Last night on the 11 o'clock news
Last night on CBS local news, there was a story about Jacob Redding who has been videotaping on the critical mass rides. Reporter Ti Hua Chang, who has been good at following up on these types of critical mass abuse related stories investigates weather or not you can video tape police activity.
Here is a video link to the story.
A transcript of the story can be found on onnyturf.com
Basically, the police can force you to stop activities if YOU are being arrested and NOT if you are observing, as long as you are not interfering with the arrest...which the police can always say that you are. It is clear that the videographers were video tapping police harrassment of the critical mass riders from the sidewalk and NOT interfering in the arrest of Jacob Redding, who was being arrested and had his camera damaged by another officer.
My tips to video people from several years of offensive protesting is:
1) the police CAN and Will try and break your equipment, confiscate your stuff and disrupt your legal documenting of their wrongful activity as much as they can. I have seen just about every trick in the book, such as physical assaults, shooting at camera people with Non-lethal weapons, even telling local residents to steal peoples video equipment.
2) be aware of your surroundings, keep cameras close to your body, try to be stealth and not let people know your shooting, although sometimes your documenting of the situation may protect you.
3) always keep the camera rolling when you are in a hostile situation. Try and get cops badges, names, street signs and as much information that you can.
4) it is always good to remove the tape and put it in a safe place after illegal activity is taking place.
5) who knows, your footage may be used in a major networks report and that is BAD press for the NYPD.