HOME ~ Private Reference Library
a. “Even with videotaped evidence of police destroying black people, many freedom-loving Americans remain unconvinced of a systemic problem. Maybe some day the perfect tape will be released, one in which the dead or maimed African American has just the right wardrobe, complexion, size and diction to warrant empathy.” ~ Jesse Williams
b. There’s no law anywhere in the United States prohibiting people from photographing or video recording the police on the street, in a park, or any other place where the public is generally allowed and as long as the recording is made “openly and not surreptitiously
c. What to Say When the Police Tell You to Stop Filming Them
“I’m just exercising my constitutionally protected right to document police activity”
1. There’s no law anywhere in the United States prohibiting people from photographing or video recording the police on the street, in a park, or any other place where the public is generally allowed and as long as the recording is made “openly and not surreptitiously
2. When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything in plain view. Including pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.
3. Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant. The Supreme Court has ruled that police may not search your cell phone when they arrest you, unless they get a warrant.
4. Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
5. The right question to ask is, “am I free to go?” If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal.
6. Taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
PS…. TSA acknowledges that photography is permitted in and around airline security checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process.
7. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents illegal searches and seizures
8. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against UNREASONABLE SEARCHES and SEIZURES, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Courts have been willing to uphold a person’s expectation to privacy in their personal belongings carried in a bag, purse, wallet or briefcase. This has even included a somewhat see-through bag carried by a passenger on a public bus.
9. Police may search your property without a warrant if you consent to the search. Consent MUST be FREELY and VOLUNTARILY given, and YOU CANNOT BE COERCED OR TRICKED INTO GIVING IT.
10. Police may search your person and the immediate surroundings without a warrant when they are placing you under arrest. Police are allowed to conduct warrantless searches of suspects ONLY to ELIMINATE PHYSICAL THREATS possibly concealed in their clothes. They may also search wallets, bags and items like cigarette packs for evidence PERTINENT to the arrest.
11. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote: “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”