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YouTube Pulls Controversial Mason Video

YouTube claims the clip of an eight-year-old phone call between the Cranford Police Chief and his son violates their privacy guidelines.

The controversial video of an in which Police Chief Eric Mason jokes that his day was going well because he "didn't have to kill any white people" has been pulled from YouTube by the site's administrators.

On Tuesday, "GazeeboBricks," the people responsible for posting the video, received an email from "The YouTube Team" stating that "The YouTube Community has flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed by the YouTube Team against our Community Guidelines. Upon review, we have determined that the following video(s) contain content in violation of these guidelines, and have been disabled: Chief Mason CPD speaks." 

In place of the video that had been online since early last month, there is a screen with the words "This video has been removed because it's content violated YouTube's terms of content. Sorry about that." The video had received thousands of hits and numerous comments since it was first posted.

The video featured photos of Mason and screenshots of the website as audio from the call between him and his son Christopher plays in the background. The call was made shortly after Mason was named Police Chief in 2003.

On March 28, GazeeboBricks received an email from YouTube stating that the website had received a "privacy complaint from an individual" regarding the video and offering the posters an opportunity to appeal the compliant before the clip was removed from the site.

"If you remove the alleged violation from the site within the 48 hours, the complaint filed will then be closed. If the potential privacy violation remains on the site after 48 hours, the complaint will be reviewed by the YouTube Team and may be removed pursuant to our Privacy Guidelines. For content to be considered for removal, an individual must be uniquely identifiable by image, voice, full name, Social Security number, bank account number or contact information (e.g., home address, email address)," the YouTube Team stated in its email to GazeeboBricks.

Mayor David Robinson said Tuesday he was not aware that a complaint had been filed. Mason did not return calls seeking comment or confirmation as to whether or not he was responsible for filing the privacy complaint.

After being notified of the complaint, GazeeboBricks told Patch that "if need be, we will reconfigure the video and re-post it. We sent a response to YouTube explaining our position that Mr. Mason is a public figure, and that he was speaking in a public setting with no expectation of privacy."

During a public Township Committee Meeting March 13, voicing his disappointment over the fact that someone released the tape of his phone call. Mason was out of the country when the controversy erupted, just hours after he announced his plans to retire as police chief on May 31 and . The video surfaced less than one day after the announcement was made on Feb. 28.

Mason said the contents of the phone call do not reflect his performance as the police chief or the interim township administrator. The chief also said he "regrets" if anyone was offended by the comments.

"The comments depicted in a personal telephone conversation between me and my son over eight years ago are not indicative of the career I have had or the person that I am," Mason said. "I regret if anyone was offended and I am disappointed that someone would try to exploit a personal conversation from over eight years ago for their personal gain."

The conversation on the tape appears to reflect a joke between a father and son meant to diffuse a tense situation in the wake of Mason's appointment as police chief. Mason is the township's first African American to hold the title of police chief in a town that, according to the 2000 census, was 93 percent Caucasian. He is not the first African American to hold a prominent office in Cranford law enforcement, however. In 1881, Joshua Bryant was elected constable - a position that represented the police power of the community at the time.

Mason said the call was private and he believes the people responsible for releasing the tape were attempting to divide the township and embarrass him.

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Judgement Day April 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
You Tube should know that the audio recording of Mason's phone call was stolen from the Police Department. The call was on a private line that was not supposed to be taped at the time. The remarks were not made in, nor intended for a public setting. However GazeeboBricks may want to "reconfigure" the video (which if you look closely, is NOT of the CPD website...) the Chief will still be identifiable by voice, still violating You Tube's terms of privacy. It is clear by GazeeboBricks' remarks that this is a personal attack. And this is the ONLY time I have ever agreed with George Bush...
Jim Noble April 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Yes it the line was supposed to be taped. All the lines of the police department were taped by order of Eric Mason upon taking office as Chief; his intent was to be able to listen to all the other lines for any detractors he may have, instead, it back fired on him. The fact that it was on a taped line precludes any expectation of privacy, which was also pointed out in the brief one sided article done by the Star Ledger when this video was released. The recording itself, which may or may not have been stolen in 2003, is now outside the statute of limitations for theft (5 years) for any crime (if there was one) that was committed. Let's remember, there is no proof the recording was stolen, Mason never said there was any kind of investigation. No on ehad an issue with listening to Richard Nixon's voice 40 years ago, the same principle applies here with Mason. If Mason is not a racist, and clearly is this good hearted person, then why have it removed? He did not file an appeal with Paula Dow 2 years ago when she denied him job offer with the AG office when this tape was brought to her attention, so why now that it is on You Tube?
tony cooley April 07, 2012 at 01:39 AM
You tube would have never pulled it if it was a white cop talking about blacks! This will get no media attention because only whites can be racists! Seriously, I'm white and It don't bother me, I can take a joke, and I'm not a political correctness nut. What does offend me is the double standard that would have crucified a white man for saying this, but it is clearly explained as a "joke" "between a father and son." by the liberal media, not meant for the public to hear! If there was a white al sharpton or white jesse jackson, them maybe something would be said...but I'm glad there isn't,one of each of them is too much already!
Brian Mulligan April 07, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Sounds like an "off the cuff" remark. I am white and a retired Police Officer. I can imagine the scuttlebutt that was flying around when a nearly all white town hires a non-white for Chief of Police. Much a-do about nuttin. Good luck in your new career as town administrator, Chief Mason.
tony cooley April 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Brian, I agree with it likely being an off the cuff harmless remark, unless people think he is really out to shoot white people. But "much a-do about nuttin", no! Unless we are going to extend the same grace to white individuals. So far we know that is not the case, so he should pay the same price a white chief would have to!

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