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  #1  
Old 05-05-2012, 10:58 AM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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Is It Legal to Film Police?

I've seen several videos on Youtube of people using cameras to film police doing routine, police-y things. The police seem to be rather annoyed by it (at best), and sometimes react a little more... aggressively. However, the videos where the cops don't do anything at all and go about their business don't make Youtube, so there's that.

Anyway, without getting into whether or not this is a good thing to do, I'm curious as to whether or not it's legal. Searching on google and yahoo doesn't yield conclusive results.

I'm in Illinois, FTR.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:10 AM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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It is legal in every jurisdiction in the US to film public officials in public places. However, that does not mean you won;t be arrested for doing so.

Great overview from the ACLU on the legal issues, a piece of which I offer below:

Quote:
Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right — and that includes the outside of federal buildings, as well as transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.

However, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply. The ACLU, photographer's groups, and others have been complaining about such incidents for years — and consistently winning in court.
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:28 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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IIRC, there was a case where the videotaper was charged with wiretapping (recording a private conversation) for filming police in public. Again, the ACLU got a lot of money for him out of that case.

http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/appe...deotape-police

Basically it's a first amendment right.
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:32 AM
gatorslap gatorslap is offline
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It is, or was, illegal in Illinois. Back in February, a change in the law cleared committee, but I don't know what's happened since then.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:47 AM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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I generally support the first amendment angle, but I could see an argument for officer safety. If I am pulled over for speeding, the cop would be testy if I was reaching around and pointing stuff at him. One person reaching for a camera is another person reaching for a gun.

Plus, the cop might have suspicions that you are under the influence or whatnot. How can he investigate if you aren't listening to him and shoving a camera in his face?
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:29 PM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Plus, the cop might have suspicions that you are under the influence or whatnot. How can he investigate if you aren't listening to him and shoving a camera in his face?
I'm pretty sure the OP was talking about otherwise uninvolved bystanders doing the filming.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:59 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
I'm pretty sure the OP was talking about otherwise uninvolved bystanders doing the filming.
It could still be the same. The cop is questioning a suspect and in his peripheral vision he sees a person pointing a black object at his face. Okay, a quick glance confirms it is a cell phone camera, but cops are trained to always be aware, and now he sort of lets his guard down.

I've always thought (not seriously thought, but just one of those dumb hypos) that if you were of a mind to shoot a police officer, pretending to film him first would be a great way to do it. He is involved with the initial suspect and becomes used to you holding an object in your hand pointed at him. When he looks away for a second, pull out your gun and blam!

If you look at my other posts, you will see that I am usually against police officers and their "for my safety" complaints. No, I shouldn't have to lay down face first on frozen pavement because I'm pulled over for speeding. Just because some people shoot police officers doesn't meant that every citizen has to be treated like he might.

This camera thing, however, I can see actually being important. I've got no problem with cops telling anyone not involved with the situation at hand to get lost and for people in the traffic stop to remain still and not be pointing stuff.

A hands-free device mounted inside your vehicle? I'm all for it.
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2012, 01:27 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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No, I shouldn't have to lay down face first on frozen pavement because I'm pulled over for speeding.
I didn't know that cops liked to engage people in sexual positions during traffic stops.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:45 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
I've always thought (not seriously thought, but just one of those dumb hypos) that if you were of a mind to shoot a police officer, pretending to film him first would be a great way to do it. He is involved with the initial suspect and becomes used to you holding an object in your hand pointed at him. When he looks away for a second, pull out your gun and blam!
Slight hijack -- or maybe not -- but the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series took this a step further, with our heroes building a gun into a clunky '60s-style camera so as to line up perfect through-the-viewfinder marksmanship without even needing to switch between pointing Object A and Object B at the guy who of course obligingly holds still.
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  #10  
Old 05-05-2012, 10:54 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Illegal in Illinois, at least if there's sound. Illinois statute forbids recording any conversation without the consent of all parties. Two state trial judges have ruled that the law is unconstitutional but it is still on the books, and the decisions are being appealed. The law is also being reviewed by the 7th Circuit. It has been announced that it will not be enforced during the upcoming NATO summit and related protest marches.

Massachusetts and Maryland are said to have similar laws.
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  #11  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:56 PM
al27052 al27052 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Illegal in Illinois, at least if there's sound. Illinois statute forbids recording any conversation without the consent of all parties. Two state trial judges have ruled that the law is unconstitutional but it is still on the books, and the decisions are being appealed. The law is also being reviewed by the 7th Circuit. It has been announced that it will not be enforced during the upcoming NATO summit and related protest marches.

Massachusetts and Maryland are said to have similar laws.
How has this not made to to the SCOTUS?

Also, I'd love to see some officers fired and jailed for false arrest in these cases. This isn't Soviet Russia. Cops need to be reminded of that, from time to time.
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  #12  
Old 05-06-2012, 10:07 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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There was a case where a motorcyclist was pulled over, and had a helmet-mounted camera that recorded the whole stop. The cop was very aggressive although the guy had been going pretty damn fast. He posted it on YouTube and was later arrested for under a wiretapping law. It wasn't illegal to make a video, but they got him on a technicality for recording the sound. I don't remember the outcome.

It is also legal to photograph and videotape the security area at an airport but many TSA agents will tell you it's not. Once my wife was taken to secondary screening because of a bracelet she was wearing and I took her picture because I thought it was kind of amusing. An agent waved at me that photos were not allowed. I wish I'd known at the time he was wrong.
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2012, 10:32 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Originally Posted by al27052 View Post
How has this not made to to the SCOTUS?
Under what theory? The state legislature is presumed to have the power to regulate the conduct of its citizens.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:21 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
There was a case where a motorcyclist was pulled over, and had a helmet-mounted camera that recorded the whole stop. The cop was very aggressive although the guy had been going pretty damn fast. He posted it on YouTube and was later arrested for under a wiretapping law. It wasn't illegal to make a video, but they got him on a technicality for recording the sound. I don't remember the outcome.

It is also legal to photograph and videotape the security area at an airport but many TSA agents will tell you it's not. Once my wife was taken to secondary screening because of a bracelet she was wearing and I took her picture because I thought it was kind of amusing. An agent waved at me that photos were not allowed. I wish I'd known at the time he was wrong.
Depends, I guess, on whether spending hue amounts of money on lawyers, missing your flight, and ending up on the `no fly`list, is worth the value of asserting your rights and winning a couple of years down the road. Heck, there was the case of a guy who was told by the stewardess he could not go to the washroom until they landed. He had to go so badly, he went (under a blanket) into the barf bag. The stewardess had him arrested when the landed just becuase she was pissed. (like him) Fortunately, the TSA did not find any grounds to charge him and let him go... 10 hours later.

Never underestimate the power of the police state you have created. Those rights are probably not coming back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Under what theory? The state legislature is presumed to have the power to regulate the conduct of its citizens.
Note the `Freedom of speech`clause, constitution. You have the right to collect information that is freely available to you in public.

Last edited by md2000; 05-07-2012 at 07:21 AM..
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:46 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
I didn't know that cops liked to engage people in sexual positions during traffic stops.
Look up the CB term 'sex lights'
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:48 AM
al27052 al27052 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Under what theory? The state legislature is presumed to have the power to regulate the conduct of its citizens.

Well, I'd say this would fall under 1st amendment rights.

And if it doesn't, we need a 27th amendment immediately. Specifically, the "pro-videotaping-police and mandatory-jail-time-for-false-arrest" amendment.

It is a police state these days. Of course, during the 50s and 60s, in the aftermath of WWII, things were pretty police-state-y as well, especially with the media being the government's lap dog.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:56 AM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al27052 View Post
::: snip ::

It is a police state these days. Of course, during the 50s and 60s, in the aftermath of WWII, things were pretty police-state-y as well, especially with the media being the government's lap dog.
And these days are different how?
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:12 AM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Last August, the First Circuit ruled that officers arresting people for "wiretapping" are not immune from prosecution.

Quote:
We conclude, based on the facts alleged, that Glik was exercising clearly-established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause.
Note also that the subject of such recordings must be able to know about the recording. They don't have to consent to it. So holding up a camera or cellphone is all the notification they require.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:14 AM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
The stewardess had him arrested when the landed just becuase she was pissed. (like him) Fortunately, the TSA did not find any grounds to charge him and let him go... 10 hours later.

Never underestimate the power of the police state you have created. Those rights are probably not coming back.
Oooooh, someone was a dick to someone else and it cost them their evening. So police-statey. This is obviously evidence of rampant brutality by TPTB.
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:48 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
Oooooh, someone was a dick to someone else and it cost them their evening. So police-statey. This is obviously evidence of rampant brutality by TPTB.
Huh? You annoy a stewardess and she can make an unfounded allegation against you that results in 10 hours' detention? Theoretically it should have taken 10 minutes, tops. So, yes, police state.

An example that when TBTB decide to throw their weight around, with or without justification, you are helpless.

Last edited by md2000; 05-07-2012 at 08:49 AM..
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  #21  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:56 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Under what theory? The state legislature is presumed to have the power to regulate the conduct of its citizens.
State legislatures are subject to the limitations of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.
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  #22  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:41 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Which Amendment guarantees the right of the people to make surreptitious recordings?

The First Amendment argument is curious, because it's trying to set up a new reporter's privilege to do things that are otherwise forbidden. But the argument that buttresses it—that anyone with an iPhone is a "reporter"—is also what undermines it, since it gives the state legislature no way to prevent the behavior (surreptitious recordings) that it found harmful.
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  #23  
Old 05-07-2012, 10:05 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Which Amendment guarantees the right of the people to make surreptitious recordings?

The First Amendment argument is curious, because it's trying to set up a new reporter's privilege to do things that are otherwise forbidden. But the argument that buttresses it—that anyone with an iPhone is a "reporter"—is also what undermines it, since it gives the state legislature no way to prevent the behavior (surreptitious recordings) that it found harmful.
Every citizen gets 1st Amendment rights, not just "reporters." We're talking about recording police openly in public, while the police are doing their official business.
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  #24  
Old 05-07-2012, 10:10 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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If I record a police officer during a traffic stop, in which he is speaking outdoors, how is that surreptitious? I can't imagine that he had some expectation of privacy when he is outside.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:55 AM
sciurophobic sciurophobic is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
It is also legal to photograph and videotape the security area at an airport but many TSA agents will tell you it's not. Once my wife was taken to secondary screening because of a bracelet she was wearing and I took her picture because I thought it was kind of amusing. An agent waved at me that photos were not allowed. I wish I'd known at the time he was wrong.
As the website points out, TSA has no overall prohibition of filming at a checkpoint, but the state or local government often does.
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  #26  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:11 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
I generally support the first amendment angle, but I could see an argument for officer safety. If I am pulled over for speeding, the cop would be testy if I was reaching around and pointing stuff at him. One person reaching for a camera is another person reaching for a gun.

Plus, the cop might have suspicions that you are under the influence or whatnot. How can he investigate if you aren't listening to him and shoving a camera in his face?
Agreed. Hinckley's shooting of President Reagan was from a crowd of reporters.
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  #27  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:17 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
Every citizen gets 1st Amendment rights, not just "reporters."
And Illinois has not tried to restrict any person's freedom to speak about what he saw, or to publish his observations. But things get a bit stickier when tensions with other rights, such as fair trials, self-incrimination, or privacy, come into play. Do you really want any citizen to be able to say "I refuse to testify about what I saw, because I'm protecting a source for my blog?"

Do not confuse wisdom with constitutionality. The Illinois statute, in my opinion, needs to be amended to clarify that it does not apply to recording police in public spaces, and perhaps other exemptions as well. But the Constitution does not forbid poorly written state laws; only those that impinge on a few enumerated rights. Thus my original poke at al27052 for asking why the law had not gone to the Supreme Court. There's no constitutional issue involved.
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  #28  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:37 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The First Amendment argument is curious, because it's trying to set up a new reporter's privilege to do things that are otherwise forbidden. But the argument that buttresses it—that anyone with an iPhone is a "reporter"—is also what undermines it, since it gives the state legislature no way to prevent the behavior (surreptitious recordings) that it found harmful.
Reporters have no more rights or privileges under the First Amendment than anyone else.

And, yes, the Constitution does indeed restrict legislatures from taking certain kinds of actions to prevent behavior that they might consider harmful.

The "surreptitious recordings" argument is easily disposed of. A public official acting in his official capacity in full view of the public has no reasonable expectation of not being recorded. There's no legitimate governmental interest in preventing a "surreptitious recording" in these circumstances.
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  #29  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:52 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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The "surreptitious recordings" argument is easily disposed of. A public official acting in his official capacity in full view of the public has no reasonable expectation of not being recorded. There's no legitimate governmental interest in preventing a "surreptitious recording" in these circumstances.
There is a legitimate governmental interest in ensuring law enforcement officers can work unhindered, though. I doubt such a law would fail under rational basis; much better to stick to fundamental rights arguments.
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  #30  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:01 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Someone standing over 10 feet away and not interfering - obviously does not fall in the category of "hindering".

While a camera and a gun may sometimes be confused, an iPhone or other cellphone in camera position is hard to mistake for any such.

Yes, if you are pulled over, making quick movements or reaching for things may be considered suspicious. And while stopped or detained, you may be asked to obey commands regarding how you stand, move, show hands, etc. But - an uninvolved bystander does not fall into these categories.
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  #31  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:22 PM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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I'm pretty sure those in Syria, Quadaffi's Libya, the Soviet Union, and other actual real police states would be amused by the thought that getting detained for a few hours for recording a cop makes this a police state.

It's not. You might think it does, because you have lived in the Home of the Free (or Canada, the UK, whatever) but it really isn't.

I understand that in many countries that actually ARE police states, attempting to film the cops can and will get you killed. As will refusing to listen to them, making claims that it is your "right" to not get out of your car, or a million other things.

Including standing on a corner and saying that is wrong, and should be changed.

Those who most benefit from the police and the rule of law that we live in are often so quick to claim we are living in a police state because they are mildly inconvenienced. It is annoying.
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  #32  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:30 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
There was a case where a motorcyclist was pulled over, and had a helmet-mounted camera that recorded the whole stop. The cop was very aggressive although the guy had been going pretty damn fast. He posted it on YouTube and was later arrested for under a wiretapping law. It wasn't illegal to make a video, but they got him on a technicality for recording the sound. I don't remember the outcome.

It is also legal to photograph and videotape the security area at an airport but many TSA agents will tell you it's not. Once my wife was taken to secondary screening because of a bracelet she was wearing and I took her picture because I thought it was kind of amusing. An agent waved at me that photos were not allowed. I wish I'd known at the time he was wrong.
On the other hand I don't think it's legal to take pictures at a customs and immigration screening area.
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  #33  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:31 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Those who most benefit from the police and the rule of law that we live in are often so quick to claim we are living in a police state because they are mildly inconvenienced. It is annoying.
I forget what fallacy this is, but just because A is worse doesn't mean B is bad. Being stopped from filming or detained or jailed for a night is not the same as being killed, but it's still something the cops aren't allowed to do. It's still an infringement of a fundamental right. And it should be called out and halted.

Or do we have to wait until things are as bad as Syria (or wherever) before we get to complain?

To the extent that we do have a free society, it's because people complain. It's the complainers that keep us free.

Last edited by Acsenray; 05-07-2012 at 12:33 PM..
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  #34  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:12 PM
al27052 al27052 is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I forget what fallacy this is, but just because A is worse doesn't mean B is bad. Being stopped from filming or detained or jailed for a night is not the same as being killed, but it's still something the cops aren't allowed to do. It's still an infringement of a fundamental right. And it should be called out and halted.

Or do we have to wait until things are as bad as Syria (or wherever) before we get to complain?

To the extent that we do have a free society, it's because people complain. It's the complainers that keep us free.
Pretty much my thoughts.

One big difference between America and those places is we are relatively underpopulated, relatively well-educated, and relatively more affluent. Overpopulation, lack of education, and poverty often lead to violence. As a result, we don't NEED the kind of oppressive police presence those places do, because we're not going to degenerate into intertribal or sectarian violence the minute the police state weakens, unlike, let's say, Iraq.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:53 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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I'm pretty sure those in Syria, Quadaffi's Libya, the Soviet Union, and other actual real police states would be amused by the thought that getting detained for a few hours for recording a cop makes this a police state.

It's not. You might think it does, because you have lived in the Home of the Free (or Canada, the UK, whatever) but it really isn't.

I understand that in many countries that actually ARE police states, attempting to film the cops can and will get you killed. As will refusing to listen to them, making claims that it is your "right" to not get out of your car, or a million other things.

Including standing on a corner and saying that is wrong, and should be changed.

Those who most benefit from the police and the rule of law that we live in are often so quick to claim we are living in a police state because they are mildly inconvenienced. It is annoying.
It's what I like to call "the OJ outcome". You may be innocent or not, but you will go broke and lose all you have despite winning the court case. This is the heavy hammer that the "Land of the Free" can bring to people who choose to argue.

the motorcyclist, for example, was charged with the felony of wiretapping for recording what other courts have said was a first amendment right. The fellow in Boston had to defend himself in court before being able to sue the police involved.

Meanwhile, for example, in Canada it is illegal for example to ask a job applicant anything about their record except "have you been convicted of a crime?" Apparently in the Land of the Free, it is perfectly legal to ask if they have been arrested, and infer from that a presumption of guilt or otherwise decide "this is not the person we want". More ways to destroy your life one dollar at a time.

I remember a co-worker from Greneda before the revolution, who mentioned that the nutbar who ran the country used more subtle methods - people who disagreed with the regime, for example, thier children did not graduate high school with good marks. This meant that universities off island would not admit them and their future was stunted; a subtle but effective punishment for parents' dissent.

The revenge of TPTB can be subtle and quiet and still destroy lives...
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  #36  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:12 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
the Constitution does indeed restrict legislatures from taking certain kinds of actions
It's a pretty short list. Which Constitutional restriction do you think restricts the Illinois General Assembly from forbidding sound recording without the consent of the parties being recorded? Is sound recording so fundamental to the exercise of the First Amendment that it cannot be restricted? If so, how can that be squared with the courts that do not permit sound recordings of their own proceedings? Or with Potts v. City of Lafayette, 121 F.3d 1106, 1111 (7th Cir. 1997): “there is nothing in the Constitution which guarantees the right to record a public event” ’.
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  #37  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:36 PM
al27052 al27052 is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
It's a pretty short list. Which Constitutional restriction do you think restricts the Illinois General Assembly from forbidding sound recording without the consent of the parties being recorded? Is sound recording so fundamental to the exercise of the First Amendment that it cannot be restricted? If so, how can that be squared with the courts that do not permit sound recordings of their own proceedings? Or with Potts v. City of Lafayette, 121 F.3d 1106, 1111 (7th Cir. 1997): “there is nothing in the Constitution which guarantees the right to record a public event” ’.

I notice the SCOTUS has been silent on this issue.

Sooner or later, they're going to have to hear a case on this. I wonder if they've simply chosen to avoid these cases, or if none of them have been pursued that far.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:48 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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It's a pretty short list. Which Constitutional restriction do you think restricts the Illinois General Assembly from forbidding sound recording without the consent of the parties being recorded? Is sound recording so fundamental to the exercise of the First Amendment that it cannot be restricted?
I'm not going to accept this strawman hypothetical. The question is not about "forbidding sound recording with out the consent of the parties being recorded." It's about recording the actions of a public official conducting official business in a public place.

Quote:
If so, how can that be squared with the courts that do not permit sound recordings of their own proceedings?
I actually laughed out loud when I read that. You know very well that courts have consistently made an exception for themselves on this issue. It's not even a little bit applicable to taking videos of cops in public.

Quote:
Or with Potts v. City of Lafayette, 121 F.3d 1106, 1111 (7th Cir. 1997): “there is nothing in the Constitution which guarantees the right to record a public event” ’.
Wow. That's a corker. If that's all that decision said, I would reconcile it by saying the Seventh Circuit was wrong.

Having actually read the facts in the case, I'm astonished that you would lay it down like a trump card. It's about restricting an individual from entering a KKK rally and filming the people inside. Among the facts of this case are that there were about half a dozen police forces who had reason to believe that they were facing a sensitive situation that posed a foreseeable, significant and imminent threat to public safety and potential violence involving hundreds of people. It's so easily distinguishable to the context under discussion that I really don't know what you are expecting.

So far as the law s concerned, did you even notice that the court itself applied First Amendment standards to test the restrictions involved? How in the world does that even happen if the court doesn't think that the First Amendment applies to the situation?
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  #39  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:22 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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All right. Which Constitutional restriction do you think restricts the Illinois General Assembly from forbidding recording the actions of a public official conducting official business in a public place?

If you think the First Amendment inarguably does, then it's worth looking at the various court decisions that have declined to accept that argument. The most relevant would seem to be ACLU v. Alvarez, which does so by citing Potts. The Seventh Circuit's entire inquiry into Potts's First Amendment claim is to dismiss it with the phrase I quoted earlier.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:31 PM
Ann Hedonia Ann Hedonia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Someone standing over 10 feet away and not interfering - obviously does not fall in the category of "hindering".

While a camera and a gun may sometimes be confused, an iPhone or other cellphone in camera position is hard to mistake for any such.

Yes, if you are pulled over, making quick movements or reaching for things may be considered suspicious. And while stopped or detained, you may be asked to obey commands regarding how you stand, move, show hands, etc. But - an uninvolved bystander does not fall into these categories.
I can only give you my personal story.

I was walking on the sidewalk when I witnessed a car being given a parking ticket. The owner of the car also witnessed her car being ticketed, as she had just left the car.

It was being ticketed for parking in a posted bus stop. However, the only piece of signage identifying the area a "bus stop / no parking" had been hit (probably by a bus) and broken and was lying FACE DOWN on the sidewalk.

Because of this the woman had parked in the bus stop, and the meter maid had basically swooped down on the car the second she walked away.

So the woman was talking a bit with the meter maid - not aggressively, she really didn't realize why the space was illegal ---and the meter maids defense came down to "well EVERYONE knows it's a bus stop". So I pointed out the fallen sign said something sympathetic to the woman and tried to give her a card in case she needed a witness when the meter maid told me if I didn't walk away immediately or if I left my card she would arrest me for obstruction of justice. And I didn't even try to take pictures or record anyone.

I'm fairly sure she was totally in the wrong but
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  #41  
Old 05-08-2012, 07:06 PM
Turek Turek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
All right. Which Constitutional restriction do you think restricts the Illinois General Assembly from forbidding recording the actions of a public official conducting official business in a public place?
Court strikes blow to Illinois eavesdropping law
Quote:
"The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said in its opinion. "As applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment's free speech and free-press guarantees."
Quote:
In the state capital, a Senate bill that would rewrite the law to formally include an exception for people recording police officers at work in public places is awaiting a vote in the House. An earlier bill failed in a House vote, but the measure has been revised to reflect some of the concerns of law enforcement officials.

Last edited by Turek; 05-08-2012 at 07:07 PM..
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  #42  
Old 05-08-2012, 07:26 PM
Greg Charles Greg Charles is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
I didn't know that cops liked to engage people in sexual positions during traffic stops.
Nice try, but using "lay" to mean "lie" is so common in modern English that your barb isn't even likely to be understood.
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  #43  
Old 05-08-2012, 08:56 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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I wonder if this is the first time the law—indeed, the correct answer to the OP—has changed while the Dope was debating it?

At any rate, I'm delighted by today's decision, which reverses the District Court decision. Read it here.
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  #44  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:08 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I wonder if this is the first time the law—indeed, the correct answer to the OP—has changed while the Dope was debating it?

At any rate, I'm delighted by today's decision, which reverses the District Court decision. Read it here.
Regarding that quote from Potts: "The district court seized on this single sentence from Potts and read it for much more than it’s worth."

Hey, that's what I almost said! Stop peeking, Sykes!
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  #45  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:18 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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I said:

Quote:
So far as the law s concerned, did you even notice that the court itself applied First Amendment standards to test the restrictions involved? How in the world does that even happen if the court doesn't think that the First Amendment applies to the situation?
Sykes said:

Quote:
If Potts stood for a categorical proposition that audiovisual recording is wholly unprotected, as the district court seemed to think, none of this analysis would have been necessary.
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  #46  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:29 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
There was a case where a motorcyclist was pulled over, and had a helmet-mounted camera that recorded the whole stop. The cop was very aggressive although the guy had been going pretty damn fast. He posted it on YouTube and was later arrested for under a wiretapping law. It wasn't illegal to make a video, but they got him on a technicality for recording the sound. I don't remember the outcome.

It is also legal to photograph and videotape the security area at an airport but many TSA agents will tell you it's not. Once my wife was taken to secondary screening because of a bracelet she was wearing and I took her picture because I thought it was kind of amusing. An agent waved at me that photos were not allowed. I wish I'd known at the time he was wrong.
But you would have missed your flight.
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  #47  
Old 05-09-2012, 08:13 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
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Just as a side comment, it is an attractive concept, the notion of the citizen telling the authorities, "If YOU have nothing to hide, you should not mind being monitored and recorded". But of course the authorities being authorities they see no symmetry there at all...

Last edited by JRDelirious; 05-09-2012 at 08:14 AM..
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  #48  
Old 05-10-2012, 06:18 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Do you really want any citizen to be able to say "I refuse to testify about what I saw, because I'm protecting a source for my blog?"
Yes.

What makes a blog a less serious journalistic endeavor than a newspaper?
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  #49  
Old 05-10-2012, 07:44 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Yes.

What makes a blog a less serious journalistic endeavor than a newspaper?
Sounds like the story about having the company lawyer sit in on all meetings so they can be privileged.

I would imagine outside of anything that reveals a (not public) name, you can still be compelled to testify about what you saw or heard.
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  #50  
Old 05-11-2012, 09:36 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
What makes a blog a less serious journalistic endeavor than a newspaper?
Nothing. But society sometimes has to balance competing interests. As a society, we have an interest in compelling citizens to testify about miscreants. And we have an interest in ensuring that "the press" uncovers wrongdoing. Some states have balanced these interests by creating shield laws that protect certain journalists from being compelled to reveal sources. To extend that shield law to every citizen "journalist" would obviously obliterate the first interest listed above.

To get back to the OP, I should point out that in Illinois it is still illegal to record audio of the police without their consent. However, the Seventh Circuit has enjoined the Cook County State's Attorney from enforcing the Illinois Eavesdropping Act against "people who openly record police officers performing their official duties in public." Elsewhere in the state, you still take your chances.
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