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Houston P.D. Orders All Officers Turn Off Body Cameras During Protest

TheAntiMedia | December 20, 2014

Remington Alessi was arrested on Saturday December 13 in Houston, Texas. He was arrested while engaging in a nonviolent protest against police brutality. He gives us his account of what he learned in the back of a squad car.

“We’re going to go ahead and turn off the personal video devices going forward, so be sure all officers have them turned off when engaging the protesters.” The words cut through me and chilled my spine as I sat, helplessly handcuffed in the back of a Houston Police cruiser after being arrested in the midst of a protest.

As an activist who has been around the block a few times, I knew that little would endanger a crowd more than a crowd of officers who had just received an order from higher up to disable their own personal accountability.

Barely into the pilot program, the Houston Police Department’s commanding officers managed to brazenly display how easily the personal video devices can be misused. Per an earlier interview, “Capt. Mike Skillern, who heads HPD’s gang unit and is involved in testing the cameras, said his fellow officers act “a little more professionally” when wearing the devices.” But how do they act when they switch the devices off? If officers had their way, no one would know.

The biggest fault here lies in the physical design of the cameras themselves. The VIEVU LE3 model camera is employed by HPD and is worn by over four thousand police agencies, according to the company’s website. The camera’s most conspicuous feature is an easily operated off switch, which can functionally slide over the lens of the camera at any time an officer feels the need to remove any potential accountability. Hyperbole fails in describing how much of a problem it is for police to control when video is being recorded.

Allowing police to control the video stream will create a situation in which footage will appear only when it benefits the officer, while footage of police beating unarmed suspects, throwing incendiary devices at toddlers, and erasing civilians’ video records of police brutality will never appear, due to conveniently located off switches designed by VIEVU to make the devices popular among police.

When the order came across the radio to disable the cameras, I held my breath, hoping against hope that even a single officer would object to the directive that specifically commanded officers to stop recording their activities. My heart sunk as I was met with silence. Not even the friendly Lieutenant Troy Finner, who only an hour prior had waxed poetic about being concerned about protesters’ safety had a word to say about the order. Instead, he, like every other police officer assigned to ‘protect’ the nonviolent protesters, agreed to endanger them the moment a commanding officer gave the order.

The thin blue line will be maintained, cameras or not.

December 22, 2014 - Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. The only thing I can see is we the people keep our videos on
    Too many police officers are cowards hiding behind the badge the uniform the gun
    If you got one messed up cop that’s one too many The so called good cops know about the bad ones what does that make them?huh?Do you honestly think if the video hadn’t been on them with Eric Garner that they would’ve been honest? The answer is No GOD these cops are just terrible nobody wants to talk about the gorilla or the elephant in the room there’s something about being brown and black that’s just so scary to some people I don’t like to use the word racist or racism because we are all under ONE RACE there is no such thing as different races l could go on and on but the Police Officers need to be kept in check as far People who are not of Caucasian Persuasion That’s a REALLY REALLY big PROBLEM

    Like

    Comment by margaretconklinlabostrie | December 23, 2014 | Reply

  2. What the police have become is a national criminal entity.

    Like

    Comment by Omega Payton | December 24, 2014 | Reply


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