Police very often violate the rights of citizens and citizen journalists in this nation, and this is hardly ever talked about outside of the internet.
A Christopher Sharp had his video of a use of force by the Baltimore Police Department erased in 2010. The video that was erased was of a woman being beaten at the Preakness horse race track. Sharp is now engaged in a lawsuit for that illegal erasure of his video. But the BPD is investigating his employment records, any past drug use and has sought his phone records. Police erasing videos of innocent men and women is quite common. It is called destruction of evidence, and it is a crime. But police believe they are above it. Unfortunately, they quite frequently are in fact.
Over in New York City, a Diego Ibañez was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest for filming an arrest by NYPD officers of two young men. The police demanded that the video be erased. One of them lied and said it was illegal to film the police. This behavior is clearly illegal and a violation of freedom of speech, freedom of the press along with other civil rights violations. This is not the first time that NYPD have targeted for arrest and harassment those with cameras, it happened quite frequently during the Occupy protests.
In maybe the worst case of police abuse, a Dallas cop stopped a motorcyclist to get the video footage of other motorcyclists breaking traffic laws on the freeway. The motorcyclist, Chris Moore, had an obvious helmet camera on the top of his helmet. The deputy, James Westbrook, had told Moore after he had stopped him, "The reason you're being pulled over is because I'm gonna take your camera and we're gonna use it as evidence of in the crimes that have been committed by other bikers." Mr. Moore says no, because he has committed no crimes. A few minutes later Westbrook comes back and states he is arresting Moore for having an obstructed license plate.
This is the kind of police abuse of authority I would expect in say, China. How many illegal things did this cop do? One, he demanded video of someone not accused or suspected of a crime. The police can't do that, they can ask or try to get a subpeona. So, when Moore correctly stood up for his rights then Westbrook changed the reason for the stop to something entirely different, to justify the stop, arrest and seizure of his video.
I am glad to say that Officer Westbrook has been punished, to some degree. In some ways, this is shocking in and of itself. I guess Wesbrook had crossed the line so much, that even his superiors couldn't ignore the action. Let's hoping there is more accountability in the future on these types of cases.