Jan 12, 2012

Obama Administration Defends Recording of Police

In an encouraging development, the Obama administration has come out in support of a citizen suing the Baltimore police department for violating his first, fourth and fourteenth amendments. In the federal lawsuit, Christopher Sharp complains that Baltimore police confiscated his cell phone as he was recording them beating his friend before arresting her. When his cell phone was returned, all of the images and video files on it had been deleted. The Baltimore police have been particularly hostile to citizens' attempts to record their conduct, it turns out.

The city of Baltimore tried to head off the lawsuit by acknowledging citizens have a right to record the police and providing clarified rules to its officers, but the Justice Department deemed this insufficient. Cities that have violated the law and the rights of their citizens by harassing and arresting them when they dared to record public officials are starting to attract the attention of the Federal government.

To see why this is so important, consider the video below, in which a sheriff's deputy punched a special needs woman without provocation. An Iraq war vet videotaped the encounter, and refused demands by the deputy to hand over the camera, fearing the evidence would be destroyed. 

Remember, the rights you have you have because they are defended. If you do not stand up for them, you will lose them.

LINK to Ars Technica story

LINK to a John Stossel segment about the authorities' battle against citizens who record them

LINK to Magnum Arts' position on creative freedom and the reason behind posts like these

Support the ACLU. They fight for the rights of citizens to express themselves, whether that expression is popular or not. 

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