Excessive force by law enforcement on the citizens of America has quickly come to the forefront of controversy in the last year or two. The fact that most everyone, including teens and young children, are equipped with a phone or other device that can record video has helped to bring light to a very serious matter. Bullying by the police is not new, but catching it on video by public bystanders is.
However, in an effort to thwart the abuses of power that some and I’ll repeat some, of those misguided officers take advantage of, could the public maybe be taking it a little too far? While the tax paying citizens of this country have every right, if not an obligation, to film misconduct of officers, law enforcement and the public need to come to an understanding.
A good example is that of an exchange between Jersey City Officer Ramon Aponte and Joseph Ferrante, the man filming the officer’s traffic stop. The stop showed no signs of misconduct by Aponte, yet Ferrante felt the need to “protect the community.” Because of this relatively new phenomenon of filming officers on duty, Ricardo Tosto recommends that both the police and the public need to be made aware of how to handle the situation.
In the case of Aponte, the officer stayed calm and professional, but was clearly irritated with the filming and detained Ferrante until his superior could come to the scene and advice. While Aponte didn’t grab and smash the phone, detaining Ferrante was uncalled for. On the other side of the coin, Ferrante clearly also tried to provoke the officer with his ramblings of false facts.