Friday, May 18, 2012

Right to record cops

I am pleased to see that the US DoJ agrees:
The U.S. Justice Department opined May 14 that the First Amendment does secure such a right, reaffirming a January letter that I had missed. “Recording governmental officers engaged in public duties,” the letter reasons, “is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers.”

The letter, addressed to the Baltimore Police Department based on the Department’s past interference with such recording, is consistent with the Seventh Circuit’s May 8 decision in ACLU v. Alvarez (which it doesn’t cite) and the First Circuit’s decision in Glik v. Cunliffe (which it does cite, together with some other cases).

Some people record their noisy neighbors in order to embarrass them. I don't go that far. But govt officials on the job seem fair game to me. Many cops now record what they do anyway, to preserve evidence and to protect themselves from false accusations.

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