Victims & Heroes: The Fight for Our Right to Record Police

A recent history of notable arrests and litigants whose court cases are poised to unravel unjust wiretapping laws. (Image by Alejandro Gonzalez, USA Today.)

Judge Rules Illinois Evesdropping Law Unconstitutional

A Cook County Judge declared the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional Friday, and a state lawmaker hopes the ruling provides momentum for her push to change the law. Judge Stanley J. Sacks issued the ruling in the case of Christopher Drew, a Chicago artist who was charged with felony eavesdropping after he recorded his Dec. 2, 2009, arrest on State Street by Chicago Police.

Antonio Musumeci Arrested for Videotaping at Federal Building

Libertarian activist Antonio Musumeci was unlawfully arrested by federal officers after exercising his First Amendment right to record digital video outside of a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

Feds Uphold Right to Record Outside Federal Buildings

In settling a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the federal government today recognized the public’s right to take photographs and record videos in public spaces outside federal courthouses throughout the nation.

Simon Glik Arrested for Recording Arrest in Public Park

Lawyer Simon Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007, after openly using his cell phone to record three police officers roughly arresting a suspect on the Boston Common. Glik was charged under the state’s “interception of wire & oral communication” statute. In addition to the felony wiretap charge, Glik was also charged with disturbing the peace and aiding the escape of a prisoner.

First Circuit Court Upholds Right to Record Police

In a unanimous opinion The U.S. Court of Appeals backs the First Amendment right to record the actions of police in public.

Boston Police Reverse Stance on Glik Arrest

Two Boston police officers showed poor judgment when they arrested a bystander for filming them on Boston Common in 2007, the department has ruled, in a reversal of its initial position that the officers had done nothing wrong. The two officers, Sergeant Detective John Cunniffe and Officer Peter Savalis, face discipline ranging from an oral reprimand to suspension, a department spokeswoman said yesterday. The finding was released six months after the US First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that citizens have the right to record police officers while they are performing their duties.

Tiawanda Moore Sues City, Challenges Law

A woman acquitted last fall of violating Illinois's eavesdropping law after recording Chicago Police officers discouraging her from filing a complaint alleging that another officer had touched her inappropriately has filed a federal suit against the city.

Illinois Judge Rules Eavesdropping Law Unconstitutional

Michael Allison, an Illinois man who faced a potential sentence of 75 years in prison for recording police officers and attempting to tape his own trial, caught a break last week when a state judge declared the charges unconstitutional. Although the decision a small victory for the First Amendment, the Illinois eavesdropping law is still in effect.

Jury Acquits Tiawanda Moore of Felony Eveasdropping

A woman who secretly recorded two Chicago Police Internal Affairs investigators while filing a sexual harassment complaint against another officer was acquitted on eavesdropping charges Wednesday.

Michael Allison Charged with Felony Wiretapping

Michael Allison, a 41-year-old backyard mechanic from southeastern Illinois, faces up to 75 years in prison for an act most people don’t realize is a crime: recording public officials.

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