Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez Loses Bid To Allow Jailing Of Citizens Who Film Police In Public

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez failed in her latest effort to strip citizens of a basic right to film police in public — and thereby eliminate the single most effective tool against police abuse in this century. The Supreme Court refused her appeal of the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which expressly criticized Alvarez for her “extreme” position on the rights of citizens. As a native Chicagoan, I remain astonished that citizens have allowed Alvarez to remain in office as she has publicly sought to strip them of their rights and block a tool that has been used repeatedly to show police abuse. For a leading and generally liberal jurisdiction, Chicago has the ignominy and dishonor of leading the effort to fight core civil liberties in this area.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers in public. We have been following the effort of police and prosecutors around the country to deter such citizen monitoring of police. This trend continued this week with another disturbing case out of California. For a prior column, click here.

It is otherworldly to see these abuses occurring in two usually progressive jurisdictions of California and Illinois. Alvarez has become the leader of this rogue’s gallery of prosecutors who have strived to jail their own citizens for monitoring police in public. It is, to put it bluntly, a disgrace. While Alvarez failed in her latest bid, she and other prosecutors remain undeterred in their desire to see citizens punished for such videotapes — tapes that have featured prominently in establishing false arrests and police abuse. Before such filming, abuse claims were overwhelmingly rejected with the denials of the officers. Now, there is often undeniable proof — proof that Alvarez and others want barred under the threat of criminal prosecution.

Source: Chicago Tribune

39 thoughts on “Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez Loses Bid To Allow Jailing Of Citizens Who Film Police In Public

  1. Mr. Turley, Chicago is very DemocratIC, not progressive. Here’s a perfect example linked to this topic. Chicago leads the nation in police surveillance cameras. They can video you in public but not vice versa. The core of Chicago culture and politics is really quite regressive. There are MANY more examples. This woman is a joke DA as was Richie Daley when he held that post. At least she can speak in complete sentences.

  2. I’ll have to say Anita Alvarez’s commitment to protecting the Constitution is far from impressive, but Chicago is hardly the only city with political machines intrinsically at odds with civil and/or human rights. New Orleans, LA, Dallas and Houston readily come to mind as well. It’s not so much a matter of partisan affiliation as it is a propensity for embracing corruption and putting self perpetuation ahead of the best interests of constituents. What is particularly distressing about Chicago, and New Orleans for that matter, is how the local establishments not only embrace such corruption and malfeasance, but actually romanticize it. It gives them a “Pirate’s swagger” that the participants think is cool, but really it’s just pathetic and sleazy. Just as the old saying goes “all politics is local”, so is all corruption and malfeasance.

  3. False equivalence. Obama isn’t a liberal. He’s a centrist. Neither are Emanuel or Alvarez. A liberal wouldn’t be attempting to quash citizen’s rights to protect police wrongdoing but rather supporting citizen’s rights. There are very few actual liberals in American politics. Most Democrats tend to be like the centrist Republicans of old, but it is just that the GOP has moved so far to the right, it makes them look liberal in comparison. There are only two people in American politics today that leap to mind as being an actual liberal and one’s an Independent: Bernie Sanders (VT-I) and Alan Grayson (FL-D, elect).

  4. I would add New York City to Gene’s list of corrupt municipalities ignoring Civil Liberties. Their stop and frisk policy, which is directed at people of color is truly an abomination. Mayor Bloomberg is what is euphemistically known as a “Benign Despot” although in truth that has always been an oxymoron.

  5. @Gene – if you are directly replying to me, “!=” means “does not equal”, so, I do not gainsay you.

    I would correct one thing though: “centrist” is really a meaningless term. As the conservatives move more to the right, the centrist jogs right along with them remaining slightly to their left (in theory) making Obama to the right of Nixon. “Centrist” is also a code word that means a Democrat who supports Republican policy, which also describes Obama – see, Obamacare, nee Romneycare.

  6. SWM. Agreed, at least of late anyway. Both parties have swung over the decades. But at least since the MCGovern loss, you’re right.

  7. Pepe 1, November 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @Gene – if you are directly replying to me, “!=” means “does not equal”, so, I do not gainsay you.

    I would correct one thing though: “centrist” is really a meaningless term. As the conservatives move more to the right, the centrist jogs right along with them remaining slightly to their left (in theory) making Obama to the right of Nixon. “Centrist” is also a code word that means a Democrat who supports Republican policy, which also describes Obama – see, Obamacare, nee Romneycare.
    ====================================
    The C++ “!=” …

    And yes, the terms we use to determine location on a political map is like watching desert dunes change from time to time.

    Left, middle, and right are all meaningless terms in the sense that any one of them can be the other, depending on the winds of propaganda.

    Bloviation happens, constantly rearranging the left, right and middle of the sand dunes of political dogma in the U.S.eh?

  8. Darren Smith 1, November 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Dred contributed:
    “The C++ “!=” …”
    ~+~

    How about the following to help the Republican Party…
    <<
    ===================================
    Yep, the shift left operator.

  9. Dear Anita, there is a Constitution. I only wish there was a special place for State’s Ttornies like Anita like jail. The one place she should not be in on the list of persons allowed to practice law. Disbarment seems like a good start.

  10. 1) Can she not be countersued.
    2) On what grounds rested the lower courts decision?
    3) Are not such decisions, such as these two (ncluding denial of review) not appolicable in other jurisdictions? IE, what has to happen to put an end to this harassment?

  11. NickS,

    I am sipping my way through Hunter S Thompson’s ’72 campaign. Resd of George Meany’s demise by stroke after a 8-minute rage in front of the TV showing the last of the machine delegates who bought Muskie. That Daley
    went down too, put the machine Dems in total disarray, accdg to him.

    By you they are back in Chicago. 50 years is a long time.

    The parallels are constantly coming up to compare.

  12. Continuing a long stamen Chicago tradition….. It appears no one is immune from idiots intending to tun the constitution on its head…..

  13. If one wanted to break these asterdBays down by suing them civilly in federal court some limitations apply. First, the prosecutor itchBay has “prosecutorial immunity”. She can not be a named defendant. The arresting cop, the LEO (Law Enforcement Offender), his superior officers and the municipality, can all three be named as defendants and a judgment for damages may be obtained from them under the Civil Rights statute, 42 U.S.C, Section 1983. Second, if you are in a federal circuit, like the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which covers Chicago, that recognizes this cause of action under the First Amendment or other constitutional provisions, then go forward. Third, as to Chicago folks, Everyone who was arrested in Chicago can now safely pursue their civil rigths claim if the statute of limitations has not run or they have not waived the claim by admitting guillt or done something else. Go the the ACLU and ask the head honcho, Mr. Grossman, for a recommendation for your choice of lawyer.

    When you are in trial, make sure you film them coming and going from the courthouse steps each day.

  14. We need to pass laws for the imprisonment because of stupidity………….. I’s say we need to set aside at least half of the country for new prisons…. What country did this woman grow up in????

  15. God bless the ACLU for doing good work here. I wish more civil liberty minded Republicans and Conservatives would stand up and support the ACLU. I think it’s much less effective than it could be because of the partisan demonization it gets from the right.

  16. LJC
    Thanks, you for your link (see above) to a vital subject to me—

    Here’s an excerpt from the end, which lets us know where we stand. On bed rock, if we dare take the gruff and the troubles to bear the harassment.

    Does anybody know the processes for removing the arbitrary actions such aa srrest for impeding a police officer, disturbing the peace—-as well as under grounds of state laws, etc. which prohibit filming LEOs?
    I suspect that they are many.
    ==================

    “The First and 7th circuit decisions mean that it is now technically legal to record on-duty police officers in every state in the country. Unfortunately, people are still being arrested for it. Police officers who want to make an arrest to intimidate would-be videographers can always use broadly-written laws that prohibit public disorder, interfering with a police officer, or similar ordinances that give law enforcement wide discretion.

    The charges are almost always either subsequently dropped or dismissed in court, but by then the innocent person has been illegally detained, arrested, sometimes jailed, and possibly paid expensive legal fees.

    Journalist Carlos Miller, who has been arrested multiple times for recording police, documents such cases on a daily basis. He has also documented countless cases in which police officers have deleted incriminating video from cell phones — a crime in and of itself.”——–HuffPost

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