The Whole World is Watching

Earlier this week, Officer Rivieri of the Balitimore Police Department was suspended, pending an internal investigation, after a video of him harassing a 14 year-old and putting him into a headlock back in July of last year was posted to You Tube.

During protests outside the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968, activists took up a rallying cry shouting The whole world is watching as news cameras captured the police violently overtaking the crowd. Indeed the whole world was watching, but only because the news media happened to be their with their cameras and live feed.

As Salvatore Rivieri of the Baltimore Police department knows first hand, things have changed. In July of last year, Officer Rivieri was patrolling the Inner Harbor when he came across 14 year-old Eric Bush and some of his friends riding their skateboards. A heated exchange occurred and at one point, Rivieri places Eric in a headlock and takes his skateboard from him. Toward the end of the episode, the officer notices that Eric's friend Tony Santo is holding a camera.

"You got that camera on?" Rivieri asks. "If I find myself on you.." The video goes dead.

Earlier this week, Rivieri was suspended, pending an internal investigation, from the Baltimore Police department after Santo's video began circulating on, you guessed it, You Tube. Since then, a local artist has provided video for ABC2 demonstrating yet another incident of Rivieri acting in an aggressive manner over a moving box powered by a remote control car. The Baltimore Sun reports that a 17 year-old skateboarder was threatened by a police officer who may have been Riviera.
The officer told the teenagers to run, and as Tarburton was packing up his belongings, he said, the officer pointed a Taser in his face.

"He was like a mad man. I don't even know what was wrong with the guy," Tarburton said.

He said that before he could run away, the officer kicked him in the leg, and his leg crunched against his bike rim, breaking a portion of the wheel.
According to the Sun, "When he saw the video, Tarburton said he believed he recognized Rivieri as the officer who kicked him."

It should come as no surprise that Rivieri's approach to law enforcement would eventually be caught on tape and posted to You Tube for the whole world to see, Rivieri knew it himself when he threatened Santo; what is surprising is that it took so long. As a 17 year veteran, it seems somewhat unlikely that he hasn't been acting this way for a while.

For the first time in history, the whole world is watching, and society no longer needs the media to catapult these videos into the living rooms of families around the world.

About the author

    Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.

     

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