United States Court of Appeals rules that citizens have a Constitutionally protected right to record police

File this in the “Big Win For Free Speech” column. On Friday, August 26th, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled that U.S. citizens have the right to publicly record police who are performing their duties as law enforcement officers. Further, this right is protected by the 1st and 4th Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Pursuant to this opinion, if you witness a police officer doing something that you believe should be seen by the rest of the world, according to the 1st Circuit Federal Court of Appeals you are well within your Constitutionally protected rights to take out your cell phone, publicly record that officer (both audio and video) and throw the video up onto the internet.

Granted, this is only one Federal Court of Appeals (and different federal courts are permitted to rule differently until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision), but it is likely that the other federal courts will follow suit.

The opinion is a short read and extremely interesting. Check it out here:

Simon Glik v. John Cunniffe, No. 10-1764


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