The Supreme Court denied cert in Anita Alvarez v. ACLU of Illinois, an appeal from the state of Illinois trying to overturn a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the right to record police officers on duty. But that’s not entirely the end of the case:
In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois challenged the legislation when applied to recording police officers conducting official duties, saying the First Amendment protects individuals’ right to openly record the officers.
In the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in May, Judges Diane Sykes and David Hamilton stopped short of overturning the law entirely, but prohibited enforcing the law while it was sent it back to lower courts. Sykes wrote: “The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests; as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free-press guarantees.” Judge Richard Posner dissented. (While the appeal was pending, several news organizations filed a brief urging the 7th Circuit panel to block enforcement of the law.)…The ACLU praised the ruling, saying it would focus its efforts now on the district court.
“We now hope to obtain a permanent injunction in this case, so that the ACLU’s program of monitoring police activity in public can move forward in the future without any threat of prosecution,” the group said in a statement. “The ACLU of Illinois continues to believe that in order to make the rights of free expression and petition effective, individuals and organizations must be able to freely gather and record information about the conduct of government and their agents – especially the police.”
I hope so too. Not only should it be legal to record the police, every single officer should have video and audio recording devices on their uniform and every single interaction with the public should be recorded. That’s not only good for civil liberties and justice, it’s good for those cops who are falsely accused of misconduct. Every good cop should be in favor of it.