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The War on Cameras It has never been easier—or more dangerous—to record the police.
Reason ^ | January, 2011 | Radley Balko

Posted on 12/10/2010 6:45:40 AM PST by marktwain

Michael Allison, a 41-year-old backyard mechanic from southeastern Illinois, faces up to 75 years in prison for an act most people don’t realize is a crime: recording public officials.

Allison lives in Bridgeport, Illinois, and often spends time at his mother’s house in Robinson, one county to the north. Both towns have abandoned property (or “eyesore”) ordinances prohibiting the parking of inoperable or unregistered vehicles on private property except in enclosed garages. These rules place a substantial burden on hobbyists like Allison; to obey the law he must either build a garage—which he says isn’t an option, given his property and his income—or register, plate, and pay insurance on every car he fixes up, even though he never drives them on public roads. So Allison kept working on his cars, and the city of Bridgeport kept impounding them: in 2001, 2003, and 2005.

In 2007 Allison filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging the law was a violation of his civil rights and a scheme to collect revenue through impound fees. He then resumed tinkering with unregistered vehicles in his mother’s driveway in Robinson. By Allison’s account, police officers in Robinson began harassing him with threats of fines or arrest for violating that town’s ordinance, though Allison alleges the harassment was personal—retaliation for his lawsuit back in Bridgeport. That’s when he began recording his conversations with cops.

In late 2008, Allison went to the Robinson police station, tape recorder in hand, and asked the chief to tell his officers either to name the law he was violating and issue him a citation or leave him alone. Not long after, two Robinson police officers showed up at his mother’s property and, while he was working on his mother’s car in her driveway, wrote Allison a citation for violating the eyesore ordinance.

(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: camera; constitution; police; recording
It should always be legal to record public officials in the course of the public performance of their public duties. It has become a key component of protecting the public from corrupt officials.
1 posted on 12/10/2010 6:45:49 AM PST by marktwain
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To: marktwain

With these kind of rules, the guy who recorded those cops beating the snot out of Rodney King would have been thrown in jail.


2 posted on 12/10/2010 6:51:05 AM PST by Tamar1973 (Germans in 1932 thought they were voting for change too.)
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To: marktwain

Private citizens should have the right to record everything anybody ever says to them.

And public officials should have the fear that everything they say to anyone is being recorded.


3 posted on 12/10/2010 6:53:26 AM PST by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: marktwain

Seems the most bedwetting liberal states are the ones that have laws that do not allow citizens to record.

People need to rise up and get their rights back to record public officials.


4 posted on 12/10/2010 6:53:48 AM PST by UCFRoadWarrior (National Security begins at the Border)
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To: marktwain
I'm sure the ACLU and various PNG college boys will be stepping up to challenge this trend Any Minute Now. After all, just because the cops will arrest them and put them in a cell with Dwayne and Kassangi, quite possibly after doing the bang-shangalang on their heads and confiscating their cameras, is no reason not to resist authority, right?
5 posted on 12/10/2010 6:54:18 AM PST by Steely Tom (Obama goes on long after the thrill of Obama is gone)
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To: marktwain
In today's world the police, sadly, are not your friend. And it kills my soul to have to say that. I grew up in rural America in the early 1950’s and at that time the police were your friend.

Just one more example of how totally our lives are being taken over by The Man. Every aspect of our day to day activities are subject to a myriad of often conflicting, frequently hardly known, rules and regulations.

Our system for oversight of the powers-that-be is in desperate need of overhaul. The average Joe Citizen does not stand a snowball's chance in hell of successfully challenging a law or rule or regulation that we feel is not constitutional or oversteps the bounds of the agency. Government, at every level, has become way too powerful, willing and able to devote huge amounts of resources to coming down on a common citizen who feels they've been mistreated. Their first response is to make it so onerous to question their authority that you will not even consider it. I would certainly be willing to contribute to a fund set up for the purpose of helping this man get his day in court.

6 posted on 12/10/2010 7:04:34 AM PST by jwparkerjr (It's the Constitution, Stupid!)
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To: marktwain

This is one of those rare occasions where I agree with the ACLU.

People need to be able to protect themselves, at least with electronic recording devices.

This would put everybody on notice that what you do may be recorded, so be nice.

For the police, it means do only what you must.


7 posted on 12/10/2010 7:06:30 AM PST by Westbrook (Having children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: Steely Tom
I'm sure the ACLU and various PNG college boys will be stepping up to challenge this trend Any Minute Now.

This is who the ACLU is:

"I am for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the properties class, and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal. I don't regret being part of the communist tactic. I knew what I was doing. I was not an innocent liberal. I wanted what the communists wanted, and I traveled the United Front road to get it.

Roger Baldwin (a co-founder of the ACLU)

8 posted on 12/10/2010 7:06:59 AM PST by rllngrk33 (0bama, proof we can no longer underestimate the stupidity of the voters.)
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To: marktwain

Public officials should be REQUIRED to have a recording made and archived of everything they do every minute of every day they are “on the clock” or enjoying some special privilege that peons don’t enjoy (like carrying a gun where we can’t).

This especially includes cops and school teachers.


9 posted on 12/10/2010 7:08:10 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: marktwain

This article is annoyingly overlong, but very informative. I generally always back the blue, but I think the civil servants, be they local, state or fed, are starting to get a siege mentality, because they know the economy is bad and that usually brings more budget scrutiny.

Too bad. If your an unelected civil servant nursing at the taxpayer teat, then you better be D#$N glad you got a job
period and walk the VERY straight and narrow.


10 posted on 12/10/2010 7:19:22 AM PST by NeverForgetBataan (To the German Commander: ..........................NUTS !)
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To: jwparkerjr
In today's world the police, sadly, are not your friend. And it kills my soul to have to say that. I grew up in rural America in the early 1950’s and at that time the police were your friend.

Same here. When even small town police are outfitted not unlike a Seal Assualt Team I have become alarmed.

11 posted on 12/10/2010 7:20:50 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell (5:00 AM Gym Crew Jerking Iron.....)
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To: P-Marlowe

I think you’re right. If it can be seen or heard using the normal senses, then it should be recordable. If it happens in a public area, then it should be recordable. If it’s something a public official is doing in the line of their duties, then it should be recordable.

In the Land of the Free, how can a person not have the right to record what they experience using their normal senses? Do sounds belong to the speaker even after they impact someone’s hearing? Do people own the photons that reflect their appearance?


12 posted on 12/10/2010 7:26:17 AM PST by CitizenUSA (Consider me a "Domestic Extremist" for believing, "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!")
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To: jwparkerjr

“I grew up in rural America in the early 1950’s and at that time the police were your friend”
____________________________________________________________________________]

Yes, I agree. If you ask them today, why they became an officer, you always get the - “well... I wanted to help people” song and dance. In reality, it’s really just a paycheck for most of them and a pathway to a pension. In
some places a GREAT pension. That pension is what they REALLY care about. If you are an elected official, you touch that police and fire pension with extreme caution.

And the SAD part is if you find a bad cop and fire him, they will usually just pop up somewhere else soon. The
bad cops can wander like vagrants from one force to another for a LOOONG time.


13 posted on 12/10/2010 7:34:15 AM PST by NeverForgetBataan (To the German Commander: ..........................NUTS !)
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To: CitizenUSA
In the Land of the Free, how can a person not have the right to record what they experience using their normal senses? Do sounds belong to the speaker even after they impact someone’s hearing? Do people own the photons that reflect their appearance?

For exactly the reason you state, I cannot believe this is a law. It seems it may only be legal to record a policeman beating a minority (Rodney King) due to political correctness.

Besides, if we witness a crime we must draw upon our imperfect memory to testify to what we saw. Which can lead to a miscarriage of justice. Recording a crime, particularly that of a public figure, would reduce the likely hood of such injustice.

14 posted on 12/10/2010 7:41:13 AM PST by Never on my watch (This is a revolution d@mmit, we're going to have to offend SOMEbody! (Adams character - 1776))
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To: marktwain

Great article - a keeper.

There is no legitimate reason to prohibit recording public exchanges involving ANY public official, and the only rational I see exhibited against it is when public officials try to weasel their way out of misdoings.

Therefore, expect to see more stringent rules applied against our fellow subjects in the future.

After all, we gotta keep the sheeple in line, right?


15 posted on 12/10/2010 7:42:42 AM PST by rockrr ("I said that I was scared of you!" - pokie the pretend cowboy)
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To: marktwain

“Illinois wiretapping law, which makes it a Class 1 felony to record someone without his consent.”

Bull!

A judge in a courtroom has no expectation of a “right to privacy”!


16 posted on 12/10/2010 7:51:08 AM PST by G Larry (When you're right, avoid compromise!)
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To: marktwain
Aren't many police cars now equipped with video cameras and these videos are public records that I should be able to access under FOI or through subpoena? I don't see much difference if I openly record an encounter with public officials either in a public space or my own home.
17 posted on 12/10/2010 7:56:36 AM PST by The Great RJ (The Bill of Rights: Another bill members of Congress haven't read.)
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To: marktwain

The travesty here is the double standard. Cops on duty can and do record you at any time within the public realm, including traffic stops. Not to mention cities that have cameras on the public streets. They do that because in their legal determination it’s a public place. The courts have supported that.

Except for officials and police officers. What’s public for you at the same time, same place, is private for them. It violates multiples areas of the Constitution. Hopefully the courts will continue to smack their bags on this one.


18 posted on 12/10/2010 8:04:08 AM PST by Free Vulcan (The battle isn't over. Hold their feet to the fire.)
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To: G Larry

A whole lot of judges are gonna need impeachin’ before we restore this country to anything close to constitutional governance! That’s a fact!


19 posted on 12/10/2010 8:06:00 AM PST by CitizenUSA (Consider me a "Domestic Extremist" for believing, "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!")
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To: Westbrook

Rather like a PC version of the old “An Armed Society is a Polite Society” model...

It’s well past time for the elitists to understand that they work for us...all of ‘em.


20 posted on 12/10/2010 8:38:56 AM PST by PubliusMM (RKBA; a matter of fact, not opinion. 01-20-2013: Change we can look forward to.)
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To: marktwain

Illinois public officials prefer their collusion with the mafia, their police corruption and excesses not be recorded.

The LAW should read precisely the opposite, “No public officials shall act in their capacity WITHOUT being recorded.”


21 posted on 12/10/2010 9:23:39 AM PST by G Larry (When you're right, avoid compromise!)
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