This is a discussion on Recording police stop may be illegal! within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Relax, everyone. This is highly over blown. Yes, in some backward areas, you may be charged with wiretapping. And, yes, you'd have to hire a ...
Relax, everyone. This is highly over blown. Yes, in some backward areas, you may be charged with wiretapping. And, yes, you'd have to hire a lawyer. But you'd beat the charge. The case law is quite clear that there is no expectation of privacy in a traffic stop or incident in public with a peace officer. Heck, they use that case law all the time in the prosecution of cases. Now, you might get caught an disturbing the peace or whatever local law indicated interferring with the duties of a police officer, but you can get that for 1 million different reasons.
And Califonia did NOT say it was OK to go through your cell phone without a warrant. They said that it is OK for electronic media (in this case, a cell phone) to be searched after it has been impounded as evidence as part of an arrest. They can also search your pockets and car after an arrest, all without a warrant (assuming you were in your car at the time of arrest, or similar circumstances).
Yes, police over reach and prosecutors are incented in the wrond way but if you are stopped, feel free to record the incident. If the PO objects, ask him to call his supervisor.
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This isn't overblown. We have recent examples in California, New York, Miami and Iowa in which law-abiding citizens have had their property destroyed or impounded and have been threatened with devastating prison terms for exercising the right to record public servants' PUBLIC execution of their duties. In no other instance does the law afford an expectation of privacy in such circumstances. But when the person denying one's rights has a gun, the complicity of the courts and the ear of the press, the law is what they say it is. To preserve our freedom and limit trespasses by our evolving police state, our right to document LEOs' behavior needs a clear legal precedent. "You'd have to hire a lawyer" is a cavalier statement in the face of the actual cost and disruption requisite upon hiring an attorney and taking leave from one's job to attend depositions and hearings. You say "the law is quite clear" but in Iowa, the complainant is a judge filmed in a courtroom and state law clearly prohibits the recording thereof. While I agree that this is invalid, inasmuch as it is unconstitutional and also contravenes specific Federal privacy law, a citizen who wants to make that charge has to be prepared to spend years and thousands. The barriers to protecting our liberty are very high for an individual. (This is why it was so important for WalMart to quash the recent class action; they know one person can't hope to fight their legal apparatus). And to say "you might get caught for disturbing the peace"...how is the fact of a video recording device disruptive to anyone except an abusive LEO? No one is advocating resisting legally constituted authority. Naturally and appropriately, the court is more inclined to believe a trained LEO than a citizen who may or may not have been caught in a breach of the law. In such a case, a record of the incident can only bolster the LEO's credibility unless s/he is behaving inappropriately. No one has claimed that these recordings are being used as an excuse to resist an officer's legitimate orders or that they have been altered. Why, then, is your side fighting so very hard to conceal the behavior of public employees from the public?
If the PO is behaving appropriately, a recording can only redound to his or her benefit. Given that citizens enjoy the presumption of innocence, we have to accept that police may have reason to interact with the innocent. In one recent instance, the person who summoned law enforcement was allegedly harassed by the responding officer, and she has submitted into evidence the hand-written home phone number he gave her. The members of this board are interested in preserving the legal balance between the need for effective law enforcement and the rights of citizens. Why would a legitimate member of this board submit so many posts implying that those who wish to record an interaction are somehow automatically at fault. Another user, @Patrol, states outright that s/he is a police officer and goes on to acknowledge that there is no expectation of, or need for, privacy when one carries out public duties. What are you afraid of?
Hermann, while I agree with the sentiment that officers should be responsible for their actions and that recording those actions should not be illegal unless it puts an officer in jeopardy, say the potential to compromise an undercover officer, I'm going to ding you on one point.
You don't need.
A separate post.
For each paragraph.
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If that's the case, the recording can only benefit the officer. It is one thing to speculate on recorders' motives, but quite another to try to intimidate people who choose to exercise that right. In no state is there an expectation of privacy when one is in public. C-o-Ps and unions who challenge citizens' rights or who tacitly condone the intimidation of witnesses or the destruction of property are only harming their own case by showing us how willing a few bad apples are to overstep legal bounds and to ignore the requisite presumption of innocense.
Take it elsewhere, this isn't the forum for tin foil theories.
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