Thursday, June 30, 2011

CMPD Chief Monroe Responds to CMPD Independence Officer Goes Postal Over Blogger With A Camera

A week ago Cedar Posts wrote about blogger "Crime In Charlotte's' shocking encounter with a couple of CMPD Independence Division officers. The story titled CMPD Independence Officer Goes Postal Over Blogger With A Camera shows the amazing power of the Internet, which brought over 20,000 page views and attention from across the nation to this story.

The story also got the attention of Charlotte's Chief of Police Rodney Monroe who responded to the "incident" with not only his classic spin, but also some frank talk, most notably:

"Based on the recent incident with CiC, we will reinforce to our officers that photographs may be taken as long as no one’s safety is jeopardized and the officers have an adequate safe zone in which to do their work. We will also review our written directives to ensure they are clear on this matter."

Chief Monroe's email in it's entirety is below, at the request of the blogger, her full name has been replace with CiC.

From: Monroe, Rodney
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 6:08 PM
To: Walton, Curt; Newbold, Mark
Cc: McCarley, DeWitt; Campbell, Eric D.; Hagemann, Robert
Subject: RE: CiC Incident

Curt

The Mayor and Council have recently received e-mails regarding CiC being told not to photograph an arrest which occurred in her apartment complex. CiC writes a blog called Crime in Charlotte but, in this instance, was acting as a private citizen who wanted to photograph the arrest to show her landlord that there was a felon on the property. The officers making the arrest instructed CiC to step back from the area. As word of this incident spread, a blog began showing several videos of police officers interacting with citizens attempting to film arrests or accident scenes.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department does not attempt to prohibit anyone, either a credentialed journalist or a private citizen, from photographing police activity unless the taking of photographs creates a safety hazard.

While we do not prohibit photography, we do have the right to designate the area from which the photographs can be taken. The officers’ priority is to designate a “safe work area” which is defined as the area he needs to do his work in a manner that protects the safety of everyone involved, including the officer. The safe area varies depending on the type of scene or the circumstances involved and restrict anyone not related to the incident from being a distraction or danger to the officer in the performance of his duties. Examples include:

Crime Scenes: Protecting the crime scene from contamination, protecting victims and witnesses on the scene and providing room for officers to interview the parties involved and process the scene.

Arrest Scenes: Providing an area where the arrest can be safely executed and the officers can maintain control over the arrestee. This ensures the safety of the officers, the arrestee, and any bystanders.

Accident Scenes: protecting citizens from an area which may be unsafe, protecting the privacy of injured victims, providing an area for interviewing witnesses, and allowing adequate space for all emergency personnel to do their work as rapidly and efficiently as possible so that injured victims can be treated and the roadways cleared.

Credentialed journalists understand the protocol at police scenes and wait to be directed to the area from which they can take video and photographs. With the proliferation of camera phones, there are now more private citizens who wish to take photographs which create a challenge for officers performing police functions and directing citizens to a safe area to take photographs.

There are instances where the demeanor of the individual taking the photographs can be a factor which may distract officers from the task which requires their attention. Several videos from the internet depict officers being distracted by those taking videos while arguing with and cursing at officers.

Based on the recent incident with CiC, we will reinforce to our officers that photographs may be taken as long as no one’s safety is jeopardized and the officers have an adequate safe zone in which to do their work. We will also review our written directives to ensure they are clear on this matter.

Also attached is a specific preliminary report reference the encounter with CiC.

Rodney Monroe
Chief of Police
Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Police Department

"Without a sense of urgency, desire loses it's value." - Jim Rohn

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have heard him talk, does anyone believe he really wrote that email?
Puleeze!!
And it had to absolutely kill him to respond, I love it!

Anonymous said...

I do not support ROMO Cedar but where do you see the spin here? I do agree with the statements in this email. I do think the officers were distracted and they had every right to expand that arrest area and to order those subjects back. It takes a second for an arrestee to kick, knee, spit, bite and any number of things to a distracted officer.

The way to handle it is not yelling at the subjects but get some help and move them back or they also become arrestees if they decide to ignore thos commands.

I am not saying it was right to handle it that way per say but they did what needed to be done in the officers own way, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

"Credentialed journalists understand the protocol at police scenes and wait to be directed to the area from which they can take video and photographs."

With all the crime scenes I have shot, I've never been 'directed' by cops on how and where I can shoot. I work for a local media outlet and even I have been threatened for arrest for trying to do my job. How about the WBTV camera guy who was falsely arrested last year. This is not an odd situation when dealing with CMPD.

Anonymous said...

In order: "Spin" comes in trying to sidestep questions of illegal behavior and/or at least violations of directives and policies by simply putting out a begrudging statement about photo policies and hoping that will shut everything else down.

There is no allegation that CiC ignored any commands, or did anything illegal by trying to take a photo from a very safe distance.

Officers are required to follow the law, per sae. They are not allowed to do "in their own way" for the public to "like it or not." That's why we have the laws they are sworn to uphold.

I hope that helps clarify some things for you.

It sounds like you are at least a little bit of a fan of Rodney Monroe--no offense intended. You've been in too long if you believe everything you wrote.

CrimeInCharlotte.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is the way rodney's cmpd does business, CIC.

If he doesn't like something, he ignores it.....or makes something up, or just changes it to suit his personal agendas.

He doesn't care what you have to say.

And a sad fact is, if you were an African American community leader, he would have already had you in his office for coffee with a presser afterwards.

Rodney and "curt" have closed ranks.....THEY are satisfied, case closed.

But, was an IA case opened on the conduct of the officers?

CrimeInCharlotte.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Actually Anon 1209, the officer can handle it in many ways WITHIN the law. There is no clear boundary on when an officer has to feel threatened or when he/she feels his/her safety is a concern. I agree ROMO side steps many press conferences and may incidents here in Charlotte but all that statement said were examples of policy within the dept and to clarify how an officer can handle the situation.
I was not referring to the CIC incident as being the correct way at all but was referring to the videos of the subjects yelling and surrounding officers. Do you get a ticket every time you are stopped for speeding or have you ever been given a warning and sent on your way? I believe those are laws too and is it written that you cite someone or can you give that verbal warning..called discretion. The officer can determine how far back subjects are during an incident and it is up to them on that distance. The “like it or not” refers to people like you, who obviously do not like being told what to do and will not like being told to step back or to leave an area.
The only thing you cleared up for me is that you are obviously naive and really think all things are so black and white. I do believe the things I wrote because I believe in the safety of our officers and not the second guessing of some armchair quarterback who has never been in a situation shown in those videos.
The dept may determine the officer was wrong in dealing with CIC and ALL evidence should be looked at to make that determination. It is sad that they would treat CIC with such disregard.

Anonymous said...

I am not naive. The particular situation was extremely clear.

The officers' statements do not match, even if one of them were accurate.

The other main point is it's not WITHIN THE LAW to threaten to arrest someone if they have not broken the law. Your point about a speeding ticket concerns a hypothetical alleged minor infraction unrelated to any of this which would potentially involve a ticket. Also, innocent until proven guilty. However, even in that ridiculous and unrelated example, it is not the same as HAVING YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS VIOLATED WITH FALSE ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT AND BEING HAULED OFF IN HANDCUFFS, TERRIFIED, UNJUSTLY.

I hope you can see the lack of equivalency.

One last remark: at 11:25, you said "I do think the officers were distracted and they had every right to expand that arrest area and to order those subjects back."

"Subjects" (plural) ? This was before the strange, mismatched cop statements alleging two people were present were posted. That tells me that you read them internally or wrote them or spoke about them with someone. Are you one of the officers? Are you Rob Tufano trying to put an "aw, shucks" spin on this?

Anonymous said...

As Cedar often says "CHECK THIS OUT"!

RoMo is out front on this one. Normally he isn't saying a word until the MSM and Council are over heated. This time vs Marcus Jackson, The Speed Street Riots, and others he is way out in front.

Maybe he's been feeling the heat?

Also as Cedar pointed out the CMPD Mobile Operations Center is up and running at 400 East 4th Street.

OMGoodness they are gearing up for the war. Heads are going to roll this weekend. Massive arrests, blood in the streets and some serious beat down will be going on, get your flip cam ready.

Anonymous said...

Lol, you have clearly missed the point. I see people involving themselves in an arrest and have no business being in the middle. Give them a call if you are trying to wrangle some clients and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Also ANON 1:09...where did yo learn to count? In the above video I see a few more than 2? Are you serious, are you sure we are talking about the same video? I hope you are not really that ignorant or are you just looking for any defensable reason for these SUBJECTS!!!???

Anonymous said...

To Anon, 8:07 p.m.
My response, as I noted, was to the person who wrote previously at 11:25 (which I'm guessing is you, since you started with "also"), and I even quoted exactly what I was referring to:
you said "I do think the officers were distracted and they had every right to expand that arrest area and to order those subjects back." It is extremely clear to anyone with decent comprehension skills that I am writing about the CiC incident throughout my comment.

"Defensible" is the correct spelling of that word.

No, I am not ignorant.

CIC said...

I wasn't ordered to move back. I was so far back, they did not need to 'order me' anywhere. I was only ordered not to take a photo or I would be arrested.

Read my blog and tell me if you think I am the type to disobey an Officer's commands. Come on now.

I was raised in a home with a LEO and I know the drill. No photo is worth my safety nor arrest, let alone an Officer getting hurt on my account.

CrimeInCharlotte.com said...

The CMPD "spin" came in when the CMPD released the posted e-mails and statements to all city council members, Mayor Foxx, The Charlotte Observer and myself without any statement nor detailed account from the VICTIM.

I have evidence to disprove some of Officer Thompson's statements but I was never given the opportunity to share with CMPD.

I was violated when my 1st Amendment rights were denied by a CMPD Officer when disallowed to take a photo. I was intimidated by a CMPD Officer (threatened with arrest) for no just cause. I was lied to by a CMPD Officer when I was given a false name.

The CMPD released public statements stating I was 'not compliant' with an Officer, which is yet another violation of my good name as it is something I would NEVER do or even think of doing.

Anonymous said...

My question, if IA did a thorough investigation, wouldn't they have taken ALL the evidence into consideration!!??

Including and most notably statements and any evidence CiC has?

Well, that would only be if they were interested in getting at
the truth.

They just want this to go away and as usual are sweeping it under the rug. Rodney let it be known the outcome he wanted, and per usual, he got it!!

Why aren't Foxx and CC questioning these "results"?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is time for CIC to hire an attorney?

CrimeInCharlotte.com said...

July 7, 2011 2:03 PM- Hiring an attorney is the last thing I'd ever do. CMPD has enough lawsuits to deal with. It is not about money, it is simply the principal of it.

If the CMPD would learn from the mistakes made with me and crack down on the Officers who make them look bad, I'd be a happy woman!

In short, I hope the CMPD will learn from my situation so it doesn't happen to anyone else!

I scheduled a brief meeting with Chief Monroe today and I'm looking forward to meeting him to discuss my blog.