Fairfax County Police means police brutality

Where the hell is the US Justice Department? Why aren't they using RICO against these cops?

A Virginia teen ended up hospitalized with a concussion Tuesday after police struck him on the side of the head with a baton for video recording them.

A Virginia teen ended up hospitalized with a concussion Tuesday after police struck him on the side of the head with a baton for video recording them.
The video shows the cop asking his age before attacking the 19-year-old man, apparently figuring he can get away with doing that to an adult.

Devin Thomas was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, your typical contempt of cop charges.

Petersburg teen says video shows officers assaulting him
 by Melissa Hipolit

PETERSBURG, Va. — A Petersburg teenager told CBS 6 he was assaulted by at least one local police officer outside an apartment complex on Tuesday while he was filming the officers with his smartphone.

Devin Thomas, 19, showed CBS 6 Investigative Reporter Melissa Hipolit the video he said he shot on Tuesday at Petersburg East Apartments.

It shows two police officers yelling at the person filming, telling them to get inside, and then the camera phone falls to the ground.

CBS 6 cannot tell what is taking place when the camera phone is on the ground, but Thomas said one of the officers began beating him.

Devin Thomas
Thomas sent CBS 6 News this photo late Thursday. (SOURCE: Devin Thomas)

“He just grabbed me and slammed me,” Thomas said.

Thomas showed us scars on his chin, ear, chest, and arm that he said are from the incident.

Thomas said he went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“They hit me in the side of my face with a club, and I was bleeding really bad,” Thomas said.

Court papers Thomas showed up said police charged him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, which are charges Thomas said are unwarranted.

“I did nothing wrong,” Thomas said.

Petersburg Police Department Spokeswoman Esther Hyatt confirmed they are investigating the incident.

A Lieutenant with the department told CBS 6 it involved a Prince George police officer.

Prince George Police said a complaint was filed Thursday about one of their officers allegedly assaulted a man for filming him.

Prince George Police also said they are investigating the complaint.

We showed CBS 6 Legal Expert Todd Stone the video, and he said Thomas’s actions were perfectly legal.

“Generally speaking, people in the public have a right to film the police as long as they’re not stepping into the crime scene and obstructing justice,” Stone said.

Thomas said he was not obstructing anything, and now he wants justice.

“They need to be stopped for real,” Thomas said.

The Right to Film Cops Is Important, but It's No Justice

By Natasha Lennard

It is an unavoidable fact of contemporary American life that we are being watched. Whether by government spycraft, consumer data hoarding, or networked surveillance cameras, a citizen in this era is subject to observation, with scant protection against it.
It's been a slightly different story for cops. Municipal police departments around the country, in states including Illinois, Florida, Maryland, and New Hampshire, have been able to go unwatched. More precisely, they have been able to arrest individuals for the mere fact of filming police activity in public. Under the pretext of protecting official business from public glare, cops across the US have carried out all manner of brutalities — from harassment, tobeatings, to sodomizing detainees stopped for mere traffic violations, to murder — with impunity, safe in the assumption that any recordings of their actions are in their own hands.
A federal court this week, however, ruled that cops can no longer maintain a monopoly over recording arrests and police action. Filming cops, the court ruled, is protected by the First Amendment. The ruling, which is only binding in the four states in the First Circuit District (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island) and in Puerto Rico, resulted from a case brought by a New Hampshire woman arrested for filming police carrying out a traffic stop. The case is now being returned to a lower court for trial.
"It is clearly established in this circuit that police officers cannot, consistent with the Constitution, prosecute citizens for violating wiretapping laws when they peacefully record a police officer performing his or her official duties in a public area," the First Circuit appeals court ruled.
The decision is a small victory in the fight against police brutality. It establishes as constitutionally protected the sort of activity that activists under the banner CopWatch have been carrying out in communities plagued by police harassment for years. CopWatch recordings have played an important role in revealing how cops regularly offer skewed or utterly false narratives when making violent arrests or, for example, shooting unarmed black teens.
To be sure, the assured ability to film cops does not spell the end of police violence nor their impunity. If filming cops were enough, there wouldn't be so many officers proven to have been abusive without criminal records and still serving on police forces around the country.
The NYPD officer who shot and killed unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham in his grandmother's bathroom, then lied and claimed the 18-year-old had been carrying a gun, was found not guilty of manslaughter. Three officers who, in 2008, arrested Michael Mineo, pinned him down, pulled down his trousers and sodomized him with a baton were also found not guilty of the minimal charges they faced of hindering prosecution and official misconduct. The Fullerton, California cops who beat homeless and schizophrenic Kelly Thomas to death as he cried out for his dad walked free, despite graphic surveillance camera video of the fatal assault. The BART officer who shot Oscar Grant (again, unarmed) at point blank range as he lay on a train station platform spent less than a year in prison, though cell phone video of the execution was seen by millions.
That the Oakland cop, Johannes Mehserle, was prosecuted and convicted at all for killing Grant is perhaps evidence of the importance of filming cops. But the justice system's lenient treatment of Grant's killer, Graham's killer, Mineo's abusers, and many many more vicious cop actions sends a clear message that police brutality remains state-sanctioned. Filming cops is crucial, but borrowing from that well-loved anti-police protest chant: it's no justice, and it's no peace.