Posts Tagged 'recording police activity'

New Haven Police: Go Ahead, Record Us

The New Haven Police Department is re-training its force in accordance with a new policy, General Order 311. That policy states that cops can no longer arrest citizens for recording them in public. The caveat is that recording is permitted as long as it doesn’t interfere with police activity or jeopardize anyone’s safety, and you might think that would be abused. But, the order addresses that issue:

“The video recording of police activity in and of itself does not constitute a crime, offense, or violation. If a person video recording police activity is arrested, the officer must articulate clearly the factual basis for any arrest in his or her case and arrest reports.”

And as Assistant Chief Tobin Hensgen, who lead a training session (see above video), said:

“If a citizen wants to exercise his First Amendment rights and photograph you while you’re in a squad car and uniform or on detail while you’re performing your duties, as long as they’re legal, you have no expectation of privacy.”

The policy was initiated by Police Chief Frank Limon after a rash of incidents over the past year involving citizens and recording, where police clearly abused their authority. The New Haven Independent was a champion of the cause, and this is an impressively swift reaction by the police if you want to look at it optimistically.

Or, as a commenter put it: “Breaking News Flash—Cops ordered to Not arrest someone who is NOT breaking the law.”

Source: New Haven Independent

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Filming Chicago Police OK, Audio Not

NPR did a piece this morning on Chicago artist Chris Drew, who’s made it his mission to make sure the First Amendment works. What started as an act of civil disobedience — Drew is a crusader for free speech and wanted to test laws regarding where artists can sell their work — turned into a felony charge for illegal eavesdropping. It turns out he had recorded his arrest and in Illinois it’s illegal to record conversations without consent of all parties.

The Chicago police union claims, if you can believe this, that recordings like these could inhibit officers from doing their jobs. Or…if they do their jobs professionally and competently, if they happen to be recorded, an audio recording would make absolutely. No. Difference.

“The general theme that drifts through these cases is very clear,” [Illinois ACLU lawyer Harvey] Grossman says. “Law enforcement, in these instances, is rebelling and is refusing to allow public scrutiny of their behavior. And they are using the eavesdropping statute as a weapon against civilians.”

On August 18, the Illinois ACLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging this law.

Story from NPR


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