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A 1st Amendment victory for video

By Robin Harris | August 29, 2011, 8:02am PDT

Summary: Cops and some congressmen may not like it, but a Federal court has ruled that recording public officials, including police, performing their public duties is a protected 1st Amendment activity. Good!

Just the facts
Citizen Simon Glik was walking in nation’s oldest public park, the Boston Common, and stopped to video 3 police officers arresting a young man. After the arrest one of the officers turned to Glik, confirmed that he was recording audio, and arrested him for violating the state’s wiretap statute.

Glik was charged with wiretapping, disturbing the peace and aiding the escape of a prisoner. The last was so silly the state dismissed the charge.

The Boston Municipal Court found Glik not guilty of the other charges, noting the audio recording was not secret and carried out in plain view. Glik complained to the police, but they refused to investigate, so he filed a civil rights suit for violation of his 1st and 4th Amendment rights.

The officers claimed “qualified immunity” - a rule meant to protect public officials from legal harassment while performing their lawful duties - which was denied by the US District Court. The officers appealed to the US Appeals Court for the 1st Circuit - kind of like 2nd level tech support - which issued this historic ruling.

Get the full story on ZDNet by clicking HERE

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