As seen in the above video, Marlon Kautz, an Atlanta man attempting to document police activity, had his cameraphone seized after he refused to stop filming them in a public place. Those police officers then deleted the photos/video of the police activity.
In addition to the $40,000 in damages the City is paying to Kautz to avoid a civil rights lawsuit, the Atlanta Police Department is adopting new operating procedures that prohibit police from interfering with citizens who are recording police activity.
It’s nice to see official police procedures catching up with the First Amendment, eh?
Don’t get too excited. Some states (Illinois being one) have lumped the video recording of police under the same rules as recording someone without their consent.
Even though the police may be acting in a public space the law states they must give their consent.
Never mind how this flies in the face of police cars having video cameras.
Know the laws in your state before making assumptions.
Eric Reagan says
I’m not familiar with the Illinois statute you are referencing, but I can’t see that withstanding a Constitutional challenge in court. I know some departments/states are trying to push the envelope, but I just don’t see them holding water over time in light of judicial precedent to the contrary.
I can’t speak to the constitutionality of the way in which these laws are being used, but it only takes courts erring/opting on the side of protecting the police (mostly from embarrassment) to scuttle the whole system.
gil feliciano says
forkboy is right. here’s a 2-6-11 article – looks like the ACLU is appealing: http://sjreview.org/2011/02/06/illinois-wiretapping-law-restrictive/
If I was the police officer, I’d simply seize the camera as evidence. Police officers attending to the investigation of an incident would be fully entitled to seize the camera, which is obviously recording evidence. Surely the magistrate or judge would like to have access to that!
Cops, D.A’s and legislators always continue to push and re-push the envelope. After all the money does NOT come out of their own pockets, If it did you would see a totally different situation evolve. What they do and what they know are 2 different things. I am sure the supreme court will be hearing a case in the future because recording in public places has been well covered but state laws( in an effort to reduce their exposure to lawsuits from victims of police brutality and fabricating evidence in order to rail road victims). Frankly the roid rage from cops is getting old, there are a lot of good cops on the beat and if I were one being videoed, the only concern I would have is getting a copy of the video to critique and use for future training.