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Old February 14, 2012, 11:43 AM   #1
jimpeel
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Court: Videotaping police is constitutional act

The court ruled that a citizen may videotape those who serve them in the course of their public duties.

SOURCE

From the decision:

Quote:
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." This is particularly true of law enforcement officials who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to deprive individuals of their liberties…

We conclude, based on the facts alleged, that Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause.
In addition, the Justice Department filed a "statement of interest" in the Sharp case which stated:

Quote:
This litigation presents constitutional questions of great moment in this digital age: whether private citizens have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties, and whether officers violate citizens’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they seize and destroy such recordings without a warrant or due process. The United States urges this Court to answer both of those questions in the affirmative. The right to record police officers while performing duties in a public place, as well as the right to be protected from the warrantless seizure and destruction of those recordings, are not only required by the Constitution. They are consistent with our fundamental notions of liberty, promote the accountability of our governmental officers, and instill public confidence in the police officers who serve us daily.
We shall see where this goes now.
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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While I agree with the outcome, I find myself in the position of agreeing w/ the ACLU. Not a terribly comfortable feeling.
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:27 PM   #3
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You think you're uncomfortable? I agree with enough ACLU positions that I got elected to the Board of Directors, Southern Arizona chapter .

NOTE: the AZ state ACLU has rebelled against the national org on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, holding that it's a personal civil right in line with the AZ Constitution and Heller/McDonald. Nevada and at least one other state went the same way with likely more to follow. Wouldn't have done so otherwise.
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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Good for you, Jim!

I also find myself generally in agreement with the ACLU, at least concerning non-gun issues. In fact, I wish they would back away from any official position on the 2nd Amendment entirely, since the NRA and many other groups have a firm handle on that one.
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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i was stopped awhile back and this cop was wearing a lil camera taping me..all's fair
the position supporting the seizure and destruction is morally bankrupt
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Old February 14, 2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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'You may not tape me in public, peasant.'

Eventually enough cases will go against the police they will succumb.

It would go faster if they had to personally pay some damages though.
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Old February 14, 2012, 03:22 PM   #7
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My first thought was "duh".

As long as the person videotaping the police doesn't physically interfere with the police I don't see how it could come out any other way.

I would change the title of this thread to:

Videotaping police is a constitutionaly protected act.
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Old February 14, 2012, 06:56 PM   #8
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There is always someone who wants to widdle away at one or another of our constitutional rights, and not just the Second Amendment.

Lisa Madigan won a landmark case before SCOTUS that a police officer having a dog who "alerts"(not really specific as to what that means) to something (not really specified), constitues probable cause.

When pulling over suspected drug dealers and having an actual trained drug sniffing dog who is trained to alert by barking or something - I have no problem with it. But it does open the door for abuse. Basically any officer with any kind of dog can say Fido alerted and now he can pull you out of your vehicle and go over your car and go on a fishing expedition to try to find something in your car.
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Old February 15, 2012, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
I would change the title of this thread to:

Videotaping police is a constitutionaly protected act.
There's a difference?
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Gun Control: The premise that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to allowing that same woman to defend her life with a firearm.

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"Three thousand people died on Sept. 11 because eight pilots were killed"
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Old February 15, 2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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And I would turn this entire issue around on its head: the suppression of video and/or audio recording of official acts is obstruction of justice and the violation of one's civil liberties under color of law. In other words, it should be something a LEO goes to the pokey for if he prevents an otherwise law abiding citizen from recording him while engaged in law enforcement activity.
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Old February 15, 2012, 08:54 PM   #11
vranasaurus
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Yes there is a difference.

The acts of a citizen are not constitutional or unconstitutional. Those designations apply to government actions.

Acts of citizens are either constitutionally protected or not.
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Old February 16, 2012, 12:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vranasaurus
As long as the person videotaping the police doesn't physically interfere with the police I don't see how it could come out any other way.
I would say that perhaps the next issue is when does the protected videotaping of police cross the line in to interfering with an officer doing his duty?


Just playing devils advocate on this for a minute...

If a person was videotaping something other from sidewalk on one side of the street, and then an officer does a regular a regular traffic stop on the other side, then person videos the officer. That should never be a problem.

If a person comes upon a regular traffic stop while driving down the road, stops, and gets out with his camera trying to go step by step with the officer, always in his face, asking questions, etc. This is something that should be prohibited, as it is a problem.


I guess its more of a where is the line going to be drawn?
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Old February 16, 2012, 02:32 PM   #13
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Wait. This has to be a hoax. You mean to say this Justice Department actually argued on behalf of a citizen's constitutional rights???
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Old February 16, 2012, 02:32 PM   #14
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Fishing Cabin, that's actually a strawman. The citizen in your scenario is clearl interfering with the LEO performing his duties, whether he has a camera or tape recorder or not. It's not the recording of the event that should be at issue - it's the ancillary behavior of the citizen that either is or is not legal.
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Old February 16, 2012, 04:15 PM   #15
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csmss,

What I was trying to illustrate is that, there are a few people on both sides that will try to test the issue and see how far they can, or can not go. While this ruling is important. I look forward to more court rulings to see where the line is drawn between what is constitutionally protected, and what is interfering in an officers duties.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; February 16, 2012 at 05:38 PM.
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Old February 16, 2012, 08:11 PM   #16
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Frankly if an Officer is performing his duty in a professional and proper manner, there is no need to fear being recorded. The recording will support his actions. If he is not preforming properly, then we need to remove him from the Law Enforcement community.

If the recorder is interfering with the Officer then he/she should be cited for the interference and the recording preserved as evidence for the recorders trial.

When the recording involves methods of a sensitive operation by say an EOD Tech. then the recording should be stopped, Siezed and destroyed by an authorized person other than the officer on site.

When assigned to a Presidential support mission, a Television Photographer recorded my search techniques on 16mm film. When he exited the event, a Secret Service Agent ordered me to search his film cassettes. I exposed every inch of movie fillm which he had. We never had a problem with news people filming us again. I considered that to be a proper exercise at the time as my life and the lives of my team were on the line.
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Old March 21, 2012, 11:24 PM   #17
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This just came up again:

http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-i...-be-terminated

I have the deepest respect for the constitution, it's mind boggling to me that there are people out there who don't hold it in any special regard.

This isn't even a citizen videotaping - it's an actual news organiztion !!!
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Old May 7, 2012, 10:15 PM   #18
C0untZer0
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And another one...

http://www.pixiq.com/article/mississ...cording-police

Charged with disorderly conduct.
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Old May 8, 2012, 12:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
http://www.pixiq.com/article/mississ...cording-police

Charged with disorderly conduct.
Wow, time for a law course. If I was the Chief, or States Attorney, when I got done chewing, they wouldn't have much butt left. Sadly, their superiors will probably circle the wagons and try to sweep it under the rug.
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Old May 8, 2012, 12:34 AM   #20
jimpeel
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Maybe THIS is why they are so camera shy.

The last picture down kinda tells the story.
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Gun Control: The premise that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to allowing that same woman to defend her life with a firearm.

"Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house." - Jules Henri Poincare

"Three thousand people died on Sept. 11 because eight pilots were killed"
-- former Northwest Airlines pilot Stephen Luckey
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Old May 8, 2012, 01:22 AM   #21
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Quote:
When the recording involves methods of a sensitive operation by say an EOD Tech. then the recording should be stopped, Siezed and destroyed by an authorized person other than the officer on site.
I disagree. IF the action, no matter how "sensitive" it is is performed in view of the public, there is no moral justification (not certain about legal) for siezing and/or destroying recorded images, just as there can be no justification for arresting/incarcerating any witness.

Now, I would consider allowing a reporter to follow and film your "sensitive" actions, and then realizing you have let him see something you do not wish to become public as a different situation.

However, the fact is that a witness could describe your actions, spreading the infomation you wish to suppress. It's usually not as effective (or have the same visual impact), but if someone witnesses it, the information can be diseminated.

Acts performed in plain public view should be, and must be protected from supression. Claims of "security needs" are so much BS. Stealing personal property to cover up some lapse by an officer is just that, theft. Even with a court order, it merely becomes offically sanctioned theft. And it is particularly irksome when the only real lapse by the officer is allowing themself to be video taped.

After all, don't we constantly hear from them "if you've done nothing wrong, what do you have to hide?"

There should be no double standard.
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Old May 8, 2012, 01:25 AM   #22
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This case that I posted - the Mississippi teenagers who were videotaping from their own balcony...

It's not just a case of the police taking someone's camera away from them on the street, or arresting someone in public - on the sidewalk or whatever.

The police went into the mom's home, they "burst through their apartment door without a warrant"

Quite a bit different.

It's like looking out your window and video taping an arrest or something, a police officer doesn't like it so he comes into your house, arrests you and takes your camcorder.

I am guessing the mom didn't have her door locked, but I wonder if it would have made a difference.
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Old May 8, 2012, 09:06 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
Now, I would consider allowing a reporter to follow and film your "sensitive" actions, and then realizing you have let him see something you do not wish to become public as a different situation.
I don't even agree there.

If the police agree to allowing an "embedded" reporter, they should not be allowed to after-the-fact cherry pick what the reporter is allowed to report. If the police don't wish to be videotaped engaging in egregious violations of civil (and human) rights, they shouldn't engage in egregious violations of civil (and human) rights.

And if they don't understand what the Constitution says, they should ask BEFORE they swear an oath to uphold it.
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Old May 8, 2012, 08:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
And if they don't understand what the Constitution says, they should ask BEFORE they swear an oath to uphold it.
I can think of another even more important pair of parties that need to do this... and at least one more person..
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Old May 11, 2012, 03:39 PM   #25
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[IIf the police agree to allowing an "embedded" reporter, they should not be allowed to after-the-fact cherry pick what the reporter is allowed to report. If the police don't wish to be videotaped engaging in egregious violations of civil (and human) rights, they shouldn't engage in egregious violations of civil (and human) rights.][/I]

I think what he means is not violations of rights, rather sensitive police info. Like how they go about disarming a bomb, or something that they don't want everybody to know. Like the face of a CI or undercover officer.
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