Monday, June 29, 2020

'A Citizen’s Guide to Recording the Police' a primer for amateur videographers

When a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while he died, a cellphone video shot by a teenage girl on her way to get a snack made the horror undeniable, according New York Times. “The world needed to see what I was seeing,” said Darnella Frazier. When Buffalo police knocked down a 75-year-old protester and a pool of blood spread under his head, a cellphone video enraged people worldwide. “It just so happens I was in the right place at the right time with exactly the right angle,” said Mike Desmond of public radio station WBFO. Video can change the world — or at least a few million opinions. What about the potentially explosive video that can’t be shot or never gets seen because law enforcement has confiscated cameras or arrested the people using them? media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes in the Washington Post.
This week, New York University’s First Amendment Watch released “A Citizen’s Guide to Recording the Police” a primer for amateur videographers. The guide explains why, under most circumstances, the police can neither seize nor demand to view such recordings — though some may try — and it provides case-law examples. “In this new era, we have armies of citizens out on the streets capable of producing evidence that checks the conduct of public officials,” said Stephen Solomon, the organization’s founding editor. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker counts well over 400 “aggressions against the press” — including dozens of examples of equipment being damaged — that have marred recent Black Lives Matter protests. About three-fifths of the U.S. population lives in states where federal appeals courts have recognized a First Amendment right to record the police in public, the NYU guide says.
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