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Federal Court Upholds Right To Record Video of Officers
August 29, 2011
Arresting someone for filming a law enforcement officer is a Constitutional violation, a federal judge in Massachusetts has ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued the ruling on Friday in the case of Simon Glik, who was arrested on Oct. 1, 2007, after using his cell phone to record three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common. Glik was later charged with criminal violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.
The charges were dropped, and Glik later sued in federal court, claiming the officers violated his First Amendment right to record police activity in public. He also claimed the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause to believe a crime had occurred.
Source: Citizen Media Law Project
Officers Can't Expect Communications Privacy, Maryland Judge Rules
Motorcyclist Faces Wiretap Charge for Videotaping Off-Duty Maryland Trooper
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John @ 8/30/2011 7:33 AM
I have no problem with being recorded. It forces officers to make wise decisions and weed out worthless officers. It is called checks and Balances, look at the Arizona Officer that was recorded and he tased a non threatening person. I am glad they recorded him....
john @ 8/30/2011 7:34 AM
With todays tech, recording should be expected at anytime. No one should be surprised at all.
jaykirk @ 8/31/2011 3:36 AM
SORRY JOHN, DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO "WEED" OUT WORTHLESS OFFICERS? IF YOU DO I SUGGEST THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY ONE TO BE "WEEDED" OUT. "ANY INTERFERANCE WITH A PEACE OFFICER IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTY IS A FELONY IN MOST STATES, SIC. OTHER WAYS TO STOP THIS IS TO JUST NOT ARREST THE PERP AND LET THEM GO AND BE SURE THAT IT IS IN YOUR AR THAT SOME PERSON WAS DOING HIS BEST TO INTERFERE WITH OTHER OFFICERS, TRAFFIC, ETC.,ETC. IT IS VERY CLEAR THE COURTS ARE NO LONGER SIDING IN FAVOR OF THE OFFICERS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTY. SITUATIONS LIKE THIS USED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BY THE WATCH COMMANDER. MY DAD USED TO SAY THAT A PERSON COULD ROB FORT KNOX AND LIVE, BUT STEAL A DIME AND KILL A COP AND THEY WOULD HUNT YOU FOREVER. THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE. MURDER IS NO LONGER A CRIME OF ANY CONSEQUENCES. PERPS JUST WALK AWAY OVER THE BORDER, OUT OF COURT, DO DRIVE BYS' THAT NO ONE CAN CONNECT, AND THE PROOF OF THIS IS IN THE NUMBER OF OFFICER DEATHS AND SHOOTINGS IN 2011. ALSO THE NUMBER OF TRAPS LAID FOR OFFICERS, PATROL, DOMESTIC DISTURBANCES, AND JOVIE CONTACTS. YOU KNOW, OF COURSE, AT TIMES THERE JUST ISN'T TIME TO SIT AROUND WITH YOUR FINGER IN YOUR EAR TELLING YOURSELF WHAT IS AND WHAT ISN'T A GOOD DECISION FOR YOUR SO CALLED CHECKS AND BALANCES.
(30 year street record in one of the largest counties in california).
MY RECORD STANDS BECAUSE I LET NO ONE STEP INTO MY CRIME SCENE WITH A RECORDING DEVICE OF ANY KIND.
Bob @ 8/31/2011 6:15 AM
Did you not read the decision? The recording of public events is a "self-evident" protected 1st Amendment right. Your record notwithstanding, no one has the right to abridge another's constitutional rights.
Good officers have nothing to fear from recording. Quite the opposite, as citizen recordings most often catch perps in their lies. Rather than "he said, she said", the video most often shows that the officer was telling the truth and are thus valuable in court. Of course, we don't see that in the media because an LEO performing their duty honorably apparently isn't newsworthy.
I counsel reconsideration of your attitude. Few departments can afford the cost and resource drain of Section 1983 lawsuits. Too many, and you may become an expendable liability to your department. OTOH, a good officer has nothing to fear from transparency.
Cindi @ 9/1/2011 2:30 AM
Recording (by cell phone) can be an issue of officer safety. It is usually done at a close distance ... close enough that there should concern for edged weapon/gun/rocks/bricks, etc. ... all can be used against an officer whose attention is needed for the suspect's behavior...just another way for an officer to be injured or killed, now trying to "watch" others who may be recording and/or distracting officer's attention from the main suspect. Where there is one cell phone in a crowd situation, there will probably be four more (or more). Pray for officers in those situations, who now have no "legal" way to advise those who are "recording" to leave the area, who may face law suits and disciplinary action for doing so. Also, depending on "when" a recording starts, it may or may not help an officer in court...sometimes action by a suspect that results in a certain response from an officer is "missed", making an officer's actions appear to be "excessive" ... let's hope the officer's dash cam is available to record the whole story.
Adam House @ 6/19/2012 9:01 AM
Thank God the Courts are still actually taking our Constitutional Rights into consideration. And the jaykirk guy who left that comment seems like he would fit right in real well with Hitler's Gestapo. What a f@ckin' sorry pathet douchebag thing for a cop to say. I sure hope he's not still a cop, or won't be for long. Badges don't grant extra Rights or authority to bully the public. Good article.
Matthew @ 11/26/2012 10:17 PM
Cindi, there is a simple solution to that problem. Simply tell the person recording that you do not mind if they record the incident, only that they do it from across the way so that they do not interfere with the police action. This should mitigate any concerns and still afford these people their right to film. If they continue to encroach upon your space and they begin to interfere then they can be arrested.
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