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Videotape Your Next Traffic Stop: A Good Idea?

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posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 02:14 PM
This article caught my interest because the legality of being able to record a police officer during a traffic stop. I was reading the article (link below) and this caught my eye.

"I don't mind if a citizen has a video camera, but for me it becomes an issue of officer safety," said Detroit area Officer Frank Zielinski. "I don't like to have a citizen with something in their hands that they're pointing at me. Officers are trained to be very wary about what a person has in their hands. If we let our guard down for a second, we could miss seeing a weapon."


"If somebody wants to video their traffic stop, that's totally within their rights," said Zielinkski. "The truth is that we're already on video. I've got a video camera running in the patrol car and I'm wired with a microphone. For a nominal fee, people can come to the station to request a video of their traffic stop, no problem. As for them holding their own camera, I'd rather they put it up on the dash so that their hands are empty."


"While it is legal, to hold a camera in anybody's face — including a police officer's — could be construed as really offensive," said attorney Matt Walton of Mt. Clemens, Michigan. "I'd recommend people think about what they're doing and consider the police officer's point of view before they whip out a video camera."

Walton brought up several points to ponder. While it is legal to record a traffic stop, the citizen must obey an officer's legitimate commands. If you are told to put the camera down, it's wise to follow that advice or you could be arrested for interfering with an officer in the line of duty.

This made me laugh a little because they say the reason why we should not record is that it may be offensive, and that some cameras can have a weapon attached to it. Good point about the weapon issue, but how many times has that happened where cameraman turns gunman?

the article closes off with...

If you do videotape the police publicly acting in an unlawful manner, it is not legal for those police officers to make you delete the files or confiscate your video device. If such a request or threat is made, you have a valid reason to make an official complaint against the officers involved.

we have both sides of the argument. Cops think its disrespectful to be recorded, and a safety issue, while the motorist on the other hand has the right to defend himself, and document the traffic stop for his defense.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think its wise to record your own traffic stop? Do you think its offensive? do you think the cop will come down harder on you for recording the stop? do you think it would help your case?

Sorry for the short thread, but I thought this would be a subject the members could chew on here.


posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 02:22 PM
i think it is rude to shove a camera in someone's face... i think it would be smart to do it respectfully.. tell them you would like to record this session place the camera where the incident can be recorded and continue your business with the officer(s).

posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 02:50 PM
I vote for it not being a good idea.

It does seem a little bit rude. I would think that you'd want to be as courteous as possible with a person who could send you to jail.

Do you really want a simple traffic stop to escalate to something more?

posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 05:05 PM
Good cops like being recorded.

They know that it makes their profession look good and a good cop doesn't mind showing us how things are done - being filmed allows him to do that.

It is the scumbag crooks that don't like being filmed.

If a cop doesn't want to be filmed, he is about to break the law and violate some rights. It really is that simple because as we now know; good cops like being recorded.

[edit on 13-7-2010 by Exuberant1]

posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 06:36 PM
I'm a perfect case in point. I was stopped in a public park and asked to identify myself. I was filming fox cubs at the time. I refused to identify myself because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifies that unless there is evidence of a crime being committed demanding identification is unreasonable search and seizure. This made them mad and unfortunately police in Canada are not familiar with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms so they arrested me for obstruction of a peace officer. I kind of laughed at them because I was recording everything. When they realized that they had arrested me illegally they erased all of my recording media. Needles to say it got thrown out of court anyway.

Now I am working on having 4 and possibly as many as 6 RCMP officers charged with "Digital Mischief" and other criminal offenses related to tampering with evidence etc.

From this I've learned a couple more lessons:
1)Next time I record the police it will be with a device that cant be erased.
2)I will never deal with an officer without it being recorded.

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