Baltimore police are being watched. Citizens armed with cameras – even in their cell phones – are filming officers in action, sometimes with unflattering results, says the Baltimore Sun. Officer Salvatore Rivieri found that out this week when a video of the 17-year veteran berating a skateboarder at the Inner Harbor was posted on YouTube. The officer was suspended, pending an internal investigation.
Some police officers don’t like the new reality that they can be under surveillance by the citizenry. “I think that cops are terrified of video cameras,” said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer now a sociologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I think the end result is cops will police a little more carefully.” Baltimore officers are supposed to behave exactly the same whether or not a video is running, said Sterling Clifford, a police spokesman. “Ideally, it would not mean anything,” if a video camera were running, he said. An increasing number of complaints forwarded to the department’s Internal Investigation Division are accompanied by video clips. “It does mean that there is a lot stronger evidence, when there are complaints against officers,” he said. “It can also mean there is exculpatory evidence.”