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Ring’s new Car Cam Allows Drivers to Record Police Interactions When Pulled Over

Like every single car in the world, every single one of the car cameras in the Car Cam Active System are equally safe and equally useful in terms of preventing problems from happening. In a few example cases, however, it is a feature that is, indeed, used in a strange way. Ring’s cameras can capture a variety of content: verbal threats, facial gestures, even scientific discoveries (say, finding a needle in a haystack).

Among the possible uses that perhaps have been overlooked is the one that I’ve found myself doing at least twice: recording the interaction between a police officer and a young man about to be pulled over.

And I find this even stranger because the policeman at my stop told me that the camera would record the interaction.

In other words, I’m pulling over another motorist because he is speeding on a public street at night. Since the cop stopped me, it is perfectly normal for the cop to request that I turn on my camera before taking any action. I declined, pointing out, correctly, that it would be illegal for him to do so. When he asked if I’d like him to perform a “visual inspection”, the rules on officer discretion mean I should take this to mean that he would have to search my car.

So I’m losing the courtesy of the cop’s suggestion that I stop filming — a polite thing to do in any case — and my car is being inspected. When it was finished, I learned that my car had broken down, in that case causing me some inconvenience.

But the car that was stopped was moving, and since I was part of a group that had illegally parked in a way that the policeman was checking, he claimed some authority to deem me parked where I was not. I asked for permission to get the ticketing officer, but he didn’t respond. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and said that even if the cop had followed the rules about requesting that I turn on my camera when I was pulled over, he had no business violating any other rule by telling me that he would not listen to my questions. He told me that if I wanted to raise my voice, he’d give me a ticket. I called my lawyer, who was working from the office. She told me that although she couldn’t do much for me right then, she would be standing by ready to go if necessary.

But this was not the end of the ordeal. By now, it was getting increasingly dark. Both our lights were dim and I didn’t want to risk getting stopped at a checkpoint at all.

Meanwhile, the cop had gotten word that there was something else he wanted to see on my video.

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