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Capturing police misconduct on a mobile device

One of the many reasons mobile devices have become popular relates to their ability to capture images and video recordings of mishaps, accidents and transgressions. Several apps make it easy for New Yorkers to monitor law enforcement officials and hold them accountable for misconduct.

Common violations captured and shared online include unlawful arrests or detentions, improper stop-and-frisk actions and unnecessary shootings. When a community views a disturbing and unwarranted incident uploaded from a mobile device, it can affect each individual’s sense of trust and safety.

Uploading videos of captured events for shared online viewing

Uploaded videos and images shared online through a social media network may go “viral” and receive an extraordinary number of views. Images, comments and discussions related to an incident may carry the potential to attract widespread attention.

A mobile device captured one such incident in Brooklyn involving a 20-year-old resident approached for questioning by a plainclothes law enforcement official. Allegedly, the young man had smoked an illegal substance in a public park when the officer began asking him about his actions.

The young man responded by asking what crimes the officer thought he committed. The officer then took steps to detain him and called for backup. As reported by PIX11 News, several plainclothes and uniformed officers surrounded the man and tackled him to the ground.

The mobile device video shows several officers piling up on the young man on the ground while he cries out for help. The charges filed against him included unlawful possession, obstruction and resisting arrest.

Filing a legal action or posting videos online may bring about justice

Circulating videos online of actual events raises awareness of excessive force or misconduct by law enforcement. The resulting public awareness and concern can bring about change, but an affected victim may also need to file a legal action to recover damages such as bodily injuries or emotional trauma. Compensation may also include coverage of medical expenses and any resulting loss of income.

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