First Amendment protects citizen's right to videotape police officers.

Posted January 2013 in Civil Rights by Andrea C. Farney

Remember how crucial the Rodney King videotape was in the prosecution of the LA police officers who beat up Mr. King?  But for the private citizen’s catching the officer’s actions on tape, the brutality may not have come to light.  A hot civil rights issue is to what extent the First Amendment protects individuals who videotape or take pictures of police officers performing their duties.  Many state laws prohibit tape recording an individual without that individual’s consent.  These laws often have criminal penalties.

Recently,however, the US Supreme Court let stand a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down an Illinois statute making it a felony to openly record police officers performing their official duties in public.  The upheld case is ACLU v. Alvarez.   For more information on the case and the issue, click here.

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