The Right To Record Cops, Ctd

Apr 27 2011 @ 9:09am

It's not just for preventing ticket bribery, as this disturbing incident shows:

Las Vegas-based videographer Mitchell Crooks was beaten and falsely arrested by Las Vegas police officer Derek Colling while filming a burglary arrest taking place across the street from his house. The entire sorry affair was recorded by Crooks’ brand new, $3,500 camera, which kept rolling throughout the arrest. Shortly after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Crooks’ story, the Clark County district attorney’s office dropped the “battery on a police officer” and “obstruction of justice” charges Colling brought against him. …

According to ACLU attorney Allen Lichtenstein, “it’s perfectly legal to film officers as long as it does not interfere in their investigation.” Concerning Colling’s trespassing claims, Lichtenstein points out that a trespassing complaint can only be made by a property owner. “Even if the officer didn’t think he lived there, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have permission to be there,” Lichtenstein told the Review-Journal.

Balko notes some "strange history" in the case:

Crooks is also the man who videotaped the 2002 police beating of Inglewood, California teen Donovan Jackson. The officers in that case were suspended, fired, criminally charged (but not convicted), then later sued for racial discrimination, and were awarded $2.4 million in damages.