FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cops Suing Cops … for Spying on Cops

The irony couldn’t be more clear. New York City police and their union, the Police Benevolent Association, are suing the NYPD for spying on them at rallies and demonstrations held during their contract dispute with the city in the summer of 2004.

As reported on the front page of today’s New York Times,the lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include New York firefighters and other police unions, charges that the NYPD’s own surveillance of off-duty cops who attended these rallies was so heavy-handed and “intimidating” that it violated their civil rights.

The cops’ lawyer even called videotaping a form of “political harrassment.”

Talk about the cat calling the kettle black. For years activists at antiwar demos, Critical Mass bike rides and other political protests have found themselves under the heavy gaze of camera-toting TARU (Technical Assistance Response) officers seemingly recording their every move.

“For years we have complained about the NYPD videotaping protesters,” says Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which has been fighting to curb police surveillance of activists since it filed its landmark Handschu case in 1971.

“It’s nice to see that police officers now agree with us,” Dunn adds. “It sure is ironic, however, how cops turn into the biggest advocates of constitutional rights when they become the targets of police misconduct.”

Following the Republican National Convention, when the NYPD even equipped a Fuji blimp with a high-powered camera to hone in on street protests, the NYCLU fired off yet another round of legal papers to challenge the blanket surveillance of political protests, along with the NYPD’s new practice of retaining tapes and photos for as long as it deems necessary.

So will this police suit help the NYCLU’s case? “Anything that makes the public more aware of the intimidating affect of police surveillance helps. When the police say it, that helps,” says Dunn.

Activists found news of the cops’ suit a bit galling, but were nevertheless pleased. “It just shows that this is too much already, if even the police are upset about it,” says Bill DiPaolo of Times Up!, the eco group that helps promote the monthly Critical Mass bike rides, which have been subject to much undercover surveillance of late.

Lately, Times Up! volunteers have taken to spying on the cops that come to spy on bikers during the mass rides. “We videotape them videotaping us. Since we’ve started doing it, we’ve noticed a significant decrease in the number of [police] who show up to videotape. But that may be
because it’s become an issue in the press,” says DiPaolo.

Perhaps the cops suing the cops should trying videotaping those cops, too.

SARAH FERGUSON writes for the Village Voice website. She can be reached at: fergie33@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail