By Martin Hill


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The issue of filming police officers in the United States has become an extremely contentious one. Despite the fact that we have freedom of the press and the God-given natural rights we are endowed with, police nationwide are telling people that it is illegal to film police. Some states have even tried to use "wiretapping laws" to prosecute people who record audio of police. This is a gross mis-use and abuse of legitimate wiretapping laws, which were meant to cover telephone conversations which require consent of both parties.

Police often commit crimes against citizens, in public and private. Officers often beat, taze, and even rape and kill innocent people. They conduct illegal searches, plant evidence, make up phony charges, seize and destroy people's cell phones and cameras, and then lie in court about all of it. Police supervisors will then often coerce or intimidate people into not filing formal complainst against officers. Many innocent people who film police and police abuses are then arrested, charged, and left to fight phony charges. Along with this comes the monetary expense, loss of freedom, and stress that often accompanies facing criminal charges. We should not stand for this. We need to exercise our rights, or we will lose them.

In 2008 I filed an official complaint regarding the right to film police in public. You can watch the entire internal affairs interview below 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.

Below are a bunch of court cases and other information which affirms our right to film police. Following that is a chronological list of videos of me filming police, from 2008 to the present.

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.
Case 8:12-cv-03592-JFM Document 15 Filed 03/04/13 Page 1 of 13
MANNIE GARCIA, Plaintiff, v. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, et al., Defendants.

"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
'It is settled law that citizens have the right to record police.'

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

Here is another story of a woman who was acquitted of 'eavesdropping' after she filmed cops in Chicago:
Woman who recorded cops acquitted of felony eavesdropping charges 8-25-11

I have a lot of experience in filming police. I never intended to go looking to purposely get involved in this issue. Far from it. My first experiences of purposely filming police was in 2000 when I had a show at a radio station in Hollywood. I recorded corrupt police after they started the so-called "Lakers riot" in Los Angeles at the Staples center in June 2000. I then filmed officers at the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles in August. I saw the LAPD cops infringe on the rights of many protesters. In 2003, the day after I was interviewed on KNBC TV Los Angeles news protesting Arnold Schwarzenegger, cops stopped me on the street and I filmed them. They tried to question me from going near the hotel when George W. Bush was speaking, and they asked what words were on my sign (a patently illegal violation of the 1st Ammendment).

But my recent interaction with filming cops, and insisting on asserting that right, began on Tuesday, July 8th 2008 at 3 in the afternoon.

That video is here:

Cops Don't Like Being Filmed

Uploaded on Sep 26, 2008
18,446 views [as of 2/25/12]
21 likes, 14 dislikes

Driving into a local shoping center one day, I turned the corner just in time to see a uniformed cop push down what looked like a young teenaged kid to the ground; so I got out my digital camera and started filming. Several detectives were milling around the scene and eventually saw me filming; one of them then came over to my car and suggested I get out and come closer. Sensing some sort of setup, (it's certainly not normal procedure for cops to invite strangers into interigation of suspects) I refused, and he remarked how my "car windows are so filthy I don't think you can see out". Sensing an unstable KOOK, I asked the kook cop his name and he refused to tell me, which is illegal. He then asked me my name, and I replied "none of your business". He then walked around to the front of my car, marked down my license plate and went back to his cop friends. I filed an official complaint which spawned an internal affairs investigation of both the kook cop and the other uniformed officer who pushed the person down. both of them coincidentally(?) had shaved heads. Click the link to the right to see the video of my interview with internal affairs regarding this incident and complaint. -- See text of full official complaint here: Formal Complaint Filed Against W. Covina Cop for Civil Rights Violations (Cop pushes kid) .

After I filed the formal complaint, the police as part of their investigation asked me to speak with their internal affairs officers; Here is that interview:

Police Internal Affairs Interview Part 1 / 5
Uploaded on Sep 26, 2008
Uploaded by freedommv1 on Sep 26, 2008

This is part 1/5. When I went into the police dept for the internal affairs investigative interview, I asked if it were being recorded and they said yes, audio and video. Since this was a mutually agreed upon interview i videotaped it myself also. (The principle being, why would anyone ever assume that one party, the state, can film but another can't?) here is that vid, which took place at West Covina, CA P.D. on September 15 2008.

Here are parts 2-5 of that interview:

Police Internal Affairs Interview Part 2 / 5

Police Internal Affairs Interview Part 3 / 5

Police Internal Affairs Interview -Part 4/5

Police Internal Affairs Interview -Part 5/5

After my complaint, the Police Chief of West Covina sent me a letter thanking me for bringing my concerns to them. However, they never confirmed (or denied) wrongdoing of Detective Tedesco, and never answered any of the very specific legal questions outlined in my complaint. That shows what happens when the police investigate the police. As you will see in the police interview though, police internal affairs investigators clearly confirm upon my questioning that IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO FILM POLICE IN PUBLIC. Got that? Even the police themselves in their official capacity admit that we can film police.This is not confusing.

Despite this fact, On 1/27/09, I had another encounter with police in West Covina, CA. Here it is, along with the original description of the incident. This video now has over a million views:


Uploaded by freedommv1 on Feb 5, 2009
476 likes, 80 dislikes

UPDATED 9/26/12: 369,437 views
1,966 likes, 561 dislikes

UPDATED 5/15/13: 1,142,278 views
4,791 likes, 1581 dislikes

Yes, our rights are God given. We all have natural unalienable rights. The Declaration of Independence from July 4, 1776 states "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which THE LAWS OF NATURE AND OF NATURE'S GOD ENTITLE THEM, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

As several astute commenters pointed out, not only was I not uncooperative, but I was not obligated to and should not have complied with the cops illegal orders to present my ID, get out of the car, or consent to be patted down. They had no probable cause or reasonable suspicion to do this.

Note that I did not, however, ever turn off the camera or stop recording, despite the officer's threats that he would arrest us and seize our camera. The reason he didn't arrest us for filming is because he knew it was not illegal for us to film. Also, we did not consent to a search of our vehicle. That is why he could not search it. He could not have gotten a warrant to search because there was no grounds for it.

This all started several months earlier when I was pulling into a store parking lot and saw a shaved-headed cop violently push down a little teenaged kid. Shocked to witness such a thing, I started filming and a plain-clothed detective saw me and unsuccessfully attempted to interfere with my right to film. I filed a complaint against him and a police internal affairs investigation was instigated. I also filmed the police internal affairs interview, which is available on my youtube channel as well. During that interview the police themselves (this cops bosses) acknowledged that it is 100% legal to film cops. Watch that video here: Police Internal Affairs Investigators Confirm that Filming Cops in Public is 100% Legal The chief of police sent me a letter thanking me. So of course I was pissed when this fat slop pig tried to talk his garbage and lies.

John 3:19-21 "And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

In January 2010, I filmed yet another obnoxious cop in another state just to stay in practice. This was featured on Arkansas State Trooper meets videocamera
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
"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."

In July 2010, I wrote an article outlining Congressional action on the issue of filming police. My article was featured on the website of U.S. Congressman Ed Towns:

Still not illegal to film police: New York Rep. Towns brings the issue to Congress
July 25, 2010

In October 2010, the federal government settled a lawsuit after they were sued for falsely arresting a guy for filming police in New York:
Homeland Security settles with liberty activist, pays damages and concedes public's right to film
By Martin Hill
October 19, 2010

In November 2010, a Texas State Trooper and another officer tried to issue illegal orders to me and I recorded their illegal demands on my cell phone. Their department, the so-called "Texas Department of Public Safety", was forced to admit wrongdoing. The two jackboots who barked those illegal orders at me in the middle of my sleep break had "corrective action' taken against them and had "retraining provided'.

In December 2010, I encountered another kook cop who tried to tell me I couldn't take photos! Unbelievable. This particular video, while in my opinion there is not even much to it, (it is only 21 seconds and I took it with my cell phone) is one which has gotten a great number of views. Here it is, along with the original description:

How to React when a cop tells you it's illegal to take photos or videos
215,944 views [as of 2/25/12]
Uploaded by freedommv1 on Dec 16, 2010

Description: More details on this specific incident later, but bottom line: Immediately prior to my filming this, this koop cop had shouted at me and claimed that taking photographs was illegal(!) I guess he had thought he was in my photo (which he wasn't!) and he didn't like it. However, specifically because he told me that, I told him that not only is it NOT illegal to film cops, but just because you claimed that, I am not only going to photograph you, i am going to videotape you too, RIGHT NOW. And that is where this video begins. Notice the a-hole then lies and claims he knows it's not illegal. Yeah, that's what I thought. See folks, we have to be CONFIDENT in our natural rights, .. I call them God given rights, since our rights are inherent, from the Creator. If you're confused about this fact, as many are, just know that the founders acknowledged this in the Declaration of Indepenedence. So anyway, that's it for now. Notice how this stupid coward then turned sweetie pie when I stood up to him.

drupal statistics

In January 2012, I filmed a cop who asked where I was going:
"Where ya headed?" asks the federal agent

Uploaded by freedommv1 on Feb 12, 2012
In Texas on the I-35 North, a warrantless internal checkpoint nowhere near the U.S. border. An immigration officer asks if I am a U.S. citizen and then asks "where ya headed?" It's bad enough that I answered him at all, which is not required. (See But as this example shows, once you submit to tyrannies, they get even bolder. It's none of this jackboot's damn business 'where I am headed', or where I came from.

Motorist puts police in their place at suspicionless internal checkpoint December 2, 2012 [Must see video- Featured on].

This article and video shows how two aggressive cops try (unsuccessfully) to intimidate a female motorist into giving up her rights:
Lunatic CHP cops go berzerk as female motorist successfully demands her rights under CA Vehicle code (3/22/13):
This article was featured on , Economic Policy Journal, From the Trenches World Report , The Daily Paul (most popular of the day),, and Numerous CHP offices from around the satte visited the article. It was also featured on a private CHP forum.
Lunatic CHP cops go berzerk as female motorist successfully demands her rights under CA Vehicle code

The companion article and video Obnoxious CHP cop tries to make people stop filming him was Headlined on and made it to the most viewed list within moments. :-)]
Obnoxious CHP cop tries to make people stop filming him

This is the story of a guy who most certainly would have been in jail for a long time, if his friend hadn't recorded the incident to show to a jury:
Man who hit cop in self-defense is acquitted, with help of friend's video footage March 28, 2013 [Featured on , and]

This was another loon cop who tried to tell me I couldn't film on a public street. What is wrong with these people?
Stockton is bankrupt, but their police continue trying to stop people from filming in public April 2, 2013
Cop Attempts to stop person from filming on public street [Featured on , Red Pill News and Seznam novinek.]

Stockton, CA cop tells person not to film police on a public street

Here is the latest, at a suspicionless border checkpoint in Laredo Texas:

Cop at Suspicionless Checkpoint Starts Barking Orders, But Then Flees from Camera
Creepy DHS Supervisor tries to open vehicle door when motorist asks officer's name 4-17-13 [Featured on WhatReallyHappened, Economic Policy Journal, , , battlefourtimes, and many others.]

DontWakeMeUp.Org Launched As Civil Rights Lawsuit Proceeds Against Texas Troopers
Trooper facing civil suit denies threatening motorist with arrest, despite being recorded 4-16-13 [Featured on]

Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise,,,,, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association,,, WorldNetDaily,,, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show,, Pasadena Weekly,,, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640,, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report,,, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze,,, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer,, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

Other links:

You've gotta see this: Fed up with cops like no other: "Officer Scaredy Pants" 7/31/12. Wow.

CarloS Miller's Excellent site: Photography Is Not A Crime

This story is about an activist in Michigan who films government corruption and police. He filmed a cop not wearing his seatbelt, and they tried to put him in jail for it. He beat the case.
Michigan prosecutor targets activist who films police February 14, 2013 [Featured on]

This is the excellent channel of a libertarian Free-State project guy in New Hampshire: Ridley Report

Antonio Buehler of Austin, TX: Peaceful Streets Project

MUST SEE Channel: Terry Bressi of Arizona is an expert. He recently won a lawsuit settlement for over $250,000 from the feds, whom he sued. CheckpointUSA.Org

See the First Amendment Center's phtography section and article The right to photograph: Why police can't call the shots

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.

DailyTech: First Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that Citizens Can Videotape Police

CNN: Charge dismissed against woman who videotaped police encounter

Oftentimes, when this subject comes up someone will claim "IT'S ILLEGAL TO FILM POLICE IN SEVERAL STATES!" This may be the case, since some states try to misapply the 'wire-tapping laws' to people who film police in public. A famous case was that of Illinois resident Michael Allison [See Man Faces Life In Jail For Recording Police]. An update on that case is here: Charges Dropped Against Man Who Faced Life In Jail For Recording Cops . Also see this report: Strict eavesdropping law ruled unconstitutional in Illinois case.

There was a sinilar case where a motorcyclist was charged with wiretapping for filming a cop. That case was also thrown out of court: Judge Tosses Out Wiretapping Charges Against Motorcyclist Who Filmed Cop With Helmet Cam

TIME Magazine report: Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

Also: Watch my interview with Vincent Arias, who was Shot By Cops, Charged With Two Felonies, and aquitted by a jury of all charges.

The Brett Darrow Case
Brett Darrow is a 20 year old from St. George Missouri, who decided to mount a video camera in his car after getting some traffic tickets. Watch the bizzare series of events that unfolds in September 2007 when Brett politely invokes his God given rights to privacy and Constitutional protections. Sgt. James Kuehnlein became outraged and began screaming like a lunatic, berating and threatening Darrow, saying he would find '9 different charges' to lock him up on. Darrow later posted the video online where it got international attention, and Sgt. Kuehnlein was promptly fired. Darrow had an eerily similar incident happen to him in December 2006, when he politely invoked his rights and told a cop at a checkpoint that he did not want to discuss his personal life. Both these are must-see videos. Kudos to Brett Darrow for standing up for his unalienable rights and privacy. We can all learn from him.


FULL VIDEO of the 2006 incident:
Full Story HERE

Astounding video of innocent man's showdown with police: "THE LORD REBUKE BOTH OF YOU!" he says. All I have to say is WOW! This is the most powerful video I've ever seen. 11/5/14

DHS Arrests, Imprisons Motorist For Invoking 5th Amendment, Deletes All His Videos (But Files Were Backed-Up!) 9/19/14 Witless Homeland Security Agents Unaware That Videos Of Their Crimes Were Backed-Up on Dropbox

Cops Beat Man, 7-Month Pregnant Wife then Deleted the Video…But it Survived on the Cloud!