New Bill In Connecticut Would Make It Illegal For Police To Stop You From Recording Them

from the good-to-see dept

We've seen numerous stories in the last year of police abusing anti-wiretap laws to go after people who record police activities in public. Thankfully, there are some people who realize this is wrong. A Connecticut state senator, Martin Looney, has apparently introduced legislation that not only says that it's the right of citizens to record on-duty police officers, but (more importantly) gives citizens a civil action against police officers if they violate that right. As Radley Balko points out at that link:
That second part is important. A right doesn’t mean much if there are no consequences for government officials who ignore it. Witness this case in Florida, where an officer erroneously tries to say federal law prohibits citizen recordings of cops. Even in states where courts have thrown out criminal charges, a cop who doesn’t want to be recorded can still harass, threaten, and even arrest you. You may not be charged. But he won’t be punished, either.
It would definitely be nice if a similar rule was taken up at the federal level.

Filed Under: police, recording

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  1. identicon
    Jose_X, 3 Mar 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re:

    >> I, for one, have written my Congressmen

    Techdirt stories and discussion motivate me quite frequently to write to my elected officials. Though I can't compete with the lobby industry, I can at least chip away.

    SUBJ: Safeguarding our streets

    I support a federal bill that explicitly reaffirms the rights of individuals to videotape the public, in particular, to videotape officers of the law.

    Connecticut has already taken a leadership role through their state legislature as covered here .

    The Connecticut bill specifically allows for civil actions to proceed against those who thwart that public right.

    No human is wise enough to have their power go unchecked for very long. And American citizens need to keep a mindful eye on the actions of our public servants, in particular, when we have entrusted them with special privileges that can easily lead to death and injury.

    Americans will end up with a more friendly, helpful, clever police force when we reduce the temptation for them to abuse their privilege.

    Thank you.

    PS: We will also need to improve the lack of civilian Due Process in the actions carried out by our military. As many have shown throughout history, respect and a civilized approach by those in power leads to further respect and a greater amount of peace and security.

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