Many of you probably already know the story behind the criminalization of Copwatch, but recently one state’s ban on Copwatching is finally being challenged.
The ‘Illinois Eavesdropping Act’ specifically prohibits the “recording of a peace officer who is performing a public duty in a public place and speaking at a volume audible to the unassisted human ear”, basically making it impossible for Copwatchers to do their job in the Chicago area (Huffington Post). The punishment for filming a public official, on duty, in public; is a Class 1 felony charge that can result in a substantial fine and up to 15 years in prison. In one instance, a young woman Tiawanda Moore, after being sexually harassed by Chicago pigs, attempted to video tape these dirt-bag pigs to protect herself, and ensure that if her rights were being violated she would at least have some documentation; was then threatened with felony charges and jail time (Huffington Post). In another instance, Occupy Chicago participants attempting to film a livestream of a local Occupy protest, were again, threatened with arrest (Chicagoist). In yet another case, “Chicago artist Christ Drew recorded his arrest for selling art in the Loop and was also charged with eavesdropping”; Drew filed suit with the ACLU in 2010.
Recently this egregious ban on Copwatching has been under scrutiny, as protests against the G8 and NATO are set to kick off May 19-21 in Chicago, which could result in the arrest of thousands of persons attempting to keep the pigs in line. This week amendments were approved 9-2 by the House committee, “sending it to the House floor for further action” (Chi CBS Local). One public defender speaking out against in defense of clients being prosecuted for allegedly filming the po-lice, stated that, “’It is patently unfair to arrest American citizens for filming their government doing government work in a public place’ and that police would ‘be arresting people for filming the police arresting people’” (Chicagoist).
Even the dumb-fucking pig superintendent Garry McCarthy backs the amendment, albeit for the ridiculously inexplicable reason “that they [footage of pigs] can protect police by providing evidence of officers doing their jobs correctly in the case of police brutality accusations”, according to the Huffington Post. Of course this argument is completely dismantled not only by the constant acts of brutality committed by ALL pigs, and consistent abuse of rights at any major (or minor) protest; let alone the fact that most other Illinois pigs are speaking out against the amendments, realizing that their wet dreams of a May filled with ‘getting up early to beat the crowds’ are going to be crushed by ordinary citizens demanding accountability. When presented with the argument that having the ability to film the police might ‘level the playing field’ between pigs and protesters, Deputy Chief of Narcotics Patrick Coughlin (of course) disagreed, arguing that the amendment would give ‘more rights to private citizens to collect evidence of a crime than officers have’, or how about just not blocking the rights private citizens already have, plus this statement doesn’t even make sense (Huffington Post).
This bill is completely ridiculous, pigs have the right to film persons walking down the street and protesters to build databases of ordinary citizens standing-up for their rights; but ordinary citizens don’t have the ability to film public officers, in a public setting, in a public position?! Pigs just want to get away with beating people down with no repercussions, pretty much what happens now around the country, just with even better odds and less resistance. Now usually we aren’t ones to take political stands (haha), but FUCK HB3944 – keep Copwatchin’