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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ever wonder why skateboarders don’t trust the police? Try double standard…

I’m always amazed by how the justice system works in the US.

Skateboard seshIn a last post (The rotten states of skateboarding), I explained how you can end-up in a US jail for allegedly breaking up, in the US Soil, the laws of other countries, even if those laws don’t apply in the US. I am also amazed to see how a prosecutor can offer a sweet deal to a criminal by offering him to give his testimony against others, yet defense attorneys are barred from offering exactly the same deals to their witness. That action performed by the prosecutor is called justice yet the same action by defense attorneys is bribery and is punished by law. Similarly, there are other instances when the prosecution can do things, but the defendant can’t. Generally speaking, all police officers are now equipped with video cameras that register the action. The tape made by the police is always admissible in court to back-up of the word of the police officer. But if you are the defendant and you tape your encounter with a police officer, not only the tape is not admissible but you can end-up in jail for 16 years. That’s what happened to Anthony Graber. He videotaped his “meeting” with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then he put the video up on YouTube.


Graber is not the only person being slapped down by the long arm of the law for the simple act of videotaping the police in a public place. Peter Ballance, 63, who has Asperger's syndrome and has to record conversations to help his memory, was tackled and arrested by police officers for refusing to turn off his tape recorder. Adam Whitman, 20, and his brother were charged with wiretapping, a felony in the state, for videotaping police on the Fourth of July! Last year, Sharron Ford was arrested in Florida for videotaping an encounter between the police and her son on a public sidewalk while he was skateboarding.
Eric Bush, a 14-year-old Baltimore skater became famous whith a Youtube video showed him being harassed by police officer Salvatore Rivieri. It showed the rest of the world what many skateboarders put up with on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, prosecutors across the U.S. claim that videotaping violates wiretap laws — a stretch, to put it mildly.

So, let me see, the police has the right to record you, but you don’t. And that’s called fairness? Since when fairness is synonym of double standard and inequality?

So, next time you skate in a plaza with a video recorder and an angry cop is showing up, be careful, you can end-up in jail because, as everybody now knows, even if skateboarding is not a crime, taking moving pictures of a cop giving a ticket to skateboarders is according to the jurisprudence of Palm Beach County, USA " a third-degree felony,". And that’s no joke!

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Thursday, August 05, 2010 


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