Police are claiming that footage of them using marijuana is a violation of their right to privacy.
Back in June Mark wrote about a raid of a marijuana dispensary. The first thing the police did after clearing out everyone else is disconnect all the security cameras. But they missed a couple. The next thing that happened is that they appeared to be eating food they found on the site. The dispensary sold marijuana edibles. It appeared that the police were getting high on the substances that were the reason for their raid.
Well now we have an interesting update from Reason.com:
Remember the Santa Ana, California, cops who were caught on video munching on what seem to be cannabis-infused chocolate bars after raiding an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary in May? The Orange County Register reports that three officers who were suspended after the incident are trying to stop the Santa Ana Police Department from using the footage in its internal investigation. Among other things, their lawsuit argues that the officers thought they had disabled all of the security cameras at Sky High Holistic and therefore had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The cops complain that the dispensary never got their permission to record them as they searched the premises.
“All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” says the complaint, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer.” Under California law, “all parties to a confidential communication” must consent to being recorded, but that rule does not apply when “the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.”
So the police have a right to not be under surveillance when they are allegedly performing their duties and are being paid by the taxpayers.
Could these people be any more arrogant? These are the same people who use radar guns to catch us speeding. They use camera footage all the time. These officers were in a public business. Just because they were too incompetent to find all the surveillance cameras does not entitle them to make records of their criminal activity off limits to law enforcement.