THE RIGHT TO RECORD POLICE ACTIVITY
I came across this timely publication today. It’s a “Citizen’s Guide to Recording the Police.” It’s an easy to follow guide that lays out our rights to record police activity. There’s not much debate that the First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to record police activity. Federal appellate courts in the First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits have directly upheld this right. The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in, but it’s hard to imagine that Court deciding the issue differently.
In all of the discussion surrounding George Floyd’s death, some points are really not up for debate. First, police brutality has no place in a civilized society. Second, it is important to root out and expose instances of that brutality whenever it occurs. Citizens with cameras exercising their First Amendment rights is a way to ensure this conduct is not swept under the rug.