This is a video of the Wall Street macing by a police officer.
You should read this post from Mia Watkins at Medill University. In Illinois a person can be sent to prison for 15 years for recording a police officer. Many states are working hard to have have public recordings of police activities made illegal and punishable by prison.
Those of you in Maryland and Massachusetts need to be very concerned.
These laws are being challenged and various courts are tossing out convictions and prohibitions. That will not stop a police officer from trying to take your cell phone or camcorder in real life but it might help on the back end of things.
So What Can We Do?
Because as Americans it is our 1st Amendment right. You can choose to use it if you want or not; but it is our right of exercising our free speech and our right to defend ourselves and others.
Having said that, your safety is the most important thing. Folks are having their mobile phones and camcorders taken away, have been beaten or harassed. Understand the risks.
Know the rights in your state or location.
Make sure that you observe where the police are in relation to your body. Keep a proper distance, if you can, so that you can leave at a high rate of speed.
The American Civil Liberties Union has information on what to do when confronted by police or other law enforcement officers.
Other Resources and Readings
- Carlos Miller's Photography is Not A Crime page at Pixiq
- Gizmodo post on Are Cameras the New Guns?
- NPR Audio and Transcript from Talk of the Nation about The Rules and You Rights on Recording Arrests.