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Courts and Dept of Justice Agree: Videotaping Police is OK

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posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 04:58 AM

Ken Paulsen (left), president and CEO of the First Amendment Center, wrote in USA Today that “just as police officers use technology to watch citizens, including patrol car cameras, traffic light cameras and radar to track speeding, the public [also] has a right to monitor the work of officers on the public payroll.”

applause for you Mr Paulsen!

Perhaps the most memorable and life-altering event in the history of citizens recording police behavior was that moment on the evening of March 3, 1991, when George Halliday, using his Sony video recorder, taped the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles. By the time the dust had settled, two of the four officers charged in the beating were found guilty, 53 people were dead, 2,383 people were injured, more than 7,000 fires had been set, 3,100 business establishments had been damaged or destroyed, $1 billion in losses had been sustained, and police behavior was permanently altered.

i still get physically sick watching this video.

As Joel Rubin noted in his article commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King incident in the Los Angeles Times, Things are far different and the tape that so tainted the LAPD has [left] a clear legacy in how officers think about their jobs.

Police now work in a YouTube world in which cellphones double as cameras, news helicopters transmit close-up footage of unfolding police pursuits, and surveillance cameras capture arrests or shootings. Police officials are increasingly recording their officers. Compared to the cops who beat King, officers these days hit the streets with a new reality ingrained in their minds: Someone is always watching.

underlining mine.
sad not everybody got that memo.

It wasn’t until Simon Glik videotaped a violent police arrest of an alleged drug offender on the Boston Common in October of 2007, however, that courts began to make clear that such recordings are legal and proper and protected by the Bill of Rights.

Glik was walking by the Boston Common on the evening of October 1 when he saw three police officers attempting to arrest a young man using what he thought was excessive force. When Glik heard another bystander yell at the police: “You’re hurting him! Stop!” he opened his cell phone and began recording the event. After the suspect had been subdued and placed in the back of a police cruiser, one of the officers turned to Glik and said, “I think you have taken enough pictures.” To which Glik replied, “I am recording this. I saw you punch him.” The officer then arrested Glik, put him in handcuffs, and charged him with violating Massachusetts’ wiretap law, disturbing the peace, and aiding in the escape of a prisoner.

underlining again mine.

videotaping the police equals disturbing the peace and aiding in the escape of a prisoner

With the successful conclusion of Glik’s lawsuit and the anticipated similar result in Sharp’s comes the comfort that, for the moment at least, rights granted by God and guaranteed under the Bill of Rights in the First and Fourth Amendments are secure. Constitutionalists encourage citizens to keep their cell phones fully charged and their determination fixed when faced with government officials’ errant behavior.

didn't see this posted and i thought it was time i posted another WIN for the rights of US citizens.

imho this should be a given, but obviously it's not.

if the police has a right to videotape us, we sure as hell have a right to videotape them.


posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 05:33 AM
Always knew there wasn't any reason for it to be illegal.

Glad to see it determined in a court of law for the people and cops that don't get it though.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 05:51 AM
The coming week of May 19, 2012, we will see a large amount of people arrested and then charged for filming police.

The G8 summit is happening in chicago, illinois, the state in which they recently tried giving a guy 75 years in prison for nothing but recording police.

There will be protestors at the g8, there will be a ton of people videotaping, and there will be a lot of bologna arrests. They need something to charge people with...

Chicago Militarizes for G8/NATO Summits
edit on 12-2-2012 by 1825114 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 06:00 AM
reply to post by kn0wh0w

Great thread and information!

That "Video Taping Police is NOT Illegal" video needs to go viral!

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 06:01 AM
reply to post by 1825114

ok, who wants to send this info to the Chicago Police Dep't!

Would be interesting to see what would happen if the police and media were showered with this info!

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 06:07 AM

ACLU representative discusses Glik and other similar cases.

Glik vs Cunniffe 10-1764

A. Immunity from Glik's First Amendment Claim

1. Were Glik's First Amendment Rights Violated?

The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative.

It is firmly established that the First Amendment's aegis extends further than the text's proscription on laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. As the Supreme Court has observed, “the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” First Nat'l Bank v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 783 (1978); see also Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969) (“It is ․ well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas.”). An important corollary to this interest in protecting the stock of public information is that “[t]here is an undoubted right to gather news ‘from any source by means within the law.’ “ Houchins v. KQED, Inc., 438 U.S. 1, 11 (1978) (quoting Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681–82 (1972)).

The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. 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.” Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966).

SWEET!! This shows it is legal and has clearly been stated as legal multiple times in a court of law.


edit on 12-2-2012 by Thermo Klein because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 06:10 AM

Originally posted by Thermo Klein

ACLU representative discusses Glik and other similar cases.

thanks for your contribution.

i gave the ´videotaping police is OK´ video a thread of it´s own.

maybe we can get it to go viral like that.

thread can be found here.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 07:08 AM
yeah, i bet anyone they see videoing them still gets arrested for some nebulous charge like obstructing justice, causing a disturbance.....whatever they want.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 07:40 AM
I wonder if this could be a new way of making money.

Keep the printout handy. Walk the streets looking for abusive cops. Judging by the COP-show on televison it won't be difficult. Once you find unnessessary violence, turn your video camera on and wait for your arrest.

Then sue the police department for wrongful arrest.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 07:42 AM
reply to post by HolgerTheDane

I wonder if this could be a new way of making money.


for some it might be yes.

for me it's a way to keep out of line officers, in check.

it's a way too hold them accountable for their deeds.

just as they do to us.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 10:32 AM

Originally posted by lonewolf10
yeah, i bet anyone they see videoing them still gets arrested for some nebulous charge like obstructing justice, causing a disturbance.....whatever they want.

If they truely want to bust your ass i' sure they'll find a reason to arrest you.

But the act of videotaping the police isn't illegal and that's a BIG win.

They can't forbid you to do something that they're doing themselves.

Reminds me of my parents.

Both smokers, still ongoing to this day... FORBID me to ever start smoking.
How hypocritical.

And they weren't just giving advice.
They had punishments in place.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 01:37 PM

Originally posted by kn0wh0w
reply to post by HolgerTheDane

I wonder if this could be a new way of making money.


for some it might be yes.

for me it's a way to keep out of line officers, in check.

it's a way too hold them accountable for their deeds.

just as they do to us.

Sorry - didn't find the sarchasm emoticon for my post.

I merely wondered if this would end up alongside the ambulance chasers.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 02:53 PM
Maybe a little off-topic, but what does this do to the theory that the government is in the hands of the powers that be and we are losing our freedoms daily? Even though they might be feeble last gasps, it seems that the Constitution is still able to protect us when applied by the proper judges.

And judges come into power through elections, either directly or by being appointed by those who are elected. Does this mean that there is hope for the system as it is? We can save ourselves by casting the proper votes?

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by charles1952

I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Everything has a price, even the most rightious and most honest judges.

posted on Feb, 12 2012 @ 05:33 PM
Give 'em time, give 'em time.
Just like the stalled collecting of guns laws, they're still workin' on it.
It will come. Those decisions (read judges) are within their power to control.

The last thing they would want is literally tons of vids on You Tube depicting police (of one kind or another) raiding a person's house to collect the weapons that they have determined by data-mining to be there.

First, they have to more or less criminalize about half of America. They have set that operation into effect by inventing the term of "extremist" to seperate us from loyal citizens.

Yep. Give 'em time.

posted on Feb, 13 2012 @ 09:56 PM
Do you want someone recording you while you work? Watching in case you make any mistake? ... oh wait they already do ... videotaping publicly paid for services should always be allowed and expected. Just as it's okay for a private employer to film their employees. What a joke this is becoming.

posted on May, 4 2012 @ 01:00 PM
I film the police all the time.

Then i post it to you tube.

I don't know what was going on because i was shooting from the hip

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