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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.

Recording police officers really came to the forefront in the early '90s with the Rodney

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B1 US law enforcement enforcement public officer police recording

Do Citizens Have a Right to Film Police Officers? [POLICYbrief]

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    Shinichiro posted on 2020/01/30
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