This Is Why Cops Hate Photographers

July 5, 2013 | Marie Calloway

A St. Louis cop was videotaped assaulting a handcuffed teenager. He was fired and charged with assault. Judge Theresea Count Burket who presided over the trial refused to view the video evidence, and found the ex-cop not guilty.

The judge did not respond to journalist inquires as to why she refused to view the video.

In the footage, Officer Rory Bruce is heard saying, “Stand out here with us… You lying piece of shit.” Then, he  punches the teenager in the face.

That’s standard procedure, according to Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association: “It’s one forearm blow as he’s trained to do.” Roorda agrees with the judge’s ruling, telling News 4 that videos of police “should be used to protect police” and anyway, stop videotaping the police because “it’s become a ‘gotcha-head hunter’ tool that we’ve seen internal affairs go over-board with.”

This statement by a high-ranking law enforcement agent is a very revealing of the advent of widespread police harassment of photographers, as we’ve again and again in New York.

Just in time, ACLU produced a guide to educate photographers on their rights in when faced with police harassment. “When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view,” it clearly states. “That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police.”

It’s clear from the statements that the police don’t like being photographed or videotaped because don’t want their abuse to be recorded or be forced to be held responsible for their actions. Hopefully education — of photographers, police, and judges — and accountability will prevail.