Sheriff Joe is famous for making inmates wear pink, only providing the Weather Channel and the Disney Channel on county jail TVs, building a tent city in the desert, etc.
But he - and his underlings - would rather not do their work in the light of day. Somehow, the simple act of recording police activity from 20 feet away is "interfering" with that activity. Really? Why would that be?
[Sean Whitcomb of Phoenix Copwatch] also pointed out that when Copwatch is present, the law enforcement officers in question are more likely to do things by the book, smile more, and be polite to the citizens they've halted.So keeping you behaving "by the book" is interfering?
Sheriff Arpaio's boys in beige have begun a war within a war against those who observe them -- activists armed with video cameras who listen to police scanners during Arpaio's racial profiling sweeps and scramble to find the stop and capture it on camera.When the local politicos are swept up in questionable sweeps, you would think the point would be made that they should soft-pedal the whole thing. Apparently not.
During the last sweep -- which occurred during Labor Day weekend in southwest Phoenix -- activists, reporters, lawyers, and at least one politician were harassed. In one case, a legal observer was ordered to give up his camera because it had become "evidence" in the words of the deputy. That deputy took off once a local news crew showed up.
In another incident at the Gran Mercado, activist/radio show host Carlos Galindo says his video camera was taken from him as he filmed deputies "investigating" bootleg CDs and DVDs. Galindo claims they took the camera from him, erased the video and gave it back. But, Galindo indicates on the YouTube video he posted that he was able to retrieve the video in any case.
There are some excuses offered up as to deputies not being trained on the legalities of recording police action. (Offered up by Copwatch, of all things.) So, is ignorance of the law an excuse? Or is it only an excuse when it is the cops who are ignorant? Just asking.
People love to denigrate Copwatch, but they have a valid point. Cops who are doing everything legally have nothing to fear about video. In fact, if they are videoed and someone makes a complaint, the video will clear them.
Cameras are cheaper everyday, and in more and more cell phones everyday. To say nothing of surveillance cameras at homes and businesses. LEOs better get used to the idea that they are on camera.