UPDATE FRIDAY, July 1st. John Kurtz convicted of resisting arrest and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Travesty of justice.
Original post from June 28:
This is not something most people believe happens in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Police departments around the country seem to be on a binge of hiring individuals with a violent mindset that makes them wholly unsuitable for the job.
A standard question asked of a new recruit is “Why do you want to be a police officer?” The standard answer that most recruits understand to be what the questioner wants to hear is “Because I want to help people.” A more truthful answer for some would be “Because I want to beat the crap of people with impunity.”
In this case John Kurtz left his home in the middle of the night to observe some police action in his neighborhood. From all factual accounts he stood enough distance away so that he was not interfering or obstructing the officers in any way. He carried a small hand-held video camera. Believing he was witnessing the use of illegal excessive force by the officers against an already handcuffed and restrained man, he began to videotape the scene. That elicited a response from the officers that can be characterized only as the sort of unlawful violence one would expect from a criminal street gang, not officers of the law sworn “to serve and protect.”
This attitude results, I believe, from the increasing militarization of civilian police forces. A soldier on the battlefield is sent to engage the enemy and kill them. A civilian police officer has a different role. He is supposed to chase criminals and arrest them all the while protecting the rights of all citizens, including those he arrests. Only that force reasonably necessary to arrest the subject and protect the officer’s safety is lawful. All unnecessary force is excessive and is a crime that can and should be prosecuted. As of now it appears the wrong man is going on trial tomorrow. We’ll know soon, maybe.
Full story of John Kurtz’s ordeal with Orlando police can be found here, his Facebook page. [Link no longer works for some reason] Admittedly, we only have one side of the story right now. But his trial commences tomorrow, June 29th, in the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida. We’ll soon know all sides of this case. No one should be prosecuted for recording the police if they are not obstructing. If the police are not doing anything wrong, why do they care if they are recorded? Because some of them are hoodlums with a badge, is the only answer that makes sense.
Here is a video that was made in support of John Kurtz: