Target: Mr. Joe Stratus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
Goal: Don’t take away the right to videotape police.
Texas lawmakers are attempting to take away people’s right to videotape police. There are a myriad of issues with this, but chiefest among them is that there would no longer be any civilian oversight of police activities. All police doings would be self-reported, and without the right to videotape police conduct, there would be no way to refute what police claim. Action must be taken to ensure that this bill does not pass and that civilians maintain the right to videotape police for their own safety.
The famous phrase “Who watches the watchmen?” is important to consider when looking at this issue. The only people enforcing any rules on the police are civilians. If they are no longer allowed to videotape instances of police misconduct, there would essentially be no way to prove that they happened. After all, who is a judge or jury going to believe: a police officer or an accused criminal?
Police officers are starting to feel vulnerable now that their actions can be appropriately tracked and scrutinized. It is becoming harder and harder for them to get away with beating and shooting unarmed civilians, and that is a fantastic thing for the average person. We watch the watchmen, and if we are no longer legally allowed to do so, this country will essentially be a police state.
Considering the recent video evidence that has been circulated nationwide depicting police brutality, and in some cases murder, this bill should be shocking. However, police hold a tremendous amount of power in most states and they do not want that power to be taken from them. Please sign here to ensure that civilians maintain the right to videotape police officers in order to protect themselves and exert some kind of check on police power.
Dear Speaker Stratus,
It has come to my attention that a recently introduced bill seeks to outlaw the practice of videotaping police officers. This bill comes regardless of the hundreds of examples of recorded police brutality that have been circulating over the past few months. Who watches the watchmen, Mr. Stratus? Who ensures that the police are not breaking the law themselves? It is important for civilians to have some sort of check on police power in order to protect themselves and this bill seeks to take away just about the only one.
If civilians are no longer allowed to record instances of police misconduct, how will anyone refute what police claim? It is well documented that judges and juries believe the spoken word of a police officer over that of an alleged criminal, and often video evidence is the only thing that can convince them otherwise. To take that away would be akin to making Texas into a police state where there are no restrictions on police power. I urge you to vote against this bill and help protect the rights of Texas residents.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Peripitus via Wikimedia Commons