Another appeals court (I believe this is the third one) has ruled that there is a First Amendment right to video record the police when they’re on duty. This case involves a woman who started to record a traffic stop, was told to stop (and did) but then they demanded the camera to delete it.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that American citizens have the right to film police officers in public.
The federal appeals court declared that Carla Gericke was exercising her First Amendment right when she attempted to film a late-night traffic stop. Gericke was driving behind Tyler Hanslin, because she did not know the way to his home. When she saw police lights flash behind her, she assumed she was being hailed and pulled over.
Sergeant Joseph Kelley approached her vehicle and told her that he had meant to pull Hanslin over, and she moved her vehicle to a nearby parking lot. Once there, she exited her vehicle and approached Hanslin’s with her video camera, informing Sergeant Kelley that she was going to record the encounter. Sergeant Kelley ordered her back to her car, and she complied.
Shortly thereafter, Officer Brandon Montplaisir arrived at the scene, and he approached Gericke and demanded to know where her video camera was. When she refused to tell him, he arrested for her disobeying a police officer. At the station, officers also charged her with unlawful interception of oral communication.
This is a lot like what goes on in schools, where teachers and administrators continually violate the rights of students either out of ignorance or malice. It’s time for a nationwide program to make sure every police officer knows that they cannot prevent someone from videotaping them. And once that’s done, they can be held accountable because they will be knowingly violating someone’s rights (without that, you can’t overcome qualified immunity).