Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stand up for public recordings

Making a video or audio recording of police activity in public is increasingly under threat. Though this is not a constitutional right, I think we need to protect it as such. If the police have nothing to hide and nothing to cover up, then they won't mind being recorded. Good cops can have their stories corroborated, and bad cops will lose their jobs -- so why are cops and legislators trying to make it illegal? Why are state prosecutors arresting people for making videos of cops?

NY Times, the following applies to Illinois:

    Although law-enforcement officials can legally record civilians in private or public, audio-recording a law-enforcement officer, state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney, attorney general, assistant attorney general or judge in the performance of his or her duties is a Class 1 felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

    The A.C.L.U. filed its lawsuit after several people throughout Illinois were charged in recent years with eavesdropping for making audio recordings of public conversations with the police. The A.C.L.U. argued that the act violates the First Amendment and hinders citizens from monitoring the public behavior of police officers and other officials.

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