Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Jack-Booted Thug(s) of the Week...

... are the simpleton Chicago, Illinois police officers who arrested street artist Christopher Drew on a public street in front of a department store on December 2. He was charged with violating two ordinances, specifically "not having a peddler's license and peddling in a prohibited area".

Fair enough, if those are indeed the laws there.

However, and here's where they earn this week's illustrious award, the cops also saw fit to charge Drew with felony eavesdropping after a running voice recorder was found on him during their search of him subsequent to his arrest:

"Inside several pockets of the poncho officers found his items for sale and an Olympus digital voice recorder which was recording at the time of the incident without the consent of the responding officers, according to the report."

Since when is it "eavesdropping" to record one's interactions with others on a public street where no one (including city employees) has a reasonable expectation of privacy? Mr. Drew, whatever other minor infractions he's guilty of, was definitely not bugging anyone, just as taking a random picture of people on a beach naturally isn't considered "spying".

Following this type of logic, the peasants of the Windy City should able to sue the city government for installing numerous surveillance cameras to increasingly track their every movement. Turnabout is fair play, and all that.

Someone else happened to videotape Mr. Drew's encounter with the cops that day:

The cops presumably didn't give their consent to be filmed by that person, either, Why wasn't the cameraman hauled off to the clink as well?

The rank-and-file members of the Chicago police are forever complaining about not having the manpower and resources to do their jobs in an effective manner. Well, if that department as a policy chooses to use what time they do have to file ridiculous, overbearing and thoroughly inappropriate, liberty-stifling charges against what is basically someone committing a nuisance crime, then they've lost whatever sympathy we had for their having to suffer under the dictatorship of King Emperor Mayor-for-Life Richard Daley.


Crustyrusty said...

Unfortunately, IL has a BS law that requires the consent of ALL parties involved when taping a conversation, no matter where. It's BS, but it is the law in the People's Republik.

And people wonder why I left.

dawson said...

This is a law that actually may impede a citizen's right to protect themselves from unlawful behavior by the police. You raise a good question as to why someone is allowed to videotape the arrest but not to audiotape it. Makes no logical sense to me.