Carlos Miller reports that the NYPD is warning its officers of two “professional agitators” who record the police making arrests, which is perfectly legal, by putting up mugshot posters of them in their local precinct. The two “agitators” saw the poster while attending a community board meeting at the department. Here’s what the “agitators” say about it:
Walked into the monthly 30th Precinct community board meeting to discover our own faces hanging on the podium. It reads
Be aware that the subjects are known professional agitators that live at [our address posted on poster]. Above subjects mo is that they video tape officers performing routine stops and post on youtube. Subjects purpose is to portray officers in a negative way and too deter officers from conducting there responsibilities. Above subjects also deter officers from being safe and tactical by causing unnecessary distractions. Do not feed into subjects propaganda.
And yes, all those misspellings are on the poster. This is similar to what the Miami PD did to Miller himself, sending out an email warning officers to be on the lookout for him at an Occupy protest; he was later arrested at that protest for doing nothing more than videotaping what the police were doing (along with many other journalists, none of whom were arrested).
And I love the spin. Their purpose is to “portray officers in a negative way.” No, their purpose is to document what the officers are doing. In NYC, with its incredible history of police brutality and misconduct, that’s a very good thing. The only ones who can turn that into a negative are the officers themselves. If they do their job without abusing their authority or abusing the people under their protection, they’ll come out of it looking just fine. Instead of teaching officers to fear those who document their behavior, in full compliance with the law, they should be teaching officers to not break the law and violate anyone’s rights.