The Bitemaster is a huge fan of both the pro-police TV show “Cops” and the anti-police website “Photography is Not a Crime.” Trying to harmonize the two, here’s what he’s come up with:
- We need a law that says if you want to record the police, you have to stay 25 feet away. I figure that any closer and the police have reason to think you’re going to interfere with or endanger them.
- Police shouldn’t be allowed to order someone to “turn around and put your hands behind your back” without first saying “you’re under arrest.” Once you hear that you’re under arrest, you’re on notice that resisting is illegal.
- Police shouldn’t be allowed to say “you’re not under arrest, you’re just being detained.” That’s bullshit. If you’re not free to go, you’re entitled to the constitutional protections of an arrestee — including Miranda warnings, legal representation, and the right to remain silent.
- Police officers who aren’t in uniform shouldn’t be allowed to make arrests. A prudent person seeing someone in mufti with a gun has every reason to fear he’s being robbed — even if the gun-toter claims he or she is a police officer.
- I think “stop and frisk” is both unconstitutional and ineffective. But if we have to use it, we should give every person stopped $100. That way, people will say, “I was hassled by the cops again today, but at least I got $100 out of it.”
- If you say “fuck you” to a cop without provocation, they should be allowed to smack you around. Police are ordinary human beings, not paragons of virtue.
- We should enact a Riot Act, wherein public officials could give a crowd an hour to disperse or face arrest.
- Police officers — and everyone else — should be prosecuted when they commit perjury.
- If police officers commit a crime, prosecute and jail them. But leave their pensions alone.
This list is neither perfect nor exhaustive. But I think it’s a step towards clarifying the interactions between the police and the citizenry, both of whom need to operate without keeping a constitutional lawyer on call.