video

Marion, IL – Photography activists were recently arrested for filming in public. Calling themselves Southern Illinois Public Observers were originally told they were free to leave but then the unidentified law enforcement officer blocked their egress.

After they were impeded, their identification was demanded. They were told they were “temporarily” detained. They responded by saying they wanted to know for what crime they were being detained, yet none of the officers could “articulate” what crime for which they were being detained.

Another officer chimed in and said, “You do realize that if someone comes out here and says that you’re alarming them by filming them you can be charged with disorderly conduct?”

Then, what appears to be an FBI agent says that, “I am telling you, officer, and I am telling them that I feel alarmed that they are filming my building without identifying who they are. I have concern for the building and the residents of that building.”

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An activist chimed in and said, “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy,” he stated indicating that by being in public and interacting with the activists, he cannot claim to be conducting official FBI business which their filming activities would impede, according to the law.

Later, a sergeant with the police force arrived and said “we have a victim of disorderly conduct. Someone at the FBI office is disturbed by your behaviors. So at this point, you’re being arrested.”

The citizens’ right to film the police is a legal precedent, established in Glik v Cunniffe, where the court held that “a private citizen has the right to record video and audio of public officials in a public place.”

In that case, the court went on to say:

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“…we have previously recognized that the videotaping of public officials is an exercise of First Amendment liberties,” affirming Glik’s constitutional right to videotape public officials in public places.

The court went on to state that the right to film public officials in public places was clearly established a decade prior to the case, which would mean it was already established as early as 1997.

In spite of court rulings, the myriad of lawsuits against police, and the sheer negative publicity given to departments for police attacking those who would film them — the abuse continues.

If you or someone you know is planning to attempt to film cops, here’s some things you need to know. According to the ACLU’s guide to photographing in public;

TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO OF THINGS THAT ARE PLAINLY VISIBLE IN PUBLIC SPACES IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT—AND THAT INCLUDES TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES, THE OUTSIDE OF FEDERAL BUILDINGS, AND POLICE AND OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CARRYING OUT THEIR DUTIES.

UNFORTUNATELY, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO ASK PEOPLE TO STOP TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OF PUBLIC PLACES. THOSE WHO FAIL TO COMPLY HAVE SOMETIMES BEEN HARASSED, DETAINED, AND ARRESTED. OTHER PEOPLE HAVE ENDED UP IN FBI DATABASES FOR TAKING INNOCUOUS PHOTOGRAPHS OF PUBLIC PLACES.

THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS TO RECORD THE POLICE IS A CRITICAL CHECK AND BALANCE. IT CREATES AN INDEPENDENT RECORD OF WHAT TOOK PLACE IN A PARTICULAR INCIDENT, ONE THAT IS FREE FROM ACCUSATIONS OF BIAS, LYING, OR FAULTY MEMORY. IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT SOME OF THE MOST HIGH-PROFILE CASES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT HAVE INVOLVED VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDS.

As for video, the ACLU recommends;

NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE YOU HAVE THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO:

PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLE AND PROTEST IN PUBLIC SPACES AND PHOTOGRAPH AND VIDEOTAPE THE POLICE OR ANYTHING ELSE IN A PUBLIC SPACE.

HERE’S THE DEAL:

PUBLIC SPACES INCLUDE STREETS, SIDEWALKS, AND PUBLIC PARKS.
PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS CAN SET RULES FOR PUBLIC ENTRY (LIKE A THEATER SAYING “NO CELL PHONES”).

THE RIGHT TO TAKE PHOTOS DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO:

GO PLACES YOU’RE NOT OTHERWISE ALLOWED, RECORD AUDIO OF OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVATE, CONVERSATIONS, TRESPASS, OR INTERFERE WITH POLICE ENGAGED IN LEGITIMATE LAW ENFORCEMENT OPERATIONS.

POLICE OFFICERS MAY NOT: CONFISCATE OR DEMAND TO VIEW YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS OR VIDEOS WITHOUT A WARRANT, OR DELETE YOUR PHOTOS OR VIDEOS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

IF YOU’RE STOPPED OR DETAINED FOR TAKING PHOTOS:

BE POLITE.
DON’T RESIST.
ASK, “AM I FREE TO GO?”
IF THE OFFICER SAYS “NO,” YOU ARE BEING DETAINED.
IF YOU ARE DETAINED, ASK WHAT CRIME YOU’RE SUSPECTED OF COMMITTING.
UNTIL YOU ASK TO LEAVE, BEING STOPPED IS CONSIDERED VOLUNTARY.

It’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to remind the police officer that “taking photographs is your First Amendment right” and “does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine
  • Raimundo Gant

    Ron Paul speaks the truth! The FBI does just enough crime fighting to stay alive but their real duty is hiding all the corrupt dirty shit in the government.

  • brucehayden

    Ron Paul gets it right again. He may as well be Thomas Jefferson incarnate as well as he espouses the original Republican principles. The relevant history of the FBI begins with J. Edgar Hoover. A cross-dressing rotund little homosexual that kept everyone in check by keeping files on anyone of any importance. The fore-runner of our modern surveillance state. So when these bull-shitters stand up and talk about the illustrious history of this agency I am reminded of the whores in congress referring to one another as ‘the esteemed’ or ‘the gentleman’ or…..just watch the live sessions of congress. Personally, I don’t. I can’t afford the barf bags. The number one function of the FBI in it’s history is as a cover-up unit for tptb. Esteemed history? Lucky I saved a barf bag just for this occasion. They should be gone. Next up–Homeland Security. The word “Homeland” reminds me that I need some more barf bags as it should with all real Americans. We’ve quit buying what they are selling and they are scared shitless.

  • Lorne Allen

    Hoover was director for nearly 50 years, not nearly five years as the story reads.

    • junktex

      LMAO.That’s reason enough to discredit that very corrupt appendage.

    • Sam Taylor, Jr.

      It was a weird Comey insertion there. They weren’t implying that Hoover led for 5, they just messed up the insert.

    • Anonymous

      Hoover was director of the FBI for 37 years.

      • Lorne Allen

        ok, here is the lowdown. Hoover was appointed Director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, and when that organization was changed to the FBI he remained director until 1972, 48 years in total. That is what the author of the story meant but made a typo when he said “nearly five years”. So we are all right and all wrong.

        • Anonymous

          He was the 6th director of the Bureau of Investigation. However, he was the 1st director of the FBI.

  • Abz B Zbas

    Sorry, but aren’t these things supposed to come with a warning before it becomes an arrestable offense? A tresspass usually works that way. Or am I confused? Regardless this sounds like another trumped up charge for contempt of cop.

  • sniggity

    Da fuck?!?! Blatant illegal activity on these cop’s behalf.

  • Tmoney

    The article doesn’t mention, but these 3 gentlemen were arrested, but after the arresting officer spoke with the DA was instructed to let them go and drive them back to where they were picked up. They weren’t charged with anything. This was a bogus arrest from the beginning and if the police didn’t know that, they should have.

    • James Morgan

      They did.. but they’re now doing the “You can beat the charges.. Sure.. but you’re not going to beat the ride. Causing you pain and suffering by being arrested (probably reporting it to news sources to slander you), and the time and trouble of clearing your name.. and when you win (most often they ‘settle’ without an admission of guilt).. It’s not coming out of their paycheck and they are not going to be punished for it.

  • Real Truth stings

    Keep suing these departments until they stop this insanity

    • James Morgan

      It won’t.. cause the settlements are paid from insurance companies or state legal funds.. never a penny comes out of that cop’s pocket

  • John C Carleton

    If you piss your pants every time you get near a graveyard, perhaps you should not be a grave digger.

  • Robin W. Tong

    Another Supreme Court doctrine that one must recite to protect their rights – say it with me folks: The exercise of a constitutional right does not constitute a crime.

  • MMaguire

    Bogus arrest and likely the cops knew that but they were egged on by that really strange little FBI agent. Good to see some new auditors getting active.I hope they follow up with complaints and look into legal action. I also hope they go back out there and audit again although I bet they will get no response next time.

  • OneGoodDeed

    Now this deficient Sgt. will have an opportunity to explain himself in a court of law. It is also interesting how the Sgt. advertised that there was a victim. As if he was trying to lay the foundation of the court case that he knows will follow.

  • Ibcamn

    wake up people….cops are the biggest criminals in the country,the blue gang surpassed common criminals by about 1 billion dollars…..cops are the new homegrown terrorists,cops do this in hopes that harassing you and getting you with false arrest will make you stop filming their criminal activities,they are liberals[that is how he got the three stipes]and liberals are retarded and they double down on what they see as a threat to their criminal enterprise,instead of doing things legally or different[definition of insane,doing something the same way every time expecting different results]and liberals are indeed insane,so you see they think they are going to win,but what happens is,they wind up getting sued and losing some of their stolen bounty,so now they need to make it up,which includes arresting sober drivers and then fighting them in court or arresting people for and offense they never committed,on video,or the cops themselves committing crimes of raping women,beating women and little kids on video,choking handcuffed men on video,murdering innocent unarmed people on video,getting sued again and again…its a cycle that they are loosing…but instead of backing off,saving their money,they just double down,every single time,that is whats going on here..sadly they will loose yet again and loose more money yet again…so what do you think they will do to the next person,or these guys again..hmm….cops are retarded criminals,nothing more…….the new american terrorist-cops.

  • Anonymous

    Wait…the FBI SA’s feared for their lives? Why? Were they afraid a bullet might shoot out of the cameras?