Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Watching the detectives

By guest columnist Cleland Thom
If you’re fed up with the authorities filming your every move on CCTV, get your own back. Film a cop.

It’s completely legal. Just ask citizen photographer Carli Gericke.

She was travelling in a car with a friend late one the evening in Weare, New Hampshire. A traffic copy pulled them over, and Carli videoed the encounter.

The cop, Sgt Joseph Kelly, told her to move, and she did. But she kept on filming. So other officers moved in, arrested her and confiscated her camera.

The police eventually dropped the charge, but Carli sued for a breach of her civil rights. And she won.

The US Court of Appeal said citizens can videotape police activity in public, providing they are not disruptive and don’t interfere with police duties. You don’t even need consent.

The judgement said: “Protecting the right of information gathering not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government."

So: if a cop tries to frame you, make sure you get them in the frame first.

Cleland Thom is director of CTJT, who provide online journalism courses

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