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Student arrested for filming campus police officer

from the oh-no-you-didn't dept.

Did you guys see today's Daily Universe story about a BYU broadcast journalism student being arrested yesterday for filming an officer as he gave a ticket to his friend for jaywalking? This is ridiculous! What right does an officer have to do this? According to university spokeswoman, Kerri Jenkins, "The officer believed there was probable cause to issue a citation based on the behavior of the student." What probable cause? Filming with a camera in a public place is now a crime? Should the guy who filmed the Rodney King beating have been roughed up and arrested as well? And does it take arresting a person to issue a citation? "Probable cause," what a load crap.

The officer has been identified as Carl Whiting. For the impatient, here's a quote from the article talking about what happened:

Kelly said he also decided to shoot the footage because of a class assignment to report on campus police activity. The officer asked Kelly to turn off his camera equipment and leave the area. BYU chief of Police Michael Harroun later identified the officer as Carl Whiting.

"I told him no and that I work with NewsNet as a broadcast student," Kelly said.

When he did not immediately comply, Kelly said Whiting became defensive and called for backup.

"They grabbed me, turned me around, put the cuffs on me and forced me to the car," Kelly said, rolling up his sleeves to show the red marks on his wrists.

Kelly was taken to BYU police headquarters in the basement of the ASB where he was cited for interfering with a public servant and trespassing.

"They took me into a room, searched me and searched my bag," Kelly said. "They took my camera and took the tape out of it and kept it."

Now Kelly is standing trial over this. What justice!

Way to go BYU Police! Keep up the good work! I'm glad to see we're keeping the riff-raff off our campus.

Kill Whiting!

I'm not serious, I just thought it would make a silly pun. This is big bullcrap though.

Finally, justice!

Face it, the dude got what he deserved. All this time we have been forced to accept these papparizi under the gise of freedom of speech: bull crap! Who does this guy think he is, Michael Moore? He can't just go around filming people all the time and call it an assignment.

It's like this: you don't go around filming those who have the power of cohersion on their side. That is, if he has the top-cop has power to put you in jail and take away your rights, then you better do what he says. "Yes, sir. Yes, sir; three bags full."

The insanity of it all.

Since when is filming a crime? Interferring with a public servant? Trespassing?

I've always held the BYU "police" in contempt because they are lower than the stupid ProPo, and that's saying quite a bit. Let's get some national media here in town and really make BYU's police force sweat bullets. Maybe even get a civil suit filled against them. Yet another example why BYU is not cool.

from a concerned individual

I cannot believe all of you! As a good member of the church, I uphold the decisions of the University. Shame on all of you, and if I had the time, I would turn all of your comments into the university department for violating the 'code'.

Dear concerned individual

As a good member of the church, I uphold the decisions of the University.

So one cop being pissed off by a camera is the "decision of the University?" Blah. What an idiotic argument. I'm willing to pay ANYBODY $100 dollars to produce a section from the BYU Law Code (if one even exists) that says it is illegal to tape or film a cop doing his duty. Or more specifically, how filming an officer issuing a citiation is "interferring with a public servant." This Kelly kid could make life very interesting for the University with a civil suit, and (I'm about to say one of the most liberal things I've ever said) I'm willing to be that the ACLU would be more than happy to back up any kind of suit like that because THERE WAS NO VIOLATION OF ANY LAW. The cop was pissed about it, and decided that he could do as he pleased. Dumb #$%.

if I had the time, I would turn all of your comments into the university department for violating the 'code'

Go ahead. I dare you. What are they going to do? Kick me out of school? What kind of planet are you from? Go learn to live life.

One side note

I should note that there's one officer on campus who I have a lot of respect for. Wayne Beck is the man. I don't even know how I've gotten to know him. I think it might have been at a football game a couple years ago when he was stationed right be my friends and I--some of whom had to have been the most belligerent fans in the stadium. Anyway, we joked with him all game and after that he's always said hi to me on campus and even talked to me for a few minutes once in the bookstore. He complemented me saying that I had some real honest, good-hearted quality about me. It basically came out of nowhere, but he was totally genuine. He reminded me of my mission president. I actually came away thinking I was the one who should have been giving him that complement.

Yeah, so ... I can't say BYU Police are generally jerks ... I've never had a bad experience of my own.

Yeah so . . .

I can't say that any Officer on BYUPD is a jerk. I'm surprised that no one is ripping into Cliff Kelly the way they are into the Officer. I know the Officer, he is a good guy, and an excellent Cop.

Another cameraman to the defense

I haven't gone to journalism school or even law school, but I know what my rights are. If I'm a safe distance away from a police officer and all I got on me is a camera recording what's going on, I'm not doing anything wrong. There are no laws on the book that would describe filming or taping an event is against the law or interferring with a public official. I've shot footage of police officers before, and I stand a safe distance off so that I'm not threatening anybody and I capture the scene.

Cops that bother me are cops who think that because they are cops that they have the authority to do whatever it is they want because they are cops. If I'm not breaking a law, and I'm not doing anything to deliberately piss them off they should do the same. The only reason that cop pulled Chris Kelly into jail was because Chris Kelly didn't do what the cop told him to. As far as I'm concerned, the cop is guilty of civil liberties violations, but because we live in Utah, or Provo specifically for that matter, nothing will ever come of it.

dJake is absolutely right...

...Words I thought I would never say. :)

Unless the student did more than what has been reported here, he did nothing wrong. The BYU police should apologize quickly and profusely before they (justly) get their collective backside sued.

Here's a letter in the Daily

Here's a letter in the Daily Herald about this.

I think this guy has got it all wrong. He's acting as if our police officers are to be treated like our Bishops.

More letters about the BYU Journalist arrest

Read more letters about this in today's paper, here.

A few good quotes:

Giving police officers a hard time for doing their job is understandable (and can be kind of fun from time to time), but pretending like it’s the right of journalism students to do so with impunity bespeaks the poor academic quality of your program. You guys [stink].

Sam Chiu

Falls Church, Va.

Haha. Who does this guy think he is? He says harassing police officers is fun but then says that "pretending like it’s the right of journalism students to [give officers a hard time] with impunity bespeaks the poor academic quality of your program." And to top it off says, "You guys [stink]." But I'm guessing the original word was "suck". Give me a break.

Another quote:

Now the charges have been dropped, after a storm of criticism, but the arresting officers will not apologize to Kelly because according to BYU police chief Larry Stott, "everybody concerned could have done things better."

I cannot imagine a more worthless excuse than that. Maybe Kelly wasn’t kind to Whiting as he cinched the handcuffs on him, or he didn’t say thank you when the police shoved him in the car, or didn’t offer instructions to the officers on how to open his camera so they could violate his privacy even further and take his tape. Whatever happened to serve, protect, and uphold the law?

Nick Johnson

Aloha, Ore.

Amen, Nick. Well said.

This "everybody concerned could have done things better" line is a joke. Cliff Kelly was not out of line. The blame rests squarely on Carl Whiting and the BYU Police for pressing charges in the first place.

One more:

Apparently, University Police seems more interested in harassing students and demonstrating their authority than in fulfilling their mission to "[treat] others with courtesy, dignity and respect" (Campus Police Mission Statement). But maybe such action and demeanor is to be expected from such seasoned officers, hardened from the line of duty on this crime-filled campus.

Josh McLane

Mission Viejo, Calif.

Again, well said. What I don't understand is why Whiting made such a big deal out of things? I'm sure that in the police academy officers are trained in how to deal with reporters because dealing with them is something most cops will encounter during their careers. They know that it's a reporter's right to film them performing their duty while in a public place.

Besides, what did Whiting think he would accomplish by bullying this reporter? Did he think he was somehow protecting his image? As a public servant, doing an injustice to a reporter isn't the best way to go about maintaining one's image.

I think I'm Sam Chiu, that's who!

First off, a journalism student is not a real journalist (and even if he was, it wouldn't give him any special protections that the rest of us shouldn't have). The fact that the first journalism student was giving the cop a hard time when he told her not to jaywalk (prompting him to begin issuing her a citation for jaywalking) when another journalism student came by and started filming the incident makes me feel like these journalism students think they can team up and boss around the university police. I do not care for journalism students, therefore if it comes down to a confrontation between journalism students and a police officer, I'm in favor of the police officer.

Secondly, it is fun to give cops a hard time. It's one of those childish pleasures that we all indulge in from time to time to assert our independence. However, there is (or ought to be) a difference between childish behaviour and journalisim. Ok, so maybe there really isn't most of the time, but still...

Thirdly, the Daily Universe does suck.

The principal of the action

Who cares if the guy was a journalism student or not. What happens the next time you walk by and decide to stop and watch a cop write out a ticket and he tells you to move on? Should you get thrown into jail just because you're standing there watching a cop write a ticket? I think not.

Even more letters on the BYU journalist arrest

and here

I'm liking these

that was me by the way.

that was me by the way.

Nice one.

On the topic of realizing who can beat up who, and acting accordingly ... you've got a point.

I'm not sure why I have such a hard time doing this. I usually end up opening my mouth and getting in trouble. If I'd been the guy with the camera I would have probably mouthed-off too.

Anyway, I still don't see how BYU police think they have the right to have done this, and to actually be pressing charges.


The BYU PD is in the wrong. Go ahead and tell on me tattle tell.

I don't see how you think tha

I don't see how you think that is funny, your comedy shows must stink too.

I believe we just had ourselv

I believe we just had ourselves a little bonding moment here ... =P


I'm feeling that warm fuzzy feeling... i kinda like it :)