Skip to comments.Court says public has right to video police in public places(First Circuit)
Posted on 08/29/2011 9:15:51 AM PDT by marktwain
A Boston lawyer suing the city and police officers who arrested him for using his cell phone to record a drug arrest on the Common won a victory today when a federal appeals court said the officers could not claim "qualified immunity" because they were performing their job when they arrested him under a state law that bars audio recordings without the consent of both parties.
In its ruling, which lets Simon Glik continue his lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said the way Glik was arrested and his phone seized under a state wiretapping law violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights:
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." ...
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."
The court noted that past decisions on police recording had involved fulltime reporters, but said the First Amendment does not apply just to professional news gatherers.
Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.
The court continued that while exercise of these rights do come with limits in certain circumstances, an arrest on the Boston Common, "the oldest city park in the United States and the apotheosis of a public forum," is not one of them.
It should always be legal to audio or video record public officials in the public performance of their public duties.
If the police have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to fear from their actions being recorded. The police have recorders in their vehicles. They can’t have it both ways. If they can record us, then we can rcord them.
It is for their own safety.
I honestly believe "citizen journalists/bloggers will eventually save the republic by breaking the stranglehold the progressives have on disseminating the news!
One tiny step back from the abyss.
Ok, so recording the police in a public area is permitted.
What about recording security at an airport? Is the airport considered public, or would this be like recording security routines in a bank?
This was a good ruling. The rules on this need to be crystal clear so LEOS will have to stop this nonsense.
Not just Police Officers, ALL public officials.
What do you need a phone for? There are 4GB high resolution cameras you can buy that look and work like fountain pens.
I’ll take it a step further. It has always amazed me that, with the constitution worded the way it is, that anyone could seriously suggest that somehow members of the press had more rights in areas like this than the rest of us.
Also, this is another nail in the MSM monopoly’s coffin.
LOL, Jeannie is out of the bottle. Anyone that thinks they can controls his stuff is sick
however, I’d like to see all of us call them what they are in every mention of such:
They have regressed back to Soddom and Gomorrah.
“It is for their own safety.”
So what about the safety of the citizenry? This crap about the primacy of “their safety uber alles” needs to be addressed. Aside from actually interfering directly with law enforcement, there should be no strictures on video and audio recording of the cops in action. No cop should be able to interfere with an interested bystander who is recording their actions and there needs to be clear laws regarding this practice together with legal penalties for any LEO abridging that right.
Exactly. You could say it started with the refusal to enforce the "Fairness Doctrine" by libertarians appointed by Ronald Reagan. Then the Internet, developed by the military (Advanced Research Projects Agency, now Defense Advanced Research Projects agency DARPA), has destroyed the near monopoly on disseminating information that was developed by the MSM under Roosevelt during WWII.
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