Today we're toasting some local folks making big differences.
But first, we have the case of The Activist, the Cop and the Mysteriously Vanishing Video.
A local activist was videotaping cops in downtown Orlando. The cops didn't like it. And they ended up arresting the guy for interfering with their duties and "resisting arrest without violence."
The activist says the arrest was malarkey; that he wasn't doing anything wrong and that his video would clearly prove as much.
Only, guess what? The video is now missing.
The camera, according to Tuesday's story by reporter Mark Schlueb, "was never taken into custody and secured as evidence."
How do you arrest a guy who's taking a video and then lose the video?
Especially when much of the arresting officer's report actually focuses on the videotaping in question.
Cops should obviously be free to carry out their duties without obstruction. And if CopWatch activist John Kurtz was disrupting the officers' activities, the video would seem to be perfect proof of a valid arrest.
But now that proof is missing?
The Orlando Police Department is filled with good cops. And the good ones I hear from dislike anything that taints their reputation. As such, the department should provide a good explanation for why it doesn't have video in a case that centers on video.
O.P.D. wouldn't say anything about the case Tuesday, since charges against Kurtz — who's facing up to six years in jail — are still pending.
In general, video cameras and law-enforcement are a good combination. A growing number of departments have them as standard features on their vehicles; something more local departments should consider.
Cameras help prove cases. They protect cops from wrongful accusations. And they instill public confidence.
Quite simply, cameras don't lie. Plus, when they're attached to the cars, they rarely disappear.
Speaking of activists …
…I also wanted to shine a light on a different breed of advocates — those involved with Orlando nonprofits making an impact far beyond Central Florida.
Cameras don't lie, so where did video go?
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