In Michigan, Dr. Dre, Freedom Fighter, Wins One for the Rest of Us

Dr Dre, backstage at Pussycat Dolls in Los Angeles

Image via Wikipedia

OK, this post has it all: cops, Dr. Dre, sexually explicit video…it ought to do wonders for my Google analytics.

Should the cops have a right to privacy while doing their jobs?

 

The state Supreme Court essentially answered “no” the other day when it tossed out a lawsuit filed by former officer — and current Detroit City Council President Pro Tem — Gary Brown and others who claimed that officers’ privacy was violated by rap producer Dr. Dre.
Dre filmed the cops back in 2000 after they came backstage to warn him not to play a sexually explicit video during the Detroit stop of the “Up In Smoke” concert that featured Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. Brown says he asked Dre to turn off the camera, but the cameras kept rolling. Footage of the confrontation wound up on the concert DVD, and Brown sued.
Dre also sued after the concert, arguing that his right to free speech was violated. He settled out of court and got an apology from then-Mayor Dennis Archer. Local officers had to submit to First Amendment training. Meanwhile, in Brown’s case, an appeals court initially ruled in his favor. But the state’s high court overturned that decision on Friday.

 

 

The Michigan Messenger puts this otherwise silly little case into perspective though, underscoring the fact that the case clearly rules that police officers can have no expectation of privacy in doing their jobs. Given wacky attempts to assert just that right — and to criminally punish those videotaping police in plain sight — three state already criminalize citizen videotaping of police at work. That’s some Banana Republic stuff there, people.
The best look at the issue I have seen is here — Are Cameras The New Guns? Here is a snippet:

 

In short, recordings that are flattering to the police – an officer kissing a baby or rescuing a dog – will almost certainly not result in prosecution even if they are done without all-party consent. The only people who seem prone to prosecution are those who embarrass or confront the police, or who somehow challenge the law. If true, then the prosecutions are a form of social control to discourage criticism of the police or simple dissent.

 

This is not the work of democracies. Kudos to the Michigan courts for smacking this down. Freedom-loving people of all political stripes should be able to embrace this simple precept: if we can’t record a policeman doing his or her job, we are subjects, not citizens.

 

 

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