(Article changed on March 27, 2013 at 17:25)
(Article changed on March 27, 2013 at 15:19)
CHP Officer L. Harris by martin Hill
Obnoxious CHP cop tries to make people stop filming him
Update 3/27/13 3:17PM: Hello, and welcome to the California Highway Patrol.
Thank you for visiting this article. I hope you like the publicity, because it's
only just begun. To mitigate the liability of your degenerate officer's actions,
your brass should re-train them properly. If they had trained their officers
correctly in the first place, it would have save you a lot of grief,
embarrasment and money. Too late. You have demonstrated a proven policy and practice of illegally denying people the County Seat and threatening to arrest motorists for demanding it. You had better respect the God-given civil
rights of all people. Viva Cristo Rey!
Traffic archives by Martin Hill
When will these cops ever learn? Even with Federal Courts, the U.S. Supreme Court and The U.S. Department of Justice repeatedly admonishing police departments for trying to stop people from filming them, the police continue on trying to coerce, intimidate, and arrest people for filming on-duty police.
Here is a recent example from Southern California. A California Highway Patrol officer L. Harris (ID No. 14858) snarled "you can turn the camera off too", as well as instructing the driver to "tell your friend to get that camera out of my face," when the camera was actually nowhere near his face. He attempted this despite the fact that numerous Federal Courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court, in additon to the U.S. Department of Justice have clearly and repeatedly affirmed that filming police is an inherent right in America. Harris then told the videographer, who never said one word to him, to "stay out of this, it's none of your business" before slamming the vehicle door in anger. When the supervisor was called at the insistence of the driver, he lost complete control and began screaming at the woman in a fury. [ That full story and complete 11 minute video can be found here Lunatic CHP cops go berzerk as female motorist successfully demands her rights under CA Vehicle code.]
Below is a helpful archive of stories and court rulings on this matter, and a ridiculous video from 2009 where a cop told me that filming him was illegal and tried to get me to turn off the camera.
In 2008 I filed an official complaint regarding the right to film police in
public. You can watch the entire internal affairs interview here
or if you prefer, just watch the short segments and read the transcript where
the two police investigators repeatedly confirm that is indeed 100% legal to
film police in public:
Police Internal Affairs Investigators Confirm that Filming Cops in Public is 100% Legal
For those of you who may be confused about our right to film on-duty police officers, here are two letters from the U.S. Department of Justice: One from 5/14/12 and a more recent one from 3/4/13.
STATEMENT OF INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES
Case 8:12-cv-03592-JFM Document 15 Filed 03/04/13 Page 1 of 13
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
MANNIE GARCIA, Plaintiff, v. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, et al., Defendants.
"The United States addressed the central questions raised in this case - whether individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties, and whether officers violate individuals' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they seize such recordings without a warrant or due process Ã¯ - - in a Statement of Interest filed in Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Dept., et al., No. 1:11-cv-02888 (D. Md.), attached here as Exhibit A.1 Here, as there, the United States urges the Court to answer both of those questions in the affirmative.
"This case raises questions that the United States did not address directly in Sharp, the answers to which are critical to ensuring that the constitutional rights at issue in that case are upheld. First, the United States urges the Court to find that both the First and Fourth Amendments protect an individual who peacefully photographs police activity on a public street, if officers arrest the individual and seize the camera of that individual for that activity. Second, the United States is concerned that discretionary charges, such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest, are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. The United States believes that courts should view such charges skeptically to ensure that individuals' First Amendment rights are protected. Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges. Third, the First Amendment right to record police officers performing public duties extends to both the public and members of the media, and the Court should not make a distinction between the public's and the media's rights to record here. The derogation of these rights erodes public confidence in our police departments, decreases the accountability of our governmental officers, and conflicts with the liberties that the Constitution was designed to uphold."
DOJ RULES: 'It Is Legal To Photograph And Film The Police' 3/15/13
'It is settled law that citizens have the right to record police.'