Streams

A Fight For the Right To Record Police Officers

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A cellphone with a hidden camera on the top. (Sarah Kate Kramer/WNYC)

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel discusses his client Debra Goodman's lawsuit, which seeks to clarify that people have the right (under the First Amendment) to film or record police officers without being harassed or arrested. Goodman discusses her arrest after filming police activity last year and what she's hoping to accomplish with the lawsuit she filed in federal court. 

Guests:

Ms. Debra Goodman and Norman Siegel

Comments [20]

Mark Kalan from Rockland County NY

This issue has already been settled by the US Appeals Court in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glik_v._Cunniffe and many other local courts. I'd also suggest you interview Mr. Carlos Miller who has been arrested numerous times for videotaping/photography and runs a website called http://PhotographyIsNotACrime.com

It is your right as a citizen to record ANY public official/officer/employee.

As far as cops lying and tacking on the obligatory "resisting/interfering arrest" charge...we call it "Contempt of Cop."

Jul. 29 2014 11:53 AM
Dawn McCloud from NYC

The fundamental problem here is that most police officers routinely assume all people they encounter daily are guilty. This is the culture of the entire police department. Not just here in NYC but throughout the country. Completely contrary to our right of "innocent until proven guilty". Until this issue is addressed, we will continue to have our civil rights violated.

Jul. 29 2014 11:45 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Is there any contradiction btwn. objecting to police recording people who are recording them (or anyone else, w/out legal authorization) & wanting them to wear lapel cameras? Couldn't a police officer wearing a camera deliberately use it for surveillance rather than just recording his/her normal interactions?

Jul. 29 2014 11:44 AM

@john of the office(police) you sir are an agent who hides behind his blue wall and says dumb and ignorant things which intern only personifies the whole NYPD ignorance in a nut shell you sir have know morals nor the intestinal fortitude to actually look in the mirror and say that their is not a major problem in law enforcement when it is killing the people you so bracingly state you protect and serve how ever it is a fact that when people are pushed into a corner they begin to push back so instead of correcting the situation and taking responsibility for your brothers actions and most likely your own you exacerbate the situation with your government paid dribble. so do us a favor and shut up

Jul. 29 2014 11:43 AM
Jean from New York

Sounds like people video because they don't trust the police -- and the way the police react to being recorded, makes it sound like the police are actually not trustworthy, resulting in a society in which citizens and police mutually don't trust each other, making for an unsafe environment -- especially during times when there's an actual emergency.

Jul. 29 2014 11:40 AM

"Police Foundation Executive Fellow, Chief Tony Farrar, recently completed an extensive yearlong study to evaluate the effect of body-worn video cameras on police use-of-force. This randomized controlled trail represents the first experimental evaluation of body-worn video cameras used in police patrol practices. Cameras were deployed to all patrol officers in the Rialto (CA) Police Department. Every police patrol shift during the 12-month period was assigned to experimental or control conditions.

Wearing cameras was associated with dramatic reductions in use-of-force and complaints against officers. The authors conclude:

"The findings suggest more than a 50% reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly ten times more citizens’ complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment.""
http://www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-cameras-police-use-force

Jul. 29 2014 11:39 AM
Bobby GG from East Village

Guess what? There are times when cops lie and commit perjury in court.

Jul. 29 2014 11:39 AM
Guy from NYC

I'm torn. Police brutality is a serious problem, but you lose me when you promote the mindless facebookification of American culture. Something's wrong when every single citizen's first impulse is to record and upload every blasted occurrence, others' privacy be damned, helping out not considered. The idea that video never lies is also a dangerous delusion. Telecoms encouraging the profitable idea that technology is the only solution to any problem.

Jul. 29 2014 11:39 AM

"Police Foundation Executive Fellow, Chief Tony Farrar, recently completed an extensive yearlong study to evaluate the effect of body-worn video cameras on police use-of-force. This randomized controlled trail represents the first experimental evaluation of body-worn video cameras used in police patrol practices. Cameras were deployed to all patrol officers in the Rialto (CA) Police Department. Every police patrol shift during the 12-month period was assigned to experimental or control conditions.

Wearing cameras was associated with dramatic reductions in use-of-force and complaints against officers. The authors conclude:

"The findings suggest more than a 50% reduction in the total number of incidents of use-of-force compared to control-conditions, and nearly ten times more citizens’ complaints in the 12-months prior to the experiment.""
http://www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-cameras-police-use-force

Jul. 29 2014 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If I see a police officer having whatever kind of interaction w/a suspect, I don't think there's a need to call 911--the police are already there. Usually there's a 2nd officer, & wouldn't they call for backup if they need it? If it looks like the cops are being overwhelmed w/no chance to call for backup, then I'd call 911. If it looks like they're being abusive, I'd want to record it.

Jul. 29 2014 11:37 AM

Where police wore cameras, complaints of improper conduct and brutality fell significantly.

Jul. 29 2014 11:36 AM
Jennifer from NYC

NY has a single-person consent law when it comes to recording phone conversations - it only requires one of the people's consent to the recording. This can be analogized with the case by extending it to situation where an innocent citizen is protecting her rights in an encounter with a police officer.

Jul. 29 2014 11:32 AM
Susan

This is an important case and one with roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement in that the NYPD began recording people with video cameras in response to the way police officers were often recorded by bystanders and participants during those protests -- with the result that their behavior was broadly exposed via the internet.

Clearly the recording of police-public interactions, whether by the police themselves or by members of the public, helps ensure that the police do not overstep their authority or mistreat people.

Jul. 29 2014 11:32 AM
ericf

While all that followed sound absurd the policeman recording the onlooker was probably within his rights as anyone may photograph anyone else in a public space. However when the photographer is a policeman there is also an intimidation aspect and I'm wondering if there is law to address that.

Jul. 29 2014 11:32 AM
Theresa Gonzales from Westfield, NJ

Just curious, what was her reason for recording in the first place. Sounds like there wasn't much going on to record.

Jul. 29 2014 11:30 AM
Tasha Jones from Manhattan

What happened with the NYCLU lawsuit filed on behalf of Hadiyah Charles? It was the same same scenario.

Jul. 29 2014 11:29 AM

What constitutes interfering with a police investigation?

Jul. 29 2014 11:29 AM
john from office

So an upper Westside Yhenta took it upon herself to bother cops in the course of their job and now wants to be hailed for her bravery.

Jul. 29 2014 11:27 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Cops have no right to arrest or prevent people from recording them, as long as they are not interfering with their job or exacerbating the situation. Last time I checked, this is America. In fact, it may be in the NYPD's interest to record uniformed cops while on duty, it may cut down on frivolous lawsuits.

Jul. 29 2014 11:08 AM
John from office

Oy Vey, three liberal jews in one segment. Next they will have an anti Israel protest.

But first, lets attack law enforcement.

Jul. 29 2014 07:49 AM

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