Police bear a commitment to serve and protect. Nonetheless, some of them violate our rights. When law enforcement brutality occurs, Americans suffer at the hands of government officials. We must stop this injustice.
One method of fighting back against police misconduct is by filming. The video we capture can play a vital role in holding authorities accountable.
The freedom to film police
Every citizen has a First Amendment right that allows making movies in public. Should you be in the presence of an officer abusing someone, hit record. If you are the one in handcuffs, ask a passerby to video the event on your behalf.
The responsibility to not break the law
Proving your victimization is more difficult when you are also guilty of wrongdoing. Never trespass, even if it means not getting a shot of the events. Further, never allow your actions to obstruct the duties of an officer.
The variability of the law
States differ when it comes to whether filming is permissible. Recording in secret could be a violation. In the Northeast, you are generally in the clear so long as you are open about what you are doing. Be proactive about checking the laws in your area.
The wisdom of knowing when to stop
Under certain circumstances, it might make sense to end recording. Pocketing your device might deescalate the situation. If you continue, it could result in an unlawful arrest.
Every American has the privilege to film representatives of the law. That said, it behooves you to be cautious when documenting their activities.