Look, I know that the vast majority of cops are good, selfless people who put their lives on the line for us every day. I know that they are drastically understaffed, overworked, and unconscionably underpaid. They deserve our respect and our gratitude.
However, at a time when bad cops can rape a dozen female suspects before getting caught, anally rape women at routine traffic stops, and crush the life out of restrained men while taunting "fuck your breath," it is our duty as citizens to act.
Look, nobody wants a camera shoved in their face while they're trying to do their job. But in times like these, our First Amendment rights become our First Amendment responsibilities and people of conscience cannot sit by a second longer.
With that in mind, here are some tips I've gathered around the Internet for filming police interactions.
First, know your rights. The First Amendment gives you the right to film police interactions as long as you aren't getting in the way or breaking any other laws. The ACLU points out that cops are not allowed to compel you to stop filming, to confiscate your camera or phone, or delete any pictures or videos they might find. Reason.com says to learn your rights, national, state, and local so that you can repeat them back to officers who engage, but be respectful about it. The more obnoxious and intrusive you are, the worse the situation gets, making everything more tense and dangerous for everybody. Just calmly assert your rights and comply with lawful and/or reasonable orders.
Consider getting an app like Cop Watch or Five-O, which upload videos to the cloud as soon as you take them, in case your phone gets lost or broken.
Second, learn to film effectively. Hold your camera horizontally so you can shoot in landscape mode - it records more of the scene. Stay quiet so that you don't drown out the audio from the interaction. Hold the camera as still as you can, which is easier if you hold your elbows close to your body. People have a tendency to stick their elbows out when filming, but that actually makes you less stable and as a consequence, film can be wobbly and blurry.
Finally, if you catch cops on film doing their job well, post that online too, or send the video along to their precinct. Like I said, most cops are awesome and deserve to be recognized for the heroes they are. Support good cops who blow the whistle on bad cops. Share stories about good cops on social media, and find ways to let the good cops in your area know that you support them.
18th century philosopher Edmond Burke is often quoted as saying "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Well, he didn't say that. But he did say "when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." If you agree with those sentiments, it's time to do something.