informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted May 07 2012, 2:53 PM Category: Resistance Source: ACLU.org Print

You Have Every Right to Photograph That Cop

Police and Photography: Can’t Stop the Signal
by Gabe Rottman, ACLU


There’s been an uptick in protest activity this month around the country–May Day saw a resurgence in the Occupy movement, and further protests are expected around the NATO summit in Chicago, set for May 20th. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of protesters, police and bystanders are going to have mobile phones (market penetration of the devices in the United States in 2011 was literally more than 100%, meaning lots of folks have more than one, which is so American). It’s also a safe bet that most of those phones will have cameras. Some of those cameras will even be able to take broadcast-quality video.

Law enforcement hates these camera phones. Since the emergence of the cheap, small CMOS chips that allow for a networked camera in every smartphone, police have increasingly tried to interfere with the right of private citizens to take pictures or video of police activities in public, including confiscating cameras, deleting photos and arresting these citizen journalists. We fear that such incidents will only increase as the spring and summer wear on.

Accordingly, we signed a letter today along with Free Press and several other First Amendment advocacy groups urging the attorney general to protect Americans’ “right to record.”

As we recently pointed out, as a legal matter it is “clearly established” that private citizens have the right under the First Amendment to take pictures and video images of police activity in public places (be aware that audio recording is a little more complicated). If the police interfere with that right, they actually may be held personally liable (that is, unable to invoke “qualified immunity” against a civil rights claim).

And, while this is settled law, it’s worth stepping back and reflecting on why we have this right. The First Amendment was written specifically to protect the free and open discussion of political and government affairs. There’s no question that law enforcement is difficult and complex work, but it is also true that the police have unique powers to stifle this free and open discussion. The only true check against the misuse of police power is public oversight. The notion that every police action could potentially be captured on an iPhone dramatically enhances this check.

Additionally, the “right to record” becomes even more imperative in the context of lawful protest. Assembly is a fundamental right, but it is also, almost by definition, inconvenient as a matter of civic comfort. Police officers on protest duty are sometimes set at cross-purposes: they have to protect the protesters while also controlling the protest. This often leads to overzealous enforcement, unnecessary crackdowns, wholesale arrests and constitutional violations. The right to record discourages those abuses, and provides a documentary record for later legal proceedings.

More fundamentally, efforts by law enforcement to crack down on citizen journalism in public places are futile. In 1996, when cell phones had already evolved far beyond the “brick” phone of the mid-‘80s, less than two in 10 people had one. Today, 10 in 10 people have a cell phone, most of which have a camera that is linked to the internet. In New York, you can send an MMS picture directly to 911 at the click of a button. Attempts to keep public eyes off police activity are a game of whack-a-mole. You can’t stop the signal. Rather, law enforcement should embrace the “right to record” as a constitutional right, a protection against unfounded charges against the police and a valuable tool in the fight against crime.

You can find the ACLU’s page “You Have Every Right to Photograph That Cop,” as well as our Photographers’ “Know Your Rights” resource online.





Latest Resistance
- Citizen Pulls Over Cop, Demands ID, Gets It. Lets Cop Off with Verbal Warning
- D.C. Council Member Recommends Disarming the Police
- Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State
- The Death Of James Traficant
- Presence of Armed Citizen Prevented More Death Says Oklahoma County Sheriff
- Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads for Police, Even With Search Warrants
- Call the Anti-Police: Ending the State's "Security" Monopoly
- This Citizen Gives a Cop a Taste of What Police Harassment Feels Like









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

FBI Agents Cut Internet Access, Pose As Repairmen To Perform Warrantless Search - 10/30LAPD Officer Accused Of Punting Man's Face Like He Was 'Kicking A Field Goal' - 10/30Patriot Act, Passed to Fight Terrorism, Used Mostly In Drug Investigations - 10/30Mom Faces Jail For Using Cannabis Oil To Treat 15-Yr-Old Son's Chronic Pain - 10/30Sarcastic "God Bless You" Triggers Miami Cop To Go On Psychotic Tirade - 10/29Antonio Buehler Found Not Guilty After Almost 3 Years - 10/30"Crush the Seed of Ishmael": A "Final Solution" to the "Muslim Problem" - 10/09Cop Attempts to Tackle Topless Protester, Rams Head First Into Wall Instead - 10/29

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top