Cops moving away from role of public servants, assuming God-like status
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
New laws set to be passed in England and Canada would make it illegal to use bad language or take photographs of police officers, moving us further away from the idea of police as public servants and more towards the notion of cops assuming God-like status.
According to the British Journal of Photography, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which is set to become law on February 16, “allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.” The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine.
However, even before the passage of the legislation, police in Britain have already been harassing and arresting fully accredited press photographers merely for taking pictures of them at rallies and protests.
Besides the 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain, one for every fourteen people, Police are now equipped with mobile surveillance vans and head mounted cameras and they routinely videotape everyone at a protest, yet anyone attempting to record them has been met with increasing hostility.
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Justin Tallis, a London-based photographer, was taking pictures of the anti-BBC protest this past weekend when he was approached by an officer. The officer demanded to see his photographs and when Talis refused the officer tried to seize his camera, arguing that Tallis ‘shouldn’t have taken that photo, you were intimidating me’.
“The incident lasted just 10 seconds, but you don’t expect a police officer to try to pull your camera from your neck,” Tallis told BJP.
“The police are arresting journalists, seizing their equipment, treating them as suspects, looking at their photographs, taking copies, perhaps returning them to them, taking no further action often (but not always) and they’ve got, straight away, what they want,” solicitor Mike Schwartz of Bindman and Partners told a UK National Union of Journalists conference.
“At every demonstration, the police are figuratively scratching their heads as to how they can get hold of your material. That’s what they’re after.”
“The police take action, they often get what they want, and allow the lawyers in court to mop up what’s happened afterwards. That’s one of the trends and areas where there is a real problem: the police arresting journalists and seizing their material in order to use it in prosecutions.”
An incident captured on camera and uploaded to You Tube proves that some police officers in Britain already think that is is against the law to film them.
Film-maker Darren Pollard was clearing up flood debris from his front garden when he noticed the police harassing a youth opposite his house. Darren retrieved his camera and began filming the officers. After noticing Pollard, the officers approached and then tried to claim that it was illegal to film them. After being informed by their superior that it was not illegal to film police, the officers left the scene.
Watch the clip below.
Meanwhile, in Montreal Canada, Montreal police are asking the city to outlaw bad or insulting language used against police officers, making it illegal for members of the public to call cops profanity-laced nicknames, or lob jeers, such as “pig” and “doughnut-eater.”
“Chablo said several municipalities across Quebec – including Quebec City – have some variation of a law that prohibits citizens from spewing slurs at police officers,” reports the Canadian Press.
“There are an awful lot of words that are borderline and it’s highly subjective – it’s too vague,” said Ronald Sklar, a McGill University law professor, said of the police union’s proposal.
What’s next? How long before we have to officially salute or even get down and lick some boots?
The vast majority of people respect police officers and the dangerous work they undertake, but when people committing no crimes are being harassed and having their rights taken away while police are being given more rights to crack down on the public, the balance is tipping dangerously away from cops being public servants funded by the taxpayer and more towards them assuming a superior role in society, ruling over the scum with an iron fist.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 9:56 am