Video Recording Cops is Okay with the DOJ

(Ping! Zine) – Unprofessionalism amongst law enforcement has long been a concern held by many citizens. Most recently, the issue as the whether a citizen can record a law officer’s actions was back in the news thanks to a recent letter penned by no other than the U.S. Justice Department.

In a Monday memo addressing Baltimore Police, the U.S. Justice department clarified its stance on the controversial issue. Specifically, the letter addressed the case of a Maryland man who used his cellphone to record officers taking his friend into custody. The result? Police seized and deleted the man’s phone content, an action that was in fact, not legal.

The U.S. Justice Department’s letter from Monday cited a January filing by the U.S. on the matter.

“In that statement, the United States urged the Court to find that private individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties, and that officers violate individuals’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they seize and destroy such recordings without a warrant or due process,” stated the Justice Department’s letter to Baltimore Police.

Recording of incidents involving the police have increased with new technology. Aside from citizens using cellphones, cops are often required to use camera devices in their vehicles when pulling over traffic.