“Why do you film the police?”
This question has been asked to me thousands of times, no joke, and I’d give people a variety of answers depending on the circumstances or the person asking the question. Some of my favorite responses are, “because I can”, “why not”, “they extort people”, “they’re gangsters” and so on, but I’m going to start with a different approach. From now on when someone asks me why I film the police, I’m going to say, “How about I give you 5 reasons why YOU should film the police.” Those reasons are:
- To Overcome Fear: Another thing I hear often while CopBlocking is, “You can do that? And the police don’t mess with (or arrest) you?” Of course, you can be arrested for filming the police, but filming in public space has become less of an issue over the past few years. The reason most people, IMO, ask this is because they have a fear of the police and they know what the police do to people . They assume that watching, recording and, at times, questioning the police would lead to an arrest. That does happen if you meet a cop willing to push the line, or smash your camera, it does still happen. Yet, the more people that are actively filming the police and sharing the content, the more people will realize that they too can film the police. The more people, including you, that have no fear of the police, which is a major factor in how police operate as is the case with most gangs, the less likely police are to continue those gang like ways.
- Police Are Known to Use Violence: When CopBlocking the primary focus is usually the police and that’s because they’re most likely to commit an act of aggression. Whether that be smashing your property, breaking into your home or shooting up your car, the police are downright violent. Yet, the best way to combat their violence is the simple act of filming. No matter what transpires while filming, doing so creates an open, transparent record of everyone’s actions. When you add additional CopBlockers, or camera angles, then the situation becomes more transparent with multiple perspectives. This reduces the possibility of a he said, she said incident and one where anyone’s words means more than others because the event is on video. Though it might seem crazy to say the police use violence, and to use it as a reason you should film them, but it is, because the violence/fear the police use to intimidate people has to stop. It also leads into my next point.
- To Lessen Police Violence: It’s my personal experience that when CopBlocking the police lessen their aggression while being recorded. I’m not just talking about physical violence or excessive force. Even the standard traffic stop to generate revenue becomes less aggressive, less intimidating and less traumatizing. Less people are pulled over; traffic stops are shorter and commonly end without citations. I remember when Pete and I first started filming the police, they would take double the time to conduct the traffic stop, seems these days police want less YouTube time and use their discretion to simply warn drivers instead of extorting them in the form of a fine. When CopBlocking, or filming the police, an officer will engage you out of curiosity and talk to you for an extended amount of time. This most certainly decreases the cops aggression for the evening as they are busy talking with you and not killing dogs or extorting others.
- To Educate and Inform Others: Filming the police is still a relative new and foreign idea to most people. The video you capture will either inform others of an incident/event – like Scott Walker’s video – or serve an educational purpose to those who view it. Heck, at times it could even provide both. The informative side shows people what the police do. Whether that be shootings, raids, overreactions, or harassment; capturing this content via video is crucial. The educational aspect comes from those who view your videos and learn from them (good or bad). If they can say, “that was good” or “that was horrible” then they’ve learned something.
- To Save A Life: Most CopSuckers will laugh at this part, despite the endless stories and facts that police have murdered people under the color of law, they’d argue that filming the police is something done by criminals, meth-heads, and people who live in their parents basement. Regardless of any of that, or if those who film the police have a job, the truth is you very well could save a life. In fact, I’d be willing to go as far as to say that a CopBlocker is more likely to save someone’s life than an actual police officer. It could be a CopBlocker actively CopBlocking, filming a traffic stop or any police interaction, that keeps a cop (or in the rare case, the person pulled over) from using force on a person or someone learning something from a CopBlocker’s video that keeps them from having a horrible police interaction. At the end of the day, either one of those could very well save a life – even your own.
These are pretty obvious reasons as to why anyone should film the police but sometimes the obvious needs to be said. If you’re interested in filming the police, check out this page at CopBlock.org.