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

  2. 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.

  3. 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????

  4. 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.

  5. 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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