Tag Archives: First Amendment

Boston catches up with Atlanta: you can video police

Poilce are public employees, and the public has a right to video them doing their duty; so says a federal appeals court.

Pace Lattin wrote for Technorati, Federal Courts Rule it is Not Illegal to Film Police John S. Quarterman

The First Court of Appeals has reached a decision that would allow the general public to video-tape police officers while they are working. This decision comes right after several well-known public cases have come to light involving citizens being arrested for video-taping police.

This specific case in question was Simon Glik vs.The City of Boston (and several police officers), in which a teenage Simon Gilk was arrested after videotaping Boston Police abusing a homeless man. While Mr. Gilk was not interfering with the police, he was arrested on wiretapping charges.

The ACLU had sued on his behalf, even when the charges were dropped, noting that there was a growing epidemic of citizens in the United States being arrested by police for videotaping, even when documenting police brutality and abuse.

The First Court Agreed with the ACLU that this should be legal, and wrote that: “The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity].

The Atlanta Police Department already avoided this problem by settling a previous case and making a policy that citizens can video police. This appeals court ruling now says anybody can, nationwide, because of the First Amendment.

Why has this become an issue lately? Continue reading

To pacify the community? —Susan Leavens

Received yesterday on Arrests for speaking in an Arizona town. -jsq
I really feel like the Lowndes County Commissioners meetings are more to pacify the community then to actually listen to the concerns of the citizens which I’m sure most counties are the same. I feel quite positive matters of concern actually never leave that room, I’m pretty certain if the room were full and more individuals showing concern for their community maybe things could change slightly. I have gotten the impression that they really don’t want to hear people’s opinions. I was once under the impression that there job of commissioners where to also hear from the residence of the county. It certainly has shown me how transparency issues and intimidation also go hand in hand. When you think of a member of county government it’s a position of power and power some obviously let go to their head. But after reading the article it appears no matter where in this country when you oppose them you obviously could be removed in handcuffs. You’re only allowed to have your 3 to 4 minutes to speak after interruptions and snide remarks. First Amendment right allows us to have freedom of speech… but broken down, it allows us our time at the podium less freedom of speech if Mr. Paulk decided to stop us. I wonder how the rest of the commissioners feel about his antics toward people being heard. Maybe they don’t have concerns in the matter but you have to wonder if they feel intimidated as well and just choose to say nothing.

-Susan Leavens