Montgomery Police Arrest a Citizen For Filming Them In Public

We appear to have another citizen arrested for exercising his constitutional rights to videotape police in public.  Jared Parr, the founder of a YouTube channel called Rockville Cop Watch, has posted his encounter with Montgomery County Police officers at a routine traffic stop.  The officers are shown demanding that he turn off his camera and what proceeds is yet another tirade from an officer who seems entirely clueless about the first amendment and basic constitutional rights. For a prior column on this issue, click here.

The video shows an officer saying “I believe you’re video taping. I believe you’re audio recording.” Parr responds that he is indeed recording and the officer immediately states, incorrectly, “Okay, you’re not allowed to do that. That’s against the law to audio record without my permission.” Parr says the officer is mistaken and asks if he is being detained. The officer says that he is indeed being detained: “You’re being detained right now because you’re audio recording and you’re not supposed to.” He was then arrested and charged with obstructing police.

Maryland continues to be a jurisdiction abusing the rights of citizens in filming police in public despite court orders clearly establishing that this is a protected constitutional exercise. This type of abuse occurs because neither police nor prosecutors are punished for violating the rights of citizens in this area. Parr is right in his accounting of his constitutional rights. You have two officers who not only commit a false arrest but do so despite the detailed defense of the citizen. They do not call the matter in or confer. They are intent on arresting the citizen for not yielding to their demands. If this case follows the pattern we have seen in the past, the charges will be dropped after the citizen has been forced to spend time and money in his own defense. However, no disciplinary action is likely given the past pattern in these cases.

30 thoughts on “Montgomery Police Arrest a Citizen For Filming Them In Public

  1. Yo guys and gals: There is a remedy which will stop the perps. Sue them in federal courts. The opCay is a state actor under 42 United States Code Section 1983 and he has violated the constitutionally protected right of the victim. The opCay can be sued as can his superior officers and if they are employed by a town then the municipality can be sued. Attorneys fees on top of the damage award can be obtained. Punitve damages can be obtained. Listen up all you young lawyers and old who spend days in court doing divorces and bankruptcies. This statute exists and there are thousands of reported cases that uphold the right. The lawyers are lame. Commenters need to throw some blame.

  2. When are we going to see a suit against some of these police that ends in a hefty financial penalty for their disregard for our first amendment guarentees?

    Stephan Gregory Patterson
    Palmer, Alaska

  3. There are several clauses or Prongs of the First Amendment at issue here. The Right To Petition The Government for redress of grievances is a good one. The victim who is busted for filming the cops should state that he is recording the event for the presentation he will make to City Council and to the Legislature regarding the abuse by police of citizen’s rights to free assembly, free speech, and liberty. Then he should show the video on Assembly Square in front of the state legislature. Most state capitals have some place where the people are told they can assemble and petition their grievances. This puts the correct Prong before the Court when he sues the igPays in Federal Court under the Civil Rights Act violations of 42 U.S.C,. Section 1983. Ya get a jury trial. Ya can get damages against the individual cop, his superior, the chief and the city. If it is state police then you cant get to the state because of sovereign immunity but you can get to the officers, the so called state actors who have violated your civil rights.

    You dont want to poke that camera in their puss when they are doing their business,. You keep it civil. So you can sue them for the civil rights violation.

  4. We lose more of our freedoms every day. There is no place to turn. The officers are protected by their superiors and unions whom are protected by the state and the judicial.

    We literally have nowhere to turn but the occasional public outrage when a video of abuse surfaces and even then rarely does the officer(s) get terminated. Please note that requires the officers being taped.

    These officers SHOULD be fired. But they will not be. That is a big part of the problem.

    We are turning into a Police State. Our local, state and federal govts are being hijacked by Totalitarianism.
    Party is irrelevant as both engage in it gleefully.

    At some point we have to make a stand or we will lose everything and become enslaved. Technology is growing too fast for any other outcome if we do not have the govt properly chained down.

    Egypt had a Revolution without violence, so can we.

  5. And to think Wednesday….the state of Alabama is set for oral arguments to end… The special voting rights acts….. One step away….

  6. And when you serve the opCay with the court papers summoning him to federal court on the civil rights lawsuit have the process server inform him that “it is just a routine search” and “to bring his wallet”.
    “Its just a routine search” so drop your rights. Yeah, not fried chicken, just shake n bake.

  7. False arrest is a very serious problem and more widespread than people think. It is so much worse when the police distort the facts or actually lie in their arrest reports. Imagine the feeling of helplessness from being falsely arrested and armed only with the truth. The final outrage is that the Supreme Court ruled that it is Constitutional for the police to conduct a strip search of individuals brought and held in custody. Although most Americans will never undergo this indignation, unless we become a nation of sheep, this could happen to anyone and everyone at any time.

  8. If you film police you’re a criminal. If you walk into a bank and demand money you’re a criminal. If you work for a bank and give out fraudulent loans, then give yourself a huge bonus for the fraudulent loans, you’re a friend of Obama. Is something wrong here?

  9. BarkinDog – that is if you CAN get them served. I work for a process serving company – the cops give you the run around when you have to serve them. I take joy in every serve my company does though, because they are all from the same lawyer and they are ALL civil rights violation suits.

    But that’s Baltimore for you.

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