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Caught on cell phone Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jan 14 2012 12:00 PM

Like anything else, I suppose, you take the bad with the good.
The advances in cell phone technology are mind-bending and reality-altering.
The good: Phones do more than facilitate calls. They work as mini-computers and production studios with their Internet access and video cameras.
The bad: They wake you up to the reality that your neighbors are more inane than you hoped and cops aren’t all Officer Friendlies.
Evidence: YouTube (you can probably access it on your smartphone).
While the inane behavior of your neighbors — people jumping from roofs into swimming pools, lip syncing to Rebecca Black — is relatively harmless, the documenting of cops gone wild, well, that’s another story.
When I was a kid I was taught cops were above reproach and in times of need you could always count on them to help you. They were to always be trusted and looked up to.
I don’t know that would be the case today. Tell any kid with a cell phone that cops are your friends and they might bring up video of a cop pepper spraying students, elbowing a woman in the face without provocation or soliciting sexual favors from a suspect.
Who needs friends like these?
You don’t have to tell me that most cops are good people. I know current and former officers who are admirable, upstanding people, among them is Star-News columnist Tom Basinski.
 But I shouldn’t have to actively remind myself that there are more Basinskis in the world than there are Bull Connors.
 The notion that all men and  women sporting a badge are above reproach and trustworthy should be a given in the same way that the sun will rise.
But videos don’t lie (though sometimes they do omit context). And the videos and photographs captured on cell phones of police  acting brutally and unprofessionally are troubling, to put it mildly.
Bad cops have probably been around as long as bad guys. But what hasn’t always been around is the readily available evidence found in the microprocessors and photo galleries of smartphones.
It’s a welcome development in the fight against crime — and don’t fool yourself into thinking that if a cop roughs somebody up it’s not a crime.
But the technology also forces us to confront the uncomfortable truth that the police may not be who we think they are.
Sure, maybe for every 100 cops out there only one of them is a bad one. But that is one too many. Nowadays you need look no further than your cell phone.

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