Boston Police Arresting People For Filming Them on Streets As Invasive of Their Privacy

After criticizing police in England for arresting people for filming them and buildings (here), it appears that the police in Boston have embraced this abuse and have started arresting people for the crime of filming them in the streets. Just ask Simon Glik, a lawyer who was arrested for filming officers in what he viewed as an excessive use of force.

The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law — requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense. These laws were never intended to stop photographing public officials in public doing public functions.

There should be an immediate move by Boston’s city council to demand punishment of these officers and an immediate denial by the police department that such claims are considered valid. Yet, the police appear to be sticking by their claims and their arrests.

Glik says that he was merely asked if his phone had recording capabilities by the arresting officer and was then promptly arrested himself.

As the story below indicates, he is not alone.

Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll defended the practice. Driscoll insists that “If an individual is inappropriately interfering with an arrest that could cause harm to an officer or another individual, an officer’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the situation.” She ignores the obvious problem of defining filming of officers as interference or the claims of officers that they are arresting these citizens to protect their own privacy.

This shameful practice should lead to discipline not a defense from the Boston Police department. Hopefully, Boston has sufficient public interest lawyers to bring this matter to a court. This is an utter disgrace and John Adams would be on every corner passing out cellphones and video cameras.

For the full story, click here.

Kudos to Frank Williams for the story

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