The Supreme Court has upheld the right of Americans to record police officers on the job. They did so by refusing to hear a case brought by the ACLU against Illinois's anti-eavesdropping law. Prior to the SCOTUS decision, Illinois residents could receive 15 years in prison for recording police officers.
By declining to hear the case, the court left in place a lower court opinion issued in May that found Illinois's anti-eavesdropping law to be a violation of free speech rights. The lower court didn't overturn the law, but ruled that police officiers were barred from enforcing it. The law stated that civilians cannot record police, even in public, without their consent.
An appeal filed against that ruling by an Illinois state attorney argued that the lower court decision was detrimental to law enforcement and endangered the public as it could make potential witnesses wary of speaking frankly with law enforcement.
Once again, a conservative twists the truth. In 2009 POTUS said the police "acted stupidly" in reference to Cambridge Mass. police Sgt Crowley investigating s black professor for being in his own home and arresting the Prof for disorderly conduct when he got an attitude. While the circumstances around the arrest are quite sketchy, what remains clear is that Obama was referring to the police IN THIS CASE ONLY! Don't try to represent that POTUS said ALL police act stupidly.
Of course we should be able to. I can think of one traffic ticket I received about 30 years ago where had I recorded the conversation between the cop and myself, I would have saved $75 bucks and a couple of points on my license. The police are public officials. In their capacity as public officials, the words they speak are part of the public record. Or should be anyway.
i did take a photo once of a california small town cop on rt. 395 in eastern cal. i was approaching the edge of town on the way out and began building up speed. the cop stopped me and ticketed me for driving 45 in a 35 speed zone. as he was standing in the headlights of my truck writing down the license number i noticed that right behind him was a sign which said 'speed limit 55'. i reached for my camera and snapped a photo. when i went to court i took the photo with me and showed it to the judge. the case was dismissed, but the judge did have a few 'not so kind words' for the parentage, and the mental capacity of the police officer to offer as a parting gift.
Yes most definitely. Recording police is just another level of accountability for a public official. I have personally seen multiple instances of police abusing their authority. If there is a chance someone may be recording them, the police might act differently.
If the activity is visible from the public domain it can be photographed so long as such recording is not in violation of some other consideration, such as photographing up a girls skirt, or through the window of a home where privacy is expected. Photographing police activity is not merely permissible, it should be encouraged.