Monday, February 14, 2011

How nice of them

The Atlanta, Georgia Police Department, as part of a legal settlement with a local citizen advocacy group, has announced that its officers will no longer harass and assault "interfere with" people who are filming them going about their duties in public:

"Last April, [Copwatch member Marlon] Kautz said, he pulled out his camera phone and began recording Atlanta police who were arresting a suspect in Little Five Points. Two officers approached him and said he had no right to be filming them, Kautz said. When Kautz refused to stop, one officer wrenched Kautz's arm behind his back and yanked the camera out of his hands, he said."


"Kautz said that when he asked to get his phone back, another officer said he'd return it only after Kautz gave him the password to the phone so he could delete the footage. When Kautz refused, police confiscated the phone, he said. When police returned it, Kautz said, the video images had been deleted, altered or damaged."

Oh, and the agency also has to pony up $40,000 in damages (taxpayer funded, of course) because its representatives illegally suppressed Kautz's perfectly lawful behavior.

Two officers and a sergeant received oral admonishments for their behavior in this incident, and the Atlanta Citizen Review Board has found that Officer Anthony Kirkman (the cop who assaulted Kautz and ripped the phone out of his hand) to be guilty of excessive force and has recommended that he be suspended for four days without pay.

As far as we're concerned those three clueless "public" workers should also have to shell out the 40 large in order to recompense the Atlanta taxpayers who had to dig deep in order to pay for their employees' obnoxious actions.

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