Kudos To The Fargo Police Department

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Here’s a YouTube video, recorded by a private citizen, of a group of Fargo Police Officers confronting and then eventually arresting (with the use of a tazer) a group of loud, profane drunks.

Warning, there is copious profanity and no small amount of homophobic slurs from the drunks.

These cops deserve our thanks. Not just for putting up with this kind of stupidity, which they do, or for giving the one of these obnoxious losers a thorough tasing (which he richly deserved) but for allowing a private citizen standing in plain sight of the proceedings (though well out of the way of the officers doing their jobs) to record it without harassment.

Not so long ago a teenager in Wahpeton was arrested (police report here) for walking up to an on-duty police officer with a camera and asking him a question. After much public outcry, the officer was suspended and ordered to undergo training.

Nationally, there has been a sort of “war on photography” which has had police threatening, and even arresting, on-lookers recording them during arrests.

That is wrong.

We give the police a large amount of power, and when they exercise that power out in the public there’s nothing wrong with recording them to ensure that any abuses of that power are well-documented. Put another way, the police should be transparent in the exercise of their power, and the public shouldn’t be subject to threats or arrest for exercising transparency.

The Fargo Police handled the situation properly. They went about their business, and ignored the citizen recording them from a safe distance. And should be glad of the transparency. After all, at least one of the drunks in the video repeatedly threatened a lawsuit. He’ll have less of a case with this thorough documentation of events.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • SusanBeehler

    Did the officers even know they were being taped? Anyone with a cell phone would be able to tape without someone’s knowledge of them taping something in public. To say kudos to Fargo police BUT than to say there has been a sort of “war on photography” I find like a compliment BUT not. Is this penance piece for the sort of “war on Cass County Sheriff Laney”? and sort of a kudos?

    http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/north-dakota-shouldnt-be-obliged-to-help-enforce-bad-federal-policy/#comment-772048942

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Huh?

      • SusanBeehler

        I could not hear the video very well, but it appeared the cops did not know they were being taped. I am glad you are complimenting the officers but I do not see a connection to a ” war on photography” just to show there is no war on photography? I was hinting maybe you were trying to make up for the piece on Cass County Sheriff Laney because I didn’t think you were being very nice to him.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          You can see the police look directly at the guy filming multiple times, and at one point a young woman comes up and asks him what he’s doing (she was non-law enforcement).

          I was hinting maybe you were trying to make up for the piece on Cass County Sheriff Laney because I didn’t think you were being very nice to him.

          I was criticizing his position on a piece of legislation. He’s a public official, and not above criticism.

          • SusanBeehler

            I guess I can’t see them looking at the camera, actually I could hardly see their faces.
            “sniffing” I thought was not a very flattering description, not very nice.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I though it was an accurate description of his criticisms, which were more than a little over the top.

      • Guest Observer

        I suspect she forgot to take her meds this morning………….

    • willieB

      Your demonstration of the level of your idiocy is quite efficient. Good job!

  • badlands4

    Holy cow! Somebody didn’t pay attention in their Jr. high or high school English class when the thesaurus was brought out and the teacher showed you how to avoid using the same words over and over again. Keep it classy drunks.

    This also proves that alcohol and a-holes don’t mix well. When my kids got to the age we were allowing them to go out with friends I made them sit and watch a few episodes of COPS and told them “you do NOT want that to be you”..lol

    I love the outrage over being tased and arrested one of them expresses after his tirade of racial slurs, homophobic slurs and general idiot potty mouth.

  • PK

    Did that guy deserve to be tazed on his own property like that for expressing his dislike for what was going on? Tazers kill people and should only be used if necessary. It didn’t appear that kind of force was warranted.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It was a belligerent drunk who had been given plenty of opportunties to comply. He refused, resisted arrest, and was tased.

      That’s why we give the cops tools like tasers.

      • PK

        Well tasers aren’t non-lethal weapons. They’re less-than-lethal weapons. They should only be used when lethal force is warranted. Yeah, he did resist them physically, but my point was people die in some cases just like this. Get tased for acting like an ass and die from cardiac arrest.

        • Roy_Bean

          I think it’s an economic question. When these drunken morons fight with the cops they end up running up big medical bills for themselves and the police. Tasers are a great cost saving tool for police departments and entertaining for the public at the same time.

        • leh

          I guess you had rather seen him beat to the ground. Have you ever had to handle a drunk. They have a great ability to take puishment and not even know it until the next day. Then you have pictures of a police officer beating someone down. I think they (the police) showed very good restraint and did their job well reguardless of property owned. Property lines are crossed by words, actions and dumb asses.

          • PK

            I didn’t hear any threats from the 2 guys. Is it an arrestable crime for yelling on your own property? Especially when people are trespassing? Was there a warrant? We don’t know much about this case, but if there wasn’t a warrant and he was just loud and drunk, that guy could probably file suit from what’s in the video.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Is it an arrestable crime for yelling on your own property?

            We don’t know why the officers were there, originally, but yes it is a crime to scream on your property late at night and disturb your neighbors.

            that guy could probably file suit from what’s in the video.

            He could certainly file suit, and barring any information we don’t have from the video, it would certainly be laughed out of court.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The deaths are extremely rare. Would you rather they have billy clubbed him? Or have one of the officers get injured while this a-hole was flailing around?

          Let’s not be silly.

  • Carter Wood

    Security guard at PDX harassed me over Xmas for taking photos of the light rail. “Ever since 9/11,” etc. Ridiculous. I rolled my eyes and left, which is kind of sad, really.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It’s so, so silly.

      • Linda

        Goes to show what happens when you have a very poor knowledge of the English Language. You keep repeating the same garbage over and over again. I find the language these days disgusting and vile.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I’m not sure I understand what your point is.

    • awfulorv

      Be careful in the future, rolling of eyes may be taken as an affront to authority, and we all know what that could lead to…

    • Waski_the_Squirrel

      Many people do not understand the laws related to photography. In a public place, a photographer can take anyone’s picture: your child, you, anyone. There are some stalking laws, but that is another story. In a place which can be seen from a public location, you have no expectation of privacy.

      Of course, there are special cases, such as stalking. Similarly, technology has raised some new questions of what is private. Do I have privacy inside my house even though an infrared camera could see inside?

      On a personal note, I was once threatened with confiscation of my camera because I was taking pictures of the flooding on Devil’s Lake. I might have stayed and discussed my rights as a photographer, but I was outnumbered and apologized. More recently, I had a discussion with a security guard because I was photographing some pipe in Gascoyne that is supposed to be part of the Keystone pipeline (if it’s ever built). This guard didn’t look professional, but merely explained that I was free to take any pictures I wanted as long as I didn’t step on private property. Quite reasonable and I agreed with this security guard which is why I was standing on the road to take the pictures.

  • WOOF

    All those cops and they couldn’t put his arms
    behind him and cuff him ?
    Why’d they taser him ? Entertainment ?
    After the drunks nervous system is disrupted
    he falls to the ground and doesn’t roll over on command.
    They taser him again. Could have done that till the sun came up.
    Was someone smoking a cigarette?
    I could understand if someone was smoking a cigarette.

    • leh

      I refer to my answer to PK. It is obivious you have never had to handle a drunk. Being a lib does not make you a know ot all, even tho you act like it.

      • WOOF

        I was a military policeman, handling drunks was the majority of my activities.

        • willieB

          And now you sit on a blog making a fool of yourself, every day.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      He resisted, they tased him.

      It’s pretty clear cut.

  • tomorrowclear

    Given the anti-gay and racist slurs, it sounds as if they happened upon some drunk College Republicans.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’d be willing to give you good ods on the fact that a) they’re a bunch of college students and b) they voted for Obama.

  • MG

    Those guys must have been from Bismarck. We don’t use that language in Fargo.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Ha.

  • exsanguine

    Police responded to disturbance call. One male had a warrant out for his arrest.

    The drunk shouting the most through the video was the 2nd man who was later tazed and arrested for drunken disorderly, resisting arrest, drug possession and obstruction.

    3rd drunk slammed the screen door open, hit the cop in the head and was arrested for assault of police officer.

    Cheap entertainment to say the least. My teenager listened to it and said “ahh, this is why you shouldn’t drink”

  • awfulorv

    And yet we have those who would advocate making the noxious weed which is, no doubt, responsible for such atrocious behavior, legally available for sale over the counter…

  • awfulorv

    These loud mouthed idiots should feel extremely fortunate for many reasons, not the least of which are these. That they didn’t live in Tucson, weren’t inside their home with their family, were not recently discharged from the Marines, were not just getting off work, the police had not mistaken them for their brother, they made no sudden movements, this was not a SWAT team and, did I mention, not living in Tucson? Or their ass might have been grass.

  • Drain52

    Why was the yelling man arrested? Being a sewer-mouth is disgusting, but it’s not illegal to bray like a jackass to a cop.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It is, however, illegal to cause a noise disturbance late at night, and for good reason. We all have to live together. I don’t think there’s a 1st amendment right to scream obscenities in your front yard in the middle of the night.

      I’m sure that’s why the police were initially called, and the resisting arrest and refusal to cooperate was the rest of the story.

      Let’s not make this into something it isn’t.

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