National Lawyer’s Guild Legal Observer More a Participant Than an Observer at WFB Protests, IMO

But I’ll bet that ridiculous neon green hat gets him more tail than Sinatra.

Click to expand

So there’s that.

The NLG ought to get with the times and replace their legal observation team with laypeople holding videocams. That would be more useful than this.



Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “National Lawyer’s Guild Legal Observer More a Participant Than an Observer at WFB Protests, IMO”

  1. As someone who used to wear one of those green hats, I don’t understand why you’re offended.

    This man is presumably a volunteer lawyer or law student. He certainly has as much right and civic duty to monitor protests as “laypeople” — whatever “laypeople” even means in this post-Rodney King age of citizen journalists and police conduct monitors. I would in fact say it’s especially good to see that someone is monitoring protests who has legal training and also has a lawyer or law student’s professional incentives to report events truthfully.

    I suppose your concern about the “participant” status has to do with the button the man is wearing? I used to think about this issue a lot, and personally chose not to wear buttons when monitoring protests in order to maintain the role of neutral observer. But, really, it’s morally and professionally OK for this observer to wear his button. A Guild legal observer is a representative of protesters, monitoring the situation on their behalf, in the same sense that a political candidate’s Election Day pollwatcher is a representative of that particular campaign and of voters who support that campaign. In both cases, it’s the duty of the monitor to report truthfully on the situation, and it is also the monitor’s function to support, assist, and incidentally agree with a particular group of participants in the event.

  2. SFC says:

    Of course he’s has the right to do anything he wants.

    A videotape is much more reliable than any NLG “observer.” IMO.

    Isn’t his incentive to report events that reflect the interests of his “clients?”

    I’ve never seen a button like that on an NLG greenhat.

    IMO, video > words from a greenhat.

  3. Legal observers who are lawyers or law students can and sometimes do use voice recorders, cameras, and video recorders to monitor protests. Additionally, they have two special characteristics, typically regarded as advantages. They know more than the general public about assessing the legality of police conduct, and they have more at stake professionally than the general public when they serve as witnesses, hence more reason to testify with great care for accuracy.

    Of course, the writer here may have had a bad experience with some individual NLG observer. In that case, discussing the generic roles of observers, with or without hats, is beside the point.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I just don’t know how impressed I am by the fact that the program uses lawyers or law students.

    What I’m saying is get a camcorder to replace the Observer. The camcorder can produce reliable evidence but the Observer is crippled by bias.

    I think bias trumps “care” if you want to talk about accuracy.

    I don’t know any sainted Observers. I remember seeing one who looked like an extremely earnest David Letterman with goggles instead of glasses (like he’d be prepared to observe even while being beaten with batons) and another whose hair was redder than her hat was green.

    The general point is that video trumps observation. It’s like the NLG hasn’t figured this out.

Leave a Reply