The Price of Those Who Recorded
The Price of Those Who Recorded by Kalyn Kearney
How long are we going to accept “I feared for my life, it was self-defense because he/she had a weapon.” When blood is spilled at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve are abusing their power, what do you do? Over the past five years, we have seen the effects footage of police brutality has had on the black community. Videos that have surfaced are not shocking to those within the communities that are being targeted. It strikes a nerve in those who have turned a blind to the injustices people of color face daily.
It is no secret that black people are killed or arrested at disproportionate rates. Some argue the explanation for these disparities include poverty, segregation, lack of law enforcement support and unemployment. All of these factors play a role but they are missing the bigger picture. Black lives don’t matter they never have, but will there be a time when they will? Reports of police using deadly force and inhumane tactics are not just happening in one area but worldwide.
Civilians are protected by the First Amendment, which means they have to right to record police officers. But this is not true everywhere, people are still being harassed and manipulated by police. Actions like these reveals the true colors behind law enforcement covering up stories and trying to rewrite the narrative. Recording and publication of police violence is protected by the First Amendment but what about afterwards. If the Constitution fails to instill the safety of civilians how can we expect those who have sworn to protect and serve to keep us safe?
Abdullah Muflahi the man who recorded the murder of Sterling had his phone confiscated by police without a warrant, arrested and held in the back of a police car for four hours. Chris LeDay was the first person to post the video of the incident with Sterling and law enforcement, which went viral. The following day his job was surrounded by military police. Kevin Moore recorded half of what happened to Freddie Gray, later he was arrested while being held at gunpoint. In an interview with Vice News he said, “Police sit outside my son’s school. And they ride past taunting me with their phones up.” Evidence that there is a pattern when it comes to law enforcement being exposed. Using their power positions to intimidate civilians. Using threats and manipulation to send a message to those who challenge the police department. Forcing officers to confront their decisions and the consequences that come along with them.
Former NFL player Desmond Marrow, who was assaulted and arrested after police mistook his cellphone for a gun. In a Facebook post by Desmond he states “I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was passing out or dying when Officer D.Rose was choking me as my breath kept slipping away. Henry county police department was trying to keep me quiet, but once they found out I was a former NFL Player & there was a video of the incident did they then try to drop my charges. They were basically trying to get me to sell my soul in exchange for the video not being posted and they would drop all the felonies and clear my record. They said I was resisting arrest, being out of control, spitting and assaulting the Officers by head butting them. But GOD recorded it and I have PROOF! You know the truth take a lil longer to make it around lies travel faster.”
So my question to you: Who is truly protected by the First Amendment? And why with clear solid evidence aren’t these officers being held accountable?