On Wednesday, October 15 Max Bickford was riding a moped in downtown Boston when all of the sudden a plainclothes police officer chased a suspect into the street in front of him. The suspect was arrested stopping traffic. Bickford took out his cell phone and began to videotape the arrest. The officer told him to move out of the way which he did. In the video the officer is then seen grabbing Beckford’s phone and this is where the video ends. Bickford states that the officer then threw the phone on the ground breaking the face of it. He was placed in handcuffs and thrown to the ground himself. He was eventually released and given back his broken cell phone.
Bickford called the police station to lodge a complaint and was told by the lieutenant that the officer believed there may have been evidence on the cell phone. It is not illegal to videotape an arrest made in public. The police need a search warrant to seize and look into phones content.
The Boston police, as well as all police departments all over the country, need to start to get used to the idea that they can and will be videotaped in the performance of their duties in public. Large cities such as London have video cameras set up throughout the whole city which allows for surveillance from a main headquarters to provide Public Safety and evidence. It is about time that the police begin to use video surveillance to their own advantage. Many crimes have no witnesses but yet can’t be solved through surveillance video of a public area.