Thousands of individuals in and around Oklahoma City are now aware of Southern Oklahoma Cop Block and the Checkpoint Contest CopBlock.org is co-sponsoring with CheckpointUSA.org and LRN.FM thanks to coverage by KWTV.
Checkpoint Contest: http://CopBlock.org/CheckpointContest (deadline April 8th, 2013)
Much love to Dustin McCaskill who’s been instrumental in growing Southern Oklahoma CB from zero people in November 2012 to 2,400 people today. This story is indicative of the impact had on the ground when people connect.
Anti-Police Checkpoint Group Offers Prize For Evidence Of Corruption
by Dana Hertneky on March 28th, 2013 at News9.com
Police checkpoints are often controversial, but now they may be getting even more so after an anti-checkpoint group has offered a prize for video or other proof that the police are violating citizens’ rights.
The site Copblock.org is looking for content that “demystifies” police checkpoints and they’re offering an HD video camera to the winner.
“My advice is always [to] pretend you’re being recorded. Somebody is always watching in this day and age,” said Fraternal Order of Police president John George.
George says police realize they may end up on camera at some point, but antagonizing an officer into losing his cool so you could win a prize may be dangerous.
“You don’t want to bait the officer into something and you don’t want to do things with your movements or your actions that make officers think you’re doing something illegal,” said George.
Even defense attorney David Slane advises against it. He says participants could be the winners of a night in jail.
“When they may be well-intentioned on sort of checking the police and not letting them get out of hand, they may be giving people bad advice and they may be [themselves] arrested for obstructing an officer in the performance of their job,” said Slane.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department does conduct checkpoints. The OKCPD does not. News 9 is told it’s because it is too manpower intensive.
Since the story ran McCaskill noted that two other media outlets have contacted him about the activities Southern Oklahoma Cop Block. Excellent!
It’s excellent to hear that George is so matter-of-fact that police employees act as if they’re being recorded. The more such a mindset permeates those wearing badges the less-likely they are to be hostile when they realize that is in fact happening. And more-importantly, hopefully that mitigates the chance the police employee to act aggressively toward those with whom they’re interacting.
Yet why did George feel the need to warn potential-videographers that they not act in such a way as to antagonize a police employee. No where in the video contest is such a tactic advocated. In fact, taking a calm, cool and collected approach has long been pointed-to as ideal when in such situations.
Similarly Slane couched his comments on fear – the threat of a cage. For what?! For filming a public employee in the course of their “duties”?
True, police employees often operate very arbitrarily, knowing that they can cage someone with little fear of reprisal themselves, but if we, who work to watch the self-proclaimed watchmen are cowered into not working to make transparent their actions, where will that lead? Most-likely to a scenario where the double-standards now claimed grow.
That is why it is crucial to document (and disseminate when needed), and why I’m so glad McCaskill and those active with the growing Southern Oklahoma Cop Block and other groups are out there getting folks to think and act to change things for the better.