Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Is it Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida

    I had heard it was since you can "expose their identities" if they ever need to go undercover or something along those lines. However, I also heard it was legal as long as it was in a public area?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,109

    Default Re: Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting Kanti
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida

    I had heard it was since you can "expose their identities" if they ever need to go undercover or something along those lines. However, I also heard it was legal as long as it was in a public area?
    It is legal to record the police. There are something like three states that seem to be fighting this idea, but in the end they will lose.

    It is one thing to surreptitiously record an officer with the intent release their image to cause them harm. It is another entirely to record them going about their business in public.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    It is legal to record the police. There are something like three states that seem to be fighting this idea, but in the end they will lose.

    It is one thing to surreptitiously record an officer with the intent release their image to cause them harm. It is another entirely to record them going about their business in public.
    That would include if they pulled you on the side of the road to give you a speeding ticket, correct?
    I had a cousin who filmed an officer while he was issuing him a ticket and the officer told him it was against the law to record him and made him put the camera away or he'd have to confiscate it.
    But I'd think they need a warrant or something to confiscate a camera. I'm completely unsure though, hah.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,109

    Default Re: Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting Kanti
    View Post
    That would include if they pulled you on the side of the road to give you a speeding ticket, correct?
    Yes.

    SO long as what you are doing does not interfere with or threaten the officer, you can have a device running. Some officer who does not know the law well might think otherwise, but you should be good.

    I had a cousin who filmed an officer while he was issuing him a ticket and the officer told him it was against the law to record him and made him put the camera away or he'd have to confiscate it.
    The officer was wrong. That's an erroneous presumption that many officers make and it is not supported by the status of case law. But, some states and jurisdictions might still try to argue the issue - particularly if the state is a "two party" consent state for recorded conversations, even though the provisions do not generally apply in public places where no expectation of privacy exists. And since the courts have ruled that YOU have no expectation of privacy in your conversation with an officer - and he can record YOU - then the reverse would be true.

    But I'd think they need a warrant or something to confiscate a camera. I'm completely unsure though, hah.
    Warrant, probable cause, or consent depending on the circumstances. As you outline it, none comes to mind.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    The officer was wrong. That's an erroneous presumption that many officers make and it is not supported by the status of case law. But, some states and jurisdictions might still try to argue the issue - particularly if the state is a "two party" consent state for recorded conversations, even though the provisions do not generally apply in public places where no expectation of privacy exists. And since the courts have ruled that YOU have no expectation of privacy in your conversation with an officer - and he can record YOU - then the reverse would be true.
    The reason the officer gave was that he did not consent to the "audio recording". Apparently you can't release audio without the consent of all participants, and even though he seemed to not care at first, he changed his mind halfway through and told my cousin to put the camera away or he would place him under arrest.
    If that's true, I don't think it's very just at all. Police have mounted cameras recording our every move and we can't even record them to have proof of any ill behavior?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,109

    Default Re: Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting Kanti
    View Post
    The reason the officer gave was that he did not consent to the "audio recording". Apparently you can't release audio without the consent of all participants, and even though he seemed to not care at first, he changed his mind halfway through and told my cousin to put the camera away or he would place him under arrest.
    The officer is operating under the mistaken impression that the two party consent applies to contacts in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy.

    As I mentioned, there are still some states that have agencies or counties that are trying to stand by this old idea, but the federal cases just don't seem to support that contention. I had not heard that FL was one of those states.

    What you have to ask yourself in those situations is: "Do I want to be the test case?" If, yes, then you go to the mat and risk the arrest. If, no, then you turn it off.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Is it Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    "The First Amendment protects the right to gather information about what public officials do on public property, and specifically, a right to record matters of public interest." Smith v. City of Cumming (11th Cir., 2000). And similar in most other Circuits.

    Despite the clear federal mandate, some states (e.g., Massachusetts) claim some kind of wiretapping violation when you record a police officer in public performing their public duties. Such applications are unconstitutional, but can still cause grief for citizens.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,653

    Default Re: Is it Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    State courts seem inclined to uphold the laws; I believe there is a compelling case that the recording of police officers performing their duties in public should not be subject to criminal sanction, but the issue hasn't yet worked its way through the federal system. So perhaps we should be saying, "It should be held unconstitutional."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is it Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Here's a good article with case references..

    http://aglr.wordpress.com/2010/11/13...-police-abuse/

    Seems to depend on which judge you get.

    I also found this for Florida:
    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Migut v. Flynn 131 Fed.Appx. 262 (2005), held that just because a traffic stop takes place on a public street does not mean that the police officer's communication is not protected under 934.03 and whether a particular communication is protected under 934.03(1)(a) is an intensely fact-specific inquiry, and we are not prepared to hold that the Florida legislature intended to exclude from the protections of 934.03 all citizen communications with all police officers during all traffic stops on a public street.

    For something really ****ed up, the statute has a specific provision that allows police officers an exemption if they are recording a conversation to which they are a party to, given that they are conducting a lawful investigation.

    In summary, Florida police can record a motorist that they stop for a traffic offense, but the same motorist is prohibited from recording them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    15,109

    Default Re: Is it Against the Law to Film a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting mittens
    View Post
    In summary, Florida police can record a motorist that they stop for a traffic offense, but the same motorist is prohibited from recording them.
    In time, that will almost certainly change. As Aaron pointed out, some states are still upholding these archaic interpretations. In time, the handful of states that still hold to this one way interpretation will likely find themselves forced to change their tune.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Police Officer Lied in Police Report
    By NJVICTIM in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-08-2011, 03:59 PM
  2. Criminal Investigations: Investigating Officer Revealing Information to Another Police Officer
    By joyousguard in forum Police Investigations
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-02-2010, 11:28 PM
  3. Background Checks: Can I Become a Police Officer if I Was Once Charged with Battery on a Police Officer
    By mark1234 in forum Application, Hiring and Promotion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-18-2010, 03:08 PM
  4. Does a Police Officer Have the Right to Refuse to Amend a Police Report
    By otrat in forum Moving Violations and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-24-2009, 11:58 AM
  5. Hiring: I Want To Be A Police Officer
    By txnatgrd1 in forum Application, Hiring and Promotion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-09-2007, 03:23 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Criminal Defense Attorney
Protect your freedom. Consult a criminal defense lawyer for free.




Untitled Document