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As a group of kids drummed on buckets on Chicago’s State Street late last December, Chris Drew stood nearby. On the crowded sidewalk, Drew was dressed for attention, wearing a blazing red poncho covered with art patches that he was selling for a dollar each.
Drew is a free-speech advocate; his State Street appearance was part of an ongoing protest against a Chicago law restricting where artists can sell their wares. A Chicago police officer noticed Drew in the off-limits area, and told him to move along.
Drew was hoping to get arrested to test the city’s law; he got his wish. Prosecutors charged him with two misdemeanors. He was not expecting what came next. After police found a small recording device in his belongings, Drew was charged with a felony for violating the Illinois eavesdropping law, which requires all involved to consent to any audio recording.
“And shortly after, they put a bond of $20,000 on me for selling art for a dollar on State Street and audiotaping my own arrest,” Drew says.
The misdemeanor charges were dropped, but the felony charge remains — and with it, a possible four- to 15-year prison term.
Mark Donahue, the head of the Chicago Police Union, says the officers simply enforced the law. And changing the law, he says, could hamper police work, and cause some officers to hesitate on the job.
“You don’t want that hesitation,” he says. “You want them to act on their instincts, and their training as well.”
If officers think they’re being recorded, Donahue says, “they think there’s an extra Big Brother over their shoulder that will judge them 10 minutes, 10 days, 10 years down the line, on the action or utterances they’re making today.”
Originally posted by SaturnFX
Although I agree with a law against evesdropping as a good thing (thinking the reverse here), I think it is open to abuse as this case shows.
Police should always expect they are being recorded when on the clock...they are public servents and accountable while working by the public.
The no evesdropping should only apply to the public sector, not a cop on the job, or a politician doing their offical business...the law needs to be amended..
As far as the content of the tape, I don't know what was on it so I can't make an opinion one way or another..also, this should not be a felony either way...thats harsh. 15 potential years is above and beyond the crime. (btw, he wont get 15 years...he won't even get 6 months, but thats beside the point.)
Originally posted by redmage
Leave your cameras and recorders at home folks, or get 15 years in the slammer!
Originally posted by Nutter
reply to post by mnemeth1
And yet we find out that it is OK for school officials to record kids masterbating at home from their school supplied laptop computers. Insane world indeed.
I swear sooner (rather than later) the citenzry is going to get pissed enough to demand change. I can't wait till this day happens myself.