Baltimore Police Are Camera-Shy, Despite New Rule

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I don’t think it will necessarily be a YouTube hit — it’s not of a baby panda sneezing or someone falling off a porch — but the video of an arrest captured by a man in Federal Hill raises an interesting issue. In it, police officers ask the amateur filmmaker to leave. He reminds the police of “a standing order to allow people to record it,” meaning the arrest. He begins to walk away, apparently backwards, and continues to record. The video ends with several officers approaching the man. One asks him for his ID.

The “standing order” the man refers does exist. Not only that, it was only hours before this incident that the order was issued.

Since you asked for my opinion, here it is: I can’t but imagine that Baltimore is a particularly difficult city to be a police officer, and I’m sure if I were being videotaped by a stranger I would get annoyed. But transparency is a good guard against corruption, and videotaping (let alone watching) an arrest is legal. In an age in which everyone’s got a camera, it would be best if we just got used to it.



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