Video, Civil Rights and Cultural Cognition
I’ve been reading Howard Wasserman’s new paper, Orwell’s Vision: Video and the Future of Civil Rights Enforcement, which he blogged about here. The paper makes some terrific points about how video evidence is likely to affect the future of civil rights litigation, and argues that control over who gets to record transactions between police and citizens is the key question still up for grabs. Along the way, Howard offers some good & useful criticisms of the cultural cognition project’s work on Scott v. Harris, which we’re grateful to receive.
Apropos of Howard’s paper, check out the following video, which I saw at Daily Kos. As the tape starts, Dino Rossi, candidate for governor in Washington State, is accepting the endorsement of a local police guild, when someone in the crowd notices that a staffer for Governor Gregoire is on site videotaping the event (probably hoping to capture a gaffe):
As the (remarkably substantive, in parts) comment thread at DK points out, you can see the actions of the videotaper in this context in many different ways, depending, no doubt, on your orientations about the value of of private control of “private property,” the usefulness of taping interactions with the police, and the authority of the police to control interactions with citizens by, say, demanding identification. And there’s also the fact that the taper, because he’s both a whiner and clueless, doesn’t make the best case possible for his side of the interaction. Still, I imagine that if we showed this interaction to a demographically diverse sample of the population, individuals’ views of who was in the right would be motivated by cultural orientations. (To be clear, on first glance, I don’t think there is a colorable constitutional/statutory claim here.)
How should the law treat these kinds of competing interests? Check out Howard’s paper for a theory.