops.

  7. If this comment thread were an Aaron Russo movie, we’d start talking about the federal reserve system now :P

    /kidding, please don’t

  8. “without their knowledge”?!?

    If they see him recording them in his front yard, it’s not very well without their knowledge, is it?

  9. You’re confusing the two cases. It’s the Gannon case where police claim they didn’t know.

  10. >Neighbor Gerrell Martin watched in awe as the absurd abuse of power unfolded.

    Absurd? Yes and unfortunately not uncommon. Something very similar happened where I live.

    >but I’m pretty sure most cops are good people…Even good people can make mistakes…

    The problem is not mistakes. It’s that the police are becoming paramilitary units in this country. And many of the laws they enforce are simply immoral. For example arresting non-violent people who’s only alleged crime is that they possess drugs (including sick people arrested for possessing medical marijuana). These people are then locked in cages with violent people where many are attacked often by their jailers.

    How can “good people” enforce immoral laws and lock people in cages with violent people? How much longer will people hide behind the “cops are good people just doing their jobs” story? That story didn’t work for Nazi war criminal.

  11. thanks to our friends in the 3 branches of government over the last 40 or so years, police have been given so much power, that it is boardering on absolute despotism. And no I don’t use that term lightly.

    Those with that much power, do not want scrutiny. Police departments have been burned by video cameras and still photography in the last few decades and some will apparently do what ever they can to protect themselves.

    Both of these folks need real good attorney’s. The first amendment is weak, but still relevent enough to file a federal civil rights case against these officers and their bosses. I won’t hold my breath for criminal charges, but the officers in the main case here violanted civil rights by entering private property without warrent or probable, cause and interfered with the subjects right to “Report” (free press) on the internet what he saw.

    Frank

  12. “I know many police officers, and every one that I know is a good person.”

    I hear people saying that all the time and it annoys me. Of course you would say they are nice because they are your friends. People change when they put on that uniform. I have a friend whos brother is a cop and he is always nice to me. However i bet if i was pulled over by him and did not know him i would see a totally different side.

  13. A ‘mistake’? The cop manhandling this citizen was committing a ‘mistake’?

    A mistake is when you’ve done something accidentally; this was premeditated. This was intentional. This was done with, as the lawyers say, ‘malice, aforethought’. This was no ‘mistake’. That cop went looking to rough up someone. And he did. For no reason other than intimidation.

  14. All this is horrible, but I wonder if it is any worse than it was, say, fifty years ago? Cops then (for those old enough to remember) routinely abused “outsiders.” Can you imagine what it was like for a black man to be grabbed by the cops in a white Southern town? Forty years ago, in Phila., it was routine for cops to throw suspects in the paddy wagon and invite friends and family of victims to climb inside and whale away at the suspect for several minutes. Where I lived, the high school “hoods” frequently grew up to be the cops! Yes, we need to stop the cops but
    lets not forget they have historically gotten away with murder because that is what the vast majority of citizens want.

  15. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Bad Cop, No Donut! is “your weekly rap up of North American police brutality, misconduct, and corruption.”

    Why are cops basically being trained to be violent and snap in an instant? Is this deplorable behavior a result of the drug war or what?

  16. COPS much like politicians used to be made up of common people. Now they are generally recruited from the military (unlike politicians). They are not paramilitary, they ARE military. SWAT is and has been for decades. The WAR ON DRUGS, “routine” license checks, SADD, MADD, etc.. are responsible for the desensitization of the public to police abuses.

    I propose that we yank the “protect and serve” off of their cars and replace with something more fitting!

  17. I kinda wanted to be a detective or federal agent growing up because I come from a law enforcement family. Even now, I wish I could be, but how can anyone balance a desire to protect others with having to enforce the myriad blatantly evil laws and having to work such scumbags?

    It’s too bad that he didn’t have one of these on hand so that he could take the pictures at a much higher quality setting (and be able to slip the memory card into a family member’s hand before he got taken away).

  18. Unfortunately some folks are the only freedom thinkers in the family. Handing that memory over to that family member may well have landed him in a worse situation… when that family member “did the right thing” by handing the memory over to the police.

    Perhaps obstruction… any lawyers wanna fill us in on what could have changed given the “pitch-back” or “hand-off” if you will!?

    Politics has become a quagmire of deception. Most folks are either too busy, don’t care, or have accepted the patriotic brain-washing given to the populace since at least WWII. No conspiracy theory… just marketing good ole ‘Uncle Sam’.

    Politics are the main reason the police have gotten to the point they have. Politics are the core reason our criminals AND criminal justice system have gotten to the point they have.

    Well hell we could blame politics all day but it will do no good. We know it is messed up, the problem is in getting that message out to the normal working joe. This means we have to get around the marketing of the current administration at sporting events… Nascar comes to mind though it is not the only one.

    To create real change we need to halt the assault on our minds.

  19. I was arrested for videotaping several arrests about a week after US troops entered Iraq. They (cops) were coming down hard on anyone expressing public dissent, and also on people with cameras. They broke mine in half and I spent the night in jail while they tried to figure out what to charge me with (ultimately obstruction of justice and resisting arrest). Fortunately I was able to hand the tape off to a stranger in the crowd, despite being handcuffed, and I used it as testimony for one of the other arrestees. After that no cops showed up at my trial and the charges were dropped.

    Not long after this Ashcroft visited our town for a very closed-door pep rally with area police departments. A friend of mine was a conference room manager at the hotel where it took place and told me it was a rah-rah speech about how the administration was taking measures to reduce cop checks/balances so they could be more like storm troopers. This was when Miranda was up before Supreme Court.

  20. Since these comments have morphed into a bash session, I’d like to say this; especially to Chris Moore, SWAT Officer in Georgia, and any others who see no problem or think that since cases of police abuse occur relatively infrequently enough that is just not a big enough problem to be concerned about, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND READ THE ARTICLE!!!

    http://www.theagitator.com/archives/026885.php#026885

    Reading that brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t even finish the article at first because I started to feel ill. This is “the new police professionalism” that Scalia feels makes it justifiable to infringe on my 4th ammentment rights!?! Where is the outrage from the law enforcement community? Where are the demands that justice be met out? WHY ARE THE OFFICERS INVOLVED NOT ON DEATH ROW ALREADY?!? Where’s the fucking accountability???

    And you wonder why the public is losing (or has lost) confidence in and respect for the police…

  21. >Where’s the fucking accountability???

    In Nazi AmeriKKKa? There is none. Your rulers will get their way. If they can do it without violence they will but if they have to break your skull they won’t hesitate for a second. If you resist you will be squashed like a bug.

  22. The Federal Reserve is not a private company. They answer to the President and Congress. Websites can say lots of things, just like politicians can- don’t believe either of them. Or this letter :)

    -But really though it is not a private company.

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