Surveillance is when the camera points down. Sousveillance is when the camera points up. Filming politicians in an act of corruption and capturing police officers in their acts of violence against the people they’re sworn to protect is sousveillance; it’s about letting Big Brother know that he can have all the cameras he wants, but the only thing he’ll film are dozens of cameras staring right back at him.
Naturally, the people in authority absolutely hate it.
On Tuesday, Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffery Katz defended the aggressive reaction of his officers in one such situation of sousvillenace. The video that has Chief Katz, and by extension, the entire Boynton PD, on the defense is one of a police officer threatening to shoot a group of young men. Their crime?
The young men were video taping their encounter after being stopped for a traffic violation. Something that is well within their rights.
And it shouldn’t surprise you at all, by this point, to learn that the young men were black and the cop was white.
While defending the actions of the officer, Katz claimed the young men were “escalating” the situation by “recording the interaction.” The act of recording apparently caused one of the officers to fear for his life when one of the men “reached out of his window with a black object in his hand.” The object was a camera phone, and the man was trying to record the officer’s name when the officer refused to provide it.
Katz is implying that the officer is incapable of telling cell phone from a gun:
Can you tell the difference? Because even though it’s early in the morning for me, I’m pretty sure I can.
The cop slapped the phone out of the man’s hand, yanking the man out of the car and none-to-gently throwing him face first on the grass while the other cop appeared, his gun drawn, charging towards the car. He threatened to shoot, saying, “I’ll put a round in your a** so quick.”
Katz justified this by stating that there had been a home invasion in the area. He also claimed that, “When I watch this video, I don’t see a car full of young men who are behaving in a manner consistent with fear of the police.”
Jesus Christ. Fear the police? That’s rather authoritarian of you, Chief Katz. Scary authoritarian of you. I imagine there’s a position open for you North Korea with that attitude.
Watching this video does reveal young men who don’t fear the police — it reveals young men with smart mouths and a cell phone camera. Which is fine; neither of which is illegal and neither of which deserves death threats. And frankly, if you’re so thin-skinned you can’t handle someone being a smart ass towards you, then you don’t belong in public service.
Which, I should reiterate, is what police were originally supposed to do.
You can watch the video below: