From an article discussing the trend in some states to give police the power to bring serious charges against people who videotape and/or photograph them. I have no idea when the article was posted, so there's a chance it's more than a few days old. You've been warned.
In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.
Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.
The legal justification for arresting the "shooter" rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.
Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, "[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want." Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, "The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law - requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense."
The courts, however, disagree. A few weeks ago, an Illinois judge rejected a motion to dismiss an eavesdropping charge against Christopher Drew, who recorded his own arrest for selling one-dollar artwork on the streets of Chicago. Although the misdemeanor charges of not having a peddler's license and peddling in a prohibited area were dropped, Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.
Last edited by StlSluggers on Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
What a bunch of horse crap. I totally agree with Art, if a person is in public they should be able to be recorded, period. If the city can put up cameras all over the place to monitor citizens, citizens should be able to use their cameras to tape police in public. If an officer, or anyone else, wants to step in front of the camera and put a hand in the way, fine. But people in public performing a public service should be able to be recorded.
This is scary stuff. It's a principle of natural justice and a well known maxim that "not only must justice be done but it must also be seen to be done."
The justice system is meant to be public and accessible. That's why courts and trials are open to the public (unless held in camera for security concerns) and the media. Justice dispensed in private and secret is not to be trusted.