Here is a recent example from Southern California. A California Highway Patrol officer L. Harris (ID No. 14858) snarled "you can turn the camera off too", as well as instructing the driver to "tell your friend to get that camera out of my face," when the camera was actually nowhere near his face. He attempted this despite the fact that numerous Federal Courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court, in additon to the U.S. Department of Justice have clearly and repeatedly affirmed that filming police is an inherent right in America. Harris then told the videographer, who never said one word to him, to "stay out of this, it's none of your business" before slamming the vehicle door in anger. When the supervisor was called at the insistence of the driver, he lost complete control and began screaming at the woman in a fury. [ That full story and complete 11 minute video can be found here Lunatic CHP cops go berzerk as female motorist successfully demands her rights under CA Vehicle code.]
Obnoxious CHP cop tries to make people stop filming him
Below is a helpful archive of stories and court rulings on this matter, and a ridiculous video from 2009 where a cop told me that filming him was illegal and tried to get me to turn off the camera.
In 2008 I filed an official complaint regarding the right to film police in public. You can watch the entire internal affairs interview here or if you prefer, just watch the short segments and read the transcript where the two police investigators repeatedly confirm that is indeed 100% legal to film police in public:
Police Internal Affairs Investigators Confirm that Filming Cops in Public is 100% Legal
|For those of you who may be confused about our right to film on-duty police officers, here are two letters from the U.S. Department of Justice: One from 5/14/12 and a more recent one from 3/4/13.
"The United States addressed the central questions raised in this case - whether individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties, and whether officers violate individuals' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they seize such recordings without a warrant or due process � in a Statement of Interest filed in Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Dept., et al., No. 1:11-cv-02888 (D. Md.), attached here as Exhibit A.1 Here, as there, the United States urges the Court to answer both of those questions in the affirmative.
"This case raises questions that the United States did not address directly in Sharp, the answers to which are critical to ensuring that the constitutional rights at issue in that case are upheld. First, the United States urges the Court to find that both the First and Fourth Amendments protect an individual who peacefully photographs police activity on a public street, if officers arrest the individual and seize the camera of that individual for that activity. Second, the United States is concerned that discretionary charges, such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest, are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. The United States believes that courts should view such charges skeptically to ensure that individuals' First Amendment rights are protected. Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges. Third, the First Amendment right to record police officers performing public duties extends to both the public and members of the media, and the Court should not make a distinction between the public's and the media's rights to record here. The derogation of these rights erodes public confidence in our police departments, decreases the accountability of our governmental officers, and conflicts with the liberties that the Constitution was designed to uphold."
DOJ RULES: 'It Is Legal To Photograph And Film The Police' 3/15/13
Here is a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division dated May 14, 2012 outlining the "individuals' right to record police activity":
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Right to Film Police, Even in Illinois November 26, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice Slaps Baltimore Police Over Right to Record Issue 5/16/12
First Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that Citizens Can Videotape Police
"On Friday, August 26, 2011, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which is New England's highest federal court just below the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled that citizens are allowed to videotape law officials while they conduct official duties."
Federal Courts Rule it is Not Illegal to Film Police 9/1/11
"This specific case in question was Simon Glik vs.The City of Boston (and several police officers), in which a teenage Simon Gilk was arrested after videotaping Boston Police abusing a homeless man. While Mr. Gilk was not interfering with the police, he was arrested on wiretapping charges."
Appeals Court Rules It Is Not Illegal To Film Police
"The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity].," said the Court. "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs," stated the ruling, adding that this has been the case all along, and that the right to film police officers is not just restricted to the press.
Here is the text of the Glik ruling:
For those of you pushing the propaganda that filming police is "wiretapping", that is bogus too:
Federal Appeals Court Rejects Illinois' Eavesdropping Law As Likely Violating The First Amendment
Carlos Miller: photographyisnotacrime.com
LibertyFight.com Filming Cops Archive
Motorist puts police in their place at suspicionless internal checkpoint December 2, 2012
[Must see video- Featured on PrisonPlanet.com].
Arkansas State Trooper meets videocamera: Still not Illegal To Film Police
Featured on PrisonPlanet.com 1/21/10
"...For the most part, you may not have any problem with the average police encounter. It's still advised, however, to protect yourself by exerting your God given right to film public servants in public. By doing this regularly, we condition them to accepting the liberty of those they serve."
Also on PropagandaMatrix.com, and Infowars.net