Legalize It: Chi-Town Eavesdropping Act Ruled Unconstitutional

A Victory for Copwatch

In a 12-page decision, Criminal Courts Judge Stanley Sacks ruled that the law [which essential made the videotaping of police (Copwatching) illegal] is too broad and potentially criminalizes ‘wholly innocent conduct.’ He cited as an example a parent recording her child’s soccer game and inadvertently capturing a conversation between two bystanders. ‘Although it is extremely unlikely that this doting parent would be charged with a felony offense, the fact remains that she could, thusly punishing innocent conduct,’ Sacks wrote.”

This ruling comes just weeks before thousands are expected to descend into Chi-town to protest the G8 & NATO meetings in May. Such a large mobilization of protesters (like those expected in Chicago), is routinely met by even larger occupying po-lice forces, shipped in from pig units around the country, armed with new, hi-tech gear, and itching to use it.

It is no surprise then that these large mobilizations and mass protests are often (if not always) met with rampant police misconduct, abuse, harassment, and violence. Therefore, it is almost essential that these persons are able to demonstrate their own rights – like the right of freedom of speech cited by Judge Stanley Sacks – in videotaping this rampant police misconduct and abuse, to at the very least document these atrocities without being further accosted by the pigs.

Although there is still little clarity on the Eavesdropping Law, as there are a multitude of cases, appeals, and further amendments to the current law still being examined.

Originally, the Illinois Eavesdropping Act made it a felony to record police interactions, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Several cases since then have played out, and are continuing to play out in court, of which the decisions could have an enormous impact on the Eavesdropping Act. West Denver Copwatch has attempted to continually update our readers on those cases, but here’s an overview in case you missed it:

  • In August, a woman was acquitted of eavesdropping charges, after she testified that she only recorded the pigs because they were trying to ‘convince’ her not to file sexual harassment charges.
  • In September, Crawford County deemed the law unconstitutional, in a case in which a man was accused of recording a police interaction without permission. This case is being appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Finally, we are still waiting for a ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, arguing that the law violates First Amendment rights.

Furthermore, Representative Elaine Nekritz (D) is attempting to pass a bill that would make it legal to video tape pigs in public and on duty.

Even dumb-fucking Supt. Garry McCarthy says he doesn’t object to the law, because he encourages persons to film his little piglets, especially at summits like the G8/NATO, as it shows how the dumb-fuck piggies really treat the protesters! Hahahaha, ya that’s a great idea – have you not heard of the payouts pigs hand to protesters for abuse? Want to pay us millions and encourage copwatching, fine by me! Oh ya and go ahead and take a look at Miami – FTAA Settlement.

Of course the Fraternal Order of Pigs (KKK) is against repealing the act as it “would have a chilling effect on witnesses’ coming forward to aid police and could create situations in which victims of crime are re-victimized by viral videos of their suffering.”

Please mother fuckers, you’re rarely there to stop a crime, and people aren’t video taping a ‘crime’, they’re video taping you mother fuckers. You’re the ones with cameras EVERYWHERE (<- Click here to view a map of all pig cameras in Chi-Town [for those of you going a little later this month!]) to catch these victims, and then you give it to the evening news. You stupid mother fuckers, what a dumb excuse, just admit you wanna beat people without reprisal, without a video camera taping your constant abuse and harassment; and what’s a better platform to harass, abuse, and beat folk than the G8/NATO Summits. TRY IT MOTHER FUCKERS – SEE YOU IN CHICAGO…

Sources:

Chicago Tribune

Chicago:

http://natoprotest.org/

https://www.facebook.com/ResistG8NATO

http://occupychi.org/

Chicago ‘Eavesdropping’ Act Under Scrutiny

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

Lots of love to Chicago Copwatch – show some support ya’ll!

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/illinois-eavesdropping-am_n_1266465.html

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/02/09/move-advances-to-lift-ban-on-recording-police-officers/

http://chicagoist.com/2012/02/09/bill_that_makes_changes_to_illinois.php

Protecting Yourself from the Police

The Westword has an article detailing a new product by a Denver based company called Untied Surveillance.  The product is called EyeOnCop and according to the product pitch is a “state of the art video witness that backs up your story.”  Specifically, the product is a video surveillance system installed into a car that records any would be interactions with law enforcement agencies.  The system is priced at starting at $149.99.  Of course this company, which focuses on some big brother type of surveillance, is capitalizing on the recent media attention of the systemic violence of the Denver Police Department.  Capitalism is some crazy shit, this company is profiting on a product that is suppose to survey the armed apparatus  of capitalism, the police.  Shit runs deep.  It is a great idea, however, I’d imagine one could get a system set up for cheaper cost.  Also, we would encourage that anyone interested in this product to email us, and we can discuss Know Your Rights Trainings.  We can be reached by email at westdenvercopwatch@riseup.net

Photography is Not a Crime

Carlos Miller is a journalist in Miami who has been arrested twice since 2007 for photographing po-lice against their wishes.  He now runs a blog that is all about incidents in which those heavy fascists are attempting to restrict our rights illegally, or in some states “legally”, arresting and harassing people attempting to hold the police accountable.

Photography is Not a Crime