One topic that Paul Bass touched upon in his Skype discussion with the class was the right for people to record Police officers on their cell phones. This is a relatively new phenomenon which is due to the increase of quality in cell phone cameras as well as the accessibility that people have to them. Today in class, Bass said that the change is not complete, and the New Haven Police Department embraces the rights of its citizen’s but Bass does acknowledge that these rights are not always carried out. This has been a story for far too long.
In a piece covering two settlements from 2014 where lawsuits were brought by citizens who were arrested for taking cellphone videos of police in public, written in April of 2015 for the New Haven Independent Bass writes,
Meanwhile, Police Chief Dean Esserman declared in 2012 that he couldn’t punish a cop for blatantly violating that order because the order’s wording is too “vague.” He vowed to rewrite the order.
Almost two years later, the city has not yet rewritten the order, according to Assistant Chief Al Vazquez (pictured), who oversees internal affairs and department values and ethics.
The attorney that lead the case for these citizens, Diane Polan, says that this is simply the Police Department dragging their feet. The right for citizens to record police officers is simply a way for the people to keep police in check, much like the police are there to keep society in check. With more eyes on the police, the work they do is expected to improve. It is peculiar why there is such push back.