Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Massachusetts, documenting police brutality can land you in jail

Well, we knew this could happen, and now it has: Stephanie Barry reports in today's MassLive  that Tyrisha Greene, the woman who videotaped the beating of Melvin Jones in November, 2009, may have criminal charges pressed against her for illegal wirtetapping!

To add insult to injury, it's one of the police officers who was was involved in the beating, and who was suspended for 45 days following an investigation--  Michael Sedergren-- who has filed an application for a criminal complaint against Greene.  the poor baby says it was illegal to videotape him without his consent.
The MassLive article is pretty comprehensive so I'm not going to paraphrase it here.  The comments are well worth reading, though, because although there has been little public support for beating victim Melvin Jones, there is little or NO support for the law which criminalizes, in this case, documenting police abuse.

Ms. Greene will have to appear at a "Show Cause" hearing next Wednesday, August 17, in Chicopee District Court.  I know Arise members will be there to support her.

Funny-- with the prevalence of video cameras everywhere in our lives,without our permission,  that we are not allowed to document our own abuse with them.

Two good sites that go over some of the rights to photograph and videotape-- and many of the violation of those rights-- are Flex Your Rights and Photography is Not a Crime.

Before and after photos of Melvin Jones from The Brown Watch.

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