Patt Morrison for July 20, 2010

Is it illegal to film the police?

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Should it be illegal to film police?

High-profile cases of late, most notably Johannes Mehserle’s trial, have relied in part on video footage from cell phones taken by bystanders. In addition to a proliferation of this type of evidence, has come an increase in arrests of civilians using portable video cameras and cell-phones to document police conduct. But is this an arrestable offense? Police and government agencies record civilian conduct from police car dashboards and on security cameras, so should civilians also be allowed to record police in public places? Patt reads between the lines of the law and consults from civil liberties experts.


Peter Bibring, staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California; he specializes in police practices and the first amendment

Byron Warnken, Associate Professor of Law at University of Baltimore School of Law; he has represented police officers in 35 different agencies in his lifetime

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