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Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Sorry for the dearth postings lately, again... Been struggling with work and some nasty headaches lately, but should be back at it shortly.

Planning some stories on the city's surveillance camera policies that let cops spy on citizens but consistently hides evidence of police misconduct. Remember, after all, that the city of Seattle is the worst government in the state of Washington for responding to FOIA requests and this holds especially true for getting accountability and misconduct information from the police department.

Also planning some comments on Seattle's plans to build a new jail and how it might mean more liability for the city. After all, how can the city negotiate a contract that would prevent jail guards from abusing detainees and violating constitutional rights when they can't even negotiate a contract that allows them to control their own police force? ...of course, that's assuming that the city doesn't foolishly put it's own uncontrollable and violent police force in charge of the jail too.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Pictured: The moment a London tourist dies after screaming 'I can't breathe' to police who restrained him. Guess where the footage is from?

A) bystandard
B) news helicopter
C) surveillance camera

Those cameras are terrible. They only way they'd be less awful is if anyone, anywhere, could access the feed--streaming online video. I'd rather have the world at large watching than just a few guys sitting in private oggling over a skirt.

I really wish I could dig up that ariticle about how the ... KC metro transit sherrifs? ... were caught zooming in and focusing the cameras on attractive women.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the comment, and indeed a big point to make is that private surveillance evidence tends to be much more accessible to the public than government surveillance evidence.

The question never asked in the press regarding government surveillance like the kind Seattle employs is always "who watches the watchers?"

This question needs to be asked, particularly in Seattle where a vast majority of footage of alleged police misconduct were only called into question when they came from private surveillance equipment or media recordings... never from dash-cams or other government equipment. Seattle's abysmal record with FOIA request compliance only further shows that the government will cover for police misconduct when their own video cameras catch it... as you say, there is no public oversight here about what the city government does with these cameras.

It would be one thing if Seattle was fair and open about how it's cameras were used and would be upfront and honest when their cameras catch police misconduct as well as alleged civilian criminals. But it's a one-sided affair here, and the unwatched watchers just outright refuse to be trustworthy... and the city does itself no favors by gearing it's policies regarding surveillance to continue covering up for police misconduct.

Thanks again for the comment!

Anonymous said...

Shame about Seattle not being forthcoming with publicly financed CCTV footage.

The UK seems good about it.

But I'd rather not have the money wasted.

Packratt said...

Thanks for the comment.

Yes, it is a shame, but to be expected I suppose... still, it's hypocritical for Seattle's city attorney to sit on the state's open government board it still has the worst record in the state for being open.

Of course, discussions of UK cameras bring up the claims of UK's leading law enforcement officials saying the CCTV system hasn't done much to stop crime at all, and then there are those charges against CCTV Operators who trained cameras on a woman's flat instead of the street.

Getting ahead of myself there, sorry.

In any case, I ultimately agree it's money better spent elsewhere.

Thanks again for the comment.

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