AFRICANGLOBE – Americans can fight police brutality by using their cellphones to record police violence, a shocking new video by Brave New Films explains by using graphic footage to show why law enforcement in a dozen states are trying to outlaw the activity.
“Police officers have known that video cameras are their worst enemy,” the narrator begins, as the opening footage gleaned from YouTube shows people being shot, punched, bludgeoned and pepper-sprayed. “I’m not shutting it off, officer,” a person says in one scene, after being stopped in his car. “Then you’re going to jail,” the cop replies.
“They will do anything they can to stop you from legally videotaping,” the narrator continues, as an officer in another setting grabs a woman’s phone and destroys it. As that scene unfolds, a map appears noting that while it is legal in all 50 states to film the police, 12 states have adopted new laws that “severely limit the rights to film the police.”
Vanessa Baden, spokeswoman for Brave New Films, explained that these 12 states—Washington, California, Nevada, Texas, Montana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire—have expanded right-to-privacy laws to include uniformed police officers at work.
“No police officer should have a right to privacy while they are doing a public job,” Baden said.
These new right-to-privacy laws would likely not be upheld in a federal court, she said, but for now they are pretexts for police to arrest people, seize their cellphones and erase the videos.
Four of the states—Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas—have prosecuted people for taping the police, according to the film.
“Everything those cops did, they did to someone else when there were no cameras rolling,” the narrator says, as statistics point out that 5,600 people have been killed by police since 2000 and fatal police shootings are at their “highest in 20 years.”
“There’s a Rodney King every day in this country and Black America has always known it,” says the narrator as footage of shootings and beatings rolls by. “They do it because they know they will get away with it.”
The film note that for “every 1,000 people killed by police, one officer is convicted.” It concludes, “We need more police accountability, not less… Don’t let them take your rights… Do your civic duty… Film the police.”
Brave New Film’s Baden also said that the ACLU of California has developed a new cellphone app that will automatically back up any video footage taken of police in the event the cops try to seize and destroy a citzen’s cellphone. The app can be used anywhere in the country. The ACLU is building a network to share the videos with local advocates fighting police brutality.
By: Steven Rosenfeld
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