Vigilante Justice-YouTube as the Everyday Whistleblower by Jaclyn Roher
NOTES: Origins and Context | See Also
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Origins of this content
"The police protect and serve, but in the rare cases in which they do not, they are not entitled to violate the Constitution by cloaking their misconduct in secrecy. Individuals have a constitutionally protected right to record and disseminate video footage of their police officers. This right is encapsulated in the First Amendment's protection of free speech and a free press, and the rights to gather information, redress grievances, expressive conduct, and be free from prior restraint. Court rulings (and legislative activity) should affirm this right and, ideally, set standards under which the police may justifiably and constitutionally prevent citizens from capturing and transmitting video footage. Although there are facially valid reasons to suppress this type of speech, those arguments are outweighed by arguments in favor of expanding speech and the public's access to safe, socially responsible policing." --Michael Potere [cit]
On September 17th, 2011, New York City's Zuccotti Park became the birthplace of the Occupy Movement. Motivated by the recent revolutions of the Arab Spring, thousands of people took to the streets in order to protest financial corruption and the growing economic gap between the 1% and everyone else. As the protests became larger, and the Movement more widespread throughout the country, those involved clashed heavily with law enforcement officials and to our voyeuristic delights, have been placed on YouTube. In fact, these videos almost seemed to serve to the protestors' goals of exhibiting the corrupt system they initially went out to change. YouTube, a platform "of the people and for the people", has become the ultimate theater where vigilante justice can be served.

These types of videos also include dozens of TSA pat-down/harassment videos, where family members record small children being searched for drugs or weapons. These are amateur films, made with a hand camera, and are excellent examples of the average user uploading a video to YouTube. The "hidden-camera" quality of the video, and the seemingly defiant act of acting against "The Man", serves to pull away the veil of certain actions that seem to violate citizens rights or comfort zones, that the public should be made aware of in order for change to be made.

The YouTube platform also serves for users to call out specific people and their inappropriate actions on behalf of others who may not be able to speak for themselves. YouTube may serve as a platform for users to upload videos for entertainment, but it also acts as stage where concerned individuals call viewers to attention, as well as to action.