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Sometimes, Watching Them Watching You Gets You Arrested

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Today comes news that video has been posted to YouTube this week that Emily Good, a Rochester, N.Y. woman, went to jail to capture.

Good was videotaping police from her own front yard. In New York, videotaping police is perfectly legal — but she was still charged with obstructing governmental administration for taking her camera out in May to document a traffic stop in front of her home. Her case, and an internal investigation by the Rochester Police Department, are both ongoing, Matt Sledge writes at HuffPo. The video captures a version of events slightly different from what was documented in a police report, Sledge writes.

Yesterday, I wrote about OpenWatch, software for surreptitiously recording audio or video of your interactions with law enforcement and then anonymously uploading it to the Internet. In these kinds of encounters, law enforcement officials put the dispute in terms of officer safety. Advocates like Good, or OpenWatch's Rich Jones, on the other hand, say the issue is that video or audio in the hands of a citizen is something that civilians rarely had before — evidence that the version of events in an official report may not be the version that actually happened. In contexts ranging from Rodney King to "Collateral Murder", that changes the dynamics of power in a fundamental way.

(Via Rebecca Baker)

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