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Declaring a First Amendment right to videotape police making an arrest in public, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has denied a police claim of immunity and allowed a civil rights suit against three Boston police officers to go forward. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of Simon Glik, a Boston attorney who was arrested on the evening of October 1, 2007 for using his cellphone to record police officers making an arrest on the Boston Common.
Glik's suit claims police violated his First Amendment rights by stopping him from recording and his Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause. The officers appealed a district court ruling denying them qualified immunity from the suit. A ruling by a three-judge panel of the appeals circuit on Friday of last week upheld the lower court's decision.
Originally posted by TheRedneck
reply to post by SpaDe_
The principle of no one above the law was the single most critical contribution of the Magna Carta to modern law, an acknowledgment that even the king was not above and was bound by the law. That would be the same Magna Carta that hangs in the hallowed halls of the SCOTUS.
“Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’”
“Changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”
What I do expect, and what this court ruling seems to agree with, is that there is an inherent right to acquire evidence of possible crimes, even when that crime may be committed by police. A policeman is not a god; they are all besieged with the same human weaknesses and emotions as the rest of us. But then again, with greater authority comes greater responsibility, and the authority to make arrests must coincide with the responsibility to have one's actions scrutinized by witnesses. I also expect the accused to have the same rights to evidence as the accuser, and thus if video evidence from a police cruiser dash-cam may be admitted, it is unfair and unjust to in any way prohibit the same right to those who may have legitimate grievances against the state.