To some, the most beautiful thing about having a cell phone is being able to film the police. Some do it for reasons of activism. Others do it to provoke the police into a confrontation. Still, others film because they’re watching something they want everyone else to see. But there’s one thing upon which everyone can agree. Photography is not a crime.
Patrick Roth makes a habit out of bringing transparency to the police force, whether they want to or not. As the owner of Youtube channel “Dallas Community Watch”, Roth uses citizen journalism to hold police accountable for their actions. In the past, during the wee hours of the morning, Roth would slowly drive by the police station. After the police had taken notice, they decided to make his life a bit more miserable by pulling him over using his cracked windshield as reason enough to detain him. But it’s Roth’s latest video which is creating quite a stir.
Last week, Roth decided to head on down to the county jail, right about the time when the corrections officers were changing shifts. Most of the officers didn’t seem to care too much that a young man was filming them exit and enter the building. But, one corrections officer became irate at the thought she was being filmed without her permission. The woman has allegedly been identified as Jazmine Joseph.
Joseph, appearing to be quite full of herself, may have started out jokingly threatening Roth, but all jokes aside, she lost her cool when she removed her service belt and chased Roth down the public sidewalk. All the while, she was threatening him, saying, “I’m fixing to whoop his ass with my belt. I’mma tear his little ass up!”
Thinking he was going to get some assistance from a fellow police officer, who Roth later identified as a “CO” or commanding officer, he was almost apprehended by the man who promised to “arrest him right now” — for filming in public.
So, let’s get this straight. It’s perfectly legal for police officers to record any and all interactions with the public, by way of their body cameras and sunglass cameras, even when they’re on private property, but it’s not okay when someone else does it?
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Once again, there’s another standard for law enforcement personnel, one that you and I are not privy to being able to enjoy. Theirs is a “I can do whatever I want and get away with it because I’m Johnny Law.” And ours is, “You have to be in 100 percent compliance with all of my commands or I’m going to whip you with my belt, stomp on your face, elbow you, knee you, choke you, slam you to the ground, have my buddies jump in and beat you some more, taser you, handcuff you, hit you in the face while you’re handcuffed, or just shoot you”.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality when dealing with the police. You really have no idea what they’re going to do, because they’re held to a different standard of behavior — a lower standard of comportment.
After being assaulted and threatened, Roth attempted to file a complaint with the police department's Captain Lolly but was told the woman in the video couldn't be identified and therefore would not be disciplined in any way.
For those who say people shouldn’t go around stalking the police, and filming them without their permission, activists respond that the police shouldn’t be doing that either. It’s an invasion of privacy — except in public spaces.
Is there a connection between officer Joseph’s actions and the subsequent ill feelings for police? We think so. The more you treat citizens like pesky little animals who are beneath you, the more you put yourself and the lives of your fellow officers in danger.
Wake up men and women in blue! Do something Joseph obviously hasn't done. Educate yourself on your rights, as well as the constitution, and state rights — that all citizens have. Begin to hold yourself accountable to a higher standard and realize you, too, may be on camera one day. Your actions will determine what happens next.