Oh, they know. They just don’t care. And here’s why.
From the USA Today article:
Again, the police don’t have any authority to do that. In fact, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has held in the case of Glik v. Cuniffe that the right to photograph police officers in public spaces is so clearly established that officers who break the law by interfering with citizens who do so can’t plead “good faith” immunity. Good-faith immunity is supposed to protect officers who have to act quickly in areas where the law is unclear. The right to take photographs of police officers in public places, said the Court of Appeals, isn’t unclear. (In fact, it’s so clear that the Justice Department has written a letter to law enforcement agencies making that point.)
Now the same question is going before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes New York City, in response to the New York Police Department’s practice of interfering with people who record its officers.
Despite a black and white decision against their non-existent “privacy” rights, and despite a statement from the Justice Department to LEAs advising them of this, they do it anyway, and, rather than any cops being arrested for breaking the law, we have yet another long, drawn-out legal battle in which the cops mount a defense paid for with taxpayer money.
Until real cops pay real penalties (and that includes their bosses who unofficially sanction these practices), this will continue. Put cops in jail, strip them of their pensions, strip them of any “immunity” to civil suits, let their victims sue them into bankruptcy and lifetime penury – and publicize these actions far and wide – and you’ll see this sort of crap greatly diminish.
BTW, while wiring up the cops will help, it isn’t an ultimate answer. How often have we seen police videocams “malfunction” and “fail to record” some scene in which the cops are not only breaking their own rules, but the law as well?
Judge Henderson’s assertion of the court’s power to conduct independent investigations and mete out contempt of court sanctions outside the normal union arbitration process came in an order relating to the nametag-taping incident involving Officer John Hargraves and former Lieutenant Clifford Wong on November 2. Hargraves was found to have violated policy by taping over his nametag, and Wong was found to have acted improperly by failing to report the incident to internal affairs and also turning off Hargraves’ lapel camera, which video of the incident shows was on when a photographer first raised the issue. The department suspended Hargraves for thirty days and demoted Wong to sergeant, but Henderson may decide to further discipline them through contempt of court proceedings.
Like I said: Jail. Pension stripped. Bankruptcy. Publicity.