Not a Tango, nothing to see here

August 30, 2011

It’s true, recording the police is NOT a crime.

Filed under: rights, self-defense, Uncategorized — antitango @ 2:45 pm

Go read.  I’ll wait.

Done?  Good.  This is HUGE.  There have been dozens, if not hundreds of stories over the past years where cops have overstepped their bounds in regards to the First Amendment.  Carlos Miller is a huge proponent of being able to film and photograph the police.  I’ve been reading stories of his and shaking my head in utter disbelief, hoping I had mistakenly gone to The Onion.

There’s a big problem with new laws overstepping our rights because they provide no leniency for running afoul of other laws.  The current situation law that prohibits videotaping of police actually revolves around another law, that which makes it a felony to wiretap a phone without permission.  Because the video taken with cameras is accompanied with audio, they are claiming that the citizens are violating wiretapping laws, even though they are videotaping public servants on public streets.  In this instance, they overshadowed the laws of the Constitution.  In the past, the courts usually say “Well that’s too bad.  The law is good.”  With this, they said even though the law does not provide an ‘out’ with the wiretapping, there MUST BE an out, or an affirmative defense.  It does not, so not only did the court rule that the citizen has the right to sue, they found that the police should have KNOWN they could be violating his Constitutional and Civil Rights and as such are not protected by qualified immunity.

Another win for us is the fact that the court is out of Boston, Massachusetts, one of the most Nanny’est states out there.  Even they see the errors of their colleagues ways.

Quote of the day:

The District court indeed concluded that a reasonable officer should’ve recognized that arresting Mr. Glik for recording them was a violation of his First Amendment rights, and that, therefor, they had no qualified immunity.  The officers appealed, and, today, a three-judge panel affirmed that, yes, they should’ve known they were trampling Mr. Gilk’s constitutional rights, and that they could consequently be sued.

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