Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Crime Privacy Your Rights Online

Supreme Court Blocks Illinois Law Against Recording Police 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-your-cameras dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Illinois anti-eavesdropping law was cut down slightly. While protecting the average citizen from eavesdropping, it also put in place prohibitions against recording the police as they were doing their jobs. An appeals court sided with the ACLU, saying that it was too great a restriction on First Amendment rights. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, cementing in place the lower court's ruling. In Illinois, you can now secretly record the police."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Supreme Court Blocks Illinois Law Against Recording Police

Comments Filter:
  • caselaw summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:02PM (#42096405)

    With the Supreme Court not yet weighing in, here's a summary [citmedialaw.org] of the current state of case law. Every federal appellate circuit to consider the matter has come out in favor of recording being protected, however.

    • Re:caselaw summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by immaterial (1520413) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:09PM (#42096509)
      It is also worth noting the US Department of Justice [pixiq.com] also believes recording is a constitutional right and important to "engender public confidence in our police departments, promote public access to information necessary to hold our governmental officers accountable, and ensure public and officer safety," and they've set forth a clear set of guidelines that can help police departments set their policy and officer training accordingly.
      • Re:caselaw summary (Score:5, Informative)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:52PM (#42096983) Journal

        They didn't charge this guy with recording: http://www.infowars.com/california-man-jailed-four-days-for-recording-cops/ [infowars.com]
        Instead it was "resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer" and not having reflectors on his bicycle pedals.

        Police policy means shit if the officers are not trained appropriately.
        http://www.photographyisnotacrime.com/ [photograph...acrime.com] is a good clearinghouse for stories about police & private securitywho don't know how to do their jobs.

        • Re:caselaw summary (Score:4, Informative)

          by immaterial (1520413) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:16PM (#42097241)
          Not sure where you're going with that; it sounds like you're trying to disagree with me (or the DOJ I guess?) but the whole point of my post was that the DOJ thinks officers need to be "trained appropriately." They also address your point that officers tend to go for obstruction/interference charges (since generally recording isn't actually illegal it is a common "workaround"):

          ...an individual’s recording of police activity from a safe distance without any attendant action intended to obstruct the activity or threaten the safety of others does not amount to interference. Nor does an individual’s conduct amount to interference if he or she expresses criticism of the police or the police activity being observed. ...BPD’s general order specifically suggests that, if a bystander’s actions are “approaching the level of a criminal offense,” supervisors should “recommend a less-intrusive location to the bystander from which he/she may continue to observe, photograph, or video record the police activity.” ... BPD should revise its general order to provide “members” with the same authority. ... encourage officers to provide ways in which individuals can continue to exercise their First Amendment rights as officers perform their duties, rather than encourage officers to look for potential violations of the law in order to restrict the individual’s recording.

          Now, it's quite possible for departments or individual officers to ignore this advice (like BPD did basically immediately after getting it, as we PINAC readers are aware) but at least this document will help in any ensuing civil cases should you find yourself targeted unjustly - and one hopes as that becomes more common (and recording becomes more common in general) police departments across the country will start to get it.

          • Re:caselaw summary (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:46PM (#42099473) Journal

            The problem is all your "training" is worth exactly piss as long as resisting arrest and disorderly conduct are on the books, because frankly both of those laws are written so damned vague (on purpose i would argue) that saying "What is the charge?" is enough to get those charges slapped on you, and once you rot in a jail cell for a week or so (remember they can hold up to 5 days without charge in most places) they will have their "chilling effect" and insure that nobody dare not "respect my authority!".

            Of course there is a reason why in poor neighborhoods most wouldn't piss on a cop if he were on fire, its because the heavy handed skull cracking jackbooted thug bullshit has been going on far too long. Everyone thinks having a camera to record this thug behavior will help but for all those people I invite you to watch the largest gang in America [youtube.com] and to realize that the majority if these, even when caught on camera, did NOT go to jail or even lose their jobs, despite overwhelming evidence of them cracking skulls and being...well gangbangers with badges.

            So good luck with your training doing shit friend. I live on the "meth highway" and I had a friend who was a cop that quit in disgust, he said it had gotten to the point that he viewed his fellow officers as more of an enemy than the crooks! He said the few good ones left aren't gonna say shit about the others thanks to the code of silence, and he was surrounded by cops that were in it for the "Training day" style corruption or that were bullies that simply wanted a badge to crack the skulls of those they didn't like. Having a camera won't do shit because the corruption is too deep, too many of them are in it for the money or the ability to inflict pain, and as long as they can walk even after getting caught on camera then all the "training" in the world ain't gonna do shit.

      • by detritus. (46421)

        That depends entirely on who runs the DOJ at any given time - it's not set in stone.

      • Re:caselaw summary (Score:4, Insightful)

        by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Monday November 26, 2012 @05:37PM (#42098465)

        That is fantastic news that the DoJ is finally help people remember the ancient wisdom:

        Authority NEEDS to be balanced with Accountability.
        Authority without accountability leads to Totalitarianism
        Accountability without authority leads to Bureaucracy.

    • It is important for us as citizens to have the rights to hold all officials (elected, appointed, hired...) accountable.

      Police are here to serve and protect the public. Most of them do this job admirably, however when there is a minority who abuses the extra privileges given to them we as citizens should be empowered to point out the troublemakers, and insure that we don't create a cycle of corruptions, where even the good person can start getting into a case where they have passed the line.

      In order for you

  • I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

    Realizing the significance of his footage, Holliday phoned the local police station, but claims that the person who answered the phone 'blew him off'. Next

    • by Mononoke (88668) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:16PM (#42096585) Homepage Journal

      I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

      So the beating was justified then? Wow.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by moeinvt (851793)

        "So the beating was justified then?"

        No, but when you have all of the information and see the complete video (as opposed to an excerpt), it puts the incident in an entirely different context than that which was portrayed in the news media.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          No, it doesn't. It's still unjustified, and every cop on the scene should have, at a minimum, lost their jobs. Any cop who thinks it was justified should lose their jobs. Even with full context, at least "some" of the beating is not justified, and any is too much.
        • by Arker (91948)
          No it really doesnt. The entire video was broadcast btw, though for some reason there is a strong urban legend to the contrary. I guess a lot of people really want to believe otherwise. King deserved to be arrested, and force was clearly justified to subdue him. I dont know anyone that ever questioned that. The cops in question went for 'ultraviolence' which at best reflects poor training but that wasnt unusual or remarkable. What was remarkable, however, was that long after the 'suspect' was effectively su
        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:56PM (#42102073)

          You can stop at "no".

          The beating is not justified.

          It doesn't matter if Rodney was a lowlife. The cops are the law. They are supposed to follow the law. When the cops disrespect the law, it devalues the rule of law.

          Judges and juries decide punishment. Not cops.

    • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:16PM (#42096587)

      Yes, because 13 seconds of lunging requires a 68 second response of multiple people beating someone. Your premise is that if they showed the first 13 seconds people would of regarded the reaction as reasonable. I think you may want to reconsider that premise.
      Regardless of how it looks it should be made public if it took place in a public area. Having police harass you and break/confiscate your equipment and arrest you while recording a public event is mind boggling. If they're not doing anything wrong then they have nothing to hide.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:39PM (#42096837)

        Yes, because 13 seconds of lunging requires a 68 second response of multiple people beating someone. Your premise is that if they showed the first 13 seconds people would of regarded the reaction as reasonable. I think you may want to reconsider that premise.

        I think you completely missed the OP's point. The point is that a video recording (any video recording, for that matter, not just of police) can and almost inevitably will, given the generally sensationalist bent of the media, be taken out of context. In the case of his example, that doesn't mean the beating would be justified, not by a long shot. But it would certainly make a lot more sense, and be far less grievous, than a beating for no reason whatsoever. It's pretty easy to edit video footage to show whatever the hell you want it to show (reality TV shows exist because of that fact).

        Does that mean the police can ban recording them? No, not by a long shot. But the concern is valid. The response would be to record every police encounter themselves, although that is technically challenging in some cases (already done, IIRC, by most departments for traffic stops). Something like Google Glass would help considerably. Even then, their response wouldn't get as widely published as initial "shocking" footage, but it would help a lot.

        • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:53PM (#42096997)

          It's not like the cops don't edit selectively themselves. Lose tapes etc.

          This just levels the playing field.

          • If you dig a big hole in your end of the field, because the other team dug a big hole on their end of the field...I'm not sure that 'level' would be a good description of the playing field.

            IMO, if the cops doctor evidence, they should be held accountable, by law. And if the 'news' or anyone else doctors evidence, they should be held accountable as well. I think that by publishing this sort of footage, you're effectively presenting evidence, albeit not in a court of law in the case of the news, but there s

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              We set the standard in the 1970s. Nixon deleted his tapes before releasing them, and we know that the authorities are expected to and do edit the raw tapes before released.
            • Bias is in the eye of the beholder. I think it's fine to show "biased" clips, provided the original source is also made available to those who are interested. There was plenty of bias in the reporting of "climategate", but I will give credit where it is due and point out the perpetrators made their source available to all.
        • by gatfirls (1315141)
          "...But it would certainly make a lot more sense, and be far less grievous, than a beating for no reason whatsoever.....". No, not really. Well not for most people who take an objective look at what was seen. The "just world" juries give police a very high benefit of the doubt in the first place, and usually "you don't know what happened before or after the recording" is their biggest defense should they find themselves in trouble. It's definitely the mating call of the apologist.
        • But in the example, Rodney King, the context was irrelevant as far as the police go. It explains WHY the cops were so mad that they beat on him after he was down. Realistically, I don't expect cops to be saints and immune to anger, but as far as standards for law enforcement, "He was being a complete asshole and endangering everyone" is not a valid reason.

          It's poor journalism though, you're right. And that extra context might have provoked less of an angry response from the community. The riots were
        • No actually i didn't miss the point. I already know anything can be used to create a viewpoint. I don't think it was media's fault that the riots occurred, i think it was the police's fault as well as the rioter's fault it occurred. I don't believe that comparing Rodney King's video to reality tv in terms of how real it was is a very strong comparison.
          The concern is not valid. You yourself said that any video can be edited to show a number of viewpoints. If that's already a known factor then why concer

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          I think you completely missed the OP's point.

          Nope.

          The point is that a video recording (any video recording, for that matter, not just of police) can and almost inevitably will, given the generally sensationalist bent of the media, be taken out of context.

          Good thing sentences are handed out by courts and not the media, then.

          In the case of his example, that doesn't mean the beating would be justified, not by a long shot. But it would certainly make a lot more sense, and be far less grievous, than a beating fo

        • Sorry context or no context there is no justification for beating a man who is already down, that's just plain thuggery. I have relatives who have been cops for 30yrs who are equally disgusted by that sort of behavior. The problem is that for young males in particular, a gang chasing then kicking the crap out of a lone "enemy" is an instinctive behavior that has to be suppressed with civilization. Male chimps do the same thing, when a gang of male chimps catches an enemy chimp they beat it to death, rip the
      • I'm thinking of attacking you and your family. I'm probably on drugs, and won't stop until you beat me down. How long is acceptable? Or do you just let do horrible things to them?

        • by GodInHell (258915)
          One large bullet should do. Unless you move, then I might need to add some more.
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I'm thinking of attacking you and your family. I'm probably on drugs, and won't stop until you beat me down. How long is acceptable? Or do you just let do horrible things to them?

          Let me set fire to your straw man. My family is made up of fourteen ex Army rangers and they all have mace and tazers and plenty of plastic ties to bind you. Go ahead, punk, make my day.

    • I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown

      The obvious solution is for the cops to make their own recordings of any interaction with the public. Cameras in police cars are already common, and some police departments are now using headcams as well. Then if the media show a misleading snippet, the police can counter with a recording of the full event.

      • by M1FCJ (586251)

        What misleading snippet? The Police cameras never record anything that shows the Police doing something wrong since they have an automagical bit, the camera automagically breaks down just before the Police smashes the brains out of someone. Or the tape disappears. Or the camera would be looking to the wrong place. Or the policeman himself would have had turned it off himself accidentally by tripping the off button as he was getting out of the car... Never...

      • by idontgno (624372)

        Then if the media show a misleading snippet, the police can counter with a misleading snippet of their own.

        FTFY.

    • by dcollins (135727)

      The site you link to actually says this, prior to the supposed, unseen "lunge":

      "By the time Holliday started videotaping, LAPD officers were already beating King."

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:36PM (#42096803) Homepage Journal

      I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use.

      His 100 mph chase, drug use, priors, and lunging don't give the cops an excuse to beat a suspect. Ever. Punishment is supposed to come from the courts, not the police. Punishment isn't a cop's job, solving crimes and arresting people are.

    • by jrmcc (703725)
      100+mph?? hah - He was in a Hyundai Excel and as a former owner I'd say he found some pretty big hills to go down to get that speed.
    • That's why cop cars have cameras. We the people can record the cops doing their job. The cops can record themselves doing their jobs. If a news network broadcasts the citizen's footage without specific segments, the police can release their own footage with those specific segments included to show their side of the story.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

      So, if someone uses drugs, it's ok to beat them? Were the officers on the scene aware of the criminal record at the time? All we know is that there is no justification for the beating he received. 13 seconds of lunging doesn't justify 68 seconds of brutal beating.

    • I think most cop shops are afraid of something happening like occurred with the video of Rodney King's beatdown, in which the news snipped off crucial sections in which King repeatedly lunged at police. In addition, they tended not to mention his 100+mph evasion attempt, his prior criminal record or his extensive drug use. We all know how that turned out.

      Realizing the significance of his footage, Holliday phoned the local police station, but claims that the person who answered the phone 'blew him off'. Next, he tried CNN, but no one was there to take his call. Finally, Holliday took his tape to local Los Angeles station KTLA. They edited out the blurry first 13 seconds of the tape showing King charging Officer Powell, and broadcast the last 68 seconds of the beating. The next day CNN and NBC obtained copies, and the tape was seen around the world.

      http://www.seeingisbelieving.ca/handicam/king/ [seeingisbelieving.ca]

      Oh you mean recording an event is not perfect, therefore we should not record it? The police can STFU. Police videos is the only truly effective way to hold them accountable. Everything else gets swept under the rug until it becomes blatantly obvious and far too late. And yes, its not always perfect, but I for one want them accountable SOMEHOW, rather than business as usual. And frankly, I want to hold the department/chief responsible as well for high occurrences of bad police in their department - its a si

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:10PM (#42096513)

    Finally the line "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" can be used against law enforcement. Since law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting ever more invasive tactics to monitor citizens, it's refreshing to see that we can finally monitor them without fear of reprisal.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      You'll still see reprisals. This won't change that.

    • Commander Vimes... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Commander Vimes didn't like the phrase "The innocent have nothing to fear", believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like "The innocent have nothing to fear".

  • Record Secretly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mk1004 (2488060) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:24PM (#42096681)

    Secretly? How about openly? I'd say that you'd better record secretly if you don't want to spend the night in jail and get hit with some BS resisting arrest charge or the like.

    There are plenty of officers who don't like the idea of being recorded, and their reasoning varies from concerns about "Monday morning quarterbacking" to the sociopaths not wanting to get caught abusing their power. Still, if they can record us, we should be able to record them.

    • I'd say that you'd better record secretly if you don't want to spend the night in jail and get hit with some BS resisting arrest charge...

      Hell no. If I didn't have other responsibilities I'd be out in front with that shit, recording any and all police activity, in secret or otherwise. Cops do a great job until you find them doing something corrupt, then YOU are doing a great job. Every citizen who loves the constitution should be ready to record any and all police activity by whatever means available.

      • by mk1004 (2488060)

        Cops do a great job until you find them doing something corrupt, then YOU are doing a great job. Every citizen who loves the constitution should be ready to record any and all police activity by whatever means available.

        Well said.

  • by fnj (64210)

    The Supremes get something right. Well, at least not wrong.

  • That does not mean you will not be arrested or bitten for it, as it is still illegal to not follow the directions of police.

    • It is NOT illegal to refuse an unlawful order. The police have some discretion, but they are HIGHLY constrained to the types of orders they can give, and have to provide reasonable justification, albeit later.
  • Nothing to fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:10PM (#42097179) Homepage Journal

    If you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear officer.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:20PM (#42097291)

    I love it.

    Cops and other forms of authority are always telling people that if they are doing nothing wrong, then they shouldn't be concerned about a lack of privacy.

    Right back at you Police Officers. If you are doing your job without breaking the law you have no reason to be concerned about me recording you.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      No. Just, no.

      They're public officials, performing a public service, in public - absolutely no one has less of an expectation of privacy.

      There is just no comparison between that and what the average citizen.
  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday November 26, 2012 @04:31PM (#42097417)

    You don't mind getting roughed up a little and sitting in jail for an
    evening on trumped up charges and then paying for a lawyer to
    eventually dismiss your charges for which you file a complaint that
    is ultimately ignored.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

Working...