The Obama administration has suggested several times that police officers are allowed to be filmed during an arrest. However there have been many videos of police officers taking cameras and sometimes even deleting the contents after arresting bystanders. Federal courts have clearly stated that this is against the Constitution.
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier recently instructed her officers to not interfere with recordings.
It's a big deal that local authorities are speaking out against what is happening and actually supporting what is right instead of just turning a blind eye.
DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier
Timothy Lee writes in Ars Technica: "A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make recordings as a member of the media," Chief Lanier writes. The First Amendment protects the right to record the activities of police officers, not only in public places such as parks and sidewalks, but also in "an individual’s home or business, common areas of public and private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present."
Lanier says that if an officer sees an individual recording his or her actions, the officer may not use that as a basis to ask the citizen for ID, demand an explanation for the recording, deliberately obstruct the camera, or arrest the citizen. And she stresses that under no circumstances should the citizen be asked to stop recording.
That applies even in cases where the citizen is recording "from a position that impedes or interferes with the safety of members or their ability to perform their duties." In that situation, she says, the officer may ask the person to move out of the way, but the officer "shall not order the person to stop photographing or recording."
She also notes that "a person has the right to express criticism of the police activity being observed."
So what do you guys think? Is this an abuse of power or is this what you call freedom? Should people be allowed to record public employees? What about if they are making an arrest?
Sources of Information
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