Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why Was Brett Darrow Video Taping Encounters with Cops?

Because St. Louis area cops had apparently threatened to kill him. Missouri: Cop Website Contained Apparent Death Threat Against Video Vigilante And LEOs wonder why our trust has eroded.
Three months ago, participants in an online forum frequented by Saint Louis law enforcement personnel threatened to harass -- and even physically harm -- Darrow.

The messages appeared on St. Louis CopTalk, a site that describes itself as a site "for the use of law enforcement officers employed by the St. Louis Police Department and their supporters in the St. Louis Metropolitan area." While it has no official ties to the city, it does allow officers to log into official police email accounts from the front page. In June of this year, Darrow had sparked outrage among the forum's members after he videotaped a disputed traffic stop involving what Darrow argued was a perfectly legal turn and what a Saint Louis police officer said was not.

In the course of researching the incident, TheNewspaper learned from an inside source about a CopTalk posting dated June 29, 2007. A user calling himself "STL_FINEST" wrote the following item, presented unedited and in full:

in reply to "Who is this terd?" I hope this little POS punk bastard tries his little video stunt with me when I pull him over alone- and I WILL pull him over - because I will see "his gun" and place a hunk of hot lead right where it belongs.
And then after the latest incident, a self-identified cop is all for harassment.
At least one other message from a self-identified Saint Louis area police officer appears to condone official harassment of the twenty-year-old motorist.

"Take the kid to jail... today... tommorrow... the next day... everytime you see him out and he commits a traffic violation... tow his car and take him to jail... period. No arguing, no yelling.....nothing but the sound of cash leaving his wallet from impound fees and fines." (view thread, view saved image of full post)
This may be, as one LEO claimed, a small minority of officers, but they are an incredibly vocal minority, and unless and until they are soundly denounced by cops everywhere, the reputation of all law enforcement officers is tainted.

Oh, and the chief of police in the town where the latest incident happened is himself under investigation.

No comments: