B1 Intermediate US 42 Folder Collection
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Recording police officers really came to the forefront in the early '90s with the Rodney
King incident.
And I think since then you've seen, uh, a lot more, uh, public discussion on, on the
rights of people to film law enforcement.
It's about transparency.
It's about understanding what our, uh, public officials are doing.
Especially public officials who carry with them the ability to use force, including deadly
force, to execute and enforce the law.
The right of a person to film law enforcement has become less controversial as it has become
more understood.
And I think the ubiquity of video cameras in society today, where literally everything
is filmed and thrown onto Facebook Live, has sort of illuminated this reality.
There's been five or six different circuit courts of appeal decisions affecting more
than 60% of the US population that have affirmed the right of individuals to film law enforcement
in public while law enforcement officers are engaged in their official capacity as police
officers.
Most officers today understand that the public has a right to film police officers when they
are engaged in their official capacity as an officer and they're in public.
If you're lawfully recording the police officer in a public place and he or she tells you
to stop recording, again, you're under no legal obligation to stop.
The big source of contention seems to come is when people take that right and they infringe
upon the officer's ability to, uh, safely execute their job.
It's important to understand when a police officer tells you to, to move back or to get
across the street, it's not necessarily because they're trying to stop you from recording them,
It's because you're compromising their officer safety or you're inhibiting their ability
to perform their duty.
When you cross that line, then while the act of filming may not in and of itself be illegal,
you're engaging in other illegal, uh, activity which could lead to your arrest.
It's hard to provide concrete guidelines to the public because everything's contextual.
Every situation is different.
So then it's always best to heed to the, uh, to the warnings of the officer.
I think the goal of cameras, body-worn cameras, dash cams, or what have you, is not just to
protect the citizenry, but it's also to protect law enforcement.
Law enforcement officers who adopt body-worn cameras soon realize that those cameras are
a lot more helpful to them than they are a hindrance.
It's a good thing that law enforcement understands that that transparency exists.
It's good for the officers, it's good for the public.
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Do Citizens Have a Right to Film Police Officers? [POLICYbrief]

42 Folder Collection
Shinichiro published on January 30, 2020
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