You Can’t Film The Cops, But They Can You

Author: A Mohit
Published: June 01, 2012 at 11:59 am

“Your First Amendment rights can be terminated,” yelled a Chicago police officer and calmly went on arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital. An NBC News photographer was led away in handcuffs for taking pictures in a public place. How is it any different from what happens in third world countries such as Syria?

In an increasing sign of a fascist state this is routinely happening in America and the National Press Photographers Association claims it has documented 70 such arrests since September. In May they called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to highlight the happenings, but chances are their plea will fall on deaf ears. The world has now been polarized in 1 percenters versus 99 percenters, where the former is above the law and do not care for First Amendment rights or not, and the law enforcement agency paid for by the taxpayers money is only being employed to safeguard the interest of the slim.

Catherine Crump, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said, “"It is true that Americans are photographed more and more today as they walk around in public spaces, and it is ironic that law enforcement agencies are objecting when the same activity is being used to film their activities. But it's not surprising because there's often a double-standard in this space.” The First Amendment law is unambiguous on this and clearly delineates that citizens in public spaces have a right to film things they see in plain sight. The US Courts have repeatedly upheld that right in high-profile cases.

After many incidents involving cops in that state's capital city, arresting protesters for filming, the senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, proposed a new law in Connecticut. In April, the State Senate passed a law supporting the citizens' right to film, but the state's lower house failed to act on the measure.

An incident happened in 2007 in which Simon Glik filmed police arresting a homeless man near Boston Commons. Glick was arrested and was charged for violating the state's wiretapping law, but his case was dismissed in a court, and he brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city. In August of last year, the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in Glick’s favor. If the case goes to the highly polarized US Supreme Court, what are the possibilities the lower court’s ruling will be upheld?

Your guess is as good as mine!


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Article Author: A Mohit

See Evil, hear Evil, Speak against Evil. Beauty that is skin-deep is no beauty. Even in the utter helplessness hope is just around the corner. Sing glory and rejoice!

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