Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Videotaping On-Duty Police Officers in America

Radley Balko, senior editor at Reason Magazine summarizes the law on videotaping on-duty police officers in the various American states:
This summer the issue of recording on-duty police officers has received a great deal of media attention. Camera-wielding citizens were arrested in Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts under interpretations of state wiretapping laws, while others were arrested in New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Florida, and elsewhere based on vaguer charges related to obstructing or interfering with a police officer.
So far Massachusetts is the only state to explicitly uphold a conviction for recording on-duty cops, and Illinois and Massachusetts are the only states where it is clearly illegal. The Illinois law has yet to be considered by the state's Supreme Court, while the Massachusetts law has yet to be upheld by a federal appeals court. Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler recently issued an opinion concluding that arrests for recording cops are based on a misreading of the state's wiretapping statute, but that opinion isn't binding on local prosecutors.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our Toronto Law Firm website: www.wiselaw.net

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