A free speech law professor writes about a police officer attempting to use the legal system to silence criticism:
You can read the ACLU complaint, the protection order — which was in effect for 12 days before being vacated — and Officer Bledsoe’s petition; you can also see the video embedded below.I do believe that citizens are performing a public service when they expose the work of govt officials. Most officials are doing good jobs, and should be happy to demonstrate that taxpayer money is well spent. Others are incompetent, destructive, or corrupt, and it is a public service to expose them.
The order that the Missouri court issued, and that the ACLU is now suing over, strikes me as outrageous. The relevant language read,Such an order violates the First Amendment even if it referred to a private person, I think, and certainly when it bars the posting of the name of a police officer whom one is criticizing, and a video of the officer performing his duties. I’ve written in detail about such orders, and why they are unconstitutional, in my One-to-One Speech vs. One-to-Many Speech, Criminal Harassment Laws, and “Cyberstalking”; the article chronicles how harassment and stalking laws — which were designed to stop (among other things) unwanted speech to a person — are now being used to stop unwanted speech about a person. Yet so long as the speech about a person doesn’t consist of true threats or other unprotected forms of speech, it must remain constitutionally protected. This is just the latest such incident to hit the news; I wrote about several others in the article.
Respondent is further ordered to remove all videos, pictures, and text data showing Petitioner’s name and picture from the internet and respondent shall refrain from posting all such data in the future.
And ex-cop explains: Everyone Behaves Better When They're on Video.
Reason TV sat down with former Seattle Police officer Steve Ward, who left the force to start Vievu, a company that makes body cameras for police officers.Maybe you think that this is a little creepy, but this is where we are headed. The technology is here, and people are going to use it.
“Everyone behaves better when they’re on video,” says Ward. “I realized that dash cams only capture about five percent of what a cop does. And I wanted to catch 100 percent of what a cop does.”
The cameras are small, light, and clip to the clothing of a police officer’s uniform. They turn on with a large switch on the front of the camera and have a green circle that surrounds the lens so that civilians know that the camera is recording.