SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

This policeman could teach law enforcers a lesson in how to behave when a bystander is filming.

American police officers do not like being filmed on the job. To get a sense of just how pervasive this sentiment is, you can (and should) spend a few minutes on Photography Is Not a Crime, a blog run by photographer Carlos Miller.

Over the last several years, Miller has documented numerous cases of American cops overreacting to being filmed. They've arrested people. They've beaten them up. They've illegally confiscated cameras and made bogus charges. Following these rules while filming the police can reduce your chances of getting roughed up. But ultimately, some cops are going to take offense regardless of how polite you are. Canadian cops aren't a whole lot different

Officer Mark Morelli of the Hamilton Police Department in Hamilton, Ontario, has proven a welcome exception to the rule. A video of Morelli arresting a woman who clearly doesn't want to be arrested has gone viral. It's not because of how the officers conducted the arrest, but because of what happened afterward.

For the first few minutes of the video, Morelli and another officer forcefully arrest a young woman and then place her in a police cruiser. Bystanders criticize Morelli and his colleague. After the woman is in the car, Morelli turns to the crowd. Instead of threatening to confiscate their phone or arrest the people filming him, Morelli takes a few minutes (starting at about 4:30) to explain how and why he did what he did: 

Police officers aren't required to explain arrests to bystanders, but Morelli chose to anyway. He talked about what techniques he used and what he'd been trained to do, demonstrating not only that he understands use of force, but also that he wants the people he's working for—those bystanders—to understand it as well. Most importantly? He felt comfortable explaining this all on camera, in what was arguably an emotionally charged environment. That's quality policing. 

Top image: shutterstock.com/Everett Collection

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California’s Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over vacancy in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  2. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  3. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    As London’s Tube Expands, So Does the Fight Over Its Map

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

  4. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  5. A photo-illustration of a child looking at a garbage truck
    Life

    Why Are Kids Obsessed With Garbage Trucks? An Investigation

    For some kids, the weekly trash pickup is a must-see spectacle. Parents, children, waste-management professionals, and experts on childhood all offer theories as to why.

×