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Joe Anybody wins his case to Film the Police

The city (police & attorney) have released their opinion on filming the police while they are in public
I got everything I was asking for
Filming The Police Audio & Video is Legal
Filming The Police Audio & Video is Legal
PDF file from city (with flow chart)
PDF file from city (with flow chart)
Joe Anybody Wins Case
on Filming Police on Duty
UPDATE 12/2/2008

It looks like the ability and the "right to film" the police is being honored in Portland.
The City Attorney just passed along his agreement that there is a new policy change that will be clear that you can film the police while they are on public duty.

It was a surprise for me that they were agreeing and the policy looks good .
From the very beginning I never thought what I was doing should or would be illegal.
Filming the police is and should be a community service that everybody benefits from.
It provides an insight into the going-on's of the community at large and the actions and interactions of the police with their community they are serving.

So you no longer need to yell "I'm recording audio" while filming the police
By being in view with your cell phone or video camera (not hidden) you can freely with liberty film all you want of the public servants in action
Its black and white... . Complete with flow chart

I came away from this whole ordeal in a good mood about the outcome and the progress. There are still some small concerns like these two for an example

(1) The need to stipulate clearly that all police activity while on duty is considered Public and can be filmed by the public (within certain confines of the law)

(2) The lack of assurance that this "policy will not be forgotten and not respected or followed due to not being firmly implanted" in procedures and training. Like the 1991 Potter memo that was all too soon forgotten

While out on the streets or even on private property (with property owners permission) filming all that is happening is perfectly OK & legal to do. It seems that this new change will be in the current trainings and will be explained to the force. I am somewhat concerned as I mentioned that this could get forgotten over the years. If so it would be an error of the Portland city police and they would most likely be held fully accountable.

(more info on this will be forthcoming very very soon) 12/3/08

The PDF file (with a cool flow chart) that I received from the City of Portland can be downloaded on the attached link or from my webpage that has all the history and issues of this case:  http://zebra3report.tripod.com/joeanybodyshome/id116.html

To see the original video filmed click this YouTube link:

homepage: homepage: http://www.joe-anybody.com/id116.html

this was already settled law 04.Dec.2008 17:44

long long ago

Cops will still take cameras and call it "interfering with a police officer" or whatever.

You'll still be able to sue them for violating your rights, and win a settlement with no admission of wrongdoing five years later.

Ultimately, nobody can control the police. They do what the fuck they want. The politicians would have to bust the Portland Police Association in order to have any control over the cops' day-to-day behavior, and the politicians don't dare even mention the police in public except to praise them.

The police "union" and its arbitrators shouldn't even exist. Police manage and supervise the public and have the de-facto power to reward and punish us. All cops are "managers" and in no other industry except maybe school-teaching does anybody with this kind of power over other human beings have collective bargaining rights.

Cops want to be treated like "professionals" and "officers" when it suits their egos or their wallets but they want union protection the rest of the time, like janitors or dishwashers. Not even the mayor can fire a bad cop if an "arbitrator" disagrees -- disagrees according to the contract, not according to law or professional standards. As far as the labor discipline process goes, we are just scum around the back of a toilet, Officer Friendly is just mopping us up, and it's no big deal if he's not quite wielding the mop like it says in the employee manual.

When a cop goes to jail or even loses his job for taking a camera I'll believe this isn't all bullshit.

this is the flow chart 04.Dec.2008 18:37


The text at the bottom says

" I would welcome any ideas you might have to make the chart a more useful training tool. "

Get to work.
benjamin haile welcomes your ideas
benjamin haile welcomes your ideas

here's one 04.Dec.2008 19:27

just an idea

had to do it

this flow chart has lots of problems 04.Dec.2008 19:59

needlessly complicated, circular logic, bad law

A simple and obvious flaw in the real flowchart, which makes it look more complicated than it should be, is the "yes" branch from "Was the intercept device concealed?" This branch should go straight to "No violation" rather than over to the upper right box. An "oral communication contributed to a public event" cannot ever be "private."

Then, since both results of "Was the intercept device concealed" lead straight to "No violation," the whole question "Was the intercept device concealed?" is unnecessary and irrelevant. The question should itself be replaced by "No violation." Intercepting an oral communication contributed to a public event is never a violation.

The bigger problem is the upper right box, which employs circular logic: "Did the intercepted speaker exhibit a justifiable expectation that the communication was not subject to interception?" How do you know which expectations are "justifiable," and when you're "subject" to being intercepted? You don't, that's the whole question this stupid chart is supposed to answer.

A third problem is that the chart says that you are a criminal if you have conversation with an unknowing person and secretly record it yourself, but you are off the hook if you have somebody else record it. Follow the logic, that's what it says. If this is really the law, those are some stupid laws.

if a cop makes a speech on a stage at an event open to the public 04.Dec.2008 20:16

then you can record him, otherwise this chart doesn't help

In fact, unless Benjamin Haile is suggesting that all police activity is a "contribution to a public event," which doesn't seem likely, this chart doesn't really address the issue at all.

If police activity is is "private," then you can't record them without their "consent."

How do you TELL whether police activity is private or not?

You have to discover whether the cops have a "justifiable expectation" that they're not "subject" to being recorded.

And you have to discover that information from some completely different source from this flowchart.

It seems 05.Dec.2008 02:56

Joe Anybody

All police activity 'on duty' is a public event
On private property some respect to / for permission to film, is due to the owner of the property not the police

All public conversations "In Public" carry "no" guarantee that you will have any privacy "what so ever."

But try secretly recording a conversation where a couple people are in public, and they are having a (excuse the term) 'private conversation' ... the recording of them would be illegal for if it is a hidden audio recording devise that was used. You need to notify all those you are taping their audio, or hold it in "plain view" as this document from the city points out.

By this law the mere fact you are holding a camera filming the police you don't have to yell "I'm recording audio" nor worry (i would hope) that you are breaking any law and will be "left alone"
The text from the PDF file does help to explain some of the whole ordeal

tiny correction 05.Dec.2008 03:10

Joe Anybody

the quote below the flow chart picture that "useful?" posted that says "[benjamin haile welcomes your ideas]" is somewhat misleading

that flow chart and the words "" was from the city attorney's office as is the whole PDF file you see posted here.

The top letterhead shows the name of Linda Meng.

yes well it is indeed quite confusing 05.Dec.2008 03:45

the cops will figure it out i am sure

WELL, what the CHART says, i.e. what they're going to tell the cops in the training, is:

If you are PART of a conversation, you need to "inform" EVERYBODY THERE, but you DON'T need anybody's "consent."

If you are NOT part of the conversation, you DO need consent, but only from ONE PERSON, and the rest can be fooled.

And if you ARE part of a conversation and you hand your camera to another person who is NOT part of the conversation and she tapes the conversation FOR you, with your consent and without anybody else's knowledge, then that is just fucking stupid and the clowns in Salem are a bunch of assholes for making us deal with this bullshit.

link 05.Dec.2008 03:49

Ben Waiting

Original "Portland Indy Media" post from March 2008


sneaky sneaky 05.Dec.2008 16:22

is this true?

What this looks like is it's legal for private parties to set up wiretapping or wearing-a-wire -type "stings," and secretly record private conversations with unknowing targets, as long as there are at least two people setting it up, one acting as the "interceptor" and the other acting as the "participant" granting consent.

Secret Videotaping? 05.Dec.2008 17:21

Rodney King

Congrats on winning this one Joe!

One thing I'm confused about is the whole being visible or not part. Remember the Rodney King video? Those cops did not know they were being filmed, so would that be illegal?

privacy protections a two way street in Oregon 05.Dec.2008 19:35

Joe Anybody iam@joe-anybody.com

Rodney K

This issue is over the use of (a video camera) that is recording "audio"

Don't remember if audio was in the Rodney tape?

Oregon has a pretty tight law without a lot of wiggle room that protects ones privacy

The fact that your in "public" and your conversation is being recorded needs to be within the real of the law ORS.165.540(c)

I am happy that by standing in the open and filming I am not a criminal nor treated like one.

Side note: At a "public event" the rules change somewhat regarding ORS.165.540(c)
The provisions of the ORS. do not apply if one is at a public event like a parade, protest, etc

The flow chart has some reference to the surreptitiously filming aspect

Regarding Rodney King and etc 05.Dec.2008 20:43


The cops who beat Rodney King had no idea that a video camera was trained on them. If they had known, you can bet that they would have gone after the videographer. A few years back, a 16 year old black teenager, Donovan Jackson, was beaten by police at a gas station in Inglewood, California. A videographer staying in a motel across the street from the station heard Jackson's screams and ran out into the street to film what was happening. The cops later showed up at his door, apparently to seize the videotape. For... "evidence." But Mitchell Crooks, the videographer, was no fool, and had gotten that tape outta dodge as soon as he had shot it. He knew he could be in trouble, and he knew the cops well enough to know he'd better get the tape into hiding, so the cops didn't get it and the world saw what they had done.

Even so, the cops came after the videographer. They arrested him on some allegedly outstanding warrants. Since that incident, they have hounded and harassed him. He had to leave the state, and even now, he says he is afraid for his life. The cops who savagely beat the 16 year old child, incidentally, won a million dollar lawsuit after they were fired, because they claimed that their firing was the result of "reverse discrimination," and a (probably white) jury handed them a million bucks. (May Donovan now sue them for 2 million bucks, and win.) So the only one to go to jail over the savage, racially motivated, and completely unprovoked attack by white police officers upon a 16 year old boy with developmental disabilities was... the videographer! That's how the system works. Just like the way that the only person ever to be punished for Abu Ghraib was the person who took the pictures that showed the world what was happening there. The system protects itself, and recognizes the power that a camera holds.

The truth is, those of us who spend time out on the streets with cameras in our hands, bearing witness to the abuses of the police state, we are not at all surprised by what happened to Mitchell Crooks. We know the police are our enemy. We know they will beat, harass, arrest, lie, cheat, steal, and even kill to cover their own pathetic asses. We all have stories to tell. We've had cameras "seized" (stolen), we've had false charges laid on us, we've been arrested, we've been targeted with pepper spray and batons and even tazers. All because we are lighting up the darkness. We are holding the police gangsters accountable for their actions.

What Joe Anybody did here is extremely important. Yes, the police will continue to abuse their "authority" as they always have. But Joe stood up for all of us, and because he did, we all have one more tool in our arsenal to keep the cops at bay, or at least to get our cameras back faster next time. We're all just a little less likely to get arrested next time (though if you get footage of them fucking up, you get yourself, your cam, and that videotape out of there RIGHT NOW!). Thanks, Joe! You do rock!

mitchell crooks's story in his own words 09.Dec.2008 04:06

finally found it

[ mitchell crooks responded in 2004 to an article by heather ajani and ernesto aguilar, which mentioned
him and used the term "race traitor," this being a reasonably representative sample of that usage: ]

Bring the Ruckus' mythology of the Donovan Jackson case -- where the white male rises up against the empire from the comfort of his hotel balcony, a few hundred feet from where the Black youth gets from white folks what many Black youth before him have -- is the kind of petty romanticism that pervades white 'race traitor' politics. Such chauvinism can no longer be acceptable, not that it ever was.


[ ajani and aguilar were themselves responding to an even earlier article by someone else, and their
use of the term "race traitor" was in a complex abstract context; crooks, on the other hand, had
only ever heard the term used as an insult toward him by actual racists and was having none of it: ]

First, I am mitchell crooks.  http://www.freecrooks.com

This discussion makes me happy to some extent but, to say I am a race traitor because i helped out a fellow human being? Who was being tortured by a much larger human being? All while being subdued in handcuffs? And that was what my motivation was. Thats it. I did not think of anything else up until the video was shown worldwide.

As far as the state punishment, half you don't even know the torture the state put me through. I buy the argument that the state retaliated because I crossed the race line. TRUE.

Does anyone really know what I was arrested for and the details? I had pawned a vcr that belonged to my mother. While being searched during a 0.08% DUI stop, The cops found the pawn slip and charged me with theft. My mother was never asked to press charges. I went to court and was advised by the public pretender to take a 6 month sentence instead of going to prison. This was 5 years before I videotaped donovan.

This is in Placer County CA. A "Good ol' boy redneck" county outside sacramento & lake tahoe. Rep. john doolittle represents rocklin where my crime(s) took place. Recently, Placer county overtook Orange County as the #1 republican county. Growing up I knew one black kid and everyone was white. And yes we were "down".

Nobody knows how FBI arrested me in front of CNN about to do Larry King and a BET interview. Nobody knows that the twin tower jail in LA was emptied out so no witnesses could hear me scream. Nobody knows how I was beaten by LADA & LAPD and hospitalized. Nobody knows how I was videotaped naked in a shit soaked cell while being handcuffed to the outside of the cell.

Nobody realizes that Placer County sent a piper navajo private jet the next day to burbank airport to pick me up and fly me back to placer county to serve 6 months in county jail on 23 hour a day lock-down in protective custody. How I was not allowed to have human contact for 6 months.

The placer sheriff would call me "race traitor" and enlist inmates to harass me constantly. They put me on 23 hour lock-down because they were afraid "white power inmates would kill me". They would take every right away. Some days I would not get an hour out of the cell. Two black inmates out of 1,000 in the whole jail. They were driving through to reno and got spotted by racist cops.

They would fuck with me on a constant basis. They would threaten my attorneys and relatives. They would put out stories to the local press of me complaining about the inmates shoving their bibles under my door.

Now, I live in vegas where I been scared shitless not to break the law. Yet even still, I got a ticket for stepping off the curb into the street in a construction zone. A 190.00 fine that has to be paid before I can fight it. (poor people cannot defend themselves I guess?) The cop says to me "your not in california anymore" when he hands me the ticket. FOR STEPPING OFF THE CURB!