Officer Seizes iPad and Threatens Arrest After Being Filmed in Public

This is yet another video of a citizen confronting a police officer about his taking her iPad because she was using it to film him in the course of a stop or arrest. The officer tells her that she can pick it up tomorrow and that she is risking an arrest by continuing to confront him.

What I found the most interesting about this video is that the officer is citing the fact that this is a public area as the basis for threatening arrest for the woman yelling and disturbing the peace. It is the very fact that it is public that gives her the right to film so long as she is not physically interfering with the stop or arrest.

The officer does not explain what authority allows him to seize a citizen’s property and force her to drive down to the police station to retrieve it. It sounds more like a parental scolding than police action.

25 thoughts on “Officer Seizes iPad and Threatens Arrest After Being Filmed in Public

  1. The iPad was taken because she was using it to document a PUBLIC meeting at the township building (which is allowed under PA Sunshine Law, etc). They apparently think that illegal seizure was allowed as she did not “notify” them prior to when she did, but there was a court case in PA which said that only when video or audio equipment (when it used to be bulky) would interfere with other people do they require permission so they can be given a place in the meeting room to avoid blocking other people. If the iPad was blocking people behind her, she would have to move or lower it. And if she caused a disturbance, they could ask her to leave. Since she did neither, they legally had no right to tell her to leave much less seize private property. The officer also screwed up by not properly documenting the property and providing a receipt. Also, he apparently went thru the stuff on it so this is really screwed up…..

  2. Chicago Police: Tape Us, Get Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
    Jason Mick (Blog) – January 24, 2011 2:25 PM

    Contrast this state of affairs with the fact that Chicago police officers have one of the most stained reputations for police brutality. According to a 2007 CNN report, 10,000 complaints — many of them involving brutality and assault — were filed between 2002 and 2004.

    Along with laws against video taping police in public, the measures against video and audio taping police encounters seem like a concerted effort to chain the hands of the citizenry and prevent them from reporting misconduct and wrongdoing. Without direct evidence, claims are often discarded and laughed out of court.

    The Illinois branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) fought the law — it has sued the state of Illinois twice — but the law won. Its case, which asserted that the eavesdropping law violates the First Amendment and hinders citizens from monitoring the public behavior of police officers and other officials, has been thrown out of court twice.

    Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said his organization cheered the decision, stating that he “absolutely supports” throwing those who tape police officers behind bars.

    He complains that citizens monitoring police activities for wrongdoing might “affect how an officer does his job on the street.”

  3. Yep citizens monitoring police activities might well effect how an officer does he job. He may have to do it professionally and appropriately and within the confines of the law.

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