FIRST AMENDMENT VICTORY -People Have The Right To Video Tape Cops- Not Obstruction

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You don’t have to search very hard online to find story after story of Americans — regular citizens, law-abiding folks — running into trouble with the police officers whose actions those citizens are filming/taping/recording on their cell phones and on other cameras.

Take the case of Carla Gericke, who was arrested in 2010 for trying to record the actions of members of the Weare, NH Police Department. Officers had pulled over her friend during a traffic stop. Gericke’s camera malfunctioned, however, and she failed to record evidence of the incident.

Nevertheless, Gericke was arrested for disobeying a police officer, obstructing a government official, and “unlawful interception of oral communications.” She then sued the town and its police department.

Now, the ruling from the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as reported by the Boston Globe:

…Gericke “was exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area.”
“It is clearly established in this circuit that police officers cannot, consistently with the Constitution, prosecute citizens for violating wiretapping laws when they peacefully record a police officer performing his or her official duties in a public area,” the appeals court said.

You can be pretty sure that you are always under surveillance just about everywhere. The only place you should expect privacy is in your home or in a bathroom at Wall-Mart – But don’t be to sure of that either.

Most police carry an array of cameras that are triggered by the turning on of the lights or siren or both. The cars have cameras and the cops have tiny cameras and voice recorders on them, but that OK.

We are now firmly in a surveillance state whether you believe it or not. Police will even go so far as to put GPS on your car without a warrant. There is a plaintiffs case in the Supreme court right now.

I say that maybe we all should put GPS devices on Cop cars and track them- seems fair to me. They are small, inexpensive, and with a strong magnet just slip it under their car while they are getting their daily free coffee. Is this Illegal? I don’t know. Maybe it’s already been done by some savvy journalists or news investigators -SPY HA,ha. Ask DMZ they probably have the answer.

Regarding the antiquated “interception of wire and oral communications” (wire tapping) Cops and authorities would argue that they apply. Since most cops I have ever talked with are no smarter than any other college graduate you can be assured that they are making mistakes all the time- however they will never admit it even under oath. Not even the best lawyer knows everything. But the cops will certainly try what ever it takes to put you in jail if they want to so still be careful.

Here are the states that have laws about recording audio and video:

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…Gericke “was exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area.”

“It is clearly established in this circuit that police officers cannot, consistently with the Constitution, prosecute citizens for violating wiretapping laws when they peacefully record a police officer performing his or her official duties in a public area,” the appeals court said.

- See more at: http://www.libertynews.com/2014/05/first-amendment-victory-court-rules-that-we-the-people-have-the-right-to-film-police-in-action/#sthash.KR6I4RyG.dpuf

…Gericke “was exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area.”

“It is clearly established in this circuit that police officers cannot, consistently with the Constitution, prosecute citizens for violating wiretapping laws when they peacefully record a police officer performing his or her official duties in a public area,” the appeals court said.

- See more at: http://www.libertynews.com/2014/05/first-amendment-victory-court-rules-that-we-the-people-have-the-right-to-film-police-in-action/#sthash.KR6I4RyG.dpuf

You don’t have to search very hard online to find story after story of Americans — regular citizens, law-abiding folks — running into trouble with the police officers whose actions those citizens are filming/taping/recording on their cell phones and on other cameras.

Take the case of Carla Gericke, who was arrested in 2010 for trying to record the actions of members of the Weare, NH Police Department. Officers had pulled over her friend during a traffic stop. Gericke’s camera malfunctioned, however, and she failed to record evidence of the incident.

Nevertheless, Gericke was arrested for disobeying a police officer, obstructing a government official, and unlawful interception of oral communications.” She then sued the town and its police department.

Now, the ruling from the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as reported by the Boston Globe:

- See more at: http://www.libertynews.com/2014/05/first-amendment-victory-court-rules-that-we-the-people-have-the-right-to-film-police-in-action/#sthash.KR6I4RyG.dpuf

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