Enough Of This Foolishness   Leave a comment

The City of Boston has agreed to pay a $170,000 settlement to Simon Glik, a Massachusetts attorney.  Glik was arrested in 2007 for using his cell phone to record Boston police arresting a man in a public area.  The charges?  Violation of the state’s wiretap laws, disturbing the peace, and aiding the escape of a prisoner (who did not come close to escaping considering that three Boston police were subduing him).  All charges were either dropped or thrown out in court.  Glik sued the city and the police department for violation of his First Amendment rights.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit had this to say in upholding Glik’s claims:

The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these (First Amendment) principles… This is particularly true of law enforcement officials, who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to deprive individuals of their liberties… Such peaceful recording of an arrest in a public space that does not interfere with the police officers’ performance of their duties is not reasonably subject to limitation.

This foolishness has been going on all over the country.  Arrests on arcane wiretap laws, which were in most cases created long before cell phones and other portable recording devices were even in existence, have been thrown out of court time and again.

Police have the right to perform their duties unhindered.  Citizens have the right to record police performing their duties in public, as long as they don’t hinder the police in the performance of those duties.  The ACLU has published guidelines that both photographers and police should be aware of.  Then maybe the foolishness will stop.

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Posted March 28, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Uncategorized

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