David Lesch-headshotToday’s Verdict: Policing The Police

by David Lesch, Esq. 

As this summer is slowly coming to an end, we might look back and remember this season as the one when police officers throughout the country have themselves been the subject of video encounters with the public. And many are asking, “is this really a good thing?”  “Do we want the men and women in blue to have to tolerate such an indignity?”   


nypd-badgeIt all starts with a minor dispute.  A call comes in and the police are on the scene.  A few teenage girls have been arguing at a local public pool and now the police are trying to break up the fight. Bystanders rush in with cellphones blazing.  Sure enough it looks as though one of the officers has gone too far and used “excessive force,” a term District Attorneys know all too well.   


As video cameras become more available and widespread throughout our society, so too has video evidence of police brutalizing civilians while making an arrest.  And without such evidence, a police officer could easily have argued that the force used was justified and therefore no crime was committed by the law enforcement officer.  Many argue that these videos are necessary to prevent the police from overstepping during an arrest. Others though disagree and argue that we don’t want officers avoiding confrontations with potential criminals which may occur if they believe civilians are watching and recording their every move.  But videotaping our officers is not a bad thing.  And what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.  


For years police have been using their own surveillance apparatus throughout the City to record the daily activities of our own citizens.  Video camera systems are used by police to catch everything from petty crime to actual assaults.  If we’re being watched, why shouldn’t our police officers as well?  So although the police may not be having the best summer as videos capture officers assaulting and even killing unarmed civilians, those videos help balance any power that may come with a badge and gun.  A civilian has a right to record the police, and recording videos of those actions is important to our society. As long as we don’t interfere with the actions of the police officer, the videotaping of an arrest is fair game and legally permissible.


Todays Verdict_David LeschDavid Lesch is an attorney and host of ‘Today’s Verdict with David Lesch‘ on Bronxnet. Today”s Verdict airs Tuesday nights at 6:30pm, Cablevision channel 67, Fios channel 33. 

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