IMAGE: WW Photo Illustration
What is it, anyway, with local police retaliating against people with video cameras?
Cops have had plenty of warning that arresting people for filming them is unacceptable. Just look at the city of Portland, which a jury ordered to pay $55,000 last month to a man suing the cops for Tasering him in 2006 while he taped a police search.
Just last year, the Portland city attorney issued a determination that being recorded is part of modern life and police have no right to seize video cameras or cite people for recording them, so long as the civilians record cops openly and in public.
But apparently the Beaverton Police have no problem taking out their fears on citizens—earning them this week’s Rogue dishonors.
On Aug. 27, 2008, Hao Xeng Vang was outside the Valley Lanes bowling center when he saw Beaverton Police arresting his friend. Vang, 28, began recording with his cell phone.
Officer Jason Buelt arrested Vang and charged him with interception of communications. Vang was jailed for one day. City prosecutors later dropped the misdemeanor, but police didn’t return Vang’s cell phone until Oct. 22, 2008—with the recording deleted.
All this is now the subject of a $187,850 federal lawsuit filed in August by Vang against Buelt and the City of Beaverton.
Steven Kraemer, an attorney for the city, admits in court papers that the basic facts in Vang’s lawsuit are true. But Kraemer, who declined WW’s request for comment, claims Buelt acted correctly.
We disagree. If public officials can’t stand to be recorded in public in 2009, they should find another line of work, rather than retaliating with trumped-up charges.
A final note: After venturing out to Beaverton just two weeks ago to make Mayor Denny Doyle our Rogue, the Rogue desk hopes to avoid a return to that fair city for a good while.