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More police officers being filmed during traffic stops

Should you film the police while they are doing their jobs; especially when they are stopping you? This is a question that many people want answers to. After all, a video camera can capture images that a police dashboard camera may miss. Also, it gives ordinary citizens a means of creating an even-handed account of what transpires during a traffic stop.

According to a recent article published on the Tennesean.com, a growing number of African-American NFL players are using cell phone cameras when they are stopped by law enforcement officers. They do so in part because they feel like they are profiled by the police, and believe if they are being stopped for no reason. 

Nevertheless, filming of the police has garnered a great deal of controversy. A driver in Illinois (who was white) was arrested and charged with felony eavesdropping for filming his traffic stop without their consent. A federal appeals court later struck down a law that banned recordings of traffic stops because it violated a citizen’s constitutional right to free speech. (Essentially, there is a fundamental right to gather information about state actors doing their jobs in public.)

However, the police may take steps to prevent actions that obstruct an arrest, or to protect themselves, and it is reasonable to believe that a court will look at each instance of filming independently. At the same time, a recording of the stop can provide valuable (and relevant) evidence that may not be captured by the police. If you have questions about cell phone or other videos that were confiscated by authorities, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

Source: Tennesean.com, “Kenny Britt, other NFL players use phones to record police at stops,” Kent Somers, November 29, 2013

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