NPR takes a look at the issue of members of the public photographing law enforcement officials while the police officers are in public:
Consider what happened to Khaliah Fitchette. Last year, Fitchette, who was 16 at the time, was riding a city bus in Newark, N.J., when two police officers got on to deal with a man who seemed to be drunk. Fitchette decided this would be a good moment to take out her phone and start recording.
“One of the officers told me to turn off my phone, because I was recording them,” she said. “I said no. And then she grabbed me and pulled me off the bus to the cop car, which was behind the bus.” The police erased the video from Fitchette’s phone. She was handcuffed and spent the next two hours in the back of a squad car before she was released. No charges were filed.
Fitchette is suing the Newark Police Department for violating her civil rights. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union helped bring the lawsuit. […]
In a video from 2010, a state trooper in Maryland flashed his gun while pulling over motorcyclist Anthony Graber for speeding. When Graber posted the video from his helmet cam on YouTube, prosecutors charged him with breaking the state’s wiretapping law because he recorded the trooper’s voice without consent.
A judge dismissed the case. But that hasn’t changed the opinion of some in the law enforcement community who say video recording is potentially dangerous for cops. […]
Tom Nolan, a former Boston police officer, says police have to get used to the world of cameras everywhere. “There’s always going to be a pocket of police officers who are resistant to change,” he says. “But I think the vast majority of police have been acclimated to the reality that what they’re doing is likely being recorded at any given time.”
Nolan now teaches at Boston University. He says police in Massachusetts train their officers to tolerate video recording, as long as no other crime is taking place.