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.