Gizmodo is reporting that the US Court of Appeals (1st circuit) has issued an unanimous opinion that recording the actions of police in public falls under the First Ammendment.
For those of you not familiar with Simon Glik’s case, Glik was arrested on October 1, 2007, after openly using his cell phone to record three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common. In return for his efforts to record what he suspected might be police brutality — in a pattern that is now all too familiar — Glik was charged with criminal violation of the Massachusetts wiretap act, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.
Two excepts from the ruling stand out:
[A] citizen’s right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment.
Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’