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Thread: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

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    Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    A federal appeals court has ruled that the public has the right to film cops in public and has reinstated a lawsuit against a local New Hampshire police department brought by a woman arrested for filming a traffic stop.

    The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights.

    The decision is but one in a string of decisions that are slowly sticking the needle into laws nationwide barring the recording of police as they perform their duties. But some states, like Massachusetts, outlaw the secret audio recording of police. A woman accused of secretly turning on the audio recording feature of her mobile phone while she was being arrested was charged with wiretapping two weeks ago in Massachusetts.

    Massachusetts wiretapping law prohibits secretly recording police. In the latest decision, the First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Gericke "was exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area." The decision allows her lawsuit against the department to proceed. - Source - Screen Shot
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    While this will not stop many police from intimidating people from filming them, it is good to know the law is on your side if you do.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
    `
    While this will not stop many police from intimidating people from filming them, it is good to know the law is on your side if you do.
    Filming a public servant while they are working in a public area should never have been questioned, much less charged as a crime. Every time I hear about some cop arresting a person for filming them, it reminds me of the gestapo or the KBG. The US should be better than that, and our police should be as well. At least many police officers have no problem with being filmed at all, which is good. In fact, many jurisdictions have personal cameras on the cops themselves.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
    `
    While this will not stop many police from intimidating people from filming them, it is good to know the law is on your side if you do.
    As if it was ever realistically in question. Sure, cops were arresting people over it, but just because police were slapping silver bracelets on people doesn't mean it = legally justifiable arrest.

    The thing to note about the people arrested for videotaping the police is that typically they were filming during instances of illegality on the part of the police. The fact that that was being swiftly punished & censored is further evidence on the column that yes, indeed, the U.S. has police state tendencies, and that they're getting worse over time.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    The cops should be fitted with camera's in-bedded in their uniform that records everything they do while on duty. It's best for everyone, the cops, the people, and society at large. It is good that these laws are being shot down. Hopefully that trend continues.
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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Your Star View Post
    The cops should be fitted with camera's in-bedded in their uniform that records everything they do while on duty. It's best for everyone, the cops, the people, and society at large. It is good that these laws are being shot down. Hopefully that trend continues.
    Our local PD put pin-cams and mics in standard police uniforms a couple years ago. There was an initial public outcry that the cam was a privacey violation until one such cam recorded a wrongfull arrest and the foitage was used against the department. Now most people see the cam as a safeguard against abuse.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
    Our local PD put pin-cams and mics in standard police uniforms a couple years ago. There was an initial public outcry that the cam was a privacey violation until one such cam recorded a wrongfull arrest and the foitage was used against the department. Now most people see the cam as a safeguard against abuse.
    This is good, but tools are only as good as the people who use them. There have been several incidents of dashboard cams being turned off by police or being conveniently made inoperable during a particularly contentious police/civilian interaction. Likewise, unless these pin-cams can't be made inoperable or they are controlled remotely, they will only be as good as the intentions of those who wear them.
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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
    `
    While this will not stop many police from intimidating people from filming them, it is good to know the law is on your side if you do.
    I think society should go further and make it obligatory for police and other government employees to record themselves continuously.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by Paxaeon View Post
    `
    While this will not stop many police from intimidating people from filming them, it is good to know the law is on your side if you do.
    Anyone, at anytime should be able to film police in public. If they are doing their job the way they are supposed to, I don't see why police would get all huffy about it.

    I also think that it should be against the law for police to tell a citizen to stop filming, or to threaten or arrest anyone because they are.

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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by joG View Post
    I think society should go further and make it obligatory for police and other government employees to record themselves continuously.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grim17 View Post
    Anyone, at anytime should be able to film police in public. If they are doing their job the way they are supposed to, I don't see why police would get all huffy about it.

    I also think that it should be against the law for police to tell a citizen to stop filming, or to threaten or arrest anyone because they are.
    This all sounds great, however I see the cost of such a system could be astronomical. Think about all those cameras and the personnel needed to maintain them. And the system to catalog, record the videos. Think about how much it might cost in NYC, the cost would be prohibitive.


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    Re: Court upholds “First Amendment” right to film police

    Quote Originally Posted by pbrauer View Post
    This all sounds great, however I see the cost of such a system could be astronomical. Think about all those cameras and the personnel needed to maintain them. And the system to catalog, record the videos. Think about how much it might cost in NYC, the cost would be prohibitive.
    It certainly would be good for the camera producers.

    But seriously, the costs aren't that high and the level of protection of the citizens would rise enormously. In up to date trading rooms every call has been recorded since the 1980's. In this case one wouldn't even need large systems. With the burden of proof on the civil servant standalone recording would be fine and it would be cheap.

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