We Actually AGREE: CT Dem Senator and RNA – Mark the Date!
Kudos to Senator Eric Coleman (CT-D-Bloomfield) from Connecticut! We actually agree with him! He is sponsoring a bill to make police officers personally liable for violating a Citizen’s right to videotape or record their actions and those of any public servant while executing their public duties. Finally, someone sticking up for the average Citizen!
This is a red letter day as they used to say – mark it down on the calendar. We wholeheartedly support Connecticut State Senator Eric Coleman (D-CT) in his quest to protect the citizenry from police and public official abuse.
It is about time that the employers – The Citizens – put their foot down and quell the tide of abuse being heaped upon them by what are ostensibly public servants. Yeah, you would never know it the way they behave when challenged by their “employers”. They do not know the meaning of the word “accountability” – it is about time someone put their foot down!
Here it is:
The Connecticut state Senate passed legislation last week that would hold police officers in the state personally liable for violating a citizen’s First Amendment right to videotape their actions. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Eric Coleman (D-Bloomfield).
According to The Day, a Connecticut newspaper, Coleman cited the 1991 Rodney King beating as an inspiration for the legislation. The proposal was also prompted by a 2009 incident in which “a Catholic priest was arrested by East Haven police while recording officers harassing Latino business owners.” A federal investigation resulted in charges being filed against four police officers.
“Sometimes we become aware of incidents where police officers have been overzealous or abusive and not act in a very complimentary way towards the citizens who deserve to be served and protected,” Coleman said.
The Connecticut bill, which still must pass the state’s House of Representatives, is part of a trend toward increased legal protection for citizens filming police officers in the line of duty. At least one appeals court has recognized that citizens have a First Amendment right to record the actions of on-duty police officers in public places. But police officers often enjoy “qualified immunity,” meaning that liability for police misconduct falls on the city (e.g. taxpayers) rather than on individual officers. Sen. Coleman’s proposal would change that, giving police officers a stronger incentive to respect the constitutional rights of Connecticut citizens.
The proposal includes several broad exemptions. Officers are not liable if they have a reasonable belief that their actions are necessary to enforce the law, protect public safety, preserve the integrity of a crime scene, or protect the privacy of crime victims or others.
The Senate rejected an amendment that would have added an exception for arresting someone whose actions “inconvenience or alarm” a police officer. Critics argued that such a broad exemption would render the legislation toothless.
Read the entire article here: