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$125,000 Settlement Given To Man Arrested for Photographing NYPD 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the cheaper-than-a-trial dept.
mpicpp sends word of a $125,000 settlement for a man who was arrested for photographing members of the New York Police Department. On June 14th, 2012, the man was sitting in his car when he saw three African-American youths being stopped and frisked by police officers. He began taking pictures of the encounter, and after the police were done, he advised the youths to get the officers' badge numbers next time. When the officers heard him, they pulled him violently from his car and arrested him under a charge of disorderly conduct. The police allegedly deleted the pictures from his phone (PDF). Rather than go to trial, the city's lawyers decided a settlement was the best course of action.
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$125,000 Settlement Given To Man Arrested for Photographing NYPD

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  • precedent (Score:5, Informative)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @07:45PM (#47708025) Journal

    Right, because trial can set precedent and the city *really* doesn't want that.

  • Re:precedent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @07:53PM (#47708061)

    what's missing from the summary is that the cops involved are being sued in six other federal cases... this was not a single case.

    These particular cops are used to f.ck you left,right and center and they don't care about your rights.

  • by mtthwbrnd (1608651) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @08:20PM (#47708301)

    1. They should have refused to comply with the search on the grounds of unconstitutionality.

    If the police insisted then they would be forced to make an arrest. Then the three should insist on using the legal representation, the representative will ask why they are under suspicion and force the police to obtain a proper warrant etc...

    In reality though, as soon as they refuse to submit to the unconstitutional search, the police will either walk away or be forced to commit a serious infringement, which can be dealt with later.

    2. They did not start recording the police themselves as soon as the police approached them. That way they have on record their refusal to agree to a warrantless search which renders any search before arrest unconstitutional, and if they make an arrest then they need to have a good reason - which the story implies they did not.

    When you start recording you should say to your friend, or the officers if you are alone, "this is being uploaded automatically to my blog, so don't worry if they try to delete the video". If you are smart then your friend will reply "did you press the live upload button" and you will check and say "yeah, it is uploading now" - or something like that. That will put the pressure on the officers to behave themselves.

    If you can afford it, then actually do set yourself up to upload the feed automatically, but the threat alone is likely to be enough.

    Always remain calm and speak politely. Be nice. Be friendly. Do not use hostile body language. Do not scowl. You cannot scare the police, they are not old women walking down a dark alley. I know that blacks think that they can scare anybody with a dirty look, but honestly, the police LOVE IT when somebody becomes aggressive - because it will give them grounds for arrest. They are trained to deal with your aggression and you play into their hands when you become aggressive. THEY WANT YOU TO BECOME AGGRESSIVE SO THAT THEY CAN ARREST YOU, SO DONT DO IT!

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @08:23PM (#47708313) Journal

    By the way, the President of the US is THE top of the Executive branch - meaning HE is in charge of ALL the police around the country - if I remember my high school civics correctly (yeah, I'm that old and it was back when education was about having an educated electorate and not training for McJobs).

    Shame on you Obama. And Double shame for being a Black guy and NOT doing something.

    Bzzt! Wrong. Thanks for playing. The POTUS is the head of the Executive Branch of the *Federal Government.* He's also the Commander-in-chief of the US armed forces. He is in charge of the Department of Justice (the FBI, the ATF, etc.) and the Army, Navy, etc.

    He is not in any chain of command the includes local or state police forces. The closest he *could* come to that is to federalize the National Guard (which is equivalent to a state militia), which has been done from time to time (notably in Arkansas to block the state government from halting enforcement of the Brown v. Board of Education [wikipedia.org] decision).

    The POTUS cannot legally give orders to local or state police, which are civilian organizations answerable to the municipal and state governments that raise and fund them, and not the Federal government. The only tools that the Federal government has to affect local police is litigation and withholding federal grants to police organizations [policeone.com]. You'll note that this author of the linked article is decidedly not a fan of Federal power over police.

    As such, your appeal to authority [wikipedia.org]:

    if I remember my high school civics correctly (yeah, I'm that old and it was back when education was about having an educated electorate and not training for McJobs

    falls short. Please try again.

  • Re:precedent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frobnicator (565869) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @09:18PM (#47708653) Journal

    Right, because trial can set precedent and the city *really* doesn't want that.

    Precedent is only part of the story.

    A settlement comes with the clause that they do not admit to any guilt. If the courts get involved, and a guilty verdict comes down, it also comes down with the "under color of law" modifier. That comes with a year in prison at the lowest tier. If there was bodily injury if weapons were used or threat of weapons was used, it jumps to a ten year prison term. The third tier, which triggers if the acts result in death, threat of death, or if they include kidnapping (which false arrests can qualify under), attempt to kidnap, sexual abuse or its attempt, the punishment can grow to life in prison.

    It doesn't matter what their original violation was, those are additional bonus punishments of up to a year, a decade, or life in jail.

    They will fight in the courts right up until the court decides they are no longer immune. The moment the immunity is broken they will do anything to take a non-guilt settlement.

    LEOs (both as individuals and as departments) will do all they can to avoid an actual guilty verdict when their own acts are done under color of law. They will try to get any other deal or settlement they can rather then spend time in the prisons they helped create.

  • Re:precedent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @10:32PM (#47709075)

    There's already binding precedent in the Circuit that covers NYS.

    Tunick v. Safir, 228 F.3d 135, 137 (2d Cir. 2000)
    loom v. Levy, 159 F.3d 1345 (2d Cir. 1998).

    I'm not sure what another case would prove -- the appellate courts are loath to repeat themselves.

  • by lpevey (115393) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @10:34AM (#47712197)

    As far as the Black/not Black thing....you may think it is deeply offensive/racist. Others may look at it as getting shot or not getting shot.

    I agree with this. Some cops are just the bullying sort. That inherent tendency seems to be what draws some people to the professionsion, so there is a much higher percentage of psychopaths among cops than in the general population. But the way they go about harassing different people varies by race. For black people, it tends to be more rampant, more obvious and more physical. Anyone who lives ina large urban area has probably witnessed an incident firsthand. It is reality.

    That is not to say that many [probably most] cops are not bullies to other people when they can be. They definitely are. The post above is right when they say cops are often just looking for people to get aggressive and give them an excuse. It is more challenging to them when people are defiant but very polite. And part of that response is cultural.

    I have lived in Bed-Stuy for many years. Why I live here is a long story. Suffice to say I like it here. For those who don't know, this is an area of NYC that has historically had a relatively high crime rate. Most of the residents on my block are black. I am white. It gives me an interesting perspective. It is difficult to explain the psychological effects of police profiling to someone who has never witnessed it.

    Small example: If I take the subway home, I get off the train, there is an officer there. Watching. You don't see this on the Upper East Side. No big deal, right? This is great. Well, maybe for me. I give a small smile when I walk by. He or she smiles back. This officer doesn't really make me feel safer. If anything, they make me feel more likely to witness an altercation. But, at least I know how not to get a bad reaction out of them.

    Most other residents don't smile. What in their knowledge of or history with the police would make them want to smile? They are suspicous of the police. This fear/suspicion/distrust shows on their faces. The response they get from the police: A nasty look that says more than I can explain. It says not to make one wrong move. It says I have complete power over you. Just a couple of years ago, it said it was completely legal for me to stop you and frisk you at any time, and if you resist--and I hope you do--I will throw you against the wall with all the strength I have. If you think a look can't say that, come pay a visit to Bed-Stuy. If police made me feel that way, how would I respond? I don't know.

    The police bother and annoy me, too, but in a very different way that is not comparable. At least four or five different times when I was just walking down the street near my apartment, a cop car has pulled up slowly beside me, rolled down his window (it has always been a man, never a woman cop), and asked me what I was doing in the neighborhood. Like I'm a lost puppy or something. Too stupid to know I shouldn't be here. Most cops on this beat know me by now, I guess, but when there's a new guy, this can happen. I explain that I live here. I explain that I'm in a hurry. They proceed to inform me about how dangerous the area is. I nod. Thanks. Appreciate it. See you around. Hold on, they say. They drag on the conversation. This is not about helping me. This is about their power trip mindset.

    Now, from all of this, you must think I live in a third world country. This is how cops treat it. But I am a fan of statistics. Some facts: Statistically, Bed-Stuy is only slightly less safe than the Upper East Side. Who would have thought? And in all the years I have lived here, no one has ever, ever given me a hard time about anything--except the police. I walk by, people nod, say hello.

    The way policy treat black people is different. The way the police see black neighborhoods is different. That is just the reality.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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