We have yet another person arrested for recording a police officer in public. Louis Frobe felt he was wrongly stopped for speeding and decided to use his phone to videotape and record the stop and its surroundings. When he held the phone outside of the window to videotape the surrounding area, the officer proceeded to arrest him and charge him with a felony in Illinois. The arresting officer is identified in a lawsuit as Ralph H. Goar of the Village of Lindenhurst.
Upon seeing the phone, the officer confronted Frobe:
Officer: “That recording?
Frobe : “Yes, Yes, I’ve been…
Officer: “Was it recording all of our conversation?
Frobe: “Yes. Officer: “Guess what? You were eavesdropping on our conversation. I did not give you permission to do so. Step out of the vehicle.”
He was charged with a felony and kept overnight in jail. As in many of these cases, the charges were later dropped but the point was made. If you do not want to spend the night in jail and face a felony charge, do not try to record police in public. There is again no report of any punishment or discipline of the officer. The result is that a hostile officer can continue to use arrests as a deterrent to anyone who tries to record him. The Chief of Police insists that this officer was “merely enforcing the law.” Frobe has now filed suit.
Here is the complaint: 110314-frobe-v-lindenhurst-11cv1722
The complaint alleges violations based on (1) the first amendment, (2) false arrest, (3) unlawful search, (4) conspiracy, (5) Monell liability and (6) malicious prosecution. The last claim raises questions of false statements by the officers:
75. Defendant Officers willfully and wantonly initiated criminal proceedings against Plaintiff without probable cause to believe he had committed a crime.
76. With malice, willfulness, and/or reckless indifference to Plaintiff’s rights, Defendant Officers created, or acquiesced to, false and/or inaccurate police reports, causing him to be prosecuted for a serious felony offense.
77. In addition, Defendant Officers gave false accounts regarding their investigation to other police officers and/or Assistant State’s Attorneys and/or fabricated evidence.
78. The criminal proceedings against Plaintiff were terminated in his favor, in a manner indicative of innocence.
Among the defendants are Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller and Defendant Attorney General Lisa Madigan.