Filming police officers (public servants) is a constitutional right.

UPDATED on 10/16/2012 to include these videos/articles:

The video was filmed by David Galarza, from neighborhood activist group La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, who was waiting for a subway at the same time.
The shocking video shows the moment a NYPD police officer approaches a teenage boy, pins him against the wall to pat him down and then bodyslams him to the ground – twice.
Sean Pagan, 19, was waiting for a subway train at 45th Street in Brooklyn, New York at 8.30 p.m. when he was confronted by the cop, who accused him of not paying his fare.
“I was just in shock he really did that. I’m sure there are other kids who got the same treatment or worse treatment that wasn’t recorded.” said Pagan.

The New York Times reports that, “The shaky and frenetic video, lasting less than a minute, appears to show two New York police officers holding a man on the floor, with one repeatedly slamming his right fist into the man’s face.
The man, Luis Solivan, 19, was later charged with assaulting an officer, but his case was dismissed after a grand jury watched the video, which an acquaintance shot through an apartment window in the Bronx, his lawyers say. Now, that same footage may emerge as crucial evidence in a civil rights lawsuit that Mr. Solivan’s lawyers filed on Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.”
Ilann M. Maazel, a lawyer representing Mr. Solivan, said, “I think there’s a real likelihood that the grand jury would have indicted him.”
“What it shows is shocking,” Mr. Maazel added. “It revealed that the police did not tell the truth and they wanted to put an innocent man in jail, potentially for many years.”

Watch the video. Exclusive audio obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York Police Department freshly reveals the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented on the city’s streets.
In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”

Democracy Now: Video Shows Brutal Police Beating at Jewish Center in New York

In New York City, two police officers are under investigation after video emerged showing them brutally beating a young man inside a Jewish community center in Brooklyn. The officers claimed 21-year-old Ehud Halevy had attacked them during the incident last week. But surveillance video appears to contradict that claim. Instead, it shows one officer punching Halevy in the head, then delivering repeated blows while a second officer appears to be holding him down. The second officer also beats Halevy with her baton for more than two minutes. Police had reportedly been called to the Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults when Halevy refused to leave after a center volunteer found him sleeping on a couch. But a center director said Halevy had permission to sleep there. Halevy was charged with felony assault on police and three misdemeanors. Since the video emerged, the New York City Police Department and Brooklyn district attorney’s office have both opened investigations. One of the officers, Luis Vega, has been placed on modified duty. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind condemned the beating.
Dov Hikind: “This behavior is unconscionable. And if not for the video camera to record what happened, we might actually believe that Ehud attacked the police officers. And he never did. He’s charged with felonies. He’s charged with all kinds of crimes. And now I wonder how many other times are New Yorkers charged with serious crimes, and there is no video camera to tell the story.”

Film the police. You may save an innocent person from going to prison.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012. New York City – “Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right — and that includes the outside of federal buildings, as well as transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.”_American Civil Liberties Union.

American Civil Liberties Union: “Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right — and that includes the outside of federal buildings, as well as transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.”

These are some articles about recording police officers in the United States of America. Read them before you film these public servants.

Steve Silverman wrote the article, 7 Rules for Recording Police on
Courts are expanding rights but cops are cracking down. Find out how to keep your footage, and yourself, out of trouble.
“The City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a “constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public.” The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.”

Vindicating the First Amendment right to document what public officials say and do, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland applauded Harford County Circuit Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr’s decision to dismiss all of the wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber. The Maryland State Police had charged Graber with violating Maryland’s wiretap statute, a felony, after he posted on YouTube a video and audio recording of his encounter with a state trooper in plain clothes who stopped him for a traffic violation with his gun drawn.

In today’s decision, Judge Plitt ruled: “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. “Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes” (“Who watches the watchmen?”).

Judge Plitt found that police have no expectation of privacy in their public, on-the-job communications, and thus held Graber’s conduct could not be a crime: “The encounter in this case took place on a public highway in full view of the public. Under such circumstances, I cannot, by any stretch, conclude that the Troopers has any reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation with the Defendant which society would be prepared to recognize as reasonable.”

The Judge noted that under the State’s theory of which devices were prohibited under the statute, his own pocket size recorder would be illegal, as would “almost every cell phone, Blackberry, and every similar device, not to mention dictation equipment and other types of recording devices.”

Rights of independent, freelance, un-credentialed citizens to function as journalists should be made clear to police leaders and to officers on the street.
The First Circuit Court in the SIMON GLIK case on August 26, 2011 was very clear:
“Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”

The National Lawyers Guild says, “Whether or not you’re a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent.
The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government’s power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply. The ACLU, photographer’s groups, and others have been complaining about such incidents for years — and consistently winning in court. Yet, a continuing stream of incidents of illegal harassment of photographers and videographers makes it clear that the problem is not going away.”

Filming police officers is a constitutional right. Taxpayers pay the salaries of public servants, people have the right to take pictures and videotape them while they are working.

Some cases that show how a video can help an innocent person.

On Sunday, January 1, 2012, Antonio Buehler was taking pictures of police officers arresting and abusing a woman. Officers didn’t like it so they arrested him and fabricated charges against him. Carlos Amador videotaped the arrest of Antonio. Antonio is still fighting those charges.

Jateik Reed was brutally beaten by NYPD officers.
Officers swore they witnessed bags of crack and marijuana being carried by Reed. In the criminal complaint one officer is quoted as saying, “He observed the defendant to have on his person, in his hand, one (1) clear plastic bag containing a white, rock-like substance, which he threw to the ground. In his hand, two (2) clear plastic bags, each containing a dried green leafy substance with a distinctive odor, in public view.”
“Even if you don’t have 20/20 vision. Even if you have some substantial clarity, you can see quite clear there was nothing, there were no bags in Jateik Reed’s hands,” said Reed’s attorney, Michael Warren.
Surveillance video from a nearby building shows Reed walking with his hands out, no drugs in view. Also, somebody filmed the encounter. He was arrested but all charges against him were dropped.

Carlos Miller wrote on, “The city surveillance video that shows a group of Fullerton police officers beating a homeless mentally ill man to death last year was finally released, laying to rest any argument that Kelly Thomas was a threat to officers.
The shocking video, which was combined with an audio recorder worn by one of the police officers on the night of July 5, 2011, was shown in court, then later released to the media.”
Paul Orloff started the petition, “Remove All 6 Fullerton Police Officers Involved in the Murder of Kelly Thomas” on

Christopher Robbins wrote on, Photojournalist Alexander Arbuckle was in the street blocking traffic and that is why he was arrested, under oath, Officer Elisheba Vera testified in court.
A clip from the live-stream of Tim Pool showed that Arbuckle was on the sidewalk, so were all the other protesters.
On Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino found him not guilty of disorderly conduct.

An article on by Nick Pinto, Jessica Hall, an Occupy Wall Street protester, was arrested on November 17, 2011 and charged with disorderly conduct for obstructing traffic. But as the NYPD’s own video documentation confirmed, it was actually the NYPD metal barricades running all the way across William Street that was preventing vehicles from passing and she was not blocking traffic.
On Thursday, May 17th, 2012, Judge Matthew Sciarrino found Jessica not guilty.

Article on, On Saturday, April 28th, 2012, New York City Police Sgt. Lesly Charles was caught on video unleashing a vulgar tirade against a young man: “I have the long dick. You don’t. Your pretty face — I like it very much. My dick will go in your mouth and come out your ear. Don’t fuck with me. All right? I’ll take my gun and put it up your ass and then I’ll call your mother afterwards. You understand that? And I’ll put your shit in your own mouth.”
The young man was arrested for disorderly conduct, which court records show was for ignoring the cops’ orders to leave (the public area).

RT reported on June 1st, 2012, “Your First Amendment rights can be terminated,” was the warning issued by a Chicago Police Department officer that was caught on video this March. Two staffers with a local NBC News affiliate were apprehended while on the scene outside of an area hospital to report on the death of a young girl when cops patrolling the premises insisted that journalists walk away from the building; members of the press had already been forced to retreat across the street from the facility when the altercation took place.”

Videos about filming police officers.

Why citizens MUST retain the right to film police & government officials.

If You See Something, Film Something I: You Have The Right To Film The Police

Filming The Police In Public.

Published on Jul 25, 2012 by RTAmerica: “Officials with the police department in Washington, D.C. issued a bold statement this week: their officers have been instructed to recognize the First Amendment rights of citizens. It might sound silly, but cops have been caught harassing and arresting Washingtonians for video-recording and photographing police, even though doing such is protected by the Bill of Rights. Will their latest statement actually bring transparency to the force? Or will accountability still be absent from law enforcement? To discuss this Steve Silverman of Flex Your Rights joins RT’s Liz Wahl.”

“Smartphone owners now outnumber users of more basic phones. At any moment there are more than 100 million Americans in reach of a device that can capture police misconduct and share it with the world in seconds.
If you’re one of them, you should consider installing a streaming video recording and sharing app such as Qik or Bambuser. Both apps are free and easy to use.
Always Passcode Protect Your Smartphone
The magic of both apps is that they can instantly store your video offsite. This is essential for preserving video in case police illegally destroy or confiscate your camera. But even with these apps installed, you’ll want to make sure that your device is always passcode protected. If a cop snatches your camera, this will make it extremely difficult for her to simply delete your videos (If a cop tries to trick you into revealing your passcode, never, never, never give it up!).”

Again, United States Court of Appeals. For the First Circuit Court in the SIMON GLIK case:
“In summary, though not unqualified, a citizen’s right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment.” and “In our society, police officers are expected to endure significant burdens caused by citizens’ exercise of their First Amendment rights. See City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 461 (1987) (“[T]he First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.”). Indeed, “[t]he freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.”

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