The fact that this is newsworthy is a good thing.
Do you have a cell phone with a camera in it? I do, and I was about the last guy to get a cell phone. My phone was $50, and was one of the "feature phones" at the AT&T store, which means that it's cheap.
But it's got some features, not the least of which is a video camera. I actually use it a lot. I video'd my daughter's karate tournament. I video'd a cottonmouth water moccasin that I caught, before dispatching it. It's easy, takes one hand to use, and I only push two buttons to make it happen. In short, I can be video
Just about everyone has one of these things, these days. My wife has one, my daughter has one, my mother, my father, and my stepmother have one. And if you're under 30, live in the United States, possess a camera that is in any way capable of recording video, then you know how to utilize that feature. It's a given.
So you can bet that really interesting things that happen around college students in this nation get video recorded. How could they not be? By definition, an American college student has the equipment, the knowledge, and probably the opportunity. So it is that we get YouTube videos of drunken youngsters doing things that their mothers would not approve of.
Now, let me ask you-- if your buddy was getting an unfair beat-down by the police, wouldn't you want to document that? And if you're a youngster with a camera phone, it's dollars to donuts that you'll whip it out, begin recording, and then send it to your friends in a fit of outrage.
Or, if you're a bright boy like one Dimitri Masouris, you'll sell it to the first high bidder you can find, like the attorney representing his beaten buddy, Mr. Phuong Ho. (Stop and think about that. Masouris took the tools he had, and turned them into something valuable and fungible, with his own hands and his savvy. Free enterprise at work. Gawd Bless America.) The video has been released to the media, and shown to the San Jose Police Department, who employ a couple of cops who got a bit frisky whilst arresting Mr. Ho for brandishing a steak knife. Reportedly, the video shows that at least one SJPD officer beat the unarmed Mr. Ho with a baton, even after he was handcuffed. Not good!
It's bad, and I'll expect to read about charges on the officer, if the video actually shows what is said to have happened. And that, friends, is GOOD. I want the idjits who beat up handcuffed prisoners to leave my profession. I want them charged, and convicted. I don't want it swept under the rug, with people muttering "cover-up." Good solid video gets convictions, and that's a good thing.
Here's the thing, though-- if this were common, we'd see a LOT more of it. There would be reality TV shows with nothing but footage of bad cops beating down helpless citizens, illegally. Because remember-- camera phones are everywhere. And most police cars have video cameras. And that weird guy on the corner always keeps an 8mm video camera handy. And there's surveillance cameras on every other corner. And... and....
Why don't we see more of this? Because frankly, it just doesn't happen much. And that, my friends, is a damned Good Thing.