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In Wake of


#1

In Wake of...

Jon Queally, staff writer

In the aftermath of a video that showed Michael Slager, a white police officer with the North Charleston Police Department in South Carolina, fatally shoot Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, in the back multiple times last weekend, the stewing national controversary surrounding police violence, racial discrimination, and lack of

In the age of the cell phone camera and pervasive video monitoring, the intersection between police violence, accountability, and public outrage has become


#2

First, Tamir Rice's shooting was in Cleveland, not Cincinnati. I can tell you that as a white man, there is no way I would go to a police department directly with video showing one of their officers involved in wrongdoing of any kind, not just shooting someone. Of course there is a blue wall of silence. There's a wall of silence among employees of lots of occupations where the employees are out in the field, unobserved by supervision for long periods of time.

I was a railroader. Believe me, a variation of the Las Vegas slogan was operative there: What happened on the train, stayed on the train - short of an incident that couldn't be ignored. Management now wants to put inward-facing video cameras and microphones in locomotive cabs. Glad I'm not active in the industry anymore. Not because rule violations might be observed, but because employees would no longer be able to freely discuss their issues with management among themselves without being recorded (two or more railroaders together is a union meeting/bitch-and-moan session). It's far from the "sterile" environment of an airplane cockpit where only operational matters can be discussed (nor does it need to be, it's not rocket science). Staying awake is the most important consideration, and if trash-talking management gets you through the night, so be it.


#3

The term hero gets thrown around much too lightly. "Oh, you served in the military, you're a hero."

I think to be a hero one must show courage. To understand that doing the right thing may put you in danger, even mortal danger, to be afraid of that consequence and to do the right thing anyway - that shows true courage.

That's what Feidin Santana did.

He's a real hero.


#4

Thanks for pointing out at least one of the drawbacks of cameras watching us all the time. iT sounds good at first, but closer inspection reveals how backward such a move would be.


#5

Good comment. But I'm sure far, far more than "operational matters" get discussed and recorded in airliner cockpits. However, I presume the union contract a prohibits the collection of voice recordings except as part of an accident investigation. (TJ, can you verify this?) One would think that the RR workers union could do something similar - although with the installation of cameras and microphones does look suspiciously like a union-busting measure.


#6

What Feidin Santana did took a lot of courage. Feidin actually walked into the police station with his video and then walked out and even considered deleting the video and leaving town before turning it over to Walter Scotts family. That took a lot of guts, to say the least!


#7

I agree that Fein Santana was a real hero. We should all be grateful to Fein for exposing the police state that we are all living in; especially minorities.


#8

Perhaps it is timely to re-post the section from the DOJ Report on Ferguson re: the right to film police activities. This might be worth memorizing.

Section IV.
Subsection 2. FPD Engages in a Pattern of First Amendment Violations

Page 26
FPD officers also routinely infringe on the public’s First Amendment rights by preventing people from recording their activities. The First Amendment “prohibit[s] the government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” First Nat’l Bank v. Belloti, 435 U.S. 765, 783 (1978). Applying this principle, the federal courts of appeal have held that the First Amendment “unambiguously” establishes a constitutional right to videotape police activities. Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78, 82 (1st Cir. 2011); see also ACLU v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 600 (7th Cir. 2012) (issuing a preliminary injunction against the use of a state eavesdropping statute to prevent the recording of public police activities); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 439 (9th Cir. 1995) (recognizing a First Amendment right to film police carrying out their public duties); Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000) (recognizing a First Amendment right “to photograph or videotape police conduct”). Indeed, as the ability to record police activity has become more widespread, the role it can play in capturing questionable police activity, and ensuring that the activity is investigated and subject to broad public debate, has become clear. Protecting civilian recording of police activity is thus at the core of speech the First Amendment is intended to protect. Cf. Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681 (1972) (First Amendment protects “news gathering”); Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966) (news gathering enhances “free discussion of governmental affairs”). “In a democracy, public officials have no general privilege to avoid publicity and embarrassment by preventing public scrutiny of their actions.” Walker v. City of Pine Bluff, 414 F.3d 989, 992 (8th Cir. 2005).


#10

Santana has a sense of moral decency, courage and put his own life at risk by his actions. This is South Carolina, the heart of racism. His life is now in danger. Time to understand the seriousness of what he did. Sadly to protect his life he may need to move out of that area. This rogue cop is not a rogue in many police departments who jumped to his defense with lies before the video became public. All this from a broken car tail light.


#11

Would that I could uptick your post 1000X


#12

I applaud Feidin Santana for his integrity, courage, and fortitude. It goes without saying that his safety is in jeopardy. Hopefully Santana's media exposure ensures some safety for him and his friends/family. Were anything untoward happen to him between now and Slager's trial, a DOJ investigation would be in order. Juxtapose Santana with his true heroism and humility (and his choice to do the good and right thing) and Slager with his cowardice, hubris, and brutality: what a horrific portrayal.

Slager being imprisoned with the general population would be his just due...he would cry out for the death penalty. And his wife is in her eighth month of pregnancy. Slager's false sense of security in his ability to act like a criminal and get away with it has forever harmed so many. At least his arrest for murder may make his fellow policemen examine their behaviors and curtail their penchant for cruelty against their chosen victims...one can only hope. (But, it is South Carolina....)


#14

We hear little about the actions of the other officers who responded to the incident, where were they when the shots were fired? What did they see and what did they report? When did the ambulance call go out? Or was Walter Scott killed instantly after being shot?


#15

Outstanding post genedebs. I can verify that the airline industry is identical. Management put video cameras in the bathrooms at our flight ops building during our union struggle, so we couldn't go in there and have private meetings, but when they wanted to do that in the airplanes, our Union rebelled, since that effort came out right after their memos admonishing us not to ever talk about management or Union matters when we were flying. They had previously been illegally downloading the voice recorder at the termination of flights. A maintenance guy was ordered to plug into the black box and download the entire flight, even though contractual language forbade this.

Just as you say, trash talking is all that kept us awake on boring gloomy flights over the ocean (the sterile cockpit only applied under 10,000 feet.) And in the golden era of Aviation in the 70's and 80's, we too had a saying: "Nothing goes past the cockpit door" since management would use any perceived error to get rid of Union organizers only. We called this "The sanctity of the cockpit" and we were free to discuss maintenance or operational problems without fear of finger-pointing by big brother Monday morning. Airlines that didn't allow this had terrible safety records overseas. Crews were afraid to talk about any FUBARS or problems, since they might be blamed for it.

We also used the buddy system, where a tired crewmember got a nap while the other ones watched the shop. This was a huge safety boon, used since aviation started. NASA concurred on their sleep studies saying that a 20 minute nap in cruise led to a much safer operation. Crews made 70 percent less errors in the approach and landing phase when they took a short cat-nap in cruise. But the FAA couldn't swallow it, since it was such a political hot-potato, and it never made it into regulation, that I know of.

Now cameras are coming back in the cockpits and they no doubt will harm airline safety if safeguards are not followed concerning their use. If they are used just for crash investigation, they will actually improve safety.


#16

Yes you are correct Yunz,

See my other post to genedebs.


#17

I watched that video thinking of how many people have gotten brutally beaten for filming the police. Feidin Santana had to be afraid for his life, coming that close to the scene of a murder when cops are notorious for getting away with it.

He had some serious guts, and it's heartening to see so many apologists for white supremacy backpedal for the moment.

We need justice, though, not momentary satisfaction at watching some police state officers actually face the law.


#18

Note that the person who filmed the strangle hold murder of Eric Garner , one Ramsey Orta is currently in jail. The day after his video released he was arrested on gun charges., When those did not stick they got him for drug related charges. His wife, his Brother and his Mother have all been arrested as well.

It was a full court press.

This is not a few bad apples making the rest look bad. It is systemic rot throughout the Police forces and the Government.. Mr Santana is indeed a hero. He knew full well what might happen to him if he released this video.


#20

Well, this poor kid will be a mark by the cops. I hate to sayit, but he should have stayed anonymous.


#21

Public oversight - definitely.


#26

One problem here is that we have all seen what the Department of alleged Justice has done in many cases. "The officer was acting within the scope of his employment. There will be no charges or arraignment and the officer will be returned to duty."
* We've seen this in case after case, even when the act was filmed.
* Unfortunately, the system is broken from top to bottom and nobody seems to want to repair it (except We the People, and we don't count anymore).
;-})


#27

Oh, we count. We count. We just haven't begun to show them how much, yet.