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Is a law that forbids videotaping a police officer unconstitutional?

Jan. 6, 2013

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Imagine you are on a crowded street. Ahead you see a commotion, and find out that someone is being arrested. You think that the person is being handled roughly so you decide to get out your phone and catch a video of the arrest. And if you were in Illinois, you, too, would be accused of breaking the law.

Chris Drew found this out firsthand when he recorded a police officer arresting him for selling street art without a license in December 2009. The unlicensed sales were a minor infraction, but recording the arrest is considered a class-one felony in Illinois, punishable by 15 years in prison.

Drew got a break when Cook County Circuit Court Judge Stanley Stacks ruled the law unconstitutional and issued a temporary injunction that barred Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez from prosecuting anyone under the law.

Stacks said the law was too vague. He wrote in his decision: “The Illinois eavesdropping statute potentially punishes as a felony a wide array of innocent conduct. For example, a juror using an audio recorder to record directions to the courthouse for jury duty given by a police officer would be in violation of the statute.”

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police argued that the law protects citizens and keeps them safe. After the ruling, the organization released a statement saying, “By allowing the audio/video recording of witnesses and victims without their knowledge or consent, there will be a chilling effect on witnesses coming forward.” The state FOP added, “There will be victims who are re-victimized. And, there will be tragic split seconds, where a pointed cellphone will be mistaken for a pointed gun.”

Not all police in the state agree with the law. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has voiced his support for repealing the law. He said in a WBBM interview that the law protects the police as much as it does citizens. He said that barring people from videotaping police who are making arrests makes it easier for someone to file a frivolous brutality suit against the police. “There’s no argument when you can look at a videotape and see what happened.”

The legal battle over the law didn’t end there. Arguing that the law violates First Amendment rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, which states as its mission “to defend and preserve the individual rights guaranteed to every person,” sued Alvarez, Cook County state’s attorney, in federal court.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, stating that the law was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court refused in November 2012 to hear the case, meaning the appeals court ruling stands.

What do you think?

What do you think of the Illinois law that barred someone from videotaping police? Do you agree with the judge’s ruling that it’s too vague? Or do you agree with the state FOP’s arguments? Did the Supreme Court make the right call by letting the 7th Circuit’s ruling stand? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!

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Comments
9/17/2014
Charlottesville, Virginia
Kyree
Mrs. Bailey/Monticello High School
Video taping an arrest can be critical evidence when dealing with a cop. If the cop is being over aggressive with who'm ever he/she is detaining or arresting is too much. Police officers bend there powers to far. They know because they do have that badge, that anyone who fights with them can be charged with a felony on that.

9/15/2014
Cali
Angel
Jabro Creekside Highschool
Okay, so first the police think its breaking the law because they got caught roughly arresting someone? This shouldn't even be a discussion. Just because the officer wasn't doing his/her job right doesn't mean they can get all offended by being recorded for evidence ? SOO, tell me this, if your house is being robbed by some random person, but you have a surveillance system, and at court the only evidence you have would be the video OF THE MAN ROBBING YOUR HOUSE. If someone took a Police officer to court the only evidence you would have would be the video OF THE OFFICER BRUTALLY ARRESTING YOU. Its really stupid just because police officers honestly believe that they're above the law and just becuase they dont want to lose their job, they try and make recording a police officer illegal.

8/19/2014
Buffalo
Anthony
SUNY
By definition this law is unconstitutional as it violates the First Amendment right to Free Speech and could not stand. There is not enough credibility in the law for them to even hear the case. Ultimately the right decision was made but no presidence has been sent by a ruling from SCOTUS law like this can be passed in other parts of the county.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Brix R
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think a law that forbids forbids videotaping a police officer should not even exist. I think it should be taken away because police brutality happens more than you think. With videotape, you can't lie about what is happening on the screen, and it is a good way to protect citizens and police officers as well.

5/20/2014
Montgomery
Jessie
Metzger/ Montgomery high school
I honestly think that video tapping an arrest is a great idea, police tend to over exaggerate the story of the arrest. Having the video tape on file can also be very helpful both the accused and the police. Cops get away with way too much and video tapping them is just one way of revealing them, also sending someone to jail for 15 years and charged with a felony is wrong. Having that kind of charge takes away a lot of your freedom all because you wanted to prove your innocence or have some what of justice, Therefore I thinks it unconstitutional.

5/15/2014
Murrieta, CA
Sebastian Salinas
Mr.Jabro
I believe the Illinois law that barred someone from video taping police is dumb, in that case the police can do and say whatever they want and there is no way that you prove different if they beat you or get out of hand with you while an arrest because their is no evidence on it. police brutality is something that happens and with this law it pretty much gives them another reason to do it because they will not get caught if they cant be taped.

9/27/2013
Watertown, MA
Danny A-M
Rimas
There is no way that this should be unconstitutional in any way. The flaws of policemen deserve to be seen because the reality of it is that police brutality does occur fairly often and too often. If these officers cannot handle the situation without doing something wrong themselves such as assaulting the person they are after when the situation doesn't call for it, then they should be fired or suffer some sort of consequence in return. There is no reason we shouldn't be able to videotape police officers, and maybe if it is made legal, than police officers will be more humane in situations because they know that they could be on film.

9/13/2013
Sidney MT
Chantz
Brad Faulhaber
If police arent doing anything wrong why are they scared of being video taped? If theyre abiding the laws like we are, or are supposed to, then they should have nothing to worry about. I think the law is there just to let the police do what they want and make it illegal to get proof of them doing it. Not to say all police break the law, everyone breaks laws, but police are suppose to be setting an example. To sum it up, if police arent breaking any laws or abusing their power, then they shouldnt care if theyre being video taped in the first place. It takes away normal citizens ability to defend themselves when or if a cop does abuse their power

9/13/2013
Sidney/MT
Zak
Mr. Faulhaber
Everyone should have the right to video tape an officer during an arrest or any time, due to the abuse of such power officers have. Some officers abuse their power of the law and sometimes don't even follow it. Without video taping things, then people would have no evidence of officers abusing the law. It's also apart of people's rights to Freedom of Press to be able to video tape.

9/13/2013
Sidney, Montana
Logan
Mr. Faulhaber/SHS
Filming in public is legal, and the only reason a police officer would stop you from filming is if he or she knows that they are doing something wrong. Filming the police should be not only accepted, but encouraged.

9/13/2013
sidney/MT
caleb
Brad Faulhaber
i think you should be able to video an arrest or whatever is going on because at times police can go on power trips and go beyond the dessesary needes to apprehend you in some cases. and if are able to video police are more causes on what they are doing and they will have the tendence to abide by there actions.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Kosta F.
Rimas/Watertown
Of course police should be video taped! What better evidence than catching the entire thing on camera? How many people accuse police of unnecessarily rough handling and it is their word against the officers. If the police officer is doing his job correctly he should have nothing to hide so what is the problem?

3/20/2013
Denver Colorado
Lidia
Ms. Mumby/John f. Kennedy high school
I think that most police men should be video taped because some police men abuse people for no reason they have no right to hit on a person if that person is not doing anything to them i would see if someone is threathening a police men then they could do something about it but dont just abuse someone just so you could feel good about yourself the law needs to do something about this because people are already getting hurt by police men and the laws not doing anything really but firing some of the police men. I heard on the news that two police guys shot this boy and he fell on the floor and the police guys went up to him and shot him two more times they should of just left him alone he was already on the floor they should of just handcuffed him and took him to jail. The law need to do something now before someone else gets hurt..

3/20/2013
denver colorado
Jazmine
Mumby/jfk
i think that this law is very wrong. Not video taping police officers lets them think they can abuse people and get away with it. If police officers video tape can video tape us then they should be video taped too. All the time on the news you see stories about people getting abused by police officers. Them being video taped can show if the officer needed to defend his or herself or if the cop goes to far and beats a person up and they don't do anything wrong.

3/19/2013
co
marcus
JOHN F. KENNEDY HS/MUMBY
I belive that this is a ludicrous law that affects bolth the police officers and the people. If a police officer is abusing a person it should be videotaped as evidence. Police officers have dash board cameras to record us so why not visa versa. It's pure folly.

2/20/2013
Sidney, MT
Mandi
Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I honestly think that the Illinois law is just plain dumb. What is the difference of you, yourself taking out your phone and videoing something that looks odd, brutal, harmful or anything like that that involves a police officer when the police normally have their own camera on anyways. I personally see absolutely no difference between the two scenerios. The law is unbelievably too vague, there should be absolutely no reason why someone should get a felony for taking a video of a police officer arresting someone. I believe the Circuits ruling was exactly what it needed to be, there's no reason for that law, it would just make any small situation so much worse.

2/20/2013
Sidney
Jace
faulhaber
I do believe it is not a violation, it would be the same as if there were survaillance cameras in the street around a business and it is video taping a cop rudely arrest a person, they would want to use that in court so why shouldnt a person be able to record it on their phones.

2/15/2013
Belleville/NY
Elina
Ms. Colby/ Belleville Henderson Central School
I think it is not a violation of a law. It is just an evidence in case if the police officer was wrong. It doesn't mean that if you are a police officer you are always right. You can also make mistakes. That's why I think if we want to live in a fair country, it should be fair to let people violate police officers if necessary.

2/15/2013
Belleville, NY
Erin
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
I think that videotaping a police officer should not be against the law. You need to make sure that the officer is doing his job correctly and not being rude to the people. Also, when an officer is questioning you he could be harrassing you but a higher power would never know because they would believe the officer. Sometimes I think that police officers abuse their power and they should be punished for that.

2/15/2013
Belleville/NY
Kyle
Colby
Personally having a dad that is a police officer I wouldn't want someone to record him doing his job of arresting someone that has broken the law. How rough the officer was being while arresting this man I don't know, but I do think that 15 years is an unreasonable sentence for recording it. Yes it should be frowned upon, but also I don't think it should be that bad. To be fair it is all up to Illinois' government how they run their state and what laws they have so it isn't really up to me to say much to it. But also how would you like to be recorded doing your job and having it used against you in someway?

2/6/2013
Harrisburg Pa
Malique
Central dauphin High School
Well what if the officer is not reading the person there right and just arrest someone. And in court they say he never read me my rights of course the officer is going to say he did but the video will be proof of he never did.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg
Matt
Central Dauphin High School
I believe that a law forbidding videotaping a police officer is totally unconstitutional. Take for an example that your friend and you are skating and you're recording it. Then someone calls the police to escort you out of that facility and you refuse. If the police officer beats your friend or man handles him and you have it recorded you can show the court all that had unfolded. So yes i believe that it is an unconstitutional law.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg Pa
Cody
Central Dauphin Highschool
I believe that you should be aloud to record /video tape police officers. If you think about it we are constantly being video taped by them. Is it wrong for us to video tape what happens in our neighborhood. Technicly its not against the the lawa so it shouldnt be uncostitutional.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg, PA
Rachel
Central Dauphin High School
I like the law becasue if the video got leaked to the public that officer could most likely get fired. I agree with the state FOP's arguments. The supreme court did make the right call by letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand. I just overall think that the law that prohibits videotaping police is a good one.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg, Pa
Milan W.
Central Dauphin High School
I think the law is unconstitutional because if the video gets out and other people see it, they might try to do harm on the officer because of the fact that they dont think that the person should be arrested.

1/28/2013
Benson/ Arizona
Brandon S.
Benson/Sorensen
Police officers put their life on the line to protect us as citizens of their area. I believe that we should do everything in our power to protect them as well. If a video gets leaked of an officer making an arrest there is a strong possibility that someone will then try and hurt that officer to try and get back at him for arresting one of their friends or family members. The video would give vital information such as the name and description of the officer. With the internet it would make finding the officer and his family that much easier making it easier to try and hurt the officer. I believe that the law should be in place.

1/24/2013
Irving/Tx
Joshua B
Bradley/Nimitz
Making it against the law to videotape a police officer is very unconstitutional. Almost everytime I turn on the news I hear about a police officer treating a citizen unfair. They either got beaten or shot someone without a good cause. I say if the police are doing what they are suppose to do then they wouldn't care if they got recorded or not.

1/21/2013
Irving/Texas
Linda
Bradley/Nimitz
The Supreme court made the right call by letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand. Obviously is someone would get in trouble for recording a police officer giving him directions, the law is too vague. Plus the law does take away individual rights of people that should be guaranteed to every person. Therefore it should be ruled unconstitutional.

1/21/2013
Irving/Tx
Jazmyn
Bradley/Nimitz
Videotaping the police should not be against the law. If a pedestrian is viewing another pedestrian being mistreated, I think they have the right to record them. In court you need evidence. You can't just bring a case like this up without having the proper evidence, to back up your clam. I agree with the 7th Circuit's ruling it is unconstitutional to make a law like this one.

1/20/2013
Irving/Tx.
Katie D
Bradley/Nimitz
I feel that the law goes too far. Someone should be able to record police arresting an individual. It can be used to hurt or hinder either persons case therefore it can't be said that the law is unfair (Gary McCarthy made very valid points). I do agree that the ruling is too vague. Like the article said, it would be illegal to record directions somewhere. There leaves too much room for confusion. The Supreme Court did make the right decision about letting the decision stand because the decision that had been made was right.

1/19/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer R
Bradley/Nimitz
The judge is correct in saying the law is too vague. Since when is videotaping police a crime? The Supreme Court did make the right call in letting the 7th circuit's ruling stand because the Illinois law is unconstitutional.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Eric I
Bradley/ Nimitz High School
I believe it should be illegal to film other officers while they are still on the clock. They need to just do what they do, and do what is necessary to protect the society. I think Illinios did good in barring Cook County State's Attorney. It's not too vague, it says it loud and clear that you should not easedrop, and they clearly did.

1/18/2013
Irving, TX
Bethany
Bradley/Nimitz
The judge's ruling is correct in that the Illinois statue is too vague. Videotaping police has a few plus sides: it makes it easier to see what exactly happened if a police officer is accused of being too violent, it could possibly help an investigation if an arrest ends up badly (the criminal escaped, shot an officer, etc.), and could help support a police officer's claims that he followed the law. The Supreme Court did make the right call in letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand because their ruling was correct; the Illinois law is unconstitutional.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Ashley C
Bradley/Nimitz
The law, in Illinois, that barred people from videotaping the police when arresting someone is unconstitutional based on the fact that videotaping is an individual right. The law that did prohibit these videotapings was too vague, because there are many things that can be interpreted. The FOP have a reasonable claim and it could be a violation of privacy. However the person being arrested has the right to record it if they please. The Supreme Court made the right call in upholding the 7th circuit's ruling and made the Illinois law unconstitutional.

1/18/2013
Benson
Haley
Sorensen
I dont quite understand why you would want to video an arrest but if you do I dont think it would be a big deal unless it went viral and the officer was doing something he wasent allowed to. If nothing is being done that illegal and its just a normal arrest I dont see why you cant video it. I understand that they dont want it to be seem by the world so they could just confiscate the phone or camera but i dont think its nessesary to arrest the person.

1/18/2013
Benson, Az
Allison
Mr. Sorenson, Benson High School
I believe that the law is unconstitutional, and I agree with the judge's ruling. The Surpreme Court should have given a reason in the 7th Circuit's ruling to confirm that the law is unconstitutional. I believe that you should be able to report something if you feel the need, and using a video tape as evidence should be completely acceptable.

1/18/2013
Benson
Emily
Benson High School
i believe that this is one law that should be repealed. the law itself makes no real sense. why shouldnt you be able to videotape something that you want to videotape? i can understand how someone might think, in the heat of the moment, that a pointed cell phone was a pointed gun. yes that would be very tragic but that would just be the risk that the video taper could decide whether he wants to face that risk or not. besides video could be a great source of evidence and would reveal the absolute truth, for either side of the dispute.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Kristian B
Bradley/Nimitz
The law in Illinois that barred someone for videotaping police is unconstitutional because videotaping is part of individual right guaranteed to every person. The judge was right in saying the law was too vague. As Stacks explains, the law can have an array of meanings and actions. The FOP's arguments have are reasonable but policemen are citizens also. The Supreme Court should have gave their reason in letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand to reconfirm that the law was indeed unconstitutional.

1/18/2013
Irving, TX
Liliana
Bradley/Nimitz
The law in Illinois of making it illegal to video police is unconstitutional. It gives corrupt or prejudice policeman the chance to continue unethical behavior. Its like witnessing a crime and not being able to use the tools you have to retrieve evidence. On the other hand, the fact that a cellular could be mistake for a gun is pretty reasonable. I think the Supreme Court should have agree to hear the case and made a ruling.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Julio F.
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that the banning of videotaping police officers is really unconstitutional, I mean police officers are doing their job out in public so it doesn't make sense why they would outlaw videotaping them because it's like outlawing videotaping out in public. Plus, the recording of an arrest can count as evidence and that can really help out an officer to defend himself in court. I think that if a police officer can't tell the difference between a phone/camera from a small and dangerous weapon, why did he join the police force anyways. So I agree with the ruling and that it should stay.

1/17/2013
Irving/Tx
Carolina R
Bradley/Nimitz
Alright if normal citizens are exposed to being video taped or photographed why should police men be protected? This law really is too vauge and they did right to declare it unconstitutional. In public everyone is exposed to everyone else especially now with the new technology. Also a phone can not be mistaken for a gun unless it is really shaped like a gun and I have not heard of that.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Alex H.
Bradley/Nimitz
I believe that the law banning videotaping policemen is outright unconstitutional, as people should have the right to go out and record anything they want in public. Plus, recording an arrest will further enhance the amount of evidence provided for the arrest, whether it be to criminalize the person, or to charge a case against a cop for being to rough. There should really be no way that recording an arrest can be dangerous, unless you're to dumb enough to realize that what a man is holding up is a small, light, cellular device and not a heavy piece of firearm. Therefore I believe that the ruling for the American Civil Liberties Union was correct, and it should stay that way for years to come.

1/17/2013
Irving, TX
Lily
Bradley/Nimitz
There should not be a law prohibiting videotaping cops. If anything, videotaping should be encouraged as evidence to the court for both sides. I mean, they shouldn't have a problem with it if they have nothing to hide, right? The ruling is too vague though. Like Stacks said,”The Illinois eavesdropping statute potentially punishes as a felony a wide array of innocent conduct.” That means that I could be punished for surveying a cop and recording it for a school project. The Supreme Court made the right call by letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand, because I agree that it was unconstitutional to ban videotaping of police at work.

1/17/2013
Irving, TX
Daniela R
Bradley/Nimitz
Illinois' law was unconstitutional. Plain and simple. It's hard to win a case in court. Detectives have to search long and hard for evidence to help a victim. To have evidence as good as a video of the incident could really help. The judge had a point to say that the law was too vague, just like when a city tried to ban nudity in films. The Supreme Court made the right decision to let the 7th Circuit's ruling stand. No one should be able to get away with a crime, not even a police officer.

1/17/2013
Benson Arizona
Sabrina
Sorensen Benson High
I believe that their should not be a rule prohibing video taping cops. Because their are bad people in high places and video taping them to prove that their a "bad cop" seems like a good idea to me! If they dont got anything to hide they shouldnt have a problem with being video taped during work. But only during work.

1/17/2013
Benson, AZ
Kasey
Sorensen/Benson
I think that videoing an arrest may be innapropriate for the privacy of the person getting arrested. but it should not be a majorly punished crime.

1/16/2013
Irving/TX
Mayra Z
Bradley/Nimitz
Whenever policemen do something wrong I think is the right of people to videotape the action because if the people don't do it then who will stop some policemen when they are the ones that are wrong. I think policemen are portrayed as law enforcement authorities, but no one will know if they treat people right or do the right kind of arresting or law enforcing.In this case, I think the law of Illinois declaring videotaping against the law should take better consideration of this rule. I do agree with the judge's ruling of this being to vague: reason to convict the guy who video taped a policeman. I think this law is too vague, they need to make it better to better understand. They should change it to a way in which they can only videotape if there's something against the law or something unconstitutional happening to use as evidence.I do think the court made a right call because it's nothing too serious to be gone to court, I don't think the guy that videotaped the video was aware of this law and was probably confused at what it meant if others don't really know the meaning of this law then this law needs to be revised and reworded to clearly understand it.

1/16/2013
Irving/Tx
Rebecca M.
Bradley/Nimitz
Illinois should not have made the law of videotaping an officer illegal because sometimes there is corrupt cops and videotaping their actions can prove the innocence of an individual. The judge can determine, by watching the tapes, whether the defendant's claims against the officer are false. Depending on how the video was recorded it can be considered vague. Letting the 7th circuit stand was the right thing to do.

1/16/2013
Irving/TX
Kenia R
Bradley/Nimitz
The Illinois law was unconstitutional. Videotaping the police is the same as videotaping anybody else doing their work, its like a security camera helping protect the people. Cops try to take advantage sometimes because they are authority and they think that nobody can do anything to them. If they are not doing their job right they should get a punishment. The supreme court did the right think ny letting the 7th Circuits ruling stand, it was the right thing to do.

1/16/2013
Irving, TX
Stephen S.
Bradley/Nimitz
The law is unconstitutional, it shouldn't be illegal to video record a police officer doing his job. What? Just because he's a police officer, that means you can't record him doing something wrong? That's evidence, and evidence isn't illegal, it shows the real truth behind a cops actions. I agree with the judge on this case. Chris Drew shouldn't have been taken to court over this ridiculous law, the law doesn't give a good description on what's illegal or not. How would you know if you were doing something wrong if you didn't understand the law because of how vague it is? Like Judge Stanley Stacks said, "a juror using an audio recorder to record directions to the courthouse for jury duty given by a police officer would be in violation of the statute", if you couldn't record directions to something as big as jury duty which is against the law to skip then how would you make it? This law shouldn't even exist because it is a violation of the first amendment which goes against freedom of the press.

1/15/2013
Benson, AZ
kayla
sorenson
i believe people have every right to tape a cop when they are arresting. cops are rough but they only need to, to a certain extent. if an officer is not doing there job, like eveyone does when they have a job, then they should be fired or go to court.

1/15/2013
Irving/TX
Rose
Bradley/Nimitz
The Illinois law was unconstitutional. The judge defiantly made the right call the law was to vague and it could incriminate someone wrongly. Video taking a police officer at work is the same as video taping a construction worker on his work. Should police officers get special treatment simply because they are police officers? No, you cant dispute was is caught on tape. And if a police over is not doing his job the right way he should face the consequences. The Supreme court did the right thing by letting the court case stand because they knew it was the right call.

1/14/2013
Irving Texas
Jasmin T.
Bradley/Nimitz
While the Illinois law banning people from video tapping the police is not only fair but is going against the First Amendment in the Constitution. Even cops being cops, they can't possibly follow all rules, they are still human. I know people enjoy catching cops slip because well, they are cops! People video tapping cops should not be frowned upon, nor against the law! Imagine if something was happening and someone shot the cop and you happened to be on the crime scene, you would have evidence it wasn't you. Not only do cops now have their own built in cameras in their cars, due to the last accident the cop had with another citizen while the cop was on his computer. With out the technology, the innocent man could have possibly got charged for something that he didn't do. With the camera in the cops car, the judge knew it was him. Video tapping cops, or people I think is a good thing, it lets to capture more things, and if needed could be used to help someone!

1/14/2013
Irving/Tx
Vanessa C.
Bradley/Nimitz
Videotaping arrest and crime, we are guaranteeing that justice is out . A police officer say what they want to think and what they see. By videotaping an arrest or crime we are guaranteeing that the truth will reveal . Police officers must be watched because there authority can not be assure as truth. And it doesn't mean they have the right to take away the only way we have to keep records of police injustice. Evidence does not commit injustices . It is one of the ways we can keep the authority in the line . The police jobs is to find the truth and protect the citizens not to injustice crimes.

1/14/2013
Irving, TX
Kelsey
Bradley, Nimitz High School
We are a technology based generation, and that is because we practically have cell phones, tablets, and laptops always within arms reach. We find new and creative ways to use technology to help in business and in health. So with this in mind I wonder why would videotaping be disallowed if it is being used by a vigilante trying to save someone. Videotaping has helped tremendously with finding out so called professional to be truly ugly and rude towards others ranked below them. There is a famous video of a teacher curing out a life skills class and if it weren't for the student that recorded the event nothing would have been done. The choices that the student had were to either take a verbal/violent action or stay seated record and show the evidence he gathered. The same this applies to abusive police officers verbally and physically.

1/14/2013
Benson/AZ
Kady
Sorensen/Benson
If you are doing your job right it shouldn't matter if people video tape it. It could be useful evidence in cases. Also, 15 years seems a little extreme...

1/14/2013
benson/az
cottrell
sorenson/benson high school
video taping the police shouldnt be a crime. if anything, video taping should be encouraged as evidence to the court for any situation for both sides .

1/14/2013
Benson
Joey S.
Sorensen/Benson
I feel that he should still be punished for the crime he commited with the art but that he should be punished for the videotape too, maybe not completely the whole 15 years but some sort of punishment would be good.

1/13/2013
Irving, Tx
Hector S.
Bradley/Nimitz
The Illinois law is a violation of the First Amendment in the Constitution. The punishment of the law is also disproportional to the action being taken. The judge is correct when he says that the law is too vague, not only will videotaping officers be illegal but also other rights that citizens are entitled to. I do not agree with the FOP's argument, the only logical thing that he said is that officers can mistake a camera/phone for a gun. The Supreme Court made the right call by letting the 7th Circuit ruling stand.

1/13/2013
Irving/Texas
Omar R.
Bradley/Nimitz
There is a reason why there is such thing as the Illinois law barring someone from videotaping the police, it could also be held as offense to the police officer whom also contains rights as individual citizens, their own Miranda rights so to say. The words the officers say in the recording might be held against them even if it wasn't mean't for any defense. Yes sometimes police officers tend to get out of hand but there are times when additive force has to be used. However, the judge's ruling was correct, the law was too vague to consider exactly what it mean't and should be clarified by the state. The Supreme Court's main objective is to protect the individual rights of every citizen and uphold the constitution. If those ordeals were solved correctly then the Supreme Court made the right ruling.

1/13/2013
Irving, TX
Brittany H
Bradley/Nimitz
The federal government should allow Washington and Colorado to legalize marijuana. The states should have the right to make their own individual decisions on the situation of legalizing marijuana. It should be the same as laws for drinking alcohol seeing as they have the same relations with both being considered “drugs”. The federal government should review and revise the Controlled Substance Act since this is an issue that many have been protesting against for decades. The idea of selling marijuana to citizens 21 and over in states that allow it seems like a fair deal to both the citizens an the government who could gain money from taxing the sales.

1/12/2013
Irving/Texas
Chhering
Bradley/Nimitz
Video taping police's action should not be illegal. What king of legal things are the police going to do that should not be viewed by the public? Law should not forbid doing such action. It doesn't go against their privacy.

1/11/2013
Irving/TX
Marisol
Bradley/Nimitz
Illinois shouldn't prohibit people from videotaping the police. Just like Garry McCarthy said, videotaping can protect everyone. There have been cases where police have been caught beating citizens on camera. If it wasn't for videotaping, then we would never know what really happened. It's understandable why people feel like they must have solid proof of what goes on when an arrest or any kind of law enforcement takes place. Videotaping can't hurt, it can only help serve justice. If the videotape has nothing abusive or anything illegal, then it can just be dismissed. No harm done. Besides, police cars have an automatic recording device, so I don't see how these two things differ from each other. I do agree that a recording can be vague because it all depends on when the video started recording. But, having some sort of evidence is better than nothing.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Dalton
Faulhaber SHS
I think that video taping a police officer is not that big of a deal. I believe that if they can video tape you than you should be able to video tape them.

1/11/2013
Sidney, Montana
Matt
Mr. Faulhaber
I think you should be alowed to video tape an officer. If they are scared they will do something wrong on video then they shouldnt be a cop. Cops are allowed to video people so why cant people video the police.

1/11/2013
Sidney/ Montana
Sicily
Mr. F/ Sidney High School
Recording an officer should NOT be that big of a deal. Police officers aren't any more of a person then the one taping them. Why is it such a big deal? Are they worried that they will be turned in for doing something that they shouldn't be??!

1/10/2013
Irving, TX
Sandra E.
Bradley/Nimitz
The Illinois law prohibiting the video tapping of police officers is unfair. Once in a while police officers can go over board and can abuse their power. That's why people video tape them so justice can be served. Illinois is making the complete opposite of justice. No, i absolutely disagree with the state FOP's agreement. People have the right to videotape officers on duty, i mean if the media does it all the time, why cant regular citizens do the same?

1/10/2013
Montgomery Texas
Nathaniel
Metzger/Montgomery High
The law seem to be wanting to defend their police officers "cruel an unsual punishment" more than they care to defend the wrong doing of police brutality to the citizens of this fine country. Video taping an incident of an arrest may be more beneficial to the court an for knowing exactly what happened that day. Just like police cruzers have video cameras in them to protect the police officer from wrong doing of an arrestee. Taping an arrest could be a difference of a man being in jail for life an finding the truth of what really happened sense judges will always rule with their arresting officer on most acations.

1/10/2013
Irving/Texas
Claudia
Bradley/Nimitz
There should be no reason to make video taping police illegal. The officer is supposed to take adequate actions and unless they take unacceptable actions there should be no reason for an officer not to allow it. It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and a video would be worth many more. In case there is a conflict a video could settle a case and be great evidence. The law is to vague because there could be situation where recording an officer could be completely inoffensive. Someone can record for any other purpose than believing an officer is using excessive force in an arrest. The supreme court did good in leaving the smaller court ruled.

1/10/2013
Irving/TX
Jessica H.
Bradley/Nimitz
Videotaping an arrest or crime should not be illegal. Police officers, not all but some, take advantage of their authority and may act in a way harsher than what they should during an arrest. An example of this is the police officer in Hurst that used strong language and threats while arresting a teen with warrants. Had his friend not recorded the arrest, the truth about how the officer conducted himself may not have been found out. The Illinois law prevents such things from showing up. Justice should be sought out whether it is referring to citizens or officials and videotaping police officers' actions allows us to keep them in line just as they keep us in line.

1/9/2013
Irving, Texas
Sona
Bradley,Nimitz
Just because you are a police does not mean that you can do whatever you want. If a police officer does something wrong, he/she should be punished just as if a person who is not a police would. If anything video taping is essential because the truth would not be hidden. If the judge looks at the tape, he/she would be able to know exactly what happened when the arrest happened. Like it says in the article, the tape could either help or could be a disadvantage to the police officer. Help in a sense that if the person who got arrested says something inaccurate about what happened during the arrest , it could determine whether the officer did anything wrong. It can also be a disadvantage because if the officers denies what the person who got arrest says, the judge can look at the tape to see whether what has been said is true or not.

1/9/2013
Irving/TX
Jennifer T
Bradley/Nimitz
By videotaping arrest and crime, we are insuring that justice is indeed sought out. A police officer simply believes what they want to and what only THEY see. By videotaping an arrest or crime we are insuring that the truth is obtained. Police officers must be watched just like our government officials, just because they are authority does not mean they have the right to take away the only mean we have to keep records of police injustice. If the force does not commit and violations or injustices then the police department should not remove this right from people. It is one of the ways we can keep the authority in line. They are suppose to protect us, but who will protect us from them?

1/9/2013
irving/tx
cindy m
bradley/nimitz
The police are not anymore special then anyone else. If the president can be video taped so can police. The law is too vague. It could be manipulated to fit different cases and every person can look at it differently. That makes it hard as a law and should be a lot more specific.

1/9/2013
Irving/ TX
Amber P
Bradley/ Nimitz
Honestly, the law is ridiculous. The law is way too vague, It gets confusing- It makes a lot of laws conflict. I don't see the problem in having someone videotape what's going on, It helps keep the people in check, and there's no way to get a gun confused with a phone. Of course the Supreme Court made the right call by letting Circuit's ruling stand, I don't see a scenario where it makes it okay to send a man away for 15 years for recording a police officer.

1/9/2013
Benson, Arizona
Elena
Mr. Sorenson / Benson High School
It seems to me that this law of videotaping an arrest is ludacris. There's no reason anyone should object to being videotaped in a public scene and that goes for either party whether it be the citizens or the police officer in the situation. If you're not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn't object to being taped because it's not as if it's going to be used in a slanderous way, and if it is, charges can be pressed for that situation separately. It appears to be too defensive for law enforcement to me.

1/9/2013
Benson
Morgan
Mr. Sorensen
I think in this case the man recording the arrest is in the wrong. The officer might have thought the man was puuling a gun. However, officer McCarthy is also right when he says that looking at a video tape can prove whether ot not a police man was being burtal with a suspect or not. On the other hand, I happen to think the law is slightly ridiculous and pointless. It;s niot a big deal either way you look at it and i really don't understand why it's such a bad thing to record an arrest.

1/9/2013
Benson/Arizona
Krystal
Mr. Sorensen/Benson High School
I don't think it should be illegal because police use video footage as evidence all the time and if it is believed that the officer handled a person roughly, then the video can be reviewed and a decision can be made based on what actually happened.

1/9/2013
Benson, AZ
Katelin
Marv Sorenson/ Benson High School
It should not be illegal for citizens to take videos of police, however there should be a limit. People should be allowed to record or take videos as long as they only use it in a courtlike situation, and not for public eyes, unless givin special permission. As said earlier, the law protects both the police and the citizens and neither one more than the other. How would we propose for people to protect them in court when we don't allow them to have any evidence? There should be an equal right in the situation pertaining to the fact that if any one of the persons was doing a wrong, it should be allowed to be recorded and tryed in court.

1/9/2013
Benson/ Arizona
Rhiannon
Marv Sorenson/ Benson High School
I think that the law to keep people from videotaping any person at any time in not unconstitutional. If people aren't allowed by law to videotape unknowing citizens, then videotaping a police officer making an arrest is the same thing. Sure it could be used as evidence, but Chris Drew was commiting a crime in the first place. If the officer was truly being brutal during the arrest, then creating evidence to bring the officer to justice is not wrong.

1/9/2013
Benson, Arizona
Richard R.
Marv Sorenson, Benson High School
The law forbidding bystanders from video taping police is not unconstitutional, but think it does undermine the justice system of Illinois. The video footage could be a key factor in some crime that comes about. Maybe the trial won't be about police brutality, but the crucial piece of evidence contained in some footage may bring justice. If that footage contains a police officer, it would be declared null as valid evidence. Videotaping a police officer or any crime with or without a police officer is the least active action a bystander may take to prevent a crime or support the justice of a case. Every day, Illinois seems to be slipping further and futher towards becoming a police state. The police may be protected by this law, but the people are not.

1/9/2013
Benson
Ashley
Mr. Sorensen
I understand that the law is violating the constitution but I also understand that it is for the safety of the police force.

1/9/2013
Benson, AZ
Brendon
Marv Sorenson/Benson High School
NO, this should be illegal. Video doesn;t lie and there could be evidence in that video.

1/9/2013
Benson
Derek
Mr. Sorenson
I feel that he should still be punished for the crime he commited with the art but that he should be punished for the videotape too. maybe not completely the whole 15 years but some.

1/9/2013
Benson, AZ
David
Marv Sorenson/Benson High School
No, this should not be illegal, because there may be some sort of evidence in that video showing that; maybe an arrest was conducted in a brutal way, or the person being arrested was able to quickly hide some peice of evidence not seen by the police, but then caught on tape and thus able to be found and then used in the case to convict that person.

1/9/2013
Benson/ Arizona
Amanda
Mr. Sorensen/ Benson High School
I think the law is too vague, because theres a big difference between a cellphone and a gun. I believe that people should have the right to video tape the police if they are being wrong or not doing their job correctly, but if people are trying to videotape just because they think its funny watching someone get arrested then they are in the wrong.. But whater people do with their cellphones in personal and private them

1/9/2013
Benson AZ
Mikayla
Marv Sorensen Benson High School
It is a wrong thing to do in my opinion, but if it is to protect the police force then I will agree with it.

1/9/2013
Benson/Arizona
Michael
Sorensen/Benson
Honestly, he was arrested for no reason in the first place. Selling street art shouldn't need a license. Recording this arrest shouldn't have been reacted upon by the cops because the cops were handling the artist roughly.

1/9/2013
Benson ,AZ
Jacob
Sorenson Benson high school
Yes it is very wrong from my point of view . Why i think it is unconstitutional is because what if the American citizen is being abused or treated wrongly and rough . Not having a cop video taped on camera would be a fre ticket for a police officer to be lazy and not read that person his or her rights and treat them how ever they please because of the order and power that we give them . Pluss its not always the cops job to decide weather that action of a ticket or aresst was neccesary .We leave that to the judge to decide ,thats exactly why they went to school . this is my personal opinion.

1/9/2013
Benson/Arizona
Gunner
Sorensen/Benson
The law is a bit extreme in my opinion. Being barred from video tapping a police arrest is just wrong. If the person being arrested did nothing wrong, the video would help prove them innocent. Saying that it is a class one felony is insane. I wouldn't want to go to jail for 15 years just because video tapping an arrest is against the law.

1/9/2013
Arizona
Morgan
Benson High School
I personally think that it wasn't ethical for him to be arrested just for videotaping his own arrest. I don't think that anyone should be prosecuted for video evidence of an arrest. Police brutality is one of those things that has becoming big in the media. That one of the reasons it would be great to make it legal, It let's us know who's wrong.

1/9/2013
Benson, AZ
Evan
Benson High School
I don't think that it should be illegal to videotape it because it could be used as evidence in a court case, but if they are going to crop the video to try and slander a cop or police force legal action should be taken. Laws on this matters shouldn't be passed because it would be to vague but every case looked at individually.

1/8/2013
Conroe/TX
jessie
Metzger/Montgomery
The law in my opinion is a bit ridiculous. It is very much so constricting the freedom of video. Say you are being arrested under false pretenses and the video is the only way to show that you are innocent. But they throw out that evidence because you are committing a class one felony. The people of America have the right and the authorization to know what wrong doings the police are doing without being put in jail for 15 years under false pretenses. The current laws being produced by the U.S. government are in every way not protecting the people but repressing them to ultimate control of thoughts and feelings.

1/8/2013
Irving, Tx
Dominic
Bradley/Nimitz
Honestly, I think the law is stupid. The judge was absolutely correct in saying that the law is to vague, because it really is. The show Cops video tapes everything a cop does, then puts it out on national television. How can you tell a differnece between the two.

1/8/2013
Rudyard. MT
Dono
MrsCampbell. Northstar
I don't see any thing wrong with taping some one that is getting arrested. I thinks it cool when you get to see a police officer doing his or her job by keeping the streets safe and clean from any bad people or law brakers out there. So I think it's ok to videotape a police officer just doing his or her job.

1/7/2013
Montgomery Texas
Viviana T.
Metzger/ Montgomery High School
I believe that the Illinois law that barred someone from video taping should be thrown out due to many different points of controversy. I do agree with the judges ruling that the law is to vague due to many different cases that were associated with this law. I also do believe that the law is unconstitutional because technically if you video taping something that you think is wrong, then that is your individual right to show that in court or to turn into the police. I think that if you get punished for filming an officer doing something that they shouldn't be doing in the first place,then there should be no reason for the person filming to get in trouble with the law.

1/7/2013
Irving/TX
Sandra C.
Bradley/Nimitz
Trying to ban someone from videotaping police is just a way of trying to cover up things that the police do that are wrong such as in this case. I agree with the Judges ruling that people can get in serious trouble for minor things. The FOP's claim that a phone can be confused with a gun doesn't make sense since there's a clear distinction between a gun and a phone. The Supreme Court did well by letting the 7th Circuit's ruling stand; sending someone to jail for 15 years simply because they recorded a police officer is ludicrous.

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